Doing a degree in mathematics...hours studying per week watch

1. Hi everyone,
I'm new to the forum and would love some advice regarding choosing a maths degree.
I am a mature student and work tutoring second level students in maths. I love maths and am finally getting around to taking a degree in it.
My question really is about hours of study per week.
I'm desperate to know on average,how many hours per week I need to set aside for a maths degree.
This would not be my first degree.Online somewhere last year, I read that maths is the most intense of all degrees and that a student needs to set aside 40 hours in first year and that increases to 60 hours in the final year.
Now that does seem crazy? But maybe I'm wrong?
I have a sibling with a science degree and another with a doctorate in science and both of them tell me "That couldnt be right!"
So while I can totally understand that when you study an intense subject like maths, you might feel your studying from dusk till dawn...what are the real numbers?...bearing in mind I already have a strong aptitude for maths..and am extremely focused (a rare upside of OCD)..haha
I'd love to hear from those doing maths degrees at the moment. Many thanks for taking the time to read my dribble!
2. (Original post by mathsmatters)
Hi everyone,
I'm new to the forum and would love some advice regarding choosing a maths degree.
I am a mature student and work tutoring second level students in maths. I love maths and am finally getting around to taking a degree in it.
My question really is about hours of study per week.
I'm desperate to know on average,how many hours per week I need to set aside for a maths degree.
This would not be my first degree.Online somewhere last year, I read that maths is the most intense of all degrees and that a student needs to set aside 40 hours in first year and that increases to 60 hours in the final year.
Now that does seem crazy? But maybe I'm wrong?
I have a sibling with a science degree and another with a doctorate in science and both of them tell me "That couldnt be right!"
So while I can totally understand that when you study an intense subject like maths, you might feel your studying from dusk till dawn...what are the real numbers?...bearing in mind I already have a strong aptitude for maths..and am extremely focused (a rare upside of OCD)..haha
I'd love to hear from those doing maths degrees at the moment. Many thanks for taking the time to read my dribble!
A first year at Durham told me he has about 20 contact hours per week, and you're expected to do quite a few hours of your own study, of course - I would ballpark the 40 hours mark is probably correct, if you're gunning for a I Class degree.
3. Hi I’m in my second year of my maths degree and My actual lecture hours were 20 in my first year and 19 in my second year per week. It’s advised you then do the same amount of hours per week outside of lectures working. Depending on how quickly you learn new things this will vary, some weeks I find my self never leaving my desk from all the work and others I have very little to do.
Hope this helps
4. (Original post by plklupu)
A first year at Durham told me he has about 20 contact hours per week, and you're expected to do quite a few hours of your own study, of course - I would ballpark the 40 hours mark is probably correct, if you're gunning for a I Class degree.
Thank you so much for your advice. I'd better get myself prepared for some serious book work and the head scratching that goes with it
5. (Original post by Howie_2114)
Hi I’m in my second year of my maths degree and My actual lecture hours were 20 in my first year and 19 in my second year per week. It’s advised you then do the same amount of hours per week outside of lectures working. Depending on how quickly you learn new things this will vary, some weeks I find my self never leaving my desk from all the work and others I have very little to do.
Hope this helps
Excellent stuff....the knowing that is...the hours are a little tough but I would have the option of doing the degree part time if all went to all. Are you enjoying the work?
Lots of vectors and calculus I bet!
6. (Original post by mathsmatters)
Excellent stuff....the knowing that is...the hours are a little tough but I would have the option of doing the degree part time if all went to all. Are you enjoying the work?
Lots of vectors and calculus I bet!
That’s a good guess as right now I’m studying differential and integral vector calculus
7. (Original post by Howie_2114)
That’s a good guess as right now I’m studying differential and integral vector calculus
Great. I did an edx course last year which had a little uni maths.
8. (Original post by mathsmatters)
Hi everyone,
I'm new to the forum and would love some advice regarding choosing a maths degree.
I am a mature student and work tutoring second level students in maths. I love maths and am finally getting around to taking a degree in it.
My question really is about hours of study per week.
I'm desperate to know on average,how many hours per week I need to set aside for a maths degree.
This would not be my first degree.Online somewhere last year, I read that maths is the most intense of all degrees and that a student needs to set aside 40 hours in first year and that increases to 60 hours in the final year.
Now that does seem crazy? But maybe I'm wrong?
I have a sibling with a science degree and another with a doctorate in science and both of them tell me "That couldnt be right!"
So while I can totally understand that when you study an intense subject like maths, you might feel your studying from dusk till dawn...what are the real numbers?...bearing in mind I already have a strong aptitude for maths..and am extremely focused (a rare upside of OCD)..haha
I'd love to hear from those doing maths degrees at the moment. Many thanks for taking the time to read my dribble!
Currently second year. At my university, we have around 20hrs of contact hours (depends on what optional modules you deide), up to 23hrs for first semester of first year. Usually, it'd take around 4hrs each to complete each of my assignments per module (for this semester, I'm doing 5, so 20hrs), plus during some weeks I'd spend around 10hrs a week doing further studies (so up to 30hrs of studying in total, and can increase to 40hrs).

