Storm Lake campus

Semester Designations

Academic sessions at Buena Vista University are based on the 4-1-4 system, with a fall semester, a January Interim, and spring semester. The fall and spring semesters are approximately 14 weeks in length, and the Interim is approximately three weeks.


Interim courses are commonly 3 credit hours. A three-credit course meets the full three weeks for 150 minutes each day. Internships and trips commonly range from 3 to 4 credit hours. Credit hours are typically determined by the number of 40-hour weeks contained within the travel or internship experience. A three-credit internship, for example, typically requires three 40-hour work weeks. Classes meet daily. Grading is determined by the instructor and indicated in each course description. If student option is indicated, the student may choose between P/NC (Pass/No Credit) or letter grade (ABCDF). All travel courses and internships are P/NC.

There will be no tuition, board and/or room refunds for full-time students who elect not to participate in Interim, nor will students who have failed to register for or participate in Interim courses be permitted to remain in the residence halls during the January term.

Students enrolled in courses that require them to be off campus may apply for a refund of meal plan fees for the semester/term during which they are required to be off campus. See the Associate Dean's Office for deadline information.

In order to be eligible to participate in Interim, you must either complete the Fall semester as a full-time student or plan to enroll full-time for the Spring semester. Part-time students have the option of participating in Interim. Tuition will be charged on a per-credit-hour basis for part-time students. Similarly, students on tuition exchange attending Interim only will be charged a pro-rated room and board fee.  If you have questions regarding the billing process, please contact the Business Office. 

Some courses, such as trips, have special charges associated with them. In case of cancellation of the course by the University, the special fees will be promptly refunded. If you cancel registration in such a course, no refund of the special fees can be guaranteed. 
Students from other 4-1-4 institutions are welcome to participate in BVU's Interim. Application should be made to the Associate Dean's Office, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, IA 50588.

Summer Sessions

The University offers a limited number of undergraduate summer classes, including a pre-session of two weeks in late May, and two, four-week sessions in June and July. Students are permitted to enroll for one class in pre-session and two classes each other session. Credit may also be earned through special workshops, short courses, and independent study offered in the summer