Arts students work harder than law students, stats reveal

A leading education think tank suggests wannabe lawyers might not have it as tough as they make out to counterparts in other disciplines

lead

Figures from an independent think tank are bound to ruffle feathers, as the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) reckons law students have been over-egging the rigours of their courses.

HEPI’s latest Academic Experience Survey analysed study habit data of students attending universities up and down the country. That exercise produced some surprising results.

Average undergraduate working week by subject

lead

According to the research, the average law student spends 10 hours a week in class attending lectures, seminars and tutorials. Unsurprisingly, medicine and dentistry topped the bill with an average of 19 hours spent every week in the classroom. History and philosophy students appear to have the easiest timetables, clocking up on average just eight hours a week in face-to-face contact.

The data also suggested — brace yourselves, law students — that those studying creative arts and design subjects spend on average one hour more a week in classrooms than their law counterparts.

The survey, which questioned more than 15,000 students, also looked into the study habits of undergraduates outside scheduled timetables.

Law students clocked up a respectable weekly average of 16 hours of private study time, but that’s nothing compared to wannabe architects. Future Norman Fosters spend on average 20 hours a week in the library. Well, those tomes on the finer points of Le Corbusier can be hard work to get through.

“Mass communications and documentation” — including subjects such as film and journalism — appears to be home to the laziest students away from the classroom, with those studying the subject spending just 10 hours a week hitting the books.

The survey suggested that creative arts and design students were putting in the same library hours as wannabe lawyers, clocking up 16 hours of weekly study.

In addition, the law students surveyed claimed they would spend just one hour a week working outside the university as part of their studies; however, their artistic counterparts are apparently putting in three times that.

The overall results mean that an average law student’s working week consists of 27 hours, while those studying the creative arts or aspiring to be designers average a 30 hour week.

These are clearly awful and distressing results for law students who enjoy moaning about how tough they have it at uni. So law students, if you want a “real degree”, maybe consider putting down that pen and picking up a paintbrush…

93 Comments

Not Amused

Other than giving Legal Cheek a story (and a bun fight between undergraduates which inevitably ensues), what is the point of the study? What exactly is the point of the Higher Education Policy Institute? Who funds this crap?

You see, anyone vaguely sentient knows that UK universities are each entirely independent. They govern themselves entirely as they see fit. No two can be compared. Let’s take two at random:

Oxford. This uni relies on one to one or as small as possible small group tuition for on average 2 hours a week. That is incredibly low ‘classroom time’. Lecture attendance is entirely voluntary and lectures do not follow the study programme of the individual undergraduate but run independantly. Independent learning is in the region of 30 to 45 hours a week (assume 20 to 30 per essay).

Cambridge. This uni relies on small to medium based supervision system. Lecture attendance is in practice mandatory because the lecture system is designed to mirror undergraduate study (thus removing the need to read vast amounts of text books). Independent learning is lower at say 20 hours a week.

If our top two universities in law run themselves in a completely different manner then what on earth is the point of a national average? What if the University of Crazyland gives its undergraduates 50 hours a week classroom learning or the University of Lazyville says 30 hours a term is fine by us?

As someone who fights against the lazy assumption that all UK universities are equal (because that assumption, similarly lazily, inadvertently discriminates against poor bright kids) then I get quite cross about an entire body existing which appears to be based on that belief. If I fund these morons through my tax money I will be similarly upset.

I get upset when people hold silly ideas. I get even more upset when people are paid money to adhere to really very silly beliefs.

(53)(18)
Reply
Cantab

A tutorial of 10 students is “small to medium” – as may be found at Russell Group universities. A Cambridge Supervision of 3 students to one academic is directly analogous to Oxford Tutorials. I can also attest to the fact that independent learning is closer to the figures you give for Oxford.

You are, however, correct on the point of lectures.

(5)(1)
Reply
Not Amused

3 to 1 is not directly analogous to 1 to 1.

But I can’t believe you actually posted to say it was or that I am actually posting to correct you… Surely both of us need to get a life?

(5)(2)
Reply
Cantab

From the Oxford Law Faculty FAQ:

“At the heart of the Oxford undergraduate law programme is the ‘tutorial system’. A tutorial is a meeting between a single law tutor and (usually) two or three students…”

That said, I too will concede the need for us both to get a life.

(12)(0)
Reply
Not Amused

You’re only demonstrating my original point. An average drawn from every UK university is useless. An average drawn from every Oxford college is similarly useless. Good Oxford colleges are 1 v 1. Bad are 1 v 3. Good Cambridge colleges are 1 v 3. Bad Cambridge colleges are 1 v 6.

I don’t happen to feel strongly either way, given that I support (or rather, want poor born kids to go to) a thing I call Oxbridge – but I’m always willing to demonstrate my commitment to OCD.

(1)(8)
Reply
Cantab

I went to quite arguably the “worst” college in Cambridge and was never in a supervision with more than 3 students in total. Friends from “good” colleges experienced similar levels of attention as that which you attribute to Oxford.

Let the pedantry continue.

(4)(1)
Reply
Anonymous

Yes 1 to 6 is unheard of in my (humanities) subject at Cambridge, at any college. 1 to 2 or 3 is the norm.

