Skip to main content

The Dartmouth Plan

What is the "D-Plan"?

The Dartmouth Plan (or "D-Plan") is a unique and flexible calendar system which provides students with unparalleled opportunities to design an educational program that is most closely suited to their needs, interests, and aspirations. 

This system, based on four ten-week terms per year, allows for students to easily engage in Dartmouth's many off-campus study programs as well as numerous internship opportunities. Most students arrive at Dartmouth requiring 12 terms to graduate. The fall, winter, and spring terms of their first year and senior year are required residence terms. The summer following their sophomore year (or "sophomore summer") is also a required residence term. Aside from required residence terms, students are free to choose from among the remaining terms when they will be in residence, when they will take vacations or "leave terms", and when they will study off-campus (if they choose to pursue off-campus study). Sound confusing?  See the reverse side of this sheet for some real examples of the flexibility the D-Plan affords students!

A major advantage of the Dartmouth Plan is that it allows undergraduates to explore career interests in greater depth and with greater flexibility than is possible under traditional semester calendars. Students can arrange for jobs and internships during any non-summer term and avoid the competition and scramble that often occurs in the summer, getting an extra advantage for subsequent summer positions or quality of occupational experience. With the flexibility the D-Plan provides, it is no wonder that over 50% of Dartmouth students will go abroad at least once during the course of their college career, with 10% going abroad three times.

Students may include terms of on-campus/residence study, off-campus study in Dartmouth programs or at other institutions, or leave terms within their own Dartmouth Plan.  Students wishing to attend Dartmouth without leave terms, or those entering with sufficient AP or IB credit are able to graduate in three years. Alternatively, students may choose to extend their enrollment patterns up to five years to allow for additional travel, employment, internships, or personal experiences.

The following are three examples of real D-Plans of Dartmouth students:

What do all these symbols and terms mean?

*R= terms in residence.  These terms signify that you are on campus, in Hanover, taking courses.

*O= terms off-campus.  During these terms you are studying abroad through Dartmouth Language Study Abroad (LSA) programs or Foreign Study Programs (FSP) or you are taking courses at another institution which will transfer.

*L= leave terms.  These terms can be considered vacation, where you are not taking classes and can get an internship, find a job, participate in research etc.

Example #1

 
FALL (F)
WINTER (W)
SPRING (S)
SUMMER (X)
FIRST YEAR
R
R
R
L
SOPHOMORE
R
R
L
R
JUNIOR
O
R
R
L
SENIOR
R
R
R
graduated

** This student selected to take a leave term during sophomore spring in exchange for being in residence sophomore summer.  During this leave term, this student had an internship in Washington, D.C. then spent junior fall off campus on the French Language Study Abroad in Lyon, France.

Example #2

 
FALL (F)
WINTER (W)
SPRING (S)
SUMMER (X)
FIRST YEAR
R
R
R
O
SOPHOMORE
L
R
R
R
JUNIOR
O
L
R
L
SENIOR
R
R
R
graduated

** This student participated in the summer Chinese FSP after the first year. After four academic terms in a row, this student took a leave term sophomore fall, then spent junior fall in Dublin on the English FSP. This student worked for CNN in Beijing during junior winter.

Example #3

 
FALL (F)
WINTER (W)
SPRING (S)
SUMMER (X)
FIRST YEAR
R
R
R
L
SOPHOMORE
R
R
R
R
JUNIOR
R
O
L
L
SENIOR
R
R
R
graduated

** Another possibility is to put two leave terms together. This student went abroad on the Biology FSP in Costa Rica during junior winter and decided to stay in order do be a research assistant for a professor during the spring term.That summer, this student continued the research for the first half of the summer then returned to Dartmouth to work on freshman orientation for the incoming class.

Last Updated: 8/5/08