Child Development - Program Guide

Understanding the Quarter System

At De Anza College you will receive your course credit in quarter units rather than semester units.

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Quarter Units

The quarter system was designed to provide accelerated learning for capable students. It is also used throughout the University of California system and at Stanford University. You can convert quarter units to their semester equivalent by multiplying by 2/3 as illustrated below:

  • 3 quarter units = 2 semester units
  • 6 quarter units = 4 semester units
  • 9 quarter units = 6 semester units
  • 12 quarter units = 8 semester units
  • 15 quarter units = 10 semester units
  • 18 quarter units = 12 semester units

Licensing will accept quarter length courses (12 weeks) as well as semester length courses
(17 weeks) in all required areas. The standard is usually stated in semester units because most community colleges do not give their students the benefit of the quarter system.

In order to become a fully qualified teacher in a private center, the Department of Social Services (DSS) requires 12 semester units of Child Development coursework, which is the equivalent of 18 quarter units.

DSS will allow you to start teaching with only nine quarter units as long as you remain enrolled and are continuing to make progress towards your 18 quarter units.

On the quarter system you have three opportunities each year to select courses and two breaks for work or recreation. On the semester system you have two opportunities and one break.

Between January and June you can complete two quarters (up to ten classes full-time) but only one semester (five classes full-time).

Ask your advisor, if you have additional questions about the quarter system. This information
may be of interest to your employer as well.


Child Development and Education Chair: Mayra Cruz
Office: CD-3 36
Phone: 408.864.8215 sizeplaceholder


Last Updated: 9/1/09