Online Masters Program - Average time studying


I'm taking a MLIS online and I am presently working fulltime. I also have a busy family life at home. My first question is, how much time does the average Masters student spending studying per week?

I also heard that Grad students have to pick and chose what they actually read out of what is assigned because it is virtually impossible to cover all of the material. What percentage of readings do grad studnts actually cover? I don't want to overwhelm myself with everything I have on my plate...


Hi Jashuapro1,

I can't tell you an exact figure as everyone is different. Some people can read through their lecture notes once and understand all there is to know and another may need to read several books to understand the topic more fully. It also depends on the course concerned as it may request you read outside of what's provided. This is usually the case when you get to Master's level.

Some universities work with credits. A credit is worth about 10 hours of studying, so for example a course may be worth 12 Credits so you would be expected to study 120 hours for it. For a completion of a Masters you may be asked to complete 180 credits, i.e. 1800 hours over the whole year.

Again these are just estimates as everyone studies differently.

Best wishes,


i was told for my full-time masters that to do really well you must do 30 hours of studying per week if you are doing it full-time. not sure i ever did that much though, except during coursework and exams times. for my part-time masters i was told we should be doing 10 hours per week, but again i am not sure i did this regularly, and during coursework times i probably did 25 hours per week. i would set aside an hour or two per day if you can, and just put in as much time as you have free from all the other stuff.

Avatar for Pjlu

Hi Jasuapro1,

Along with Blair and Cheeky Bint, it does depend. But most universities here recommend around 10 hours per week per unit for the semester (which equals around 120 hours as CB said per 3 month tuition term. But that's only per unit. If for example, you were taking the equivalent of two units per semester-still very much a part-time load worth half of a fulltime loading, the uni's here recommend a minimum of around 20 hours per week. That would see the Masters complete within two years. Longer if you only do the one unit per semester obviously. Course work goes differently to the thesis component again as course work units terminate after 12 weeks and you get a breather, but the thesis bit can hang over you like a dark cloud until you've finished it. But again this can all vary from uni to uni and even within the same uni depending on whether it is a 'research paper', a minor thesis whatever, as these are all worth different numbers of units in your particular course. Even supervisors can have different expectations...

The reality is as CB and Blair have both indicated-it is dependent on how you work. I have found that most of the students who have been studying alongside me, that we do a small regular amount on a weekly basis (say around 8 to 12 hours) and then periodically work up an extended stint for research and writing on long weekends, holidays or peak times when deadlines come up. However, you can do it. I need to stress this as I seriously doubted myself (given work and family issues) for a long time and now am right in the final stages. But it comes down to being organised, not getting too worked up over letting things go a little around the domestic front, and just getting in there and doing it. And just sometimes locking yourself away from your family in a room somewhere so that their demands don't interfere with your thinking all the time-but giving them time when they seriously need as well.

Good luck-if you want this goal you can achieve it and your family will still love you(up)



Im in exactly the same boat as you. I work full time and doing a part time masters online. On top of this im dyslexic, so my reading and writing takes me about twice as long as most of my peers.

I have found it is possible to get through about 15h a week of studying by thinking out of the box a little. I tend to podcast my lectures onto my phone and listen to them on the way into and out of work.


Wow, that's actually a great idea using the Podcasts, which is actually one of the media supplied by my program. I'm in the thick of it right now, because we have about three weeks left and still much work to cover.



I don't think it's possible -- or wise -- to generalise. The average amount of time you need to set aside for study depends on the average number of classes/seminars you have per week, on the amount of preparation required, the level of participation expected, and the subject (programmes including language study basically have no upper limit!)

As a full-time MA student, I agree with Blair's suggestion of approximately 30 hours per week (I've heard similar elsewhere), and Cheekybint's reference to credits equalling hours of study time is also very useful. I'd take the latter as a guideline for "normal" study and completion of a specific course within a MA programme, as for projects, coursework, and exam revision, the odds are you'll be ramping things up quite a bit.