The Student Room Group

Part-time job

Hi fellow offer holders at UK uni PG degrees,

I am in a bit of a pickle. My MSc at Imperial costs £19,450 and to be able to pay for everything, I need to get a part-time job. I've had discussions with the corporation where I've worked for 2 years about possible employment on a part-time basis. I've already accepted my offer and enrolled. But I keep reading information that it is not advisable to work during one's master's degree due to a high risk of failure. Not working at all is not possible for me even if I take out additional loans, since even on an extremely small budget, the costs of living in London are insane. I'm not sure what to do now, and my family is not able to support.

What are your thoughts on part-time jobs during a master's programme? Is it possible?

Thanks a lot.
How many hours are you thinking of doing / in what sector? What will your working pattern be and how will it fit in with commitments like seminars?
Reply 2
Original post by Oxfordbound
How many hours are you thinking of doing / in what sector? What will your working pattern be and how will it fit in with commitments like seminars?


15 hours per week on a flexible basis. The type of work is analytical (creating marketing insights), basically doing the work when I have time with no meetings but one per week. So to me it sounds fairly easy to fit around my schedule. But there is a risk this job will not go through, after which I'd have to resort to waiting jobs etc (the worst-case scenario)
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by livvieh
Hi fellow offer holders at UK uni PG degrees,

I am in a bit of a pickle. My MSc at Imperial costs £19,450 and to be able to pay for everything, I need to get a part-time job. I've had discussions with the corporation where I've worked for 2 years about possible employment on a part-time basis. I've already accepted my offer and enrolled. But I keep reading information that it is not advisable to work during one's master's degree due to a high risk of failure. Not working at all is not possible for me even if I take out additional loans, since even on an extremely small budget, the costs of living in London are insane. I'm not sure what to do now, and my family is not able to support.

What are your thoughts on part-time jobs during a master's programme? Is it possible?

Thanks a lot.


Hi there,

This is a difficult situation that a lot of students face, and even more now due to increased costs of living.

Being in Cranfield for a few years now, I can say that it’s very common to work while doing your masters, but there are some difficulties with it.

Importantly, you should be aware of the rules. Many universities limit the amount of ‘extra’ work you can do while enrolled, so you should check your handbook to see if there is a limit, and what that is.
You might also want to make both your employer and your course director aware of your situation, just in case one does interfere with the other ever. You could also make your employer aware in advance of any critical times in your course, like around when the thesis is due, or big exams, so that they know in advance that you may need some time off or to change your normal working hours around then.

You should also keep a calendar (quite carefully). I use teams, and will highlight things different colours to denote different things (e.g. yellow for leisure activities, like the gym, blue for my working hours, like classes, study, and meetings, and red for my job). That way, I get a visual cue if I have a week that is looking a bit unbalanced, and I can try to reallocate my time to ensure I’m not going to burn myself out, or my uni work won’t suffer.

You should also think about when and how you will work to avoid burnout. If you are doing a physically-intensive job (like waiting tables, which involves a lot of running around) maybe weeknights are not suitable, as you’ll already be tired from lectures. If you have a computer-based job, maybe spreading it more thinly through the week will leave you with more time on weekends to socialise and study.

If your flexible work does fall through, you could also try to find jobs that can be done remotely, and have flexible hours. For example, tutoring is a popular choice, especially since you have a degree (so should be qualified to teach some GCSE subjects at least). Alternatively, on-campus jobs can reduce the time you would spend commuting to and from work/uni.

At the end of the day, it is much easier if you don’t have to work during your MSc, but that’s not an option for so many people (especially now). But having worked and also achieved that degree can be a great sign to employers that you have good time management, organisational, and prioritisation skills, on top of a great work ethic and dedication. Just remember your priorities, stay organised, and make sure you don’t end up burned out by expecting too much of yourself.

Best of luck with your degree!
Ciara
2nd year Agrifood PhD student
Cranfield Student Ambassador
I have just finished my masters, I was working full time (40 hours a week) and doing multiple work courses and was averaging at a distinction (1st) level , just awaiting my dissertation grade to be back to find my final grade but even if I just scrape a pass I will still come out with at least (2.1) a merit either way. So it is definitely possible, HOWEVER, if you do this please please please be prepared to have zero social life and a very strict schedule to get it all done, there is a lot more reading, individual work and responsibility on you at master's level compared to undergraduate. But the best of luck no matter what you decide.
Original post by livvieh
Hi fellow offer holders at UK uni PG degrees,

I am in a bit of a pickle. My MSc at Imperial costs £19,450 and to be able to pay for everything, I need to get a part-time job. I've had discussions with the corporation where I've worked for 2 years about possible employment on a part-time basis. I've already accepted my offer and enrolled. But I keep reading information that it is not advisable to work during one's master's degree due to a high risk of failure. Not working at all is not possible for me even if I take out additional loans, since even on an extremely small budget, the costs of living in London are insane. I'm not sure what to do now, and my family is not able to support.

What are your thoughts on part-time jobs during a master's programme? Is it possible?

Thanks a lot.

Poor students have been doing it forever.
Additionally, you've got level 7 apprenticeships now, meaning that it's not only possible to do a master's with a part time job but also with what often is a full time job. It's all about your dedication and time management.
Original post by livvieh
Hi fellow offer holders at UK uni PG degrees,

I am in a bit of a pickle. My MSc at Imperial costs £19,450 and to be able to pay for everything, I need to get a part-time job. I've had discussions with the corporation where I've worked for 2 years about possible employment on a part-time basis. I've already accepted my offer and enrolled. But I keep reading information that it is not advisable to work during one's master's degree due to a high risk of failure. Not working at all is not possible for me even if I take out additional loans, since even on an extremely small budget, the costs of living in London are insane. I'm not sure what to do now, and my family is not able to support.

What are your thoughts on part-time jobs during a master's programme? Is it possible?

Thanks a lot.


Hi @livvieh,

To be honest, I think it depends both on you as a student/person and your personal situation, the nature of the part-time job, and the nature of your postgraduate course. And as @Cranfield University has said, it's important to check what your university regulations are with regards to part-time work.

During my MA year (English Literature), I worked between 7-15 hours a week for my former employers (an estate agents) as an accompanied viewer. It worked really well for me as the contract was for Saturday working. Whilst that meant I was often working 6 days a week (full-time Monday-Friday on my MA and then Saturday at my job), it was do-able. Plus, whilst there was the option to take additional hours as holiday/sickness cover if I could, I wasn't pressurised to taking extra work if I was busy with university assignments/commitments because my contract was only for the Saturdays - anything extra was on a zero hours/flexible basis.

I also worked (and still work!) for my university as a Student Ambassador. It's definitely worth looking into those kinds of opportunities at your university because such roles are usually offered on a zero-hours, flexible basis so it can be a good way of bringing in additional income while being flexible around your studies. The same applies to teaching/demonstrating/academic writing support roles, although you're often in competition with doctoral students for those so they can be harder to come by. Paid part-time roles in campus bars/restaurants/the SU can also be good options as university institutions tend to be more flexible around classes and study commitments.

Personally, I wouldn't have wanted to work more than 15 hours a week alongside a full-time MA as I think that would have negatively impacted upon my studies - the MA/MSc is usually a pretty intensive year! As it was, I ended up working just my standard 7 hours during assessment periods and when I was writing up my MA thesis.

Hope that helps!

Amy Louise
PhD English Literature, Keele University

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