Number of teaching hours at university?

(37 Posts)
mrsrhodgilbert Wed 19-Sep-12 13:27:04

My dd is taking a year off after A levels to consider her options and is currently working to save some money. We took her to a local university open day last week to hear about their psychology course and asked about the amount of time students are actually taught. The answer was 4 'topics' were taught each semester with 2 hours of lectures each plus some tutorials. So, 8 hours per week formal teaching time. I am interested to know how this compares with what your offspring are experiencing and if they are into year 2/3 of a course with this level of teaching how they are finding it? My feeling is that this sounds like very little but I would like to know how common it is. Thank you.

Luckytwo Fri 21-Sep-12 09:35:21

I agree entirely - it's not sustainable, and your worry is certainly a concern. We shall see...

I agree it is certainly fairer to have loans to cover the tuition fees, rather than have to pay them up front....I still have to say though I would also prefer to see a little bit more contact time, especially in the first year, when they are so soon out of school. I guess it's the way of it, and down to the maturity of the person that they don't assume they can spend all day asleep or doing whatever they like.

PurpleGeekyGirl Fri 21-Sep-12 09:53:16

lucky I agree entirely, and my job at the uni I work at is to ensure that we manage induction and transition properly. The biggest issue we have is academic staff not taking responsibility for this aspect and ensuring that they bother to treat students as people not an irritation that gets in the way of research or being lazy beggars. If your child is in the process of applying I would ask to see what the transition programme is, what peer mentoring schemes are available and how students are supported in the first year. Post 92 unis are also usually better at this aspect then the pretentious pre92s or RG ones and I work at a pre-92. Message me if you want any more info smile

jessabell Sun 14-Oct-12 14:15:02

Daughter had 8 hours in first year. Just starting 2nd year now has 10hrs a week. Then has small group work. She has a lot of reading and essay writing to do in between. Her flatmates all said she had a lot of essaywork to do last year. The reason why so few contact hours.

Copthallresident Mon 15-Oct-12 00:14:37

OP I am also surprised at the low level of contact hours for Psychology.

DD is a Scientist just going into her third year and basically has 9 to 5 days except for a half day on Wednesday, with coursework, lab write ups and exams at the end of autumn as well as in the summer term all counting to her degree. She lives with English and History students who have 8 hours contact time (one of the best RG after Oxbridge for English and History) and only had one or two exams last summer term. They do though have essays to write, that count for their degree, and these do require extensive reading and developing to do well, ironically often to a first day of next term deadline and often completed through the night to the 4pm dealine. Her workload is greater but also more spread out.

I am back at uni myself doing a non Science subject with some involvement in teaching, and my personal bugbear is that most RG/ 1994 unis, in most subjects, no longer teach in the third term. DD gets a few revision sessions and four exams but the English and History students may only get a three hour exam - for their £3000. It is when the academics get to focus on their research which is vital to the universities, and of course exams have to be marked, but I do think that with increased fees universities can no longer justify operating what is essentially a two term academic year.

mumblechum1 Mon 15-Oct-12 12:15:20

DS went to an open day last week for Sociology which is 12 hours per week.

GrendelsMum Mon 15-Oct-12 15:07:14

Some students get confused between the minimum number of lectures they must attend and the actual recommended number of lectures - it sounds obvious, but someone posted here about their daughter, who had totally misunderstood a course I know about in detail.

At our University, for example, you could attend 0 hours of lectures per week and just about scrape by with a seminar and a tutorial, but on the same course you could equally well attend 20 hours of lectures per week, 4 group seminars, an individual tutorial, plus 2 or 3 hours of additional language classes, perhaps a weekly drama or creative writing workshop, and so on. You'll pay the same tuition fee either way.

Arcticwaffle Wed 17-Oct-12 14:40:05

8hrs of lectures + tutorials + laboratory time (normal for many psychology degrees) + statistics classes might add up to quite a bit of contact time. Maybe the person who answered wasn't thinking about those aspects of the course?

As someone else says though, fewer contact hours might mean more self-led essays and practicals, which could be more pressured overall.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 18-Oct-12 09:16:41

It really depends on the course I did vetmed arrive at lecture theatre 9am get brief coffee break 11am. Lunch 1 hour 1 to 2. Back to lecture theatre till 5pm four days a week. Solid 9am to 1pm on Wednesdays.
I then intercalated for a year and studied Agriculture and had around 12 hours per week.

campergirls Thu 18-Oct-12 09:34:48

I'm interested by your comment 'my personal bugbear is that most RG/ 1994 unis, in most subjects, no longer teach in the third term' Cophtallresident. I lecture at an RG university and we do teach in the third term. Attendance falls off drastically though, and in feedback students (esp finalists) are increasingly asking us not to - just to let them focus on preparing for assessments. Students' attitudes to contact time are, in practice, complicated and often contradictory, IME.

Copthallresident Thu 18-Oct-12 15:52:13

campergirls I am sure that is where the pressure to move towards two academic terms came from. Finalists are different but when it has reached the point where a humanities student can have just one three hour exam in May and that is it, I think it has gone too far. DDs peers certainly see that, and they are not in the cohort of increased fees, even as they use the spare time positively, taking a production to Edinburgh, internships etc.

As a mature student on a taught Masters paid for by myself (of course being milked as part of an overly large cohort on the course wink) I was certainly shocked to find the third term was just exams, and a few revision sessions, a process that was over well ahead of the end of term, and I wasn't even assigned a supervisor for my diss until the exams were over! Whether or not you cover the costs of the university experience racking up a debt of £3000 is going to focus students on what they get for their money.

Copthallresident Thu 18-Oct-12 15:53:51

Sorry I obviously meant £3000 for the final term

campergirls Fri 19-Oct-12 15:15:34

It's partly to do with the unholy intermingling of terms and semesters at a lot of British universities, I think. We have two teaching semesters of 12 weeks each, spread over three terms (so in total 24 weeks of teaching, same as Oxford and Cambridge since time immemorial...). Four full weeks of teaching in the third term for both UG and MA students in my department - but as I say it's hard to get the UG students to turn out. If the new fee regime changed that, I'd be pleased!

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