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Academic Life


We welcome all students joining us back on Grounds. Unlike in the past, however, we designed this academic year so that students can take courses from wherever they are. (The few exceptions are practicums and other courses that require a specific in-person experience for licensure.) While we are pleased that so many students returned to Grounds this fall, we also know and appreciate that others needed to or chose to stay in their home communities, and may do so again this spring. Regardless of where students are, our aim is to provide all of them an engaging and enriching academic experience. 

Academic Calendar

The fall semester began for undergraduate programs on August 25th, 2020, with two weeks of virtual instruction, with a September 8 in-person start date.  There were no fall reading days, and in-person instruction will end by Thanksgiving. In an effort to minimize the risk of bringing the virus back to Charlottesville, and to reduce the time students are living and learning together during flu season, undergraduate courses will begin on Monday, February 1. We will end the term on Thursday, May 6. For more information visit the Academic Calendar and the fall updated exam schedule. 

Online Options

Because of social distancing requirements and their effect on our classroom capacity, many large classes will again be online this spring. For classes and sections offered in-person, a remote option is offered for students who are not on Grounds. The deans and faculty in every school continue to creatively approach online instruction while maximizing the number of in-person classroom experiences; decisions about which classes have an in-person option will be made based on the format of each class, our classroom capacity in light of public health requirements, and the availability of faculty instructors to teach in-person.  See the instruction modes used at UVA. 

Expanded Options for Students

In addition to fall and spring courses, every undergraduate student will have the opportunity to take a January term (J-Term) course and a course in the first summer session of 2021. While these courses normally require the payment of additional tuition, this year they are included with the regular tuition for fall and spring semesters. To enhance our offerings, we are designing new, interdisciplinary “Signature” courses for the January and summer terms. These courses, tailored specifically for this year’s new and returning students, will be taught by professors from across the University and will explore some of today’s most relevant topics. Most students will therefore have the option, depending on their degree program requirements, to spread out what would normally be taken in fall and spring over fall, J-term, spring, and summer. Find out more about requirements and registration on the Registrar’s website. 


As a top research university, we are deeply committed to advancing knowledge. While we have had to adapt to new ways of conducting research over the last several months, this commitment has never been stronger. In the midst of a global pandemic, the University of Virginia has been mobilizing its resources and researchers to find a test and vaccine for COVID-19, treat patients, track the COVID-19 globally, and analyze the crisis through the lens of history, politics, economics, business, law and more.


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