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Creative arts students putting in more work than law students, study finds


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Creative arts students are used to getting picked on for their subject choice, but research from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) indicates that such teasing is unfair, as creative arts students actually work harder than many others - including those studying law.

The think tank surveyed more than 15,000 students with detailed questions about their studies and workloads, tallying up how many hours students in different subjects really put into their work.

Subjects allied to science led the way, with students putting in a total of 47 hours of work per week between contact hours attended, independent study and work outside the course.

At the bottom of the list were students studying mass communication and documentation, who averaged 25 hours of work each week between the three.

It's within the middle parts of the survey that things get interesting; law students averaged 29 hours of work per week, according to the survey, while creative arts and design students averaged 34 hours - five hours more and marking the the second year in a row that art students were found to be harder working than many of their counterparts.

Right on track with law was European languages and literature, also clocking in at 29 hours. Matched with art at 34 hours was technologies.

Some art students have commented on their workloads, noting:

We don't have exams at the end of the year but instead have a project deadline every 5-6 weeks or so. We can't just panic revise at the end of the year like I know some people can get away with! Instead every day we're having to physically go out, plan photoshoots, record audio, research, interview, take photos, put everything into a sketchbook, analyse it, design graphics, edit photos, make videos, buy fabric, cut samples, collect ephemera, and then collate it into some kind of project with final artefacts and a research and development project and do it again every 5/6 weeks, usually with essays and another project from another module on the side. I think with creative subjects the work is just a lot more physically demanding than in Law.” – Lucy Fletcher, Fashion Communication student

“Due to the more subjective nature of the creative arts assessment it's a lot harder to know when a piece of work or an assignment is truly 'finished'. There's always the idea that once you put out a piece of work you can never reclaim it, so naturally a lot of creatives want their work to be the best it can be by the time they have to submit or showcase it. If you happen to be a perfectionist, endless tweaks and revisions can easily rack up a lot more 'study hours’.” – Chris Evans, Film and English student

But some students were surprised:

“I'm a Film student and my housemate studied Law - we both worked crazy amounts but she very easily did more with all-nighters and all day library sessions etc. Law students were always known to be the ones with the most work really... It seems totally nuts that the survey came out with results like that!” – Ben Robins, Film student

The total average across all university subjects was 33 hours per week.

Seems all the deriding aimed at art students is a bit uncalled for, huh?

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