Trivia Tuesday: The Academic Commitment at UVA’s Darden School
It’s time again for another edition of Trivia Tuesday, our weekly consideration of the policies and practices that differentiate the student experience at the leading business schools. This week we turn our attention to the unusual class meeting structure in place at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Darden has a reputation for being a demanding academic program, though the school has chosen to schedule its courses creatively to help students get – and give – as much as possible in the academic arena.
Darden’s class schedule during the week is markedly different from those of its peer institutions. To begin, classes in the first-year program do not follow a rigid meeting schedule. Instead, the number of class sessions each week fluctuates depending on how the material being covered ties into the information presented that week in other core courses. For instance, a class might meet up to four or five times in one week so that students can master a major concept that will be applied in other courses. Once this concept is addressed, the class may meet just one to three times the following week, allowing the focus to shift to other courses.
The second-year schedule also sees some fluctuation. Second-year electives meet on an “early week” or “late week” schedule throughout the semester. Early week classes meet on the first two to three days of the week while late week classes meet on the final two or three days of the week. This schedule is broken up every two weeks with an R-Day for recruiting, reading and rest, which provides students with a short but necessary break from the school’s intense academic schedule.
Darden prides itself on the rigor of the curriculum, especially in the first year, and expects students to make a serious commitment to the academic program. The administration estimates that first-year students should plan to spend 60-80 hours per week on coursework, and current Darden students report that this estimate is accurate. The typical schedule in the first year is class from 8:00 a.m. to 1:10 p.m., followed by one and a half to three hours of independent prep work in the afternoon and two to four hours of meeting and discussion with a learning team in the evening. In the end, most Darden students spend 10-14 hours on campus each weekday.
For more information on Darden’s first-year curriculum, second-year electives, or campus academic and social cultures, be sure to check out the Clear Admit School Guide to Darden!