(1)(1)
Reply
Anonymous

I think it is useful to look at the original study when attempting to figure out why it might have been made. The actual study linked by the article is a summary of a longer report.

I don’t think that comparing art students to law students is particularly useful. That being said, the study compared a lot of different factors such as student satisfaction, where school funds were being spent, and teacher’s training are also looked at. I could see this being helpful to universities to be able to determine what helped create satisfied students as well as to students and parents attempting to determine what produced a satisfying learning environment.

I also do not know if the individual universities were able to access the summaries for their school which could potentially be incredibly useful. I know that my university required students to fill out surveys on how much time was spent working, their employment, their satisfaction with their program, and many other things. The university then passes this onto department heads to try to help make the curriculum more effective.

I think that the article writer merely pulled out one portion of the larger study that they found amusing regardless of it’s utility.

(2)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

I’m actually an art student and next semester I’m taking 26 hours of classes per week, we have studio classes that meet for 3 hours at a time and I even had a 6 hour class once a week last semester. And as for outside work, oh gosh, that depends on the person, if you are particularly detail oriented assignments will take up more of your time than classes will and same thing to finishing in class projects, if they are long term you can work on them outside of class. I think it’s important this comparison is being made because too often art students get a bad rap for “having it easy” when really it’s not. It’s a lot of hard work, where as a law student automatically gets respect as “real” major due to the subject. There is more to art then slapping color on a canvas or sticking random stuff together and calling it sculpture. Art majors take art history, color theory, composition classes, and gen eds, which meant for my school freshmen art students have to take 17 credits = 7 classes first and second semester even though they have 2-3 hour classes that are only 2 credits. Yes it depends on the school, but still the comparison is important.

(45)(0)
Reply
Ainsley

As a graphic designer, our art studio classes at my college were twice a week for 3 hours each time, but they only counted as 3 hours credit.

You could take four art studio classes a semester, which would only count as 12 credits, but you would be in class 24 hours a weeks. And almost all of my professors expected you to put just as much time outside of class towards your work. It was tough at times.

(13)(0)
Reply
sarah

I’m a design student (UI/UX) who works as an engineer (web application development) and I can tell you first hand, these numbers are low. I work waaaay less at a full-time job than I did at school. We spent easily 80+ hours a week in our 24/7 lab. Success was a direct correlation with time spent on project. I took engineering courses as electives because they were so much easier and less time consuming than design core. This is not unique to my school either. As a practice, design is an iterative process that only stops when you say you need to stop or you’ve run out of time. As students, it takes even longer to get a solid result because you are still learning. My roommate the computer science student with the 4.0 had to openly admit to my parents I worked 2x as much as he did before they believed me.

(9)(1)
Reply
Anonymous

I totally agree coming out of that major and graduating. I sometimes forget it takes so long and it even for me ideas take forever to process.

(0)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

At the art/design school I go to, all studio classes are 6 hours (9-5 with a lunch break), and we end up putting in way more time than that into projects. The design students like to complain that they have it the worst, but many of the fine arts students are putting just as much time into their work.

(0)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

im a video game art design student. I can relate to this very well..almost all of our work is on “our” time, so if the personal motivation is not there you will have a very rough time.

(0)(0)
Reply
Larple

The point is to try to make people as a whole stop seeing designers, architects and art individuals as “lazy” or not “hard working” as opposed to the oh-so-bloody-poor “traditional fields” students who have to read all those books they can’t even hold.

It’s not saying that the art individuals are better, just that they are not worse, despite the overall social stigma.

(11)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

I agree with you. As a creative arts student myself, it gets very wearisome having people think I don’t work hard. We spend a lot of time outside of class hours doing extra work such as rehearsals, stage managing shows, building sets etc. The last two weeks I’ve been balancing uni classes and working on a two shows for an internship meaning most of my days are 12 – 14 hour days – and yet people scoff at the fact that I’m an arts student.

(3)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

Haha you’re just pissed cause you would fail art school. I can taste how bitter you are from here 😂😂

(0)(1)
Reply
PJB

I’ve studied both a humanities degree and a law degree. Happy to confirm – lawyers don’t work that much harder than anyone else at University, and they really don’t need to.

(17)(10)
Reply
Per_incuriam

There are outfits in the UK that pay for this kind of ridiculous quantity = quality nonsense – damn, looks like I lucked out on the country lottery.

(1)(2)
Reply
Anonymous

I remember getting crucified on here a couple of months ago for daring to suggest that law isn’t much harder than any other degree, and indeed is probably easier than a science degree unless one’s mind happens to work in that way. It’s just that quite a few law students are preening self-obsessed bores – the type to complain that they are so lazy because they ‘only’ did 300 hours of revision for that exam, and enthusiastically dissect every single question after every exam. The type of person who comes to lectures in a suit to show everyone that they have to shoot off for a vac scheme interview immediately afterwards.

They don’t make up the majority of law students but they post the most on facebook and create the false impression that being a law student is some sort of nightmare hell. It isn’t, and if you think it is then you are doing the wrong degree. Anyone who has studied law will know at least a handful of these tedious people. They don’t generally get training contracts, don’t worry.

(22)(11)
Reply
Ugh.

