University holidays are something almost every student looks forward to. They are a chance to relax from a term full of hard work, and often, to catch up with friends from home. As well as this, students may have exciting internships or work experience planned in the holidays. However, the calendar of university terms and holidays is different to the one you may be used to in primary and secondary school.
Universities do not have half term holidays. Instead, they have three longer breaks between terms: at Christmas time, Easter time, and in the summer. The dates of these can vary, both compared to secondary schools, and between universities. This article will focus on when universities break up for Christmas, both generally, and specific dates for 2023.
Usually, most universities break up for Christmas at the end of the second or third week of December. For example, for 2023, most universities will have their last day of term on the 8th or 15th December 2023. However, this can vary between universities. Oxford and Cambridge are known for shorter terms, so they break up earlier, while other universities may have an extra week before breaking up for Christmas.
Keep reading for all the information you need about when universities break up for Christmas, both in general terms, and for 2023 in particular.
When do universities normally break up for Christmas?
Typically, universities break up for Christmas in mid-December. This is actually similar to primary and secondary schools. The difference is that schools all tend to break up in the same week, whereas there is a range of weeks for universities.
This usually means the end of term is the last Friday of the second or third week of December. One key exception is that the universities of Oxford and Cambridge have shorter, more intense terms than most other universities. In turn, this means that they break up for holidays earlier and have longer holidays between terms.
It can be hard to get your head around how university holidays work because they can vary so much between each university. For plenty more information on this, check out this helpful article from Think Student that tells you all you need to know about university holidays.
When do universities break up for Christmas in 2023?
Most universities will break up on either the 8th or 15th of December in 2023 for their Christmas break. This corresponds to the normal pattern of the end of the second or third week of December.
Term dates for specific universities are easy to find on their official websites. For example, you can see here that the University of Birmingham finishes on the 8th December 2023, while the University of Manchester finishes after the second week, shown here on their website.
A few universities may finish a week earlier or later than this. As mentioned, Oxford and Cambridge break up earlier – in 2023, they both finish term on the 1st of December 2023.
In contrast, the University of Worcester doesn’t finish until a week later than most, with the last day of term being 22nd December 2023, as can be found on their website here.
Do all universities break up at the same time?
As we have seen, different universities break up for Christmas at different times. You may be used to primary and secondary school terms dates, which often mean schools all break up within a couple of days of each other. However, universities have more freedom over the length and dates of their terms, and they can differ by several weeks.
This research from QS Top Universities shows just how much the dates can vary between universities. The dates are from 2020, so will of course not be accurate for every year. Nevertheless, it gives a good idea of how different the dates can be, with the length of the Christmas holidays ranging from more than 6 weeks to less than 2.
Because the dates can change so much, it is best to look up specific dates for the university you are interested in. These dates will be readily available on the official university website. However, this article has hopefully given you an idea of when you can expect universities to break up for Christmas, both generally and in 2023.