On Campus

Which students work hardest?

Business? Engineering? Arts? You may be surprised.

Courtesy of NSSE. Click to enlarge.

Engineering students have been known to curse friends in other majors. That’s because they often spend hours sitting in their residence rooms sweating over near impossible differential equations while their non-engineering roommates leisurely read a couple chapters and then head out to party.

Then again, ask an arts major how hard they’re working and they’ll start rattling off the number of essays they have due.

But finally, it’s settled. Engineering students study more. The new release of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) shows that North American Engineering students spend 19 hours per week, on average, preparing for class. Arts, humanities and biology majors study 17 hours per week. Social science and business students study only 14 hours.

But don’t assume all non-engineers are slacking. Business students study the least, but they aren’t socializing any more. Instead, they work seven hours more per week at paying jobs. In fact, if you add jobs and study together, business students work the most—30 hours per week. Social sciences students work the least overall (27 hours). Engineering students are in the middle (28 hours).

NSSE, considered the gold standard of student surveys, involved polling of senior year students at 683 U.S. and 68 Canadian institutions in 2011. It had a response rate of 33 per cent.

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