Academic quarter (class timing)

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An academic quarter (German: Akademisches Viertel, Swedish: akademisk kvart (ak or aq), Icelandic: akademískt korter) is the quarter-hour (15 minute) discrepancy between the defined start time for a lecture or lesson ("per schema") and the actual starting time, at some universities in Austria, Switzerland, Estonia, Finland, Romania, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Serbia, Italy, Israel, Hungary, Greece, and the UK.

The quarter system dates back to the days when the ringing of the church bell was the general method of time keeping. When the bell rang on the hour, students had 15 minutes to get to the lecture.[1] Thus a lecture with a defined start time of 10:00 would start at 10:15.

Academic quarter exists to a varying extent in many universities, especially where the campus is spread out over a larger area, necessitating the need for fifteen minutes for the students to walk from one building to another between classes.

In the German university system, lectures scheduled at a certain hour, with or without the addition "c.t." (cum tempore, Latin for "with time"), usually start 15 minutes after the full hour.[2] If this is not the case, usually "s.t." (sine tempore, Latin for "without time") is added to indicate that the lecture will begin at the exact time.[3]


At Uppsala University, the academic quarter was officially abolished in 1982 by Rector Martin H:son Holmdahl, and since then lectures are officially scheduled one quarter after the full hour, e.g. the scheduled starting time of morning lectures is 8:15.[4][5] In the student social life at Uppsala University and Lund University, a double-quarter (Swedish: dubbelkvart (dk) or dq) also exists. At Uppsala, it refers to the thirty minutes between the full hour and the official time when a banquet or other semi-official party or sit-down dinner starts. During this half-hour, guests mingle and make sure they know where their seats are.[6]

At Lund, times are commonly stated meaning single-quartered during daytime and doubly-quartered in the evening after 6 pm and on weekends. Double-quarter means here that the event starts thirty minutes after the posted time. When a starting time is supposed to be exact, it is marked as prick ("exact" in Swedish), or prickprick for times after 18:00.[7]

At KTH the academic quarter is applied to lectures[8] but not to labs.[9]

At UC Berkeley, classes generally start 10 minutes after the posted starting time. This is informally known as "Berkeley time".[10]


  1. ^ W. L. (1886-03-18), "Student Life in Heidelberg" (PDF), The Tech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, V (11), p. 166
  2. ^ "6.1.2 A few practical tips", Guide for International Students, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2012-05-07, retrieved 2012-07-11
  3. ^ Teaching & Examination, Europa Universität Viadirina Frankfurt, retrieved 2017-08-02
  4. ^ Akademisk kvart, Uppsala Universitet, retrieved 2017-08-02
  5. ^ "Academic quarter", About UU, Uppsala University, retrieved 2012-07-11
  6. ^ Going to a gasque, Uppsala Studentkår, retrieved 2017-08-02
  7. ^ Academic glossary, Lund universitet, retrieved 2017-08-02
  8. ^ The academic system at KTH, KTH, retrieved 2017-08-02
  9. ^ Labbar - KTH, KTH, retrieved 2017-08-02
  10. ^ Get to Know UC Berkeley, UC Berkeley Visitor Services, archived from the original on 2014-03-10, retrieved 2014-03-10