Student Advice

What to expect from a part-time degree and how to apply

Sarah Jones  · Dec 13th 2023  · 3 min

For many students, a part-time degree is a preferred way of studying an undergraduate or postgraduate course. Many universities and colleges now offer this as an option to help you fit study around other commitments.


Part-time courses aren't a new concept. However, as students look for more flexible study options, we're seeing more and more universities and colleges offer part-time degrees. One thing to consider when applying for your course is whether part-time learning is the way to go.

Managing work and part-time study

What is a part-time degree?

In a nutshell, part-time uni courses are those that spread out your learning and assessment over a longer period of time, and keeps your studying to a few days a week. They are designed to help those students who wish to study but are also juggling other parts of their life.

This way of studying is mainly utilised by mature students who may have children or other work commitments alongside their studies. It is also used by anyone looking to gain extra qualifications and may only be able to take evening university courses. Similarly, a lot of postgraduate degrees are offered as part-time to allow this flexibility.

Length of study

While a typical undergraduate degree is three years, part-time degrees could be up to six years of learning. This will vary depending on how many days of study you'll do a week, and so the university may cover more content in a shorter period of time.

For postgraduate courses, it will depend on the qualification type. A typical Masters degree is one year, so part-time is likely two. More research-led postgrads like a part-time PhD will be around six or seven years.

Benefits of part-time study

Whether you're an undergraduate managing other priorities or a mature student working alongside studies, part-time degrees offer you the extra flexibility. With the course rolled out over a longer period of time, many students can find this option a lot less stressful than a typical three-year course. It gives you more time to do your required reading, get to grips with the course content and understand the subject.

Managing part-time study and work

Student finance for part-time students

One thing to consider is your eligibility for a tuition loan as a part-time student. You'll be eligible for student finance if your "course intensity" is more than 25%. define "course intensity" as how much of your course you complete each year.

You will also be eligible to apply for a maintenance loan to cover some everyday costs of student life, such as rent, food, and travel. The amount you will receive will depend on your financial situation and also the course intensity.

Your university of choice will be able to support you in working out what your course intensity looks like by sharing how your module credits will be split across the years. This information can then be shared with student finance to ensure your eligibility.

It's also important to remember that student finance eligibility may differ depending on the part-time course you're looking to study, as well as age and nationality.

Which universities offer part-time study?

So many universities now offer part-time undergraduate degrees, just see for yourself! This number continues to grow as universities look to make learning more flexible. Browse the courses, consider your options and start applying!

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