Part-Time PhD Study – A Guide | FindAPhD.com (2023)

Written by Mark Bennett

The main difference between part-time PhDs and full-time study is the length of the course. By the end of the PhD you will have completed the same amount of work and produced a full length thesis. There are many reasons why you might a PhD part-time, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.

This page will take you through everything you need to know about doing a PhD part-time. By the end of this guide you will understand the positives and negatives of part-time study, how your doctorate will work and the costs and funding involved.

On this page

Should I do a PhD part-time?How does a part-time PhD work?Fees and funding

Should I do a PhD part-time?

There are many reasons why students opt to study a PhD part-time. Firstly, it enables people to study around current commitments. People intending to do a PhD may already have a full-time job. By studying part-time you won’t need to compromise other areas of your life. Many universities offer part-time study so that people in these types of situations are still able to follow their research passion.

Another popular reason why students may choose to study part-time is to spread the costs. Even if you’re in receipt of funding, costs such as travel or personal equipment can add up quickly. By doing a PhD part-time these costs become more spread out. Instead of travelling into university five days a week, you might only do two. Or you may be able to study at home, only going in when necessary to use resources or meet with a supervisor.

Finally, a part-time PhD offers flexibility. Not only can you balance your life, career and studies more easily in your day-to-day but your mode of study can be changed too. Depending on your course you may be able to change from full-time study to part-time if you desired, and vice-versa. If you find that your personal situation changes, adapting your study situation could be a better option than dropping out.

(Video) PhD Guide | Part Time PhD | Full Time PhD | M Milton Joe

How does a part-time PhD work?

A part-time PhD isn’t that different from a full-time PhD. The main difference is that you spend less time researching each week. But remember, no part-time PhD looks the same. While it is common for students to work on weekends or in the evenings, your schedule will entirely depend on what works best for you.

How long does a part-time PhD take?

Traditionally, a part-time PhD will take double the time of a full-time doctorate. In the UK, the standard PhD is usually between three to four years. Part-time students should expect to be studying for six to eight years. But it is not unheard of for some to finish after five years. How long a part-time PhD takes most depends on how much time you are able to dedicate to research each week. However, if you are in receipt of funding then your funder will likely determine the length of the course.

How many hours is a part-time PhD?

If you work on the basis that a part-time PhD takes twice as long as it would full-time then you should expect to work half the weekly hours. As a standard, universities recommend full-time students to work 35 hours a week, though many may study more (and some less). Therefore, a part-time student might aim to work around 17 hours a week.

However, there is no set amount of hours you’re supposed to put aside for research when studying a part-time PhD. The decision is up to you. People work at different rates and so it’s best to consult with your supervisor if you worry you aren’t doing enough or are feeling burnt out. The best thing is to be consistent. Instead of choosing to study as and when you have time, you should choose regular days or hours to be repeated each week.

Is a part-time PhD easier?

A part-time PhD has both positives and negatives making it hard to determine whether it’s easier than studying full-time. How ‘easy’ a part-time PhD is will heavily depend on your long term motivation and available time.

Here are a few of the positives that studying part-time offers:

  • Less time is dedicated to studying each week, freeing up more time for work or personal commitments
  • It gives people the option to research their passion who might not be able to study full-time
  • Fees and additional costs are more spread out making the degree more financially manageable

And here are some of the negatives:

  • It can be hard to motivate yourself when the degree can take more than five years to complete
  • There is more time for personal and work issues to crop up and take precedent over your studies
  • You may find it harder to interact with the research community if you’re balancing work

Fees and funding

(Video) PhD is Easy | Guidance | Motivation | How to do PhD | M Milton Joe

The big questions when it comes to studying a part-time PhD are whether or not it’s cheaper than full-time study and if there is funding available. This section will take you through everything you need to know about financing a part-time PhD.

How much does a part-time PhD cost?

Essentially a part-time PhD costs the same amount as a full-time PhD, the costs are just spread out. Usually, yearly tuition is half the amount a full-time student would pay. Technically, as some students have worked enough to hand it their final dissertation after five years, rather than six, it is possible to pay slightly less towards tuition overall. However, both life and research can be unpredictable and so we don’t encourage students to enter a part-time PhD assuming that they will be able to finish early.

Can you get funding for a part-time PhD?

Though funded opportunities for part-time students are less common, there are scholarships and studentships out there. Some may come from Research Councils, others from the universities themselves. You can search for funded part-time PhD opportunities on our website.

Unfortunately not every PhD student is awarded a studentship or scholarship but there are many alternative funding options. Part-time students may be able to find financial support through charities and trusts or may choose to apply for the government’s postgraduate student loan.

Currently you can borrow up to £27,265 to cover the entirety of your PhD. The loan is not means-tested and the amount you choose to borrow will be given in equal instalments throughout the degree. Payments are made at the start of each term. So, if you apply for the full loan to cover a six-year PhD then the yearly amount you’ll receive will be around £9,100. This will then be transferred to your account in three parts, meaning that you’ll receive around £3,030 at the start of each semester.

The nature of part-time study also makes it easier to work during your PhD. Many students choose to self-fund their studies. Completing a PhD part-time makes this a more accessible option.

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FAQs

Can I study for a PhD part-time? ›

People intending to do a PhD may already have a full-time job. By studying part-time you won't need to compromise other areas of your life. Many universities offer part-time study so that people in these types of situations are still able to follow their research passion.

