Winter Term

What is Winter Term?

Winter Term invites students to pursue interests outside of Oberlin’s regular semester course offerings through a four-week immersive experience every January. 

Student and professor testing lego robot
Kate Hull ’18 and neuroscience professor Pat Simen give their Lego robot a whirl. Once reprogrammed, the robot will be used as a teaching aid in the classroom.
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Students use this time to explore topics of personal interest, develop a new skill, conduct intensive research, prepare for a future career, and expand their academic experience. This is a unique opportunity for educational and personal growth, emphasizing experimentation and creativity, intellectual independence, and personal initiative.  

There are many factors to consider when selecting a Winter Term project and the opportunities are endless. Faculty and staff offer on- and off-campus projects that foster exploration of particular topics, or students can design their own. The most rewarding projects will cross disciplines, connect to personal and professional goals, and provide opportunities for self-reflection. 

Students are required to complete three full Winter Term projects in order to graduate.  Transfer students must complete one project for each academic year they are on campus. The time commitment for a Winter Term project is five to six hours per weekday. 

  1. To provide opportunities for intensive educational activities which might be difficult for students or faculty to fit into their fall and spring schedules;
  2. To encourage students to conceptualize and pursue self-directed educational projects, in consultation with faculty and staff;
  3. To provide faculty with opportunities for pedagogical  experimentation, collaborative work with students, interdisciplinary projects, scholarly and artistic activity and development, and the exploration of areas of expertise not reflected in their usual course offerings;
  4. To encourage students to test and apply knowledge in off-campus settings through internships, community engagement, applied research, or career-related experiences;
  5. To promote educationally valuable interactions among students, faculty, members of the administrative and professional staff, and alumni; and
  6. To provide educational flexibility.

Winter term takes many forms!  Follow the links below for images and stories from WT2020.

Winter Term at Oberlin: The On-Campus Experience

Oberlin Photo Stories: Winter Term 2020

Oberlin Photo Stories: A Month in the Sciences

This Week in Photos: January 16th, January 22nd, February 5th

Winter Term applications can be found at