Question: How many pages of reading for a graduate class?

Although the number of subscribers to my blog has dropped off considerably (I grow tiresome), I know that there are still some active faculty who read it; so, a quick question for you: how many pages of reading do you assign to your grad classes each week? My rough limits are 100 pages a week for undergrad and 200 for grad, which is less than I had for most of my courses as a student, but more than the students seem comfortable with. I know: through the snow, uphill both ways.

I know this differs significantly from field-to-field, but what do you consider an upper limit for page-counts? What do you do to help students who say this is too much? Thanks!

Audio: Question: How much reading?

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  1. Ben Spigel
    Posted 1/10/2008 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    In my department (geography @ the ohio state university) I’ve had seminars that give around 3-5 articles a week for reading. That might be between 50-100 pages. Of course, I’ve also had other classes that required reading a book in 2 days. I’d say your page counts are pretty good limits. I’d say it’s better to have fewer, good articles than more articles that just say the same thing in different ways.

  2. Posted 1/10/2008 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    How many courses are students taking per semester? The standard in humanities at our university (University of Bergen, in Norway) is about 1000 pages per course, for undergrad or grad, and students take two courses per semester. A semester’s supposed to involve 19-21 weeks of work for students, though only 15 weeks of classes. It sounds like a lot less reading than in the US, but students still complain and rarely seem to actually do it all. This varies quite a lot though – when I was young (of course) things were organised differently, and for instance when I did a year’s unit of comparative literature we had a total over 7000 pages to read over the whole year, though of course a lot of that was novels, plays and poetry.

  3. Posted 1/10/2008 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I used to teach undergrad courses in a university that markets itself as the university for people who works, in most cases that is true. By personal experience having a job and studying at the same time can be difficult, so what I did was to select two options: one that was shorter and had the basic concepts and other that was longer but in depth, both choices were good quality material. I made clear that every student is responsible for his education, so each student could decide which one was best for their situation.

  4. Posted 1/11/2008 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I used to teach art and design courses, grad and undergrad.

    I assigned about 75 pages a week to both.
    No one did any of the reading, ever.

    Let’s hear it for art school :-)

  5. Posted 1/11/2008 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I’ll take a paper over an art project any day. I still have the scars from my art school education… literally. :) Falling x-acto blades tend to leave a mark.

  6. Posted 1/11/2008 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    i no longer teach grad classes, but when i did i’d assign between 100-150 pages. i always tried to mix up more academic articles and chapters with longer pieces from, say, wired or the new yorker.

    • Diana
      Posted 9/22/2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Are you kidding me? You ONLY assign 100 pages a week for a GRAD class? I am in first year at U of T and get 150 pages of reading per course!!!! How is that fair???????

  7. Posted 1/11/2008 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    A medium-sized book or four to six journal articles per week: about 250 pages.

    Welcome to the monastery!

  8. alex
    Posted 1/11/2008 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, all, it’s helpful to get a reality check. (Or at least a parity check.)

  9. Posted 1/12/2008 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    All my students do ALL the readings. And they miss, on average 1.2 classes per course. I only assign about 30 pages a week, plus videos and odds and sods… plus optional readings. These are practical courses in teaching, so there’s a lot of other work to do to make up for it. I don’t are how much I assign, but I will insure it is done (via mandatory blogging). I think for my grad course this summer (haven’t taught a grad course since 2005) I’ll stick to under 75 pages per class.

  10. Posted 1/15/2008 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    I think requiring 200+ pages/week pretty much assures that students won’t read all of the reading you’re assigning. Then again, it may be that students never read all of the reading so if you assign 50 they’ll still ignore some of the assignment.

    I know I hated it when profs assigned that much, because it left it to me to figure out which parts I shouldn’t read (given that it was out of the question that I’d be able to read all that). So if I hated it then why would I want to inflict that on my own students?

  11. Trevor
    Posted 1/16/2008 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    In your class last semester I felt the reading amount was about right, and I was able to complete all of it just about every
    week, although occasionally some of the papers didn’t click with me at all and I struggled through. I enjoyed having some
    optional articles, which alows for some freedom, its always easier to read what your interested of course. I think one challenge
    must be to find a balance between those who are taking only 2 courses a semester and those with a full load.

  12. Tina
    Posted 4/22/2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I know this is an old post, but been inundated with reading for my PhD program and had to read what others experience. I read about 500 pages a week of mostly articles for my classes. That doesn’t include any articles I read for my dissertation as I’m trying to get the proposal going.

    I find it much difficult getting through all 500 pages, but i put an honest effort. I do work full time and carry a 14 unit load. I can get pretty close or can finish the reading when i don’t have presentations and papers due. But those assignments push me over to where I cannot get through it all.

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