I tend to study less when I'm more organised and have planned the week ahead.
9. It varies a bit, we had about 16 hours of lectures and 4 of tutorials/classes as I recall. How much time you spend on top of that though...for me, we had 4 problem sheets a week, and the "pure" ones took me about a solid 5-8 hours to struggle through usually...however the more "applied" and computational ones (like differential equations) would just take 1-3 hours depending typically. I'd note that we were generally advised to not be spending more than 4 hours on a sheet as that was the expected "upper limit" (I was very bad at pure maths obviously )

Some people however just whizzed through all the proof stuff though, so they spent a lot less time overall on that. The computational/applied type problems seemed to take everybody about as long (even if you plugged them into matlab, since you had to set the problems up first which took about the same amount of time anyway, even though the solution step was instant). Realistically I'd imagine maybe 8-10 hours on problem sheets and a couple hours of other revision/reading ahead/whatever would be realistic.

In general though a full time degree you should expect to putting in around 30-40 hours a week inclusive of contact hours - it's basically a full time job. Approaching it as such seems to be the best way to get good results as well, based on what I did not do and what friends of mine did do If you are spending more than 40 hours a week on the course it might suggest that the subject matter doesn't come easily for you though, so that may be worth bearing in mind when you consider what options to take in the course, or whether another mathematical/numerate course (such as engineering, physics, computer science etc) may be more enjoyable for you.
10. (Original post by kkboyk)
Currently second year. At my university, we have around 20hrs of contact hours (depends on what optional modules you deide), up to 23hrs for first semester of first year. Usually, it'd take around 4hrs each to complete each of my assignments per module (for this semester, I'm doing 5, so 20hrs), plus during some weeks I'd spend around 10hrs a week doing further studies (so up to 30hrs of studying in total, and can increase to 40hrs).

I tend to study less when I'm more organised and have planned the week ahead.
Yep, it certainly sounds like an intense course..many thanks and best of luck in your studies!
11. (Original post by artful_lounger)
It varies a bit, we had about 16 hours of lectures and 4 of tutorials/classes as I recall. How much time you spend on top of that though...for me, we had 4 problem sheets a week, and the "pure" ones took me about a solid 5-8 hours to struggle through usually...however the more "applied" and computational ones (like differential equations) would just take 1-3 hours depending typically. I'd note that we were generally advised to not be spending more than 4 hours on a sheet as that was the expected "upper limit" (I was very bad at pure maths obviously )

Some people however just whizzed through all the proof stuff though, so they spent a lot less time overall on that. The computational/applied type problems seemed to take everybody about as long (even if you plugged them into matlab, since you had to set the problems up first which took about the same amount of time anyway, even though the solution step was instant). Realistically I'd imagine maybe 8-10 hours on problem sheets and a couple hours of other revision/reading ahead/whatever would be realistic.