I’m not sure where you got the idea that these ‘tedious’ people (who sound like the average stressed out, run down and hard working student on a difficult course to me) don’t generally get training contracts. In my experience it has been those people who have firms clamouring to get their hands on them for their proven track record of hard work and results. It’s the ‘ha this is soooo easy I don’t even have to try’ crowd that have ended up with no jobs, VS’s or TC’s in my lot now.
Also, so what if someone comes to a lecture in a suit? It’s not a personal attack on their fellow students if they have something important afterwards. If you’re that annoyed by the sight of a fellow student dressing in a way that indicates potential success (competition, pro bono work, interview of some description) I can only draw the inference that you are bitter for lack of your own. Just my two cents, it all sounds incredibly silly to me.

(8)(10)
Reply
Anonymous

“I can only draw the inference that you are bitter for lack of your own.”

You would be wrong. I did rather well for myself when I went through the whole process. Not that it matters

Of course firms want hard work and good results. I am talking about those people who obsess about their classmates’ grades, who post on facebook about how HARD a law degree is and how they’re SO STRESSED by all of these exams they have to do.

The kind of student who gets a training contract is a hard worker who gets good results but also goes for a pint with their mates, or plays sport, does some music, has a job, whatever. I’m not talking about those people, and it is alarming that you conflate good results with endlessly dissecting exam questions (they don’t matter – you already did the exam), posting about your hard work on facebook, or humbebragging about how much revision you have done.

I’ve seen a partner send a vac schemer home because they came into the office at the weekend without being asked or needed, before strutting around making sure everyone knew they were there. That’s the kind of person I’m talking about.

(6)(7)
Reply
Anonymous

Oh and my broader point is that this:

“(who sound like the average stressed out, run down and hard working student on a difficult course to me)”

Is wrong as shown by the study – law is demonstrably not particularly harder than any other rigorous course. Perhaps everyone on your course is a bore, I don’t know. It’s not the norm though.

(1)(4)
Reply
Anonymous

So THATS why people were grumpy when I came to class in coat and tie?! I merely thought I was being respectful and professional. Silly me.

(2)(2)
Reply
Diamond Dave

So THATS why people were grumpy when I came to class in coat and tie?! I merely thought I was being respectful and professional. Silly me.

(3)(2)
Reply
Anonymous

@Anonymous 12.46pm

Yes. The ‘law is so hard and so demanding’ myth really should be stifled. It isn’t, at least no more than any core arts or science degree. I have degrees in law and a science. The science was intellectually more difficult and required more effort to master well enough to get good grades.

I have a theory that law degrees tend to attract a disproportionately large number of childish and priggish students who are keen to think they’re special in some way. Since they don’t study an abstruse subject (like maths or a science) or one that requires mature understanding of life and people (like the arts), they have had to invent the ‘law is impossibly hard work’ nonsense.

(7)(8)
Reply
Anonymous

I’m actually an art student and next semester I’m taking 26 hours of classes per week, we have studio classes that meet for 3 hours at a time and I even had a 6 hour class once a week last semester. And as for outside work, oh gosh, that depends on the person, if you are particularly detail oriented assignments will take up more of your time than classes will and same thing to finishing in class projects, if they are long term you can work on them outside of class. I think it’s important this comparison is being made because too often art students get a bad rap for “having it easy” when really it’s not. It’s a lot of hard work, where as a law student automatically gets respect as “real” major due to the subject. There is more to art then slapping color on a canvas or sticking random stuff together and calling it sculpture. Art majors take art history, color theory, composition classes, and gen eds, which meant for my school freshmen art students have to take 17 credits = 7 classes first and second semester even though they have 2-3 hour classes that are only 2 credits. Yes it depends on the school, but still the comparison is important.

(3)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

I’m an artist as well. I was lucky to go to a very reputable small arts college stateside. During my undergraduate studies there, because of the set up of the curriculum, everyone took a full load every semester which meant a full day of classes to achieve the required course load. Studio courses could at times be trickier that theory courses,where the bulk of the work comes from research and writing, because of the actual practice and development of a skill required to excel in those courses. Art school would be comprised of taking classes during the day and then working in the studio/shop/lab until 12am- so your talking 9am-12am l, with food breaks and such. At the art college I attended studios were historically open 24hrs but the fact that students would never leave or leave at the crackiest times of the night (several got mugged leaving campus), the school had to scale back the hours labs, shops and studios were open. GRAD school was a totally even crazier beast. At the university I did my graduate studies at, Grad students had keys to pretty much everything along to access to their own private studio space, so at night studios were rarely empty. Graduate school didn’t consist of studio courses where we painted all day an expressed ourself. Athe the core of most MFA and MA programs is a heavy emphasis on theory, theory, theory. We read theory on everything- Freud, Lacan, Bell Hooks, Foucolt, white privilege, the other and otherness, gender identity and the heterosexual matrix… We literally read everything to then write about it on top of maintaining your own studio practice and continuing with your research. You only really discussed your work/research at one on one meetings when you met with whatever professors you were working with that semester. Getting tossed out of the program for not pushing your research far enough was a real threat every semester. So, so far we know art students read all the damn time and sleep never because they need to produce work and research but we can’t forget your TA or GA assignme. I did that for over 6 years while I pursued my studies- 5 years undergrad ( I switched schools early on in my studies and I was forced to do an extra year) and 3 years grad school. TBH, it’s not something most people could hack- it’s no surprise that art students work more.

