# semester hours to quarter units?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by SIRBIG, Feb 10, 2011.

1. SDN is made possible through member donations, sponsorships, and our volunteers. Learn about SDN's nonprofit mission.
1. ### SIRBIG 7+ Year Member

45
1
Aug 24, 2009
Hello all,

The school I graduated from used quarter units (each class taken was typically 1 unit). However, I completed my physics requirement from a state school that uses semester hours (I took 10 hrs of physics). Additionally, I may take more post-bacc classes from the same state school that uses semester hours and, as such, am interested how these courses would affect my GPA.

I have searched around a bit and can't seem to find the right conversion. I believe I heard along the way that 1 quarter unit=2.7 semester hours.....In other words, the 10 semester hrs of physics I took to complete my physics requirement is actually converted to 3.7 quarter units..........My concern with this is the fact that if I had taken the year-long physics requirement at my quarter unit school, it would only be 3.0 units, rather than the 3.7 quarter units the conversion equals. As such, it would seem advantageous to take classes at a school that uses semester hours as I would seem to be able to make changes in my GPA faster (6 semester hours seems pretty standard for 2 classes but would equal more than 2 quarter units).

This would all be so much easier if there was simply a universal way to calculate grades!

3. ### DrMidlifehas an opinion 10+ Year Member

7,493
2,479
Oct 30, 2006
Math! Math math math. Celsius degrees do not equal Fahrenheit degrees but the temperature is the same!
Don't convert hours to units. Convert hours to hours. Or convert units to units.

One quarter hour/credit/unit is 2/3 of a semester hour/credit/unit.

Multiply quarter hours/credits/units by 2/3 to get semester hours/credits/units.
In other words, a 10 semester hour course is the same "size" as a 6.7 quarter hour course.
A year of a 10 hour class on the semester system is 20 hours. A year of a 6.67 hour class on the quarter system is 20 hours.

You can't blame quarter/semester for how much/little a class is worth. Different schools put more/fewer hours into the same coursework. Using the temperature example, this would be like taking physics at 25 celsius at school A or taking physics at 27 celcius at school B.

The advantage, assuming you can get A's, would be to take classes at the school that assigns the most units/credits/hours to the class, normalized on quarter=semester*2/3. Semester and quarter have nothing to do with it.

Best of luck to you.

4. ### SIRBIG 7+ Year Member

45
1
Aug 24, 2009
Here's the problem. My school did not use quarter hours or units in the same way you are describing. My school simply gave you 1 credit per class taken. So if you took 4 classes in 1 quarter, it's 4 credits. Hence, I needed 45 total credits to graduate = 45 classes taken.

I searched around the school website and was able to find that one course credit is equal to 2.66 or, rounded up, 2.7 semester hours (so if a school needs 8 semester hours of organic chemistry, 3 quarters of organic chemistry at my school would satisfy this since 3 * 2.7 = 8.1 semester hours). But further, it says that for the AMCAS do not convert school credit to semester hours, but rather that the verification service will do it for you. In order to complete my physics requirement, I took 10 semester hrs of physics in 1 summer (both the 1st and 2nd semester completed concurrently at 5 hrs each).

As such, although in completing the physics at a semester school satisified my 3 school credits for physics that I would have received had I taken it over 3 quarter at my school, it appears to me that in calculating the GPA, it should actually transfer as ((GPA semester 1 * (5/2.7) + (GPA semester 2 * (5/2.7))...........................

The problem with this, is I actually am getting 3.7 credit units for something that would only count as 3 credit units had I completed it over 3 quarters at my school....

5. ### DrMidlifehas an opinion 10+ Year Member

7,493
2,479
Oct 30, 2006
I see. So you didn't get A's in physics and you want those non-A's to be smaller. Again, can't blame semester/quarter.

Also, how school A transfers credit from school B never shows up on a med school app. School A is not allowed to itemize another school's coursework (unless it's foreign & evaluated). School B owns itemization of school B's coursework. You'll submit both transcripts to AMCAS and AMCAS will not care one bit how school A interprets school B's transcript.

In other words, coursework itemization on AMCAS has nothing to do with degree completion.

Best of luck to you.

6. ### SIRBIG 7+ Year Member

45
1
Aug 24, 2009
The GPA at my college is done by taking total grade points (4 A, 3.7 A- etc) and dividing that credits....so if 1 quarter you get 2 A's and 2 A-'s, your GPA is (4 + 4 + 3.7 + 3.7)/4 = 3.85.

With that said, the other way to calculate what my gpa is with these classes is to average my GPA from the semester school (so if I got an A and A-, that woudl average to a 3.85) and then add that # 3 times to the total grade points and go from there.

So to average in the example physics class into the 1 quarter GPA provided above, I could do (4 + 4 + 3.7 + 3.7 + 3.85 + 3.85 + 3.85)/7.....

However, I have no idea if this is actually how it would be done.

7. ### SIRBIG 7+ Year Member

45
1
Aug 24, 2009
I actually did very well in the physics taken at the semester school and simply want to have an idea of what my GPA is (my school did not factor these into my GPA and I'd like to know what it is from the AMCAS viewpoiint) with these classes counted.

Further, if I take more classes (non-degree, post-bacc), I would like to know how many courses I would need to take to raise my GPA X points, etc...

I could take classes at the semester school and then send transcripts in to the AMCAS and see what they convert it to, but I'd like an idea of what my actual GPA is with these classes counted.

8. ### mauberleyradiating prestige 5+ Year Member

Apr 13, 2009
Urbs in Horto
I wouldn't try to complicate things so much. Disregard any reported GPAs from any of your schools. Work with the raw data--in other words, your grades and their associated credits.

Here's a link to an Excel AMCAS GPA calculator. I would plug in your classes as the spreadsheet indicates, with the exception of using the quarter-based system conversion (the checkbox in column H). Use 2.7 for the unit hours if you're entering a quarter-based grade, otherwise use the usual semester hours. You can then do what-if scenarios by plugging in hypothetical values as you like.

9. ### SIRBIG 7+ Year Member

45
1
Aug 24, 2009
Thanks!

So what you're saying is to leave the check box in Group H unchecked for all (both my quarter and semester grades) but simply enter 2.7 for # of hours (group D) if the class was quarter based (if my school counted the class as 1 credit) and, if semester based, enter the # of semester hours?

And then calculate hypothetical situation as needed?

10. ### mauberleyradiating prestige 5+ Year Member

Apr 13, 2009
Urbs in Horto
Yup. Go nuts.

11. ### SIRBIG 7+ Year Member

45
1
Aug 24, 2009
Awesome. This will be a huge help!