In general though a full time degree you should expect to putting in around 30-40 hours a week inclusive of contact hours - it's basically a full time job. Approaching it as such seems to be the best way to get good results as well, based on what I did not do and what friends of mine did do If you are spending more than 40 hours a week on the course it might suggest that the subject matter doesn't come easily for you though, so that may be worth bearing in mind when you consider what options to take in the course, or whether another mathematical/numerate course (such as engineering, physics, computer science etc) may be more enjoyable for you.
Thats really interesting. I've never done pure maths...at least I dont think I have? Whats that all about? The word pure does sound intimidating! I will definitely have to study over the summers as with my tutoring work, Ive lots of free time that time of year and would like to keep the stress levels to a minimum, Did you enjoy your degree overall? So many people i talk to say maths is so hard or you must be really brainy to do it but none of that makes sense to me. I just like the subject but who knows. Maybe second level maths wont equip me doesnt equip me with the skills i need to succeed at uni at math. maybe i should bite the bullet and have a look at some uni material. Many thanks for your reply
12. (Original post by mathsmatters)
Thats really interesting. I've never done pure maths...at least I dont think I have? Whats that all about? The word pure does sound intimidating! I will definitely have to study over the summers as with my tutoring work, Ive lots of free time that time of year and would like to keep the stress levels to a minimum, Did you enjoy your degree overall? So many people i talk to say maths is so hard or you must be really brainy to do it but none of that makes sense to me. I just like the subject but who knows. Maybe second level maths wont equip me doesnt equip me with the skills i need to succeed at uni at math. maybe i should bite the bullet and have a look at some uni material. Many thanks for your reply
Well I changed course, so...

I would recommend looking at some stuff approximating uni maths - like the A-level Maths/FM stuff on proofs. You may also find, if you're relatively comfortable with the computational aspects of calculus as in A-level/equivalent, Spivak's Calculus worth looking at. It reintroduces the calculus you're familiar with from a rigorous point of view as in uni maths (despite the name of the text it's closer to real analysis than calculus) however it's written at such a level and in such a way that it should be accessible to you with an approximately A-level standard background.

I definitely wouldn't say to write off the prospect entirely, even if you struggle a bit with that stuff mentioned - it is a learning curve to be sure. Just appreciate that the nature of the course is likely to be a bit different to what you encountered in A-level (at least for some modules - I imagine you'll be able to take more applied vs pure modules and vice versa in some courses, but inevitably there will be a few core areas you'll need to cover in the early parts of the degree in this manner).
13. (Original post by artful_lounger)
Well I changed course, so...

I would recommend looking at some stuff approximating uni maths - like the A-level Maths/FM stuff on proofs. You may also find, if you're relatively comfortable with the computational aspects of calculus as in A-level/equivalent, Spivak's Calculus worth looking at. It reintroduces the calculus you're familiar with from a rigorous point of view as in uni maths (despite the name of the text it's closer to real analysis than calculus) however it's written at such a level and in such a way that it should be accessible to you with an approximately A-level standard background.

I definitely wouldn't say to write off the prospect entirely, even if you struggle a bit with that stuff mentioned - it is a learning curve to be sure. Just appreciate that the nature of the course is likely to be a bit different to what you encountered in A-level (at least for some modules - I imagine you'll be able to take more applied vs pure modules and vice versa in some courses, but inevitably there will be a few core areas you'll need to cover in the early parts of the degree in this manner).
Thanks so much! I had a look at the book your mentioned by Spivak. Its available for free on archive.org...love this website for music, cookery books etc!
I was thinking of reading it...just a few pages every evening and see where I end up. I have the time, as I wont be starting my degree until September. Would you advise it as a book that would be generally relevant to any maths degree? Or perhaps its would only be useful for a particular module....kind of a stupid question I guess as calculus is so important in math....the reason I ask is that I want to try to stay focused on things that will be useful during my degree. I have a habit of drifting off on a tangent (line...hehe!) and missing whats important. If anyone has any other books recommendations, feel free to shout out
14. (Original post by mathsmatters)
Thanks so much! I had a look at the book your mentioned by Spivak. Its available for free on archive.org...love this website for music, cookery books etc!
I was thinking of reading it...just a few pages every evening and see where I end up. I have the time, as I wont be starting my degree until September. Would you advise it as a book that would be generally relevant to any maths degree? Or perhaps its would only be useful for a particular module....kind of a stupid question I guess as calculus is so important in math....the reason I ask is that I want to try to stay focused on things that will be useful during my degree. I have a habit of drifting off on a tangent (line...hehe!) and missing whats important. If anyone has any other books recommendations, feel free to shout out
As noted, despite the name it's really a (very basic) real analysis book. Analysis is one of the main subjects you'll cover in the first couple of years at uni, and underpins much other pure maths content (algebra is the other major area that is necessary to move into most other areas of pure maths. This is incidentally not the same as the algebra in school including A-level so, don't think too much of the naming).

