What is part-time education and learning?

What is part-time education and learning?

For some potential students, the length of time required to study for a degree can be off-putting. For students who need to work, care for their families or manage other commitments, taking three or four years to complete a degree simply isn’t practical, especially if they are also contending with financial constraints. Part-time degrees are an ideal way to gain a qualification while working and provide a level of flexibility which often appeals to those who have busy lives but want to broaden their skill set, change career or just learn something new.

Where can I study part-time?

Although there is an increasing appreciation of the need to be flexible among universities in the UK, not all establishments have actually made the move towards offering part-time courses. There are, however, a number of institutions which welcome part-time students for a range of courses, including undergraduate degrees and post-graduate qualifications.

Which courses can I do part-time?

There are some courses which do not lend themselves to part-time study such as medicine, as this is a lengthy degree, even when studied full-time. Aside from those, we offer a range of part-time courses, such as a degree in leadership and management, and construction.

What qualifications will I need to study part-time?

Because of the expectation that many students applying for part-time courses may not be following the ‘traditional’ path through their education, the entry requirements for part-time courses are often a little more flexible too. As well as offering places to those who have completed the necessary A-levels, many universities will consider other relevant training and experience when considering applications for part-time degree courses.

Can I do a part-time course at home?

  • Some courses you can complete at home, depending on the course and university.
  • Some courses provide online content that can be accessed 24/7.
  • Other courses will require you to attend at certain times in order to complete the course.

Studying part-time is an option that is becoming more and more prevalent amongst students who are not able to commit to pursuing a full-time degree. Many students who want to gain a qualification are keen to fit their studies around their work, caring for their families or other responsibilities and as a result, universities are broadening the range of courses they offer in order to accommodate students who need a little more flexibility.

Do part-time students study alongside full-time ones?

Some courses are designed specifically to suit part-time students and the content is only available to those who are studying on that basis. Other courses combine part-time and full-time students so you could be working in groups with full-time students at certain points, but may be in sessions with only part-timers for other aspects of the course. Some universities provide information about the split of part-time and full-time attendees on their websites.

How long does a part-time course take?

  • The length of the course will depend on the subject itself.
  • A part-time degree course would usually take around five years to complete.
  • Some part-time courses can take as long as ten years.

How do I apply for a part-time course?

  • Some part-time courses come under the remit of UCAS.
  • Students can often apply for part-time courses directly with the university.
  • Ensure to check on the university’s website to ascertain what their application process is for the specific course you want.
  • The website will also provide all the course requirements to give yourself the best chance of finding the part-time degree you want.

How many hours is part time study?

The days when a degree lasted three or four years may not be that long ago, but the rising numbers of students who need to balance their studying alongside other commitments means that providers are making the move towards more flexible opportunities.

Studying part time is an ideal option for many people who cannot commit to a full-time degree course, so if you want to gain a qualification on a schedule that suits you then a part-time course could provide you with the opportunities that you need. For instance, our graduate diploma of leadership requires attendance to 18 workshops on a Saturday alongside 6 hours of private study a week.

How many hours of study would I need to do?

  • There are no specific requirements to study for a minimum number of hours per week for part-time study.
  • Full-time courses are usually around 21 hours a week.
  • There are options where a part-time course would include a mixture of daytime, weekend and sometimes summer classes.
  • Some courses are purely online and require no attendance and have no time limit on completion.

How long does it take to complete a part time degree?

Ultimately, the total time it will take to complete your degree course will depend on your average number of study hours. If a standard degree course takes three years when studying 21 hours a week, then it will take six years to complete if you study 10.5 hours a week. For some, a ‘part time’ degree may be one that is studied outside normal hours and without the requirement to attend lectures, they may be able to complete it in a timeframe only a few months longer than that of a standard degree.

Students who want to apply for funding will usually be required to complete at least 25% of the full-time equivalent per year in order to qualify, but for those who are self-funding, there may be no restrictions on the number of hours they need to complete. Many students choose to adapt their hours to their circumstances, meaning that their study times and patterns change depending on their other commitments.

What are the benefits of part-time education?

