Hello everyone. I was due to start a full-time, self-funded PhD in October but as I was looking through the regulations I noticed the minimum period for part-time completion is only 3 years (36 months). Full-time fees are £4,500/year and part-time are half that so I'd save £6,750 across 3 years, or £9000 if it happened to take 4 years. Has anyone done this? Are there any disadvantages to registering as part-time while actually studying full-time?
Thanks for any advice,
The biggest issues I can see is limitations on access and supervisory time. Part-time is cheaper because they expect you to use facilities and academics time less and if someone notices that you are effectively full-time they could put limits on you. I actually quite like your idea but you would have to be careful not to make it obvious.
Also, does your university have any regulations about early submission? I know my university makes it awkward to submit early, which might make it difficult to finish after exactly 36 months.
Thanks rewt. I don't think use of facilities/supervision will be a problem since I'm a literature student. I'll rarely be on campus and I prefer working on my own. But I did some more digging and I think you're right that submitting at 36 months might be inconvenient. There are three quite in-depth progression reviews (an initital first-year one, then an MPhil to PhD confirmation, and then a final one before submission), which occur according to approximate timetables for full-time and part-time. I would have to apply each time for an early review then finally for early submission, and I suspect they may just force me to switch to full-time at some point. But then again, why would they say that the minimum period is 36 months if they don't in fact allow it? I wonder what they would say if I just told them my intention to do it part-time but with the hope of finishing within 4 years?
Something else I just thought of is that part-time keeps open the option of Universal Credit in case I lose my part-time job, which I am worried about because my employer was hit hard by the lockdowns and has already made cuts.
To make matters more complicated, I'm planning to apply to AHRC next year (I missed the deadline this year due to illness) and I'm concerned that being part-time would look worse because of the higher incompletion rate.
Another uncertainty is whether the faculty/department wants to accept part-time PhD students. The department usually wants full-time students because the department usually wants PhD student to perform teaching duty(grading students' exam papers, conducting tutorial and invigilating exam) and research duty (doing literature review/collecting data to publish papers).
I was a student ambassador in MPhil/PhD information for more than five times. In Hong Kong, the faculty members clearly reject part-time students.
(Thanks for clarifying. I did not know that UK accepts every self-funded student . I had Hong Kong's perspective. Perhaps I am a bit out of topic.)
I hadn't heard about AHRC funding being more difficult in the second year but that does make sense, alas. There are two departmental scholarships I can apply for which my supervisor has encouraged, so fingers crossed.
I registered for a part-time phd for the financial reasons you said. Many people say don't do a self-funded PhD, but this depends entirely on your situation and aims I think, I had been out of university for a long time and not worked because I had some drug problems in my 20s and therefore could fund this through Universal Credit (being on higher rate because of my health problem). People don't realise not everyone is lucky enough to get onto a funded PhD. Anyway, I paid half the fees than a fulltime would because in my universiy part-time says 4-6 years whereas fulltime phd says 2-4 years, so I intended to complete in four, like a regular PhD student but with less fees. My supervisors understood this because I told them at interview and told them the university minimum requirements in their own booklet and that part-time fees were substantially less as a self-funded person. I won a scholarship in my first year (to cover fees and a little extra) but still stayed on part-time to take some pressure off, and also to keep fees low.
Thanks for replying, PsychologicalDr, I'm really glad to hear someone else is doing this. I am thinking of just e-mailing my supervisor and being honest like you were. When you told them about the cheaper fees and pointed them to the regulations, what did they say in reply? And have you had to apply for early progression reveiws? In my booklet there is a rough timetable of reviews that you have to pass and they are different for full and part-time candidates.
And I agree about self-funding! I've had serious health issues for the past two years forcing me to repeatedly delay the PhD. I'm finally healthy again and there's no way I'm delaying for a third year. My plan is the same as yours, i.e. apply for scholarships while a student. Great to hear you were successful.
I don't remember, I actually told them what the university said about part-time regulations on the day in the physical interview because I had read it before. They had no idea (main supervisor) and were shocked that a part-time PhD was four years, but they understood that I was doing it for cheaper fees, because I had told him about my background situation in phone interview someweeks before. Also, one of my 2nd supewrvisors (I have 3), went backwards and forwards between part-time/full-time phd, and suspending/coming back because she had 2 children I think and was also self-funding her phd (she worked in clinical research for university).
My 'progression' is just half of what a full-time is, full-time is supposed to have 12 meetings a year, part-time 6, but we have 12 even though they know I am not fulltime. I have progress meetings once a year and I have told them (independent people) that I am part-time and so I am not doing things as quickly as a fulltime student. Full-time and part-time havbe these once a year and there is a diagram that shows what a part-time vs. fulltime needs to achieve in a review meeting which are different things. They understand this, otherwise why offer a part-time option? Also, the admin staff have told me if they try to make you work harder than you are able come to them because I am part-time not full-time. The good thijng is you do not have to strictly stick to the timetable writte in books, sometimes you can speed up and sometimes slow down, do things in first year that were meant in second, and the reverse. PhD is really your project and most supervisors don't honestly care much about what you do, they leave you alone apart from meeting once a month.
I am also glad that PsychologicalDr is also a self-funded student who can answer H94’s question. I am sorry that I did not know the situation in UK.
H94 said that he would like to study full-time but registered as a part-time PhD. If he wants to complete PhD within 3 years and would like more supervision, does the status of being part-time affect his chances of completing PhD within 3 years or receiving more supervision?
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