So you will cover the material eventually in a maths degree anyway (it's even covered in some very technical/mathematically sophisticated degrees in economics/physics and similar, although it's not as essential there). More importantly though, because it deals with something you're already familiar with, but in the formalised way that virtually all maths at uni is done in, it's a good way to explore the area.

It's also quite a "gentle" introduction, so you should find it eases you into the rigour intuitively (which sounds a bit contradictory but I think will make sense later). There are criticisms to be made (it's very "talky" and sometimes feels a bit slow paced) but is generally pretty good at explaining the motivation behind doing x in y way and so on.

But even if you go into applied maths and similar areas as above, analysis is the field you definitely need to have at least some conception of...so it's definitely relevant! Try it and see how you like it
15. (Original post by artful_lounger)
As noted, despite the name it's really a (very basic) real analysis book. Analysis is one of the main subjects you'll cover in the first couple of years at uni, and underpins much other pure maths content (algebra is the other major area that is necessary to move into most other areas of pure maths. This is incidentally not the same as the algebra in school including A-level so, don't think too much of the naming).

So you will cover the material eventually in a maths degree anyway (it's even covered in some very technical/mathematically sophisticated degrees in economics/physics and similar, although it's not as essential there). More importantly though, because it deals with something you're already familiar with, but in the formalised way that virtually all maths at uni is done in, it's a good way to explore the area.

It's also quite a "gentle" introduction, so you should find it eases you into the rigour intuitively (which sounds a bit contradictory but I think will make sense later). There are criticisms to be made (it's very "talky" and sometimes feels a bit slow paced) but is generally pretty good at explaining the motivation behind doing x in y way and so on.

But even if you go into applied maths and similar areas as above, analysis is the field you definitely need to have at least some conception of...so it's definitely relevant! Try it and see how you like it

Such a great reply! Really helps me understand what I am getting into. I will definitely get cracking on it...Many thanks. Its great to hear from someone who has been down the road already, especially with something like maths. I had a look through some of the later chapters, couldnt avoid scaring myself. I'm going to not do that again! One step at a time. Will report back when I've a good chunk of it read
16. (Original post by mathsmatters)
Such a great reply! Really helps me understand what I am getting into. I will definitely get cracking on it...Many thanks. Its great to hear from someone who has been down the road already, especially with something like maths. I had a look through some of the later chapters, couldnt avoid scaring myself. I'm going to not do that again! One step at a time. Will report back when I've a good chunk of it read
I would warn you, I've not really been far "down that road" so take my advice with a pinch of salt, although I do maintain a great deal of enthusiasm (if not so much ability) for the subject
17. (Original post by artful_lounger)
I would warn you, I've not really been far "down that road" so take my advice with a pinch of salt, although I do maintain a great deal of enthusiasm (if not so much ability) for the subject
No problem! A bit of reading wont do me any harm and I have also ordered a few books from the uni module syllabus
18. Spivak is a decent enough book to get a feel for what university maths is like (well at any uni worth it's salt).

Some uni maths is a bit inaccessible to people because there are all sorts of conventions in naming and symbols that people aren't familiar with.

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