  • Flexible learning available for those in full-time employment or who have other commitments.
  • The ability to take individual modules at your own pace is extremely enticing.
  • Combining your employment with your part-time education is a great option to further your knowledge in the respective field.

What is the difference between a part-time student and a full-time student?

There was a time when students leaving school at the age of 18 would either go to university or enter the world of work, but now the options are not quite so clear cut. Students who wish to gain a degree but are concerned about the financial implications of studying for three years are often keen to work while they are at university. Some students manage to juggle their studies while still earning enough to pay their way, but for others, a little more flexibility is required in order to make achieving a degree possible.

If you are trying to decide whether a full- or part-time degree is right for you, there are some important factors to consider when you are making your decision.

Flexibility in part-time education

Most part-time students choose that option because it offers a more flexible approach to learning that can fit around their existing commitments, particularly those who need to be able to work while studying. The price of this is that their degree takes longer to complete and although this is a small price to pay when compared to not being able to study at all it can feel like a long time which may lead to a lack of motivation for some students.

However, for full-time students, a three-year course may seem like quite a long period to be studying with such focus and many find that they struggle to balance the other opportunities afforded to them by student life alongside the requirements of their course.

Working whilst studying a part-time course

If you are considering studying for a part-time degree in order to gain additional qualifications for the area in which you already work, there are some distinct advantages to being able to use your new-found knowledge and understanding in a practical manner throughout the course. This can help to give you a more thorough understanding of the topics that you are learning about, so although it may feel as though you never get a break from your studies, immersing yourself in the subject can help you succeed as a student.

Students that do not already have work experience in their field of study sometimes consider part-time courses in order to gain a broader understanding of the rigours of working in their chosen field. Many part-time degree courses are scheduled to ensure that classes fit around normal working patterns, meaning that attendance is usually only required in the evenings or at weekends. This can be ideal for those who are keen to combine their studies with some on the job training in order to improve their prospects in the employment market once they have gained their qualification.

How to balance work & study?

Students who choose a part-time degree have to be masters of time management in order to ensure that they are able to dedicate a suitable amount of time to their studies whilst keeping up with all the other aspects of their lives. Having a good support network is often hugely important to those who are trying to juggle paid work and family commitments as well as their studies. Most professors, lecturers and course leaders are sympathetic to those who are trying to fit their studies around the rest of their lives, but it is important to seek help and support as and when you need it to give yourself the best chance of success with your degree.

Whether you choose to study full or part time, ensuring that you have considered how your studies will fit into your life and being realistic about the amount of time that you can devote to your course is the best way to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success.

Which universities offer courses that you can do from home?

If you are keen to study for a degree, but are limited by your ability to attend lectures in person or reach a university campus on a regular basis, then studying at home can be an option that will allow you to complete a degree course without having to commit to a timetable that isn’t flexible enough to meet your needs.

Potential students who have a particular university in mind should check their website to see if they offer a course which can be studied remotely. If you want to see what is available to study from home, then there are a number of universities which offer a wide range of courses, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees, PhDs and a number of short courses which can be a great way to get a taster of whether online studying is suitable for you.

Some of the most prestigious universities provide the means to study remotely, including The University of Liverpool, which has been voted one of the top institutes for e-learning in the world according to the Financial Times. They offer 41 different distance learning courses which cover a broad range of disciplines.

Imperial College London has an international reputation for the quality of its educational provision, particularly in the fields of engineering, science and medicine. They offer a wide range of e-learning courses. The University of Birmingham was awarded the University of the Year for Graduate Employment by The Times in 2016 and they offer a range of online postgraduate courses in business and public services which are acclaimed for providing a high standard of education for students who gain highly sought-after skills in their completion.

There is also the Open University, which enjoys a worldwide reputation for the variety and flexibility of the courses that it offers, alongside a number of other universities which make provision for students who wish to gain their degrees on a more flexible basis.

How to apply for distance learning courses?

  • Applying for distance learning courses depends on which university and course.
  • Distance learning courses do not have set times.
  • Remote students are usually assigned a tutor.
  • Studying remotely is a great way to build your existing interests and learn more about the subject in hand.


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If you have any questions regarding part-time education or any of our courses, then please get in touch with the University Campus of St.Albans today.

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