Is it worth doing a part-time PhD? ›

A part time PhD will also have a more manageable workload, and supervisors will usually be more experience in providing support to working students. But keep in mind that some PhD part time programmes will not be eligible for financial aid or funding, at which point part time study may no longer be personally worth it.

How many hours a day should a PhD student study? ›

How many hours of study is a PhD? As a general rule, you should expect a full-time PhD to account for 35 hours of work a week – the equivalent of a full-time, 9-5 job. It's likely that during especially busy periods – such as when you're writing up – you may work considerably longer hours.

Can you do a part-time PhD while working full-time? ›

Can you work during a PhD? The simple answer is yes, you can work while studying a PhD and in fact, many do. The most common form of work is teaching. But some students may also have part-time (or full-time jobs outside of the university).

Can I do my PhD while working? ›

There is a great interest amongst working professionals to pursue higher studies. Many institutions in India offer flexibility for working professionals to pursue PhD. The links and basic guidelines for some Institutes and Universities have been outlined, which may serve as a guide to the aspirant.

How many years is a part-time PhD? ›

A part-time PhD typically takes five to eight years, but this time period depends on how long the university offers you and how much work you put in. You might have more time than you initially thought and finish it sooner, or your work and life balance may get in the way and it takes longer.

Which PhD is better full-time or part-time? ›

HomeWhich is better Part -Time or Full- Time PhD?
...
Full-time PhD is betterComplete PhD in just 3 years
A better understanding of PhD methodologyOpportunity to serve as a teaching assistant
Ample amount of time to finish PhD thesisThe scholar can easily access the scholarship program
2 more rows

Does part-time PhD get stipend? ›

Part-time PhD Candidate:

One time incentive of ₹ 2,50,000/- on successful completion of the PhD.

How do you manage a part-time PhD? ›

Part-time doctorate - quick tips
  1. Keep work, study and 'you time' separate. ...
  2. Remain connected with your research community. ...
  3. Get the support you need. ...
  4. Manage your doctorate like a project.

Why is PhD stressful? ›

Stress. With looming deadlines, large scale projects, and a huge amount of personal investment, a PhD can be extremely stressful. This is compounded by the fact that everything is always riding on you and you alone - making the highs higher and the lows, well, let's not go there.

What do PhD students do all day? ›

Many PhD students have about 40 hours a week of reading and classwork, plus around 20 hours a week of assistantship or lab time. And that's minimum. You may also be teaching while you're doing your dissertation.

Can you have a life during PhD? ›

Earning a PhD is a commitment no matter the program, and if you choose a part-time opportunity, it can stretch to seven years past your bachelor's. However, part-time PhDs, whether on campus, online, or hybrid, have become commonplace, and more people take advantage of them every year.

Can PhD be completed in 2 years? ›

A select group of students complete their PhDs in two years, while a tiny number of elite students can get it done in 12 months. It's hard to overstate how rare and impressive this is, but it is always a possibility. The key to a fast-track PhD is building up a strong academic CV before you even start.

What's the difference between PhD and doctorate? ›

The essential difference between a PhD and a professional doctorate is that the possessor of a PhD has demonstrated the ability to use research skills to create original knowledge that contributes to the research and theory in a field, and a possessor of a professional doctorate has demonstrated the ability to evaluate ...

Can you get a PhD Online? ›

Almost certainly fine! And the great thing is it means you can study your PhD from literally anywhere! Online study is a great way to get a PhD, but of course, online study isn't suited to everyone, so before committing you need to make sure that a distance learning PhD program is right for you.

How hard is a PhD? ›

A PhD is not just three years of intense study, but something that will affect your whole life. “It is a long project that is very different to any academic work you'll have done before,” says Alicia Peña Bizama, Life Tools programme manager at the University of Reading. Psychological problems aren't uncommon.

Does having a PhD make you a doctor? ›

In answer to the question, “Is a PhD a doctor,” the answer is yes. Both a PhD and a professional doctorate like an EdD earn you the title of “doctor.” But there are differences between the types of doctoral degrees. Learn more about a PhD vs. a professional doctorate below.

Do you get paid during PhD? ›

At present, PhD stipends languish far below the minimum wage, even allowing for tax on the minimum wage (take off roughly $4,600 for the new minimum wage). The PhD stipend is at a near historical low when compared to the average full-time annual income.

What is the easiest PhD to earn? ›

Examples of the easiest PhD programs: PhD Psychology. PhD Counselor Education and Supervision. PhD Business Management.
...
Online DBA program focuses:
  • DBA in General Management.
  • DBA in Organizational Leadership and Development.
  • DBA in Strategy and Innovation.

How old are PhD students? ›

In 2020 in the United States, 44.1 percent of doctorate recipients fell within the age bracket of 26 to 30 years old. A further 31.1 percent of doctorate recipients were between the ages of 31 and 35 years old.

Can you do a PhD without a Masters? ›

There is no one way to get onto a PhD programme without a Masters. Usually, the route you take will depend on your abilities and your subject's requirements. Though it is technically possible in any department, students from the Sciences are most likely to be able to jump from a Bachelors to a PhD.

What happens in part-time PhD? ›

The part-time PhD student will largely work independently but will work on his or her subject in consultation with the supervisor. At least six months of course work will have to be attended by them full-time.

How do I convert my full time PhD to part-time? ›

A student requesting such a conversion must: have completed the course-work, passed the comprehensive examination, given in the "State of Art " Seminar in the topic no. 10 which is adjudged as satisfactory, and completed