Most of our students are completing their degrees alongside other commitments – whether that is full- or part-time work, raising their family, caring responsibilities, or just enjoying a busy lifestyle.
Luckily our courses are designed to fit flexibly around your life. As they are fully online and part-time, it’s possible to continue your studies on your lunch break, after the kids are in bed, and even from a beach on the opposite side of the world (as long as that beach has an internet connection).
But how can you work out whether you can fit studying into your life? Here are some pointers.
How much time should you dedicate to studying?
We recommend that students set aside 15-20 hours a week per module. This time may be spent working through lecturecasts on our virtual learning environment (VLE), taking part in discussion forums with classmates, reading core textbooks or other recommended texts, attending live Q&As and seminars with your tutor, or completing assignments.
You will usually be studying one module at a time, but some students choose to double up on modules to complete their studies faster. Whether this is an option for you will depend on the study options you choose, and following a discussion with a Student Adviser to talk through whether this will be manageable for you.
Are there any compulsory commitments at certain times?
Unlike campus-based programmes which have lectures and seminars at set times, nearly all of our courses have no required synchronous attendance or mandatory meeting times. For these programmes, provided you meet your deadlines for assignments, you can complete work as and when you choose.
All of our programmes do have live Q&A or seminar sessions with tutors, however these will be recorded and distributed if you are not able to join them live.
When could you fit studying in?
One of the best ways to work out whether starting an online qualification is the right choice for you is to look at when you have time available to focus on your studies.
For example, do you have a long commute by train or bus when you could work through your assigned reading? Do you have some free time in the evening that you could dedicate to working on assignments? Could you spend your lunchbreak taking part in your discussion forums? Or could you get up a little earlier to fit in a lecturecast before work?
Try looking at your schedule and working out when you have blocks of time available. These don’t need to be long blocks – you could split your work over multiple 1-3 hour blocks throughout the week. Or you may prefer to set aside a certain day, e.g. Sunday, for really focusing on your studies for the full day, as well as doing one or two shorter sessions throughout the week. It really can be whatever works best for you.
How do our students find managing their time?
“I could fit it in around work when I needed to, and I could use things from work into my degree as things came up. It definitely works around a full-time job.” – Richard Harpin, Master of Public Health student
“I usually try to get my lectures read on the train to work. In the evening is when I’m head down with assignments.” – Sophie Blackmore, LLB (Hons) Law student
“All tutors have office hours which means I can contact them at assigned times with questions and get a detailed answer from them then. I have never had problems with time to complete an assignment.” – Kairat Kabashev, MSc Project Management student
“I have made a conscious effort to visit the local coffee shop, I know not everyone has this privilege, but it works like visiting an office for me. For those hours in the week I focus on my studies.” – Adam Newman, LLB (Hons) Law with Business
“It turned out that Afghanistan was the perfect place to get on with studying in my spare time because there were none of the distractions that you get back home like family and a social life!” – Katie Mitchell, BA (Hons) Business and Management student and Sergeant in the Royal Signals
“My son and I do ‘homework’ together, so this takes away the stress of worrying if I am neglecting him. Studying online and being a parent is definitely a challenge, fortunately for me I have a reasonably well-behaved three-year-old who does not interfere with my ‘homework’ as he calls it.” – Jenny, LLB (Hons) Law student and single mum
Have you decided you’ve got the time? Or do you have more questions about fitting studying in?
Why not join an upcoming event to learn more about your chosen course or online study in general?
You could also speak to one of our current students about how they find balancing study with work.
Or if you’re already excited to start committing your time to gaining a new qualification, you can apply online.