Friday, November 18, 2011

Would-Be Engineers Hit Books the Hardest, a Study Finds

Business majors spend less time on course work than other college students, but they devote more hours to nonschool duties, like earning money and caring for family members. In contrast, engineering students spend the most time studying and the least on outside demands.

Those are among the findings released on Thursday from the annual National Survey of Student Engagement, a project that tries to measure how hard, and how effectively, students are working. This year’s results are based on forms filled out last school year by more than 400,000 undergraduates, all of them freshmen or seniors, at nearly 700 colleges and universities in the United States.

Grouping students into seven academic disciplines, the study shows wide differences in the number of hours they put into schoolwork outside the classroom. Among students concentrating in engineering, 42 percent say they spend at least 20 hours per week on such study, well ahead of any other group.

They are followed, in descending order, by students studying physical sciences, biological sciences, arts and humanities, education and social sciences. Business majors ranked last, with 19 percent saying they spend 20 hours or more each week on schoolwork.



  1. You know what else would-be engineers do? They say things like "Well, don't you think that we [Americans] have earned the right to make as big a mess of the environment as we want? We've worked harder than all those other nations, so if we want to screw things up, shouldn't that be our perogative?"

    I am not lying, that's what he suggested. His classmate noted that it might not be SO bad if Americans had to "give up three-car families and horseback riding." Hmm. Maybe a horse could replace one of those cars. Wouldn't that be novel.

  2. Oh, please. We get that B.S. from all sorts, not just engineers. James Watt wasn't an engineer, if memory isn't failing me.

  3. Anyway, this is news? The bidness majors are hands down the stoooopidest kids on campus. Stoooopider even than the Ed-school kids. Funny how that correlates with the study data collected in the survey...

  4. Ironically, James Watt invented the steam engine, but James G. Watt was a non-engineer ass-hat Secretary of the Interior. I concede the point to, and note only that I recently had this argument with an engineering student. I unfairly extrapolated.

  5. The breakdown matches my experience. And even if some of the engineering/science types feel they should be able to blow off my (writing) class and still get an A, the good habits tend to carry over to some degree.

    Maybe it's just my university's location and strengths (we've got good engineering *and* environmental studies programs, and several jurisdictions nearby with fairly strict environmental regulations, which means they both hire people with expertise in both areas for their planning staffs, and create a need for businesses that help developers, etc. comply with the regulations), but I'd say that the engineers I've taught are at least as environmentally aware as the rest of my students.

  6. @Archie: Oh, YEAH? Well, I betcha my ed-school kids are stoooopider than your business-school majors. It's hard to get much worse: I have to remind them not to fill out their evals with the same pencils they keep in their nostrils, the forms get all messy. It bodes ill when both are less stoooopid than phys ed majors, but then it bodes ill when anyone is that stoooopid. I'm just hoping this isn't going to end with the punchline, "Before I cut off his tail and painted him yellow, he was an alligator."

  7. Come now, Frod, that's a perfectly good punchline. :)

  8. I'd put our bidness majors up against anyone. But, Frod, we are talking about fairly fine distinctions within the larger realm of seriously stoopid here. Can't we split the difference and say my bidness students are as stoopid as your ed kids and vice versa?

    And that is a perfectly good punchline.


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