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Here are the most demanding university courses identified

Later this week, several aspiring university students will be getting online to apply for programmes, in the hope of admission in a month's time.

MOSES TALEMWA analyses which programmes are the most demanding while at university, and brings you a look at some of them.

Early in the learning life of a child, many a parent will ask their offspring what they would like to be in future. Indeed, many a parent will attempt to entice their offspring towards professions that will bring them success.

Sometimes the parents are successful in enticing their children towards professions of their choice. However, there are also some disappointments, usually governed by the reality that the children have their own preferences and abilities.

These are usually encountered in school, where students attempt to match their abilities with their interests. Thus one decides to take on studies leading to a profession in medicine, unaware of what is required in the final qualification at university.

A consultation with Dr Vincent Ssembatya, the director for Quality Assurance at Makerere University, last week to find out which programmes are more demanding than others, gave us telling results.

Private students check out Makerere admission list recently

VETERINARY MEDICINE MOST DEMANDING

Dr Ssembatya has been studying this area for years and explains that the learning load of an academic programme is measured in lecture hours. He has compiled the lecture hours one must have completed to qualify for graduation; besides passing the relevant exams (see the table).

Normally, a semester lasts between four and five months. Translated into five working days, this leaves one with six hours a day or 30 hours a week of lecture hours. However, the actual learning hours extend beyond lecture hours.

“Some hours are spent in discussion groups, laboratories or the library, where one is engaged in private study and these depend on the individual; so, they are not included in our calculation,” he explains.

“What we measure is the actual learning extended to the student under the supervision of the lecturer.”

Ssembatya cautions students aspiring for particular academic programmes that those gaining admission into the sciences should look forward to a very demanding time at university.

“The busiest nine programmes are in the sciences, the only exception being the bachelor of Laws,” he explains.

Typically, the most engaging programme is the Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine, which apart from consuming a whopping five years, involves 279 lecture hours, months of laboratory work, and numerous field trips to Buyana Stock Farm in Butambala, among others.

Next in line is the Bachelor of Pharmacy, which takes four years, 216 lecture hours, months of laboratory work, and grueling internships with established drug manufacturers.

One would expect that the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (Human Medicine) to be more demanding than the Bachelor of Nursing. Well, yes, despite what Ssembatya’s list shows, this is indeed the case.

Human Medicine claims four years, 205 lecture hours, months in a morgue and later in the laboratory, as well as at least three years of clinical work in an established health centre, completed with one grueling internship year, to gain graduation.

Depending on the university, the Bachelor of Nursing is likely to last four years, and claim 214 lecture hours, coupled with months of ward rounds in an established health centre, some laboratory work and internship.

“Nursing is more demanding in the classroom setting but Human Medicine tends to be a more grueling programme for students,” says Prof Patrick Kyamanywa of Kampala International University (KIU). Kyamanywa has overseen the training of doctors and nurses at degree level at Makerere, KIU and Mbarara University of Science and Technology for several years.

SURPRISES

There are also some surprises; for instance, while many have derided music, dance and drama as unserious, they will be surprised to find that the Bachelor of Music is more demanding at 144 lecture hours than the Bachelor of Business Administration at 116 lecture hours.

Typically, the Bachelor of Music involves 144 hours of face-to-face engagement with a lecture, then months of seemingly endless instrument practice and a month of internship. The Bachelor of Dance (144 lecture hours) is also more engaging than the Bachelor of Forestry, at 130 lecture hours.

Ssembatya is hoping that unveiling this information will help students applying for admission this week to make informed choices.

“We regularly see disgruntled students coming to our office long after admission to say that the programmes are not what they expected,” he says. “I hope that this goes someway to shed light on the nature of the challenges ahead.”

 

Programme name

Minimum load to graduation (Lecture hours)

1

Veterinary Medicine

279

2

Pharmacy

216

3

Nursing

214

4

Dental Surgery

212

5

Agriculture

206

6

Medicine and  Surgery

205

7

Laws

200

8

Food Science & Tech

187

9

Agricultural Engineering

170

10

Architecture

164

11

Mechanical Engineering

158

12

Surveying

157

13

Electrical Engineering

156

14

Secretarial Studies

152

15

Civil Engineering

151

16

Medical Radiography

147

17

Statistics

147

18

Arts in Dance

144

19

Arts in Music

144

20

Social Work & Social Admin

144

21

Environ Health Science

141

22

Science with Education

140

23

Community Psychology

136

24

Arts in Social & Philosophical Studies

132

25

Arts with Education

132

26

Animal Production Tech & Mgt

131

27

Industrial and Fine Arts

130

28

Forestry

130

29

Wood Science & Technology

130

30

Arts

128

31

Arts in Environmental Mgt

128

32

Quantitative Economics

128

33

Wildlife Health & Mgt

128

34

Agricultural Ext  Education

126

35

Arts with Education

121

36

Human Resource Mgt

120

37

Office & Information Mgt

120

38

Business Computing

119

39

Agric Land Use and Mgt

119

40

Tourism

119

41

International Business

118

42

Leisure & Hospitality Mgt

118

43

Business Administration

116

44

Enterpreneurship and Small Business Mgt

116

45

Catering and Hotel Mgt

115

46

Community Forestry

115

47

Development Studies

115

48

Computer Science

115

49

Agribusiness Mgt

114

50

Commerce

114

51

Population Studies

114

52

Urban Planning

114

53

Conservation Biology

112

54

Ethnobotany

112

55

Biomedical Lab Tech

110

56

Adult and Community Educ

108

57

Arts

108

58

Arts in Economics

108

59

Arts with Education

108

60

Journalism & Mass Comm

108

61

Science

108

62

Fisheries & Aquaculture

108

63

Industrial Chemistry

108

64

Sports Science

108

65

Library and Info Science

107

66

Education

90

67

Dip in Music, Dance & Drama

82

68

Education

76

69

Diploma in Library and Information Studies

76

70

Postgrad Dip in Education

72

71

Dip in Transport Mgt

70

72

Dip in Catering & Hotel Mgt

68

73

Diploma in Financial and Business Computing

68

74

Diploma in Leisure and Hospitality Managment

66

75

Diploma in Secretarial and Information Mgt

65

76

Dip in Project Planning & Mgt

61

77

Diploma in Records and Archives Mgt

60

78

Dip in Palliative Care for  Africa

53

79

Dip in Public Health Nursing

45

80

Certificate in Library and Information Studies

40

81

Certificate in Project Planning and Mgt

30

mtalemwa@observer.ug

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