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January Term Courses

January Term (affectionately referred to as "Jan Term") is a three-week term between the fall and spring semesters in which students and faculty explore new areas and expand their intellectual horizons. You'll choose from specially designed courses offered on and off campus, including study abroad tours with faculty that deepen your learning and international understanding. It's just one option you have for adding meaningful experiential learning opportunities to your college resume through the McDaniel Commitment. 

Students in Budapest campus classroom.
Students stand in front of architecture in Greece

A look back at Jan Term 2023 One Month, So Many Options

For Jan Term 2023, students got involved in on-campus offerings like My Design, Restorative Justice, and Coping with Stress.

For the adventure-seekers, off-campus programs included:

  • Animating Life: The Art and Science of Animation from Disney to Pixar
  • Conference Experience in Mathematics
  • Theatre Festival Experience
  • Greece: Myths, Monks, and Monuments
  • Ireland: Dublin & Belfast
  • Tropical Marine Biology

My Design

Your first Jan Term will occur in your very first year, when you'll take My Design, one of the featured components of the McDaniel Commitment. This course is designed to help you be intentional about how you use your time at McDaniel through deep thinking about yourself, your strengths, where you want to go and how you can maximize your time at McDaniel to meet your goals.

Tuition, room and board costs for My Design are included in your comprehensive costs for the fall semester, making this guided process of discernment (and graduation requirement) possible for all students.

“I am so glad that I took this specific Jan Term because I learned the value of a liberal arts college, how to work well in groups, met successful McDaniel alumni and had the chance to display my talents and skills with my peers in the classroom."

Liz Mince, Class of 2022

Jan Term Abroad

Mexico. Greece. The Bahamas. China. And McDaniel Europe in Hungary, of course. These are just some of the countries that students explore during Jan Term, where McDaniel faculty develop engaging, innovative courses abroad.

You'll get to explore education abroad without committing to a full year or semester, and it's paired with a focused class experience. These short-term study abroad opportunities enrich your learning and develop your global perspective. Critically, they also provide hands-on experiences in topics that would be challenging from Westminster, Maryland (tropical marine biology at the Barrier Reef, anyone?).

See Jan Term Abroad Options

Photo of student Gabbie Gladden in Northern Ireland wearing a beanie hat that reads Queen's University Belfast.

During a Jan Term abroad, Political Science major Gabbie Gladden discovered the graduate school of her dreams while touring Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her professors encouraged her and prepared her for the opportunity. “I don’t think I would have the confidence or the drive that I have if it wasn’t for the professors that I’ve met along the way and the friends that I’ve made here at McDaniel," she says. Read the full story.

A view of Budapest.

Travel across the U.S.

Looking for some adventure without going abroad? We offer Jan Term courses that combine learning in the classroom with a trip outside of Westminster to gain hands-on experience.

In 2022, students enrolled in Animating Life: The Art and Science of Animation from Disney to Pixar were first introduced to the art and science of animation through its history, methods, and scientific basis, and then traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as part of Disney’s Youth Education Program. Once there, students got an up-close look at audio-animatronics and animation in action.

Other Jan Term courses within the U.S. include the Common Ground on the Border in Sahuarita, Arizona, and the Conference Experience in Math in Washington, D.C. Off-site fees apply for courses involving travel.

See Jan Term Courses in the U.S.

Group photo of a class at Walt Disney World.
McDaniel student Anthony Crawley (left) tests different essential oils with therapist Shannon Jones in stress management 101

Stress management 101: The perfect Jan Term class

Peppermint. Lavender. Lemon. Cinnamon. Grapefruit. Bergamot. A cacophony of aromas filled Paul Mazeroff’s Coping with Stress classroom as his purple-gloved students concocted their own stress-relieving inhalers under the watchful eye of aromatherapist-in-training Shannon Jones.

Kaylen Buschhorn Jan Term internship

Get course credit for a Jan Term internship or independent study

Planning to use your January to take on a new internship or to complete research with your favorite professor? You can earn credit for it!

Contact your advisor to confirm that your internship or study qualifies for credit and to learn what requirements you will need to fulfill. Then jump right in!

You can find an internship with a McDaniel Handshake account, hosted by the Center for Experience and Opportunity.