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Postgraduate part-time study

Postgraduate part-time study generally take two years to complete for a masters degree program, although some offer the flexibility of longer time periods or require longer periods.

A typical program requires you to take one or two courses per term, with class sessions usually taking place during weekday evenings.

Studying part time will be a more appropriate option for UK or European Economic Area (EEA) citizens, who will have few, if any, restrictions on the type or duration of work they can undertake while in the UK.

Those who come from outside the EEA will find their work options much more limited by the UK immigration rules. See our  Immigration and visas  section for further information. 



Pros to Postgraduate Part-Time Study Cons to Postgraduate Part-Time Study
You can keep getting paid while studying It is much harder to commit yourself to your studies and to your fellow students in the same way you could if you attended a  full-time  postgraduate program
Your employer is more likely to pay your tuition fees for a part-time program than for a full-time program Your coursemates may be only from the surrounding area, if courses are offered in the evening, given that full-time students often avoid evening classes.
You can continue to progress with your career The demands made by the combination of a full-time job and part-time study can be overwhelming. However, it is possible to do both and maintain a rewarding personal life - you just need to make sure you use your time efficiently
You don't need to relocate for your studies  
You eliminate the cost and risk of searching for employment at the end of the programme (assuming you stick with your current employer)  


How long will postgraduate part-time study take?

Taught programs  are those in which a large proportion of the learning is facilitated through classroom, seminar, tutorial and supervised laboratory work and which are at least partially assessed by examination or course work. There are three levels of taught program: Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert), Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) and Masters.

The learning on a research program will take place through the pursuit of a self-directed project, which aims to make a new contribution to human knowledge, although it will also usually be part of a broader research program at an institutional level. Research programs at masters level might be called a Masters in Research (MRes) or, regardless of the actual subject studied, a Masters in Philosophy (MPhil), which usually take two years. The highest research degree is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which can take up to six years of postgraduate part-time study to complete. Apart from some training in research skills, there will be very little taught content on research programs. The  dissertation  will be longer, 70,000 to 100,000 words for a PhD. It should also be original and, in theory, publishable. Essentially, possessing a PhD should mean that you are one of the leading experts in your specialism in the world.

Certificates and Diplomas

PG Certificate (PGCert) or Diploma (PGDip) Up to two years part time
Postgraduate Certificate in Education (OGCE) Two years part time

Masters Degrees and Doctorates

MA Two years part time
MSc Two years part time
MBA Usually two years part time (some take 18 months or two years full time)
LLM Usually two years part time
MRes Four years full time
MPhil Four to five years full time
PhD/DPhil Five to six years full time


Find out more information about studying a Part Time Masters.