5 tips on balancing work with further study - Alumni newsletter - University of Derby

5 tips on balancing work with further study

Writer: Ali Woodhouse

If you’re thinking about further study part-time alongside work, then you are probably wondering if you’ll be able to balance it all.

We spoke to those who have been there and done it, and these were their top tips for balancing part-time study with full-time work.


1. Involve your employer

Most employers will gladly support their staff in attaining postgraduate qualifications.

Some companies offer financial support, many will give you a study allowance from your working hours.

Even if your employer is unable to offer such benefits, knowing you’re studying alongside work means they can be sympathetic to your extra workload.

2. Build a relationship with your tutor

Your tutor is invested in your success, and academics live busy lives themselves – they understand! If work or home-life is getting heavy, let them know.

Getting to know your tutor means you can make the most of the expertise available to you in all aspects of your education.

Working whilst studying is not always a hindrance – projects you undertake in your job may be relevant to your study at university and could even be incorporated into your assignments.

By involving your tutor and your employers, you can make your job and study work for each other.

3. Plan your time

Timetable yourself. It sounds like a chore, but it will actually leave you with more free time. By not allocating your study time, you leave yourself more vulnerable to procrastination or distractions.

Consider your study time as if it were an appointment or part of your working day, if you’ve planned to study then you are not available.

4. Have a workspace

Find a dedicated workspace will allow you to get ‘in the zone’ and produce the best work possible.

Some people need silence and others like a buzz around them, many people find they cannot focus at home.

Allocate a room, find a library (university or council), local café or go to a coursemate’s place to study together.

Trial and error until you find what works for you.

5. Take some time off!

This one may seem obvious, but it’s surprisingly easy to get caught up in the mindset of ‘busy’.

You shouldn’t be working all hours without taking time for yourself, make sure you plan leisure time into your schedule. If you feel you don’t have the capacity, find it.

If you don’t take a break, you will end up spending more time being less productive.

Ready for the challenge?

You can study full-time or part-time, on campus or online, and work full-time, part-time or not at all whilst you do it. Postgraduate Study is a challenge you undertake on your terms.

More information about the types of qualification available, methods of study and funding for postgraduate taught, research or professional qualifications is available on our Postgraduate Study page.

You can explore your postgraduate opportunities and have your questions answered by the right people by booking onto one of our Postgraduate and Professional Open Events.