AND to whoever said comparing art to lawyers was futile, you’re wrong. Art and law are based on maliable ideas constructed by man. Both are social constructs that employ logic, theory, wit and a desire to convice the “viewer” or “courts” of one vantage point over another. In either field, if you can’t present a logical argument for yourself you’re dead in the water. Long rant but art school requires a lot more brains and work than Kumbayas and Partying.

(0)(0)
Reply
Not Amused

Can we please stop ‘one size fits all’ advice? This place is frequented by impressionable young people and one loud and over opinionated comment from a relatively baby associate does far more harm than good.

There is no one type of person who is employed by law firms. You do not have to be a beer swilling frat boy to get a job – although if you are, similarly don’t worry. Nor does wearing a suit to a lecture forever preclude you from success.

(8)(1)
Reply
Anonymous

Surely that’s a bit hypocritical coming from you? Your advice at times is equally as questionable and over opinionated.

(4)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

Agreed. My general advice would be to avoid becoming an insufferable bore and get good grades.

(1)(1)
Reply
Anonymous

Not really news, it just shows a new set of stats revealing what we already knew – medics and engineers work the hardest at uni.

(3)(0)
Reply
Amy

Does this mean you ivy tower lawyers think my bachelors degree in fine arts will help me get a job even though I’m not in the top 15% of my not top 50% law school???

(1)(6)
Reply
Diamond Dave

To become a U.S. patent attorney I obtained undergraduate and post graduate degrees in hard science, plus law qualifications from the UK and US.
I can say unequivocally that the sciences required serious understanding, much more than any law studies.
And I am happy to say that the members of the U.S. patent bar, to which I am honored to belong, are head and shoulders more intellectually advanced, mature, level headed, clear thinking, and collegial than any other group I ever met, ESPECIALLY any lawyers.

(3)(10)
Reply
Anonymous

I’m actually an art student and next semester I’m taking 26 hours of classes per week, we have studio classes that meet for 3 hours at a time and I even had a 6 hour class once a week last semester. And as for outside work, oh gosh, that depends on the person, if you are particularly detail oriented assignments will take up more of your time than classes will and same thing to finishing in class projects, if they are long term you can work on them outside of class. I think it’s important this comparison is being made because too often art students get a bad rap for “having it easy” when really it’s not. It’s a lot of hard work, where as a law student automatically gets respect as “real” major due to the subject. There is more to art then slapping color on a canvas or sticking random stuff together and calling it sculpture. Art majors take art history, color theory, composition classes, and gen eds, which meant for my school freshmen art students have to take 17 credits = 7 classes first and second semester even though they have 2-3 hour classes that are only 2 credits. Yes it depends on the school, but still the comparison is important.

(2)(1)
Reply
t7t7

Hey there, I would only like to know in which college and country you are studying art. I am still trying to find an undergraduate fine art program which offers a lot of lessons (not only independent study with a 2 hours- critique program, like in the UK). It seems like your course is quite intense and full of lessons. Thank you!

(0)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

To become a U.S. patent attorney I obtained undergraduate and post graduate degrees in hard science, plus law qualifications from the UK and US.
I can say unequivocally that the sciences required serious understanding, much more than any law studies.
And I am happy to say that the members of the U.S. patent bar, to which I am honored to belong, are head and shoulders more intellectually advanced, mature, level headed, clear thinking, and collegial than any other group I ever met, ESPECIALLY any lawyers.

(0)(12)
Reply
Anonymous

The chart specifies undergraduate work, so perhaps they mean pre-law students. Usually, “law students” refers to people working on the graduate degree. Many law students did not study any form of law for their undergraduate degrees.

(8)(9)
Reply
Not Amused

Undergraduate lawyers are ‘law students’ in exactly the same way that kids on the CPE or LPC are ‘law students’.

Provided you accept that ‘that way’ is in fact the grotesque Americanisation of the English language.

(2)(1)
Reply
Of the arts

I understand the frustration of a collective average when the approach of a school doesn’t necessarily mean that it is less valid just because it doesn’t adhere to the ‘average’, but I do appreciate this study in it’s attempt to enlighten people about how rigorous art schools can be. Suvannah college of art and design, for example, has various majors that require all of your spare time to complete your project. You go to class, you get your assignment, you end class and sit down at your desk to start working, and you don’t stop working for days on end with perhaps a two hour nap every other day and half an hour for food (if you even remember to eat) until it is due. The only thing interrupting being the need to attend your other classes in between the overall working. That is a common occurance throughout the ten week course. I’ve been forced to stay awake with no sleep for four days straight before in order to accomplish all classes projects. Or only get a total of seven hours of sleep over the course of seven and a half days in order to complete them. It’s grueling, and I have no regrets, but the common person doesn’t understand how much effort is put into the arts, and artists are constantly underestimated because of the predetermined notion of “starving artist” and that the crumbs of pay are what artist deserve simply because that is the social understanding. Not all, no. There are clients and businesses that understand the worth behind the various professions of an artist. But most commonly, yes.

