Arts students work harder than law students, stats reveal

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By Thomas Connelly on

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


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


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…