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Edit: I found the answer. In the preface to the english edition it says

This book is a translation from the orginal Chinese text of notes based on a six-week course on algebraic curves and Riemann surfaces taught at Beijing University in 1982.

However, in the English Translation of the Preface to the Chinese Edition it says

In the summer of 1982,1 had the honor of teaching a course on algebraic curves at Beijing University. The course met six hours a week for a period of six weeks. This book is a thoroughly edited version of the notes taken during this course.

So this is like 3 hours a week for a period of 12 weeks so about 1 semester then.

I accidentally checked the english translation to the preface to the chinese edition around based on user111388's question 'Are those numbers from Chinese university terms?' Thank you, user111388.


I'm planning to self-study Phillip A. Griffiths - Introduction to algebraic curves and am wondering about how long it would take to finish. I can reasonably estimate how long this book would take to finish if said book was used in some university and is expected to be completed in a semester.

In the preface of this book, it says:

based on a six-week course on algebraic curves and Riemann surfaces taught at Beijing University in 1982.

I understand a regular semester to take about 16 weeks and a summer semester to be about 6 weeks, but I'm not sure if the above quote refers to 3/8-ths of a regular semester or a full summer semester.

Context: https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/3724134/ordinarily-how-long-does-it-take-to-complete-phillip-a-griffiths-introductio

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  • This could be a "full" course delivered in a short period of time, perhaps meeting every day all day, or a "short" course meeting less often. There is no way to tell from the description here. Ask the university.
    – Buffy
    Jun 17 '20 at 23:11
  • Or ask Griffiths; he's alive. Jun 17 '20 at 23:12
  • @NateEldredge ok. thanks. i was just thinking there wouldn't be a need to because there's already an indication of 6 weeks in the preface. some prefaces will usually say that the text is/n't good for a semester. Jun 17 '20 at 23:24
  • @BryanKrause oh man/girl, thanks so much for the edit! There's no self-learning tag here unlike in maths se. Jun 18 '20 at 0:00
  • @JohnSmithKyon (he/his/him for me) Yes, like on the other stack, I expect people to initially expect you are asking to try to determine whether this book is a good choice for a particular term length you plan to teach, rather than self-study, so it's pretty important to include the reason you are asking in your question. I'd heed the comments on your closed question that suggest the answer might not be as important if you are self-studying. If you plan for a certain pace and that pace is either too slow or impossible for you to learn, you have freedom to adjust. Good luck.
    – Bryan Krause
    Jun 18 '20 at 0:03
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It is not uncommon for visiting scholars/professors to give a short high-intensity course during their period of visit. These have little relation to the usual/normal university semester/summer schedule since they are (1) tied to the limited visit of somebody, and (2) aimed at people not burdened by classes on the normal schedule (not undergraduates or early grad students in the US).

I have seen these as a full day once a week, half days several times a week - whatever can fit into the schedules of the visitor and the pool of people who want to take the course.

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    So what's the answer? 6 weeks regular i.e. 3/8? (where students attend 3 hours a week for a 3 unit course) or 6 weeks summer? (where students attend 5-6 times a week with 1.5 hrs each or something) Jun 17 '20 at 23:06
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    Whatever fits the material and student schedules.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 17 '20 at 23:45
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I found the answer. In the preface to the english edition it says

This book is a translation from the orginal Chinese text of notes based on a six-week course on algebraic curves and Riemann surfaces taught at Beijing University in 1982.

However, in the English Translation of the Preface to the Chinese Edition it says

In the summer of 1982,1 had the honor of teaching a course on algebraic curves at Beijing University. The course met six hours a week for a period of six weeks. This book is a thoroughly edited version of the notes taken during this course.

So this is like 3 hours a week for a period of 12 weeks so about 1 semester then.

I accidentally checked the english translation to the preface to the chinese edition around based on user111388's question 'Are those numbers from Chinese university terms?' Thank you, user111388.

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