Time allocations for study: evidence from Arts students in Australia

Jim Hlavac (Arts Academic Language and Learning Unit, Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Jim Peterson (School of Geography and Environmental Science, Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Matthew Piscioneri (Arts Academic Language and Learning Unit, Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Publication date: 15 February 2011



The primary purpose of this paper is to compare time availability and its allocation amongst Arts students. In addition it aims to match time availability and use with informants' resource preferences and the variables of language background and residential status.


A sample of 109 students completed quantitatively‐based electronic and paper‐copy surveys. Empirical data from primary informants form the basis of analysis.


The paper finds that over 90 per cent of informants have non‐study commitments and over half have commitments of six or more hours per week. The largest single group (35 per cent) has obligations of six to 14 hours per week. There is only a weak correlation between a higher number of commitments a lower amount of “out‐of‐class” time to engage with study obligations. Conversely, fewer extra‐curricular obligations does not automatically lead to a higher number of hours devoted to study. Differences in resource use are small: paper copy resources are universally popular, regardless of time commitments and allocations. Non‐English‐speaking background and international students tend to have fewer non‐study commitments and devote more time to study in general than English‐speaking background and local informants.

Research limitations/implications

Research covers one of full‐time student informants' four units and does not elicit responses from all units studied by informants.


While employment has been examined as a factor affecting student performance and time availability, few studies have matched time availability and declared time allocations to study. Further, time availability as a key feature of academic study is matched against variables highly relevant to today's student populations: resource mode use; language background; and residential status.



Hlavac, J., Peterson, J. and Piscioneri, M. (2011), "Time allocations for study: evidence from Arts students in Australia", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 1, pp. 27-44. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400911111102342

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