Careers ServiceBalancing work & study

Having a job while you're a full-time student may be an economic necessity for some. There are many advantages to gaining work experience for your CV. But first stop and think about the effects that working could have on your degree.

Dos & don'ts of balancing work & study


  • give enough time to your academic work - it's the reason you are here and should be your first priority
  • try to cut down work at exam times, either ask for time off or, if possible, try and swap shifts
  • keep a record of your part-time work - this will be useful when compiling your CV. Even if your part-time job isn't very glamorous or exciting, remember that through work you develop skills. These can include team working, communication, and negotiation skills. You can take these with you to your next job
  • take time to think about how your university timetable, your hobbies and interests, and your social life fit together. Try to figure out how you could fit in part-time work with the least effect on all these. For example, you may be able to fit in a Saturday or a Sunday job or one or two evenings during the week. It's important to have time to yourself to relax and unwind. Plus employers are keen to see extracurricular activities on your CV. It shows you're a well-rounded person


  • work during timetabled classes. Missing classes and submitting work late or of poor quality will seriously affect your degree. Honours students can find the balance between studying and working part-time difficult to achieve. It takes a lot of self-discipline to keep on top of your studies and hold down paid work
  • commit yourself to work in a remote area, unless you have a car or a real enthusiasm for public transport. It can cost you a lot more time and money travelling to and from work. Most students find it is best to try to find a job near home or near the campus
  • work more than 20 hours per week during semester*. Many students find that 20 hours is too much and prefer to work fewer hours or only work on a casual/temporary basis

*If you find you need to work excessive hours due to reasons of financial hardship and you're a UK/home student, you may be entitled to assistance from the Discretionary Fund. Please visit the Funding & Financial Support Team for further information.