PDA

View Full Version : Weekly workload



EnLaPlaya
06-14-2008, 10:53 AM
Hey guys,

If all goes well, I should join the struggling hordes of PhD econ adepts this Fall. What I wonder now is how many hours a week (on average) I can expect to spend studying (if I want to do well). I am aware that this is dependent on individual abilities, previous background etc. but I still believe there might be some sensible approximative answer. My first year goes along the standard PhD track with micro/macro/(econo)metrics sequence and the programme should be comparable to US Top 20-30 in terms of teaching. To put it shortly, do such first-year PhD econ students have at least (half a) day off a week? :grad:

Please, do not get me wrong, I am asking out of sheer curiosity, this is not to mean that all IŽm interested in is how much time IŽll have allocated for partying...

TruDog
06-14-2008, 01:07 PM
On average, you can probably count on having about half a day off per week during your first year at a top-30 PhD program. This is an expected value, as you should have closer to one day off per week during the beginning of a semester and no time off the last few weeks before exams. During the days that you are studying, however, count on working 10-12 hours per day in order to survive and perhaps even thrive.

Plan on keeping about the same schedule while studying for prelims, as long as your exams aren't right after the end of spring classes. Here at Wisconsin, most people took about a week off after spring classes and are going pretty hard 5-6 days per week, with prelims more than a month away.
It's 8:00 on a Saturday morning, and I've been up for three hours getting everything caught up at home before I go meet my study group for most of the day. I'll take a little time off tomorrow and enjoy the beautiful summer weather for a change. :)

YoungEconomist
06-14-2008, 03:15 PM
It's 8:00 on a Saturday morning, and I've been up for three hours getting everything caught up at home before I go meet my study group for most of the day. I'll take a little time off tomorrow and enjoy the beautiful summer weather for a change.

How long does your study group usually meet up and study on a typical day (both during the quarter, and now that you're preparing for prelims)? I only ask, because it'd be nice to have a group of people that you could meet up with for 8 - 12 hours. I think having a group of motivated and intelligent people to study with will be key in order for me to succeed in a PhD program.

Along similar lines, would you current PhD students say that you'd have enough time to work out 2 - 3 days per week for about 1.5 - 2 hours each time? The reason I ask is because I've been taking my health more seriously lately, and would like to keep this up during my grad school years.

spork88
06-14-2008, 06:08 PM
On average, you can probably count on having about half a day off per week during your first year at a top-30 PhD program. This is an expected value, as you should have closer to one day off per week during the beginning of a semester and no time off the last few weeks before exams. During the days that you are studying, however, count on working 10-12 hours per day in order to survive and perhaps even thrive.


Is this just for first year?

TruDog
06-14-2008, 09:22 PM
Is this just for first year?

It seems like the older students here have an easier time than first year students, so I think the answer is yes.

Golden Rule
06-14-2008, 09:42 PM
Well, in future years, you have more flexibility, but ideally you're still working a lot of hours. In that case, your big bump in hours occurs right before any seminar presentation or major meeting with an advisor, as opposed to exams.

Exercising as YoungEconomist described is entirely feasible during first year or any year of a PhD program. I thought it was easier first year to exercise since your schedule was so structured, and it was a healthy alternative to studying.

TruDog
06-14-2008, 09:48 PM
How long does your study group usually meet up and study on a typical day (both during the quarter, and now that you're preparing for prelims)? I only ask, because it'd be nice to have a group of people that you could meet up with for 8 - 12 hours. I think having a group of motivated and intelligent people to study with will be key in order for me to succeed in a PhD program. Along similar lines, would you current PhD students say that you'd have enough time to work out 2 - 3 days per week for about 1.5 - 2 hours each time? The reason I ask is because I've been taking my health more seriously lately, and would like to keep this up during my grad school years. We didn't have too many study groups meeting during the course of the year, except right before exams. Now that prelims are coming soon, a few of us have been meeting about 55-60 hours a week to review material. It all depends on how motivated people in your class are...and if their schedules work well with yours (i.e. I prefer starting early in the morning). I definitely make time to work out six days a week. To do so, I get up at about 5:00 every morning, but others choose to exercise in the evening instead. The grad students here also organize pickup basketball and soccer games pretty much every week, so there are plenty of opportunities to stay fit.

