Key Dates in the Academic Calendar Year

The academic calendar year in the UK is very different than the ones in different parts of the world, therefore I want to tell you about the university of Surrey’s academic year so you have an idea of what to expect when you start your courses. It is important to know key dates as an international student because  we have to plan trips back home, or trips to new places that we want to visit. We also have to plan our academic work accordingly.


These were some of the key dates in the year 2016-2017:

Arrive to Surrey around the 20 of September, but classes start the 3rd of October.

Semester 1 is from the 3 of October to the 3 of February.

Semester 2 is from the 6 of February to the 16 of June.

Winter vacation: From the 19 of December to the 6 of January.

Spring vacation: From the 3 of April to the 28 of April.

Summer vacation: From the 19 of June to the 22 of September.

Now, this is what it says in the university’s website, however you have to look in the calendar and ask your professors, because this year, (2017) the 6th of January was a Friday, so I actually started classes on the 9th of January. And the 28 of April is also a Friday, and the 1 of May is a national holiday, therefore I will start classes again on the 2 of May.
Post graduate students have to write their dissertations during the summer vacation, therefore their schedules may differ, some may choose to turn it in before or after the 22 of September. Your summer vacation and the date you turn in your dissertation may also depend on your accommodation, because students who live off campus may have to move out of their accommodation before September. My contract agreement with the university’s accommodation is only until the 9th of September, therefore I will have to plan my dissertation’s deadline accordingly.


During the first semester, my classmates and I were very curious to know specifically when we would have exams and essay deadlines. This information is reveled to us as a student after you start the semester. It may be different every year, but this is how it was for me:

  • Most of my essays were due in November and the first weeks of December.
    So I was done with those classes after that.
  • I had closed book examinations, where we had two hours to answer a specific number of questions during the examination period which for me was from the 16 of January to the 27 of January.
  • Reading week is a week where we do not have classes. It is supposed to be for us to start reading the material for the second semester, and to have a break in between the two semesters. Mine was from the 27 of January to the 3 of February.
  •  I was very lucky because I only had two exams and they were the 19 and the 20 of January, therefore I had the rest of the time to travel before the second semester started on the 6th of February.

All of this information was key for me in order to plan my trips to Europe and back home. Some of your essay deadlines or your exams may be different, the dates are according to your program and the academic year. You can find the key dates in the university’s website using this link: All of this information will help you organize yourself.


I hope this is helpful and useful.

Good luck with your classes and your planning! 🙂