As a freelance artist there is an unimaginable amount of people who do not respect the trade of our profession enough to pay appropriately like any other profession whose practices have a decent amount, if not considerable amount, of respect. Countless businesses and individuals try to manipulate you into doing work for “exposure and experience.” They’ll offer a lump sum but not realize that the efforts and hours needed to put in to complete said project will break down that lump sum (from the majority of the freelance listings I see on various sites) to $2-5 an hour. No one can live on that. Especially if the artist has student loans to deal with in addition to living expenses. But when you attempt to offer an appropriate price they run for the hills. Again, not all. But this is a huge battle for the vast majority of freelance artists.

So any servey attempting to raise the standard of understanding of what an artist goes through is good by me.

(20)(7)
Reply
Anonymous

Happy to report that this study appears to be 100% correct, although my alma mater (Bennington College) obviously didn’t have many law students (although there are students who later move on to receive graduate level law degrees). I studied psychology and neuroscience and was always and continuously in awe of the Visual Arts students. On average I probably clocked in about eight hours of face-to-face class time relating to my chosen field a week, somewhere between two-to-sixteen hours of independent study (which i’m taking to mean “studying” and “doing readings”) and again two-to-sixteen hours of work outside the classroom (which i’m taking to mean “writing papers”) relating to my specific field. This is, probably, average for Bennington students in the humanities and/or sciences. (Would like to note that Bennington students on average take four classes per term, if each class meets for four hours a week; we are generally required to meet with our professors one-on-one once per term for around 30 minutes, but many professors require more time–it’s more likely that you will encounter a professor who demands you visit their office regularly for 15 or so minute intervals and that you will encounter a professor who doesn’t want to see your goddamn face, but both are present. Also, because the college is very What You Make of It, it was entirely possible to bullshit your way through a class earning the equivalent of A’s on everything, only to receive a B or lower grade at the end of the term because the professor’s are well aware of how much work went into the final product.) For a student of psychology and neuroscience I only and generally took one psych class and one science class per term, opting to take things like English, history, and foreign language to fill the other eight credits. One particularly memorable term I took Trauma Literature, a seminar (a class of six students, all seniors, although I was a junior) in psychology, a history/music class called Medieval Ritual, a two-credit visual arts class about diversity in plays, and a two-credit course called Incarceration in America.

Visual arts students are an entirely different animal. They will take 18, 22 credits a term (so 18 to 22 hours of classroom time a week), almost entirely made up of other courses within their discipline. They rarely venture out of the Visual Arts building, and I don’t mean for classes only–VA students at Bennington literally sleep in the building on a regular basis. My roommate for three terms was an animation student and she regularly spent four day chunks of time in the animation cage, sleeping on the couch, only leaving the cage to lumber through the line to get a quick meal at the student center for lunch and dinner. Sometimes she had other people bring her food because she was so busy working. My last term I took an analog black and white photography course and I clocked in, on average, about ten to 15 hours a week on this class alone, although it only met for four hours a week. I had regular emotional breakdowns over this course because of the time it took; I took the senior seminar in psychology (again) and breezed through it, working, probably, ten to 15 hours a week on the seminar, but that should be expected–this photography course was introductory level, my psychology course for advanced students only. i dreaded taking VA classes: my freshman year i took a painting course and, again, at an introductory level i regularly clocked in ten to 20 hours of work on this four-hour course alone.
(Also, the music students at Bennington have a very similar schedule as the VA students. One of my close friends was a student who was focusing on studying musical theatre, and he probably spent 20 to 40 hours a week in independent study alone. Then again, he was devouring everything he could study about musical theatre, particularly noted for his work in lighting design. He put on a show our sophomore and junior years although it wasn’t required of him, and his senior work was a production of [Title of Show], which was absolutely fantastic. He was the musical director, director, lighting designer, and a couple of other things for the show. Really and truly one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. And yet, many people would consider his degree “worthless” in comparison to mine.)

Visual arts students don’t deserve the rep they get. I found that not even the science department, which often required many, many hours of work outside the classroom for individual work in labs and meetings with professors, worked students as hard as the VA department. Although it is true that some VA students coast, as is true of all disciplines, I found that by and large the VA students spent the most time with their discipline. Glad to see that their work is being recognized.

Also, to the British commenters–while I completely agree that having a standardized national concept of education is pretty silly, not all education in America is created equal. My alma mater is laughed and sneered at as often as it is met with wide-eyed “Wow, you go THERE?” contemplation from students at other universities/colleges. Bennington was a strange place, as I often felt I was bullshitting my way through everything, only to realize at the end of term that I was clocking in many, many more hours of work than my friend at Rutgers University, This article appears to focus on universities, not colleges, and there’s a big, big, big difference.

(6)(7)
Reply
Of the Arts

(If this is a repeat, I apologize. The site isn’t showing me that my comment posted.)

