Full-time, Part-time or Online Study

Making the decision on whether to choose full-time, part-time or online study usually arises when choosing a professional qualification or postgraduate degree.

Students are faced with deciding whether they want to spend more time at the university or would need some free time for work?

Full-time Study


  • The overall time period to complete the degree is set at a standard 1 - 2 years for postgraduate degrees.
  • The lecture schedule enables better communication and networking with teachers.
  • Better chance to assimilate information, to practice and repeat the taught material.
  • Greater possibility to discuss subjects, exams, exercises, homework, with other students.
  • Active involvement in the university social life and participation in extracurricular activities.


  • Less opportunity to combine a job and studying.
  • As you will be in the classroom most of your time, you will graduate with a lot of theoretical knowledge, but with no practical experience.
  • You would need to take a break from your career if you have a full-time job
  • Limited time to spread out your studies.

Part-time Study


  • Allows gathering of work experience as a way of improving career opportunities.
  • Offers a viable alternative for those who can’t commit to full-time postgraduate courses.
  • Some part-time courses don’t require any prior higher education qualifications.
  • Can help spread the cost of tuition fees
  • If your qualification is taken for career development reasons, your employer might agree to pay your tuition fees.


  • Part-time study usually lasts longer than full-time.
  • It’s harder to immerse yourself in the studies without active networking and communication with other students.
  • Reduced access to university staff may lead to being more easily distracted from university work.
  • It can be stressful juggling a career and a postgraduate degree.

Online Study


  • Students rarely have to attend the university
  • Receiving tuition, teaching and learning resources via the internet can reduce travel costs and sometimes tuition fees.
  • You won’t be taking a break from your career and you won’t need to relocate for your studies
  • You can study whilst earning a wage.


  • Greater change of being easily distracted from university work.
  • May be harder to find studentships and scholarships.
  • You won’t get the same experience as full-time students.
  • Can add extra pressure on top of your current workload.
  • It’s not a study mode that’s immediately suitable for group projects and group learning.

According to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the majority of postgraduate students in the UK are studying part-time, and the full-time market is predominantly made up of international students.

International students studying on a Tier 4 Student Visa can only study full-time courses.

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