pevdoki1
06-15-2008, 05:03 PM
I'm going to Minnesota and
I'm running the Twin Cities Marathon (and continuing my current training schedule in August/September)
A girl is visiting me from Berkeley in the beginning of October
I'm visiting her for Thanksgiving
I plan to leave for a couple of weeks during winter breakHopefully, this doesn't mean I'll drop out of the program or something. Of course I plan to work hard, but I really don't want to sacrifice living a normal life.

C152dude
06-15-2008, 08:58 PM
I'm going to Minnesota and
I'm running the Twin Cities Marathon (and continuing my current training schedule in August/September)
A girl is visiting me from Berkeley in the beginning of October
I'm visiting her for Thanksgiving
I plan to leave for a couple of weeks during winter breakHopefully, this doesn't mean I'll drop out of the program or something. Of course I plan to work hard, but I really don't want to sacrifice living a normal life.

You could argue the opposite and claim those activities could make you excel in the program. They could help offset anxiety, etc.
~ opinions gathered from Ann Arbor.

bertthepuppy
06-15-2008, 11:46 PM
I'm going to Minnesota and
I'm running the Twin Cities Marathon (and continuing my current training schedule in August/September)

I would assume that being in taper phase would be good. Is this your first marathon? During my first marathon, I was out of it and exhausted the whole day after each of my long runs. I would assume that you wouldn't want to be that tired during weekends in your first year. However, if you're a veteran runner, I wouldn't worry too much.

Thesus
06-16-2008, 11:34 AM
Yeah, I'm planning on running the Rochester marathon as well, though unfortunately I have no welcoming females in sunny California.

TruDog continues to scare the living daylights out of me. I find it hard to imagine myself doing anywhere near that much work, but we'll see. Seems like it might be necessary to learn how.

TruDog
06-16-2008, 11:57 AM
Yeah, I'm planning on running the Rochester marathon as well, though unfortunately I have no welcoming females in sunny California.

TruDog continues to scare the living daylights out of me. I find it hard to imagine myself doing anywhere near that much work, but we'll see. Seems like it might be necessary to learn how.

I haven't run a full marathon yet, but I've done several half-marathons and do as many road races as I can. There is plenty of hope for keeping some semblance of balance in your life, but it's not easy.

Granted, I entered the PhD program at Wisconsin straight out of undergrad while about 3/4 of my peers have a master's degree. If I already had taken the first year core courses, this year would have been a lot easier. It's my opinion that the top 50 or so programs are much more set up for students who have seen the material at least once before.

You would also be amazed at how much work you can really get done during your first year of a PhD program. I didn't imagine myself spending nearly this much time studying; I did a lot of extracurricular activities as an undergrad and looked forward to having some free time with no other commitments beside classes and teaching. But that definitely was not the case, as seemingly everyone put in a ridiculous number of productive hours in order to survive.

I'm not trying to scare you...experiences may vary across students based on preparation and school attended.

Thesus
06-16-2008, 05:21 PM
I'm straight out of undergrad from a horribly-ranked school, so I'm getting more worried by the day!

pevdoki1
06-16-2008, 05:47 PM
I'm also straight out of undergrad, but not too worried. So far, it looks like Minnesota will be great. If I end up hating the experience, I can always escape with an MA - that's not the end of the world. I definitely don't want to do anything I don't like.

pevdoki1
06-16-2008, 05:48 PM
You could argue the opposite and claim those activities could make you excel in the program. They could help offset anxiety, etc.
~ opinions gathered from Ann Arbor.

I hope you are right :)

TruDog: it is my first marathon. I ran 11 miles yesterday, and I'm feeling fine. I'll let you know how I feel after running 20 in August :)