I understand the frustration of a collective average when the approach of a school doesn’t necessarily mean that it is less valid just because it doesn’t adhere to the ‘average’, but I do appreciate this study in it’s attempt to enlighten people about how rigorous art schools can be. Savannah college of art and design, for example, has various majors that require all of your spare time to complete your project. You go to class, you get your assignment, you end class and sit down at your desk to start working, and you don’t stop working for days on end with perhaps a two hour nap every other day and half an hour for food (if you even remember to eat) until it is due. The only thing interrupting being the need to attend your other classes in between the overall working. That is a common occurance throughout the ten week course per quarter for four years. I’ve been forced to stay awake with no sleep for four days straight before in order to accomplish all classes projects. Or only get a total of seven hours of sleep over the course of seven and a half days in order to complete them. It’s grueling, and I have no regrets, but the common person doesn’t understand how much effort is put into the arts, and artists are constantly underestimated because of the predetermined notion of “starving artist” and that the crumbs of pay are what artist deserve simply because that is the social understanding. Not all, no. There are clients and businesses that understand the worth behind the various professions of an artist. But most commonly, yes.
As a freelance artist there is an unimaginable amount of people who do not respect the trade of our profession enough to pay appropriately like any other profession whose practices have a decent amount, if not considerable amount, of respect. Countless businesses and individuals try to manipulate you into doing work for “exposure and experience.” They’ll offer a lump sum but not realize that the efforts and hours needed to put in to complete said project will break down that lump sum (from the majority of the freelance listings I see on various sites) to $2-5 an hour. No one can live on that. Especially if the artist has student loans to deal with in addition to living expenses. But when you attempt to offer an appropriate price they run for the hills. Again, not all. But this is a huge battle for the vast majority of freelance artists.
So any servey attempting to raise the standard of understanding of what an artist goes through is good by me.

(6)(7)
Reply
Absurd

This is ridiculous. Whoever the subjects of this study are, none of them work as much as the engineers at my school. Specifically in computer science and computer engineering, I know for a fact that the student “work week” is much closer to 50-60 hours (as I’ve lived it). The med students have it easier, the law students have it easier, and the humanities students seem to never do any work. I’ve easily spent 40 hours in ONE WEEKEND (Fri-Sun) working on a single programming project.

Additionally, the amount of time spent working is not the best indicator for degree of difficulty. Yes, art takes more time than many other things, but it’s also cognitively easier than any field that involves complex math.

(2)(11)
Reply
Anonymous

“cognitively easier”? Mastering representational drawing takes an entire lifetime of working constantly and enormous mental strain. You clearly have no understanding of visual art.

(15)(3)
Reply
Anonymous

This is ridiculous. “cognitively easier” my ass. How about you take 3 4 hour studio classes twice a week that come with 12-16 hours of out of class work MINIMUM per week PER CLASS in combination with the rest of the required classes for a BFA and tell me how much easier it is.

(6)(0)
Reply
Seriously

You need to consider that perhaps you don’t understand enough about art before you spout subjective, uneducated opinions about how art is “cognitively easier”. It’s arrogant, and betrays your complete lack of understanding regarding what is required to make something visually successful.

Art is a discipline for a reason, and there is an entire system of schools for a reason. As a skill, drawing has been proven to be a series of continuous comparisons and understanding of visual ratios; it cannot be taught in a book but only through continuous grueling concentration and practice. There is no such thing as “talent” with drawing or painting, only discipline; in studio arts programs at least everyone has a base knowledge that allows them to recognize their high achieving peers for having what it actually takes: discipline.

I’m blessed to have been able to go to one of the best art schools in the country, but would have to clock upwards of 60 to 70 hour workweeks just to get my projects done. The environments are extremely competitive, but the potential payoff is huge. I’m so lucky to be able to say that I was one of the few who made it; I’m a full-time working artist, living in New York City with a great studio and shows in galleries throughout the country (my first London show is coming up in October, so soon I’ll also be able to say internationally). I don’t have a job, and I’m fully self-sufficient with my art.

People outside the “art world” fail to understand that there is an entire mini-economy in which careers are made and destroyed everyday, and many many people are able to make a living with (in my opinion) the best job in the world.

I’m not making any claims about your career because I’m not educated enough in how grueling your schooling was. I ask for the same respect from you, and to stop insulting both my schooling and my profession.

(8)(1)
Reply
Anonymous

I wish I only had to spend 30 hours a week on schoolwork while working on my BFA. I easily doubled that.

(3)(1)
Reply
Devvlaw

This is completely ludicrous. First it was done in the UK not the u.s. second, this is pre law majors many of which will fail miserably at getting into law school.

Third, not sure the point of this article. Click bait….clearly not written by someone with a knowledge of the area

(2)(8)
Reply
knew it

it makes no sense that this is an article meant for law students. Are they just supposed to be happy they don’t have to work so many hours? What is the point here? It just makes overworked US liberal arts people happy. like haha we work more. my classes were a ton of general ed, meaning x amount of science, history, english, etc. makes us well rounded, i guess more than some folks who don’t attend college at all.

(0)(1)
Reply
Devvlaw

So please don’t call these people law students. In not all about being told how hard I don’t work by an author who doesn’t appear to look like he has hit puberty

(0)(4)
Reply
Anonymous

With my BFA in design, I spend about 18 hours a week in class, not 11. Some semesters are around 22 hours if I take 3 studio courses. Studios are 3 hour courses, like lab course. With a BFA you have to take a minimum of 2 of these courses every semester.

Also, keep in mind that in a creative field, there is no right or wrong answer. The possibilities are endless. You can’t just find the right answer by going through the steps like a math problem. You are presented with problems that don’t yet have answers, and asked to create your own answers. This is something that can take countless hours of research, followed by sketching, visual explorations, refining, critiquing, revisions, more refining, etc. Something can take you a few hours or a few weeks. Paintings for example can take weeks, months, or even years.

(9)(2)
Reply
Not Amused

This is ridiculous. Whoever the subjects of this study are, none of them work as much as law students at my school in Ulan Bator. The study isn’t even about Mongolia and I seriously doubt that any of the subjects of this “survey” were at Mongolian law school. Since the introduction of the Modern system in March 1990 the profession has stratified into three distinct groups – but the author doesn’t even mention that fact!

This is a complete disgrace, who does LC think it is running this sort of shoddy journalism?? Guys at my Law School in Ulan Bator work 50 hours a week so don’t tell me I’m lazy with your stupid story. This is just click bait.

(9)(0)
Reply
Non-Oxbridge Pleb

Seriously, what is going on here? Who are all these American weirdos? Did LC get linked to by some American site? Absolutely bizarre. Why would anyone care about a load of random ‘college majors’ discussing specific hours of their courses?

(4)(0)
Reply
Not Amused

A series of weird, America-centric posters angry that a British news site talks about Britain and bizarrely repetitive – we need to know their opinion on wigs!

(3)(0)
Reply
Not Amused's American Cousin

Anybody know which US site has shared this post?? This thread has been taken over by angry Yanks!!

(1)(0)
Reply
Non-Ivy League Welfare Queen

Seriously. Top prize to anyone who finds out where these inane Americans came from.

(0)(0)
Reply
Yank

Inane Yank here. I found it via a bunch of my art student friends sharing it. I think that’s how it’s spreading.

I’ll show myself out now.

(2)(0)
Reply
Zoe

I’m a professional painter and my undergrad sometimes pushed me to 70+ hours of total schooling/study a week. A big part of the heavy hours was due to 5 hour studio classes, plus 1.5 – 3 hour liberal arts classes, on top of 30 hours of production time (the time spent making art work). So, some semesters, I’d have 4 studio classes and a liberal arts class. Do the math: that’s 23 hours just in class time! And per studio class, we’d have minimally 5 hours of homework. (I was on scholarship and spent at least 10 hours on each weekly project). Do the math: that’s 23 hours of class + 40 hours of studio work + 3 hours of research for liberal arts = 70 total hours
Never patronize artists. We work our fucking asses off.

(11)(2)
Reply
Zoe's father

Zoe why the FUCK did youu become pr0fessional p4inter when you could have been a DOCTOR or M4matician since you can do math I worked my ass off putting you thr6ough c0llege dont evar cum home what the fuifsjsfuslfghgsgsdglololololo
wwwwww
wwwwwwww
wwwww
wwwwww
w
w
W
w
w
w
w
w
w
w
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

(0)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

70 hours drawing a tree is not the same as hours spent reading a dull case report and summarising it. Also your spelling is American – maybe you do things differently over there.

(1)(3)
Reply
knew it

creative arts and design, not everyone draws a tree, like if you are in graphic design or stage design, etc, and yes if you want to actually be able to have money, and not spend millions of hours working to make make money, do not do arts. Artists have to do twice as much at least to make the same amount of money because we should “want to be dedicated to our art.” Its a lie, you can be dedicated without wanting to be broke. And what would you do to get through your dreary life it there were no arts? you mean you have never enjoyed a movie, or a video game, a color on the wall, any media at all???

(3)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

This post would warrant a response, but as an engineering student I’m too busy to actually write something other than we work our asses off and the average at my school is closer to 60 hours/week between lectures, labs, hw, office hours, recitations, and studying.

(3)(2)
Reply
Anonymous

Except this is a poorly thought out study, not statistically signifigant, not even applicable to people in the US, and is fundamentally wrong.

A week has 168 hours in it, so saying “I work 3 more hours a week” means working 1.7% more of the time. Sorry, but a not even two percent increase in time spent working, let alone ignoring the material being dealt with, does not mean something is harder. That is within a margin of error (5%), which as anybody who has taken stats 101 knows, means this data is worthless for this comparison.

They completely ignore the idea of getting to be a lawyer, and just go with getting a ‘creative art / design’ BS/BA vs a “pre-law” BS/BA, as the study is undergrad only… This ignores any graduate work, which is way WAY more intense than easy undergrad stuff. Hell they don’t even mention JDs in here, or studying for the BAR exam, which are all insanely difficult and actually hard things to do.

(2)(2)
Reply
Not Amused

How many times can you type that this article “isn’t even about America” before you realise that that is the point.

(3)(1)
Reply
British Redcoat

WHAT IS GOING ON. No one cares about America. The bar isn’t that hard – all the English lawyers I know who took it said it was just a big easy cramming exercise marked by a bunch of formulaic monkeys. Maybe Americans are just stupid.

(2)(1)
Reply
Anonymous

Stupid ? as an American yeah that sound about right. Stupid would be putting it mildly or nice . . We worship lawyer and cops on television while devaluing all the countless hours gone into making all there entertainment and products advertisements books and media .

(0)(0)
Reply
Anonymous

All of our work adds value to society and we should be happy with that. There is no equality of labor, it is up to the individual to determine the measure of their efforts.

(2)(0)
Reply
Kinger

I understand how this article can make people feel angry. I don’t believe putting something or someone down to prove a point will ever make a happy mob.

I do however love that this article points out that design students work just as hard as the degree that have all the prestige. I have a degree in illustration, and always felt that all of the time and energy I put into my studies were not acknowledged. Just because I am better at painting than taking standardized tests, doesn’t mean I don’t work hard to train my talent. Most artist, just like doctors or lawyers, continue to learn and train even after school is over. So please, remember that designers work very hard for an under appreciated practice yet still stick with due to their passion for the work.

Kudos to everyone for working hard at what they do! We need all of these professionals to make an enriched society.

(6)(0)
Reply
roossiiee

I agree with “of the arts”. I go to “Ringling College of Art and Design” in the Interior Design major. I almost never get sleep. Art is so much more then reading a book and studying. They try to brake you! Every class you get an assignment you work all night for days. You go into your class and for three hours your teacher sits there and tells you how much it sucks… then they make your friends in the class judge your work. The teachers form your train of thought that it will never be good enough. Every week is finals and midterms. & when it actually is finals or midterms you don’t sleep for a good month not even on fridays. My life is in my labs. I take test to about on how a building is engineered and write papers on top of my projects. and that is way easier then making a work of art. you either know the info or you don’t. art is never done…. ever.

(2)(2)
Reply
roossiiee

Dont get me wrong I love what I do. I love my school and my teachers. But i am sick of everyone saying “you pick out pillows for a job”……………. that is highly offensive. Life is art. Humans are incredibly visional. Every websight you go on, every magazine, every book, every building/ room, video game, movie that you see was made by an artist was made by an artist that had to learn how to be told that they weren’t good enough a million times till they graduated. Thats why your world is beautiful. So many kids at my school leave with carpal tunnel.

(0)(1)
Reply
rose

Dont get me wrong I love what I do. I love my school and my teachers. But i am sick of everyone saying “you pick out pillows for a job”……………. that is highly offensive. Life is art. Humans are incredibly visional. Every websight you go on, every magazine, every book, every building/ room, video game, movie that you see was made by an artist was made by an artist that had to learn how to be told that they weren’t good enough a million times till they graduated. Thats why your world is beautiful. So many kids at my school leave with carpal tunnel.

(1)(2)
Reply
Anonymous

This article… Can go fuck itself! Our timetable in year one clocked up 21 hours contact time. Plus 20 independent study a week from me. Not to mention case studies, assignments and collaborative work with other peers outside contact and independent study. Ludacris!!

(1)(2)
Reply
Anonymous

Hi, I’m American. Sorry for all my fellow citizens who do not understand how the British legal education system works, or the university system for that matter.

You might be getting extra posts because it is the week before the July Bar Exam here, and several American-legal websites posted this article to tell us to “stop complaining about how hard the bar exam is” when apparently art students have it worse. Keep in mind, becoming a lawyer requires a graduate degree in the U.S. and then a passing score on your state’s bar exam.

Hope you guys have a nice life & please enjoy your better education system for me. :-)

(2)(0)
Reply
American

Hi, in America us architects have to take 7 exams for licensure, while lawyers just take 1… Doctors take 3 minimum, usually more depending on their specialty.
On that note I agree with the article!! Btw no doctor or lawyer has to spend so many waking hours without stop (all nighters) working on assignments like an architect, and if he does thats just because he isn’t on the right track.

(2)(0)
Reply
Heather

As someone who finished my undergrad art degree, I have a feeling that the Independent Study and the Work Outside of University subsections should either be flipped or are extremely similar in what goes on. I remember working more hours in the studio than at home because some projects were just to big, wet, fragile, or just not feasible to carry back and forth to home and school. One time I was in the studio for almost 24 hours straight working on a couple projects.

(0)(1)
Reply
Anonymous

As a student studying creative arts/design, I’ve taken 25-30 hours of classes per week for two years straight, not including the time I spend working as an assistant for other classes (add +8 hours). Some days I had class from 8AM – 10:00PM, back to back. This doesn’t include the time that students here need to spend on homework (studio classes average around 8 hours minimum of homework per week). So 25 hours of classes + 8 hours of work + 40 hours of homework = 73 hour workweeks. I spend my weekends and holidays all day (and night) long at school or in the labs working on homework. Oh but if you want to excel in your class, you must work even harder on your stuff because as art/design is subjective, there’s always something you can do to make it better…and no such thing as perfection. But hey, I’m happy. And I think many people out there need to understand that just because artists and designers study what they enjoy doesn’t mean it’s easy.

(2)(1)
Reply
Michael

Architecture students don’t spend 20 hours in the library per week studying books, they spend 20 hours in the studio, designing projects. (Also 20 seems like a pretty low number in my experience.)

(0)(0)
Reply
Jonathan

Great study. Too bad it fails to take into account legal internships which the large majority of law students spend a significant part of their week doing.

(0)(0)
Reply
Illustration Degree

Honestly, my classmates and I put in at least 80 hours of work a week, same with the animation kids at our school and the fine arts degree not far off. We just have so much work consistently every week that we can’t afford to not, theirs so much process involved then just the end result. With every program their are “slackers” however in my program even the “slackers” put in a good 50 hours. Definitely not disrespecting all the other degrees however enough with the over hype, we can’t keep up. Were too busy doing our work to “talk ourselves up”.

(0)(0)
Reply

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.