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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 12:25 GMT
Degrees of different workloads
Martin Falkingham
Medical student Martin spends his day and evening studying
The first large scale study has been published into how much time university students in England put into degrees.

It shows a great variation between subjects - and also reveals that the working habits of students taking the same subject differs greatly from university to university.

The questionnaire, by the Higher Education Policy Institute, asked students to calculate how much time they spent in lectures and how much study they did in their own time.

According to the survey, the University of East Anglia, in Norwich has the hardest-working medical students who put in more than 45 hours a week in lectures and private study time.


But the university's social science undergraduates work the fewest hours, compared with their peers at other universities, at under 18 hours a week.

Two UEA students, one a medic, the other a social scientist, talked us through a working day to show how they spent their time.

Martin Falkingham is a medical student retaking his third year.

"I left home at nine o'clock this morning for my first lecture, which starts at 10. I got an hour extra in bed this morning because my first lecture of the day was cancelled," he said.

"Last year I failed my end of year exam which means I've had to come back to resit the year. It's very frustrating because I know I worked just as hard as people doing other subjects and they got first class degrees."

Laura Watling
Social scientist Laura has a later start to her day

After two hours of lectures in the morning, Martin takes an hour for lunch with his friends. Then he'll do two hours in the library before he has two more lectures.

And then it's back home - for more study time.

"I'm back in my bedroom now, the tea's in the oven and I've come up to do a bit of reading," he said.

"And I'll be back up here after my tea.

"I won't be going out tonight and this is how it's going to be for the next three years until I graduate."

Laura Watling, who is a social science student in her third year, started to make her breakfast half an hour after Martin had left his home.

No lectures

She said: "I haven't got any lectures today so I'm going onto campus to do some work on my research project.

Laura got to the library at about 10.30am.

"I am expected to do around 18 hours thinking and reading time a week on top of my lectures, so that's what I'll be spending the day doing," she said.

At 7pm, Laura's having a drink in the student union bar.

"I've made some progress with my research project today so I've gone to the bar for a drink and I'm going to be going into town later. So cheers!"

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