Part-time or full-time study?

Where are you with your education and what are your circumstances? These will be the main points that will steer your decision on studying on a full-time or part-time basis.

Other steers will be on the availability of certain courses at part-time level, and whether the level is a professional course as many of these are taught on a part-time basis (usually in the evening).

Due to visa restrictions, international students are unable to study on a part-time basis.

Undergraduate study

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the majority of degrees (medicine, architecture are a couple of exceptions) take three years. Scotland is four years when studied on a full-time basis.  Depending on the course structure, a part-time course may take double the time to complete. A bit of research will be required by you as universities will differ.

If you have recently completed, or are close to completing, your secondary education (A-levels, BTEC, baccalaureate etc) then you are probably more inclined to continue with full-time main stream higher education.  You may of course decide to do this after a year out.

If you currently have work and/or other responsibilities and need some flexibility with your study then part-time offers a workable option. How much flexibility in your eyes depends on teh structure of the part-time course. It is important for you to check the number of contact hours you will study each week, and when you need to attend lectures, tutorials, workshops (the collection of face-to-face teaching is known as contact hours).  Also, does your course require group work?

It would be fair to estimate about a day’s worth of contact hours but this could be split across a couple of days, and/or in the evening. There is also the option of studying via online tuition known as distance learning.

It is also important to mention that an academic year is 9 months in length: September to June.  Some universities also have a February start date. There is a generous two week holiday at Christmas and a week’s holiday for Easter.

The majority of universities in the UK require you to apply for a full-time course through UCAS. It will be a mix of applying via UCAS or making a direct application to study a

Information on tuition fees and funding your studies is available here.

Masters (postgraduate) study

A full time Masters programme in the UK is one year in length at full-time study. A large proportion will be offered on a part-time basis and will take approximately two years to complete.

If you are considering studying at a Masters level and are currently in work, the decision to study part-time gives you some flexibility. How much flexibility depends on the structure of the course, so do your research. Be sure to check the timetable and number of contact hours.

For more flexibility, but requiring a lot more personal discipline is the distance learning route. This isn’t for everyone, but it is worth looking at if you need more flexibility and feel you do not need as much face-to-face tuition.

Making an application for Masters programmes is via a direct application to the university or universities of choice. If you need support with making an application please contact the University UK team.

There is new funding for postgraduate courses. Find out more here.
For other forms of funding please go here.

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