Full Time PhD student and working part time



Are you a full time PhD student and you work part time too in another job? I have heard of quite a few students that work during the working week in another job and I was rather surprised. Hence I was wondering:

How many days per week do you work, and do you actually make up the hours in the weekend/evenings or not?

Also, for those of you that don't work outside of your PhD, why not? I don't work outside of my PhD as I really want to finish my PhD before the end of the three years. But after hearing that a lot of students 'work' in PhD hours, I am thinking maybe I should too ... What would you advise?


Hi Chococake

You don't really have a box to fit what I did! During my PhD I have done quite a lot of work for my department but not always on a regular basis. For instance when I am teaching tutorials, that would be one day a week but then nothing in another semester. I have also marked January exams so that would be a blitz for a fortnight or so each year. For the last four years I have graded state examinations; that's three weeks hard hard slog of 12+ hours days each July. I'm currently writing up, hoping to submit in the summer and haven't worked at all this year, except to give a dig out at the uni open day.


======= Date Modified 05 Apr 2011 13:23:31 =======
Hi Chococake I don't work outside my PhD mainly because I had to work throughout my BSc and MSc and it is nice to be able to devote all my time to PhD work without having to fit it in around a job. During my MSc which I did part time I worked 5 days a week in the first year and had 2 days at uni so very rarely got any time to myself. I took out a loan for the second year so could cut my shifts down at work, which was necessary to avoid burn out.

The only thing I have to do is 2 hours demonstrating a week during term time. Last term I had to go through the notes for the session beforehand then do the session but all in all that amounts to less than one days work a week and it's a condition of my studentship so I have kind of accepted it as part of my PhD and don't consider it to be additional work.

Hopefully I won't get roped into doing any extra teaching next year as I've never really wanted to teach.


I don't work outside my PhD because I will be gaining my PhD from the work I am doing as an RA. In a way I guess I work 5 days a week whilst doing my PhD, but as my paid employment pretty much IS my PhD I don't think this counts!

If I was doing a PhD the regular way then I wouldn't work more than two days a week and I'd be loathe to work at another job at all. I suppose if I didn't have enough money I would have to, but I would first question WHY I didn't have enough money and perhaps cut down expenditure. A full time PhD is at least the same hours as a job in my eyes, and doing more than 40 hours a week consistently isn't healthy, as I'm sure many people on here who have done that just on their PhD will attest!


I am a full time PhD student and I work one full day in the week doing another job and also work a few bar shifts in the evening when needed. I am self funded so need to work in order to live. Currently there are no teaching hours available for me at my institution but I will receive any that arise. I tend not to make up the hours lost at work unless I need to. Instead of working say 35-40hours a week I prefer to work to my timeline and know where I need to be at that point. If I am behind then I work more hours to catch up. If I'm ahead then I have more time to do a little extra paid work. At the moment I'm in a pickle tho as in terms of writing I am way ahead of where I need to be. But in terms of data collection I am several months behind dues to many unforseeable difficulties arising.

I would advise only working outside of your PhD if you need the money. Otherwise it's pretty stressfull.


I'm a full-time PhD student and work about 15-20 hours a week in an admin job - which is all day Saturday and three late afternoon/evening shifts a week. I wish I didn't have to do it, and it is tough, but I need to as I am self-funded and so I need the money. I am used to working as well as studying having done so during my BA and MSc, but I am now finding it much harder. Still, it hasn't been obviously detrimental to my research so far but then I am only two months in. I should be getting some teaching work from October that will allow me to give up my p/t job so I'm looking forward to that. The only advantage to my job is that it's desk-based and I am generally alone with internet access - so if I am organised I can work from here, although obviously I prefer working from home or at my uni desk.


I don't work alongside my PhD. I am in first year and not had the chance of any teaching yet.

Basically, I gave up a full-time job to study full-time. I am determined to finish in the three years I have, and so I'd rather sacrifice a bit of short-term poverty for a longer term ability to move into the labour market swiftly at the end*.

* of course, job market dependent, this might not be the case.



Im new to all this only started my PhD last Friday, but one of the things I want to get out of it is some teaching experience.  Is there an etiquette to approaching the school about teaching? I don't want to come across pushy as its my first week but would like to have a go at some point.

I did mean to discuss it with my supervisor a couple of times but wimped out thinking I'd look really ungrateful.


======= Date Modified 05 Apr 2011 22:56:07 =======
@Addz8: I don't know your field but from my experience of postgrad life (masters+PhD) departments are always looking for postgrads to take tutorials and do some teaching. The teaching bit often comes later as you become more established as a postgrad but if your department has a large undergrad cohort, more than likely it will need postgrads to tutor. Check out who the first year manager is and you could try making contact that way. Also, unless you think your supv will veto teaching/tutorial work, I don't think there is anything wrong with checking with him re: asking how to go about it. I'm at the stage now where I'm refusing work due to writing up but it's there for the taking for whoever wants it.


Hi Chococake,

I work full-time and I'm doing a Phd part-time. So yes, I work 5 full days a week. At first I tried to squeeze in PhD in the evenings and weekends, but found I was just too tired, and want to spend that time with my partner. Now I get the laptop out on my long commute to work every morning and back home again in the evenings, which guarantees at least two hours of work on the PhD every weekday. It's not much, but the PhD is ever-so-slowly taking shape. Reaching 80,000 words still seems a long way off though!!


Thanks everyone! Looking at all your experiences, I think I am going to stick at working full time on my PhD and aim to work hard and try and finish in time :)


It's interesting to see people's responses! I think in part it depends on subject area, as some PhDs are easier to juggle with paid employment. Personally, being a full-time PhD and unfunded, there were times where I was working four or more full days a week on my multiple paid jobs - no fun when it comes to doing your tax return, I can tell you. However, I am on course to hand in at the end of this month, with any luck, which will be around the three and a half year mark - so insane workloads can be handled!