The Hiram Plan


Hiram’s academic semester is organized by the Hiram Plan. Sometimes called the 12+3 plan, it’s as unique and as special as our students.

Image: Student learning in class

What is the Hiram Plan?

The Hiram Plan consists of 12 weeks of traditional coursework, a one-week break, followed by a three-week intensive study in a single class. According to alumni and students alike, this structure is a near perfect one for fostering student learning and engagement.

During the first twelve weeks of the semester, most students enroll in three four-credit classes. At the conclusion of that semester, students get a weeklong break to recharge and refresh. Following the break, students immerse in a single class that usually meets four times a week for the next three weeks. Many three-week courses take the shape of a research project, a service-learning experience, an internship or a study-away opportunity. The three-week is also a good time to focus on a unique topic of interest or a subject you struggle with.

Can you think of a better way to organize your classes, keep you motivated, and allow you to recoup in-between?

Ways You could spend THREE-week

Over the course of four years, you’ll complete eight three-week sessions, so the possibilities are endless. Here are a few ways you may spend your three-week:

Hiram College study abroad trips are unlike most college programs in that our own faculty lead them. Our faculty will be leading 3-Week trips to more than 10 destinations over the next two years, exploring topics such as:

  • Biology and English on the Galapagos Islands
  • Music and art in Ireland
  • Management in Chile
  • Psychology and economics in Australia
  • Language and philosophy in France

You don’t need to leave the country to get away during the three-week. There are many opportunities to supplement one or two weeks of classroom instruction with a weeklong (or more) trip to another state:

  • Photography in the historic cities of Gettysburg, Pa.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Washington, D.C.
  • Environmental literacy and education at our Northwoods Field Station in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
  • The history of jazz and culture in New Orleans
  • Marine ecology in Florida

What better way to spend three weeks of intensive study than by learning hands-on? Many three-week courses combine classroom instruction with in-the-field work. It’s the perfect way to get a taste of what your first job may entail or to try out a field in which you may be interested.

Entrepreneurship students team up with real world start-up companies at Cleveland’s Shaker Launch House Incubator.
Education students study the changing culture and landscape in American classrooms by visiting diverse schools.
Lab courses in the sciences involve one-on-one research with faculty. Students often become co-authors on published scholarly papers.

We’re known for our unique three-week course topics – topics on which you might spend an hour studying in a normal course, but on which you have the opportunity to immerse yourself during our three-week. You won’t find these course titles at other colleges:

  • The Science of Sleep
  • Money and the Mind
  • Politics of Sex
  • Insects and Society
  • Dialectology
  • Campaigns and Elections
  • The Art of Puppetry