DCU Glasnevin Campus

Revised Academic Calendar

As of 2018-19, DCU was one of only two Irish universities to continue to adhere to what might be termed a traditional calendar, whereby the first semester commences in the latter part of September and Semester 1 examinations take place after Christmas.

In 2018 a substantial review of the calendar was undertaken by the Academic Calendar Working Group (ACWG) which involved extensive and extended consultation with DCU students and staff.  As part of its remit, the ACWG gave due consideration to the Strategic Plan, the extent to which the calendar might enable or inhibit the achievement of strategic objectives and sector practice (nationally and internationally).  The ACWG concluded in its recommendations that a revised academic calendar should be adopted.  This recommendation was subsequently approved by Academic Council in April 2019, for implementation in 2021-22.


DCU Strategic Plan

DCU Strategic Plan

Why are we changing the calendar?

The revised academic calendar will better enable achievement of a number of strategic objectives as set out in DCU’s Strategic Plan, Talent Discovery and Transformation

  • The revised calendar will enhance the student experience, responding to student body feedback reflecting a general desire to have Semester 1 examinations prior to the Christmas period.  Consultation with the student body suggests that, for many students, motivation and momentum are impacted by the extended Christmas break in the current calendar.  The revised calendar will address these issues.  The new calendar will also facilitate the promulgation of year-end results earlier (typically late May), aligning more closely with other HE providers.  This will ensure our DCU graduates are not competitively disadvantaged in entering the jobs market.  In addition, revision of the calendar will better enable INTRA, Nursing placement and aspects of year abroad / study abroad activity. 
  • DCU’s commitment to world-class research is central to its Strategic Plan.  The availability of an extended period during the summer will afford clearer delineation of time available for academic staff members to pursue research activities.
  • The revised calendar also speaks to our ambitions with regard to internationalisation, allowing us to better align with university calendars in those regions that have been prioritised within the University Strategic Plan and to further advance critical, international strategic partnerships.

What does the new calendar look like?

On 10 April 2019, Academic Council approved the implementation of a revised Academic Calendar from the academic year 2021-22.  The key features of the revised calendar are as follows:


  • Commencement of Semester 1 early in September (typically between the 5th and 11th)

  • Conduct of Semester 1 examinations prior to Christmas

  • Provision for at least one study week and a two-week examination period in each Semester

  • Earlier commencement of Semester 2 in January (typically between the 9th and 15th)

  • Earlier completion – up to and including the publication of final results – of Semester 2


An Academic Calendar Implementation Group (ACIG) was established in September 2020.  The ACIG’s first priority was to consider specific elements of the revised calendar in respect of which a definitive decision had yet to be made and recommend a three-year outline calendar to Academic Council.

On 9 December 2020, Academic Council approved the following, outline three-year calendar:






Semester 1 start date

20 September for continuing undergrad students and all postgrad students*

27 September for 1st year undergrad students**

5 September

11 September

Semester 1 end date

27 November for continuing undergrad and all postgrad students

4 December for 1st year undergrad students

26 November

2 December

Study period

29 Nov - 5 Dec for continuing undergrad and all postgrad students

6 - 12 Dec for 1st year undergrad students

28 Nov - 4 Dec

4 - 10 December

Semester 1 examinations

6 - 18 December

5 - 17 December

11 - 22 December

Semester 2 start date

10 January

9 January

15 January

Semester 2 end date

2 April

1 April

6 April

Study period

4 - 10 April

3 - 9 April

8 - 14 April

Semester 2 examinations

11 - 26 April

11 - 22 April

15 - 27 April

Promulgation of end of year results

25 May

24 May

29 May

* Exceptionally, Semester 1 will commence slightly later in 2021 to facilitate the transition from the old to the new calendar. 

**Following the recent announcement that the State Examination Commission will issue this year's Leaving Certification results on 3 September 2021, Semester 1 for incoming 1st year undergraduate students will commence and finish a week later.


The full detailed calendar for 2021-22 is available on the Registry webpage

How will the new calendar be implemented?

The ACIG has been tasked with overseeing the implementation of the revised calendar in 2021-22.

Group members who are drawn from across the University have been charged with leading and enabling engagement on the part of their respective areas and ensuring effective communication with key stakeholders regarding implementation. 

Following approval of the revised calendar by Academic Council in December, the ACIG is now progressing its Implementation Project Plan.  The Group continues to meet on a regular basis and reports on progress to both the Senior Management Group and Academic Council. 

Like all change projects, the move to the revised academic calendar will create some challenges.  Some of the key challenges have already been identified through the work of the ACIG and will be addressed in the Project Implementation Plan.  A number of Subgroups and Working Groups have been established and these will further ensure that issues are identified and addressed over the coming months.


Some of the most common questions regarding DCU's new academic calendar are answerered here