Thinking of taking summer classes at U-M? Here’s what you need to know.

Whether you’re living in Ann Arbor or across the country this summer, you can take advantage of remote course offerings at U-M. Read on to learn more about what to expect if you plan on enrolling in classes this summer term.

By Maryam Masood June 15, 2021
Thinking of taking summer classes at U-M blog post

Going into my last year at U-M, I still had yet to spend a summer taking classes in Ann Arbor. For a long time, I had a hard rule that I never wanted to take classes in the summer — I didn’t like the idea of spending any extra time or money that I could avoid. But at the end of May with only two more semesters ahead, I was faced with the reality that I was short on credits for a couple of specific classes, so I haphazardly decided to enroll at the last minute in three (remote) classes for the spring half-semester.

I recognize not everyone has the privilege to spend extra time or tuition dollars on summer classes at U-M, and encourage you to explore the different options that make sense for your academic pathway. (As a quick aside for those already enrolled in the summer classes who requested financial aid, aid notices for summer terms come out within a week of registering for term.)

But if you’re debating about enrolling in summer classes before term starts on June 30, or if you’re a planner and thinking about taking spring/summer classes next year, here are some things you should anticipate.

Half-semesters go by quickly, which means you have to learn a lot of material in a short amount of time, but you also have the flexibility of spending the second half of summer for rest, work, or research. Typically, classes offered in the spring and summer semesters are truncated so that the curriculum is spread out over about eight weeks (compared to about fifteen weeks in the fall and winter).

For example, each of the three-credit classes I’m taking this semester met for about six hours per week, instead of the usual three hours you’d expect in another semester. There wasn’t a week that went by where I didn’t have a major assignment, but now in the final stretch I can say it was worth it knowing that I’m no longer behind on credits and still get a good chunk of the summer to spend time with friends/family and work a summer job.

Course selection is more limited than in the fall/winter semesters, but it is also much easier to get a seat in the classes that are available, no matter your year. Although there are fewer classes offered than in the fall depending on your major, generally popular prerequisite classes are available as well as some elective, independent study, and research-based classes.

When I was registering for classes, I needed elective coursework for my majors in Organizational Studies/Spanish, but after realizing tuition is the same regardless if I take six or nine credits, I also signed up for a creative writing class. I had wanted to take the class since I was a freshman, but in previous semesters it always filled up before I could register. So far, I can say it’s been one of my favorite classes that I’ve taken at U-M and, as a plus, counts towards LSA’s Creative Expression distribution requirement.

As the spring semester wraps up, I’m excited to have (almost) made it through my first summer staying in Ann Arbor and taking classes. It’s definitely been a gift to be able to take a class while hammocking in the Diag for instance, or just to take a walk in the nice weather between classes.

Although it was an adjustment sitting through three-hour classes instead of your typical 90-minute undergraduate lecture and plugging through assignments over the last few weeks, it has also been gratifying to catch up on credits without having to invest a full 15 weeks on a couple of classes.

Wherever you are this summer, take advantage of being able to take classes from your home (or the Diag) while courses are remote!

tree lined sidewalk on campus

Maryam Masood

Maryam Masood (she/her) is a senior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts majoring in Organizational Studies. During the year, she keeps busy managing the Michigan Refugee Assistance Program and working as a trainer at Rec Sports. Outside of class and work, she can most likely be found making another cup of coffee, procrastinating at the CCRB, or rewatching Kim's Convenience on Netflix.