Spring 2021 semester will replicate the fall 2020 academic calendar as closely as possible. Changes to the academic calendar include a spring semester start date of January 11 for graduate students and January 25 for undergraduates, and a shortened spring break. The plan includes finishing the academic year as originally scheduled with a May 9 Commencement, and final exams taking place the first week of May.

Spring 2021 Semester:
Key Academic Dates

Undergraduate Calendar

  • Monday, January 25: Classes begin
  • Friday, March 12: Spring break (College offices open)
  • Friday, April 2: Good Friday; no afternoon classes (College offices close at noon)
  • Thursday, April 22: Honors Day/Rall Symposium; no classes (College offices open)
  • Friday, April 30: Last day of full semester classes
  • Monday, May 3 – Thursday, May 6: Final exams
  • Sunday, May 9: Commencement
  • Monday, May 10: May Term begins

Graduate Calendar

  • Monday, January 11: Classes begin
  • Monday, January 18: MLK Holiday; no morning classes (College offices open)
  • Monday, March 15 – Friday, March 19: Spring break (College offices open)
  • Monday, March 22: Classes resume
  • Friday, April 2: Good Friday; no afternoon classes (College offices close at noon)
  • Friday, April 30: Last day of full semester classes
  • Sunday, May 9: Commencement

Class Schedule

The College’s Monday/Wednesday/Friday courses will meet for 70 minutes instead of the normal 65 minutes, and Tuesday/Thursday courses will meet for 100 minutes instead of the normal 95 minutes.

Students, including students-athletes, who have questions regarding how the modified academic calendar and daily class meeting schedule may impact practice times and schedules, will soon receive a follow up communication with additional details.

Spring 2021 Semester Daily Class Schedule

Course Schedule Updates

The College has adopted a variety of instructional modalities for the 2020-2021 academic year, including remote learner and blended. The updated course schedule reflects the college’s continued emphasis on in-person learning, while incorporating a wider variety of blended and online course options.

Students can review their course schedules to see the instructional delivery for each class by logging into Merlin at and navigating to your Spring schedule under Merlin / Students / Academic Profile / My Class Schedule.

Students with questions about their course schedule or options should contact their academic advisor or the Office of the Registrar at or 630-637-5252.

The updated course delivery types are listed in Merlin under the “Section Name and Title” column as the last portion of the section name, and include the following:

  • In-Person: Traditional face-to-face instruction format; wearing masks will be required. In-person courses are noted with 1, 2… (ex: NCC*100*1)
  • Online Synchronous: 100% online instruction, with synchronous online meetings during specified class meeting days/times. Online synchronous courses are noted with “OS” before the section number (ex: NCC*100*OS1)
  • Online Asynchronous: 100% online instruction, with no required synchronous course meetings. Online asynchronous courses are noted with “OA” before the section number (ex: NCC*100*OA1)
  • Blended: Courses with a mix of in-person and online instruction. Blended courses are noted with “BL” before the section number (ex: NCC*100*BL1)
  • Split Section: Students in class are divided into 2 smaller groups to accommodate in-person instruction in a physically distanced environment. Each group will meet in-person with the instructor on some days and online other days; additional details will be provided by the instructor before the course begins. Split courses are noted with “SP” before the section number (ex: NCC*100*SP1).

Academic Instruction

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the College has expanded its range of instructional modalities and leveraged technology to create inclusive learning opportunities for all students. The College’s primary modality continues to be in-person classes, but our faculty’s inspired instruction also includes a wider variety of remote learner and combination formats.

For spring 2021 semester, all students will be notified via their North Central email once the spring course schedule has been updated with new times and instructional modalities. Academic advisors will then help first-year students register for their spring courses and help upper-class students adjust their schedules as necessary to fit their individual needs. These efforts will allow students continued flexibility and ensure they can continue steady progress toward their degree.

In-person instruction will continue to require a six-foot minimum distance between all individuals and face coverings will be required to be worn in all classrooms, labs and studios. Classrooms and other instructional spaces have been evaluated for maximum capacities based on physical distancing requirements and furniture and equipment will be arranged accordingly. Depending on class sizes and room capacities, there may be circumstances where students attend class in-person on some days and remotely on other days for synchronous or asynchronous instruction in order to maintain physical distancing requirements.

Education Abroad

The College has made the difficult decision to suspend all Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Education Abroad programs, as well as May Term 2021 Cardinal Destination Courses Abroad (CDCA). The suspension includes all program types, including exchange, direct enrollment, provider programs, faculty-led, and SIROL. This decision was made in line with current travel and health advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and takes into account the pandemic landscape across the globe and the challenges facing international travel.

Contact Information

Students with questions about their course schedule should contact their academic advisor, or the Office of the Registrar at 630-637-5252 or

Faculty with questions about their course schedule should contact their department chair or academic dean.