Working and Doing a Masters Course
Many students need to work when studying for a Masters course. In autumn 2016 there will be a new postgraduate masters loan scheme, but this scheme will only provide a maximum of £10,000 so this is unlikely to be enough to pay for all fees and living expenses for a year, so there will still be financial factors to take into account, even if you decide to take out the loan.
One of the first things to consider is how much money you think you will need: most masters courses are studied for one year full-time or two years part-time, although not all courses offer the full-time option. Most Universities have an estimate on their website of how much you will need for a living expenses for a year in their area, and some may ask you to provide proof of how you will finance yourself whilst studying the course.
If you are planning to study full-time, it's important to find out in advance how intensive the study will be, and how many hours you should expect to study both at the university and in your own time. You can then decide whether you will have enough time to work and study effectively, and the amount of pay you would need to receive. Asking current students doing the course about working options can be very helpful as it will give you an idea of how they balance work and study and what kinds of jobs are available.
If you already have a job that you want to keep, part-time study may be a good option especially if your work hours are flexible. Some courses have fixed hours and times you are expected to be at the University so you can plan before you start - other courses only fix their timetables shortly before they start and the timetable may also depend on your modules and course choices. Finding out about hours and timetabling in advance if you can will help you plan how to study and work successfully. If you think your course relates to your current job, you may be able to get your employer's support in varying your hours.
If you are moving to a new area to study and you want to work and study part-time, it's important to find out about work opportunities both at the university and in the surrounding area. Many universities have a central database of jobs on campus for students, so you can find out about the types of jobs available and the pay rates in advance. Talking to students currently studying part-time on the course before you start will also give you an idea of how it may be possible to balance your work and study needs.
Whatever your circumstances, planning in advance how much money you need, how much you need to work and how you will manage your work and study balance to suit your own life, will help you complete your masters course successfully.
If you are considering working and doing a PhD there are some different issues to consider, so have a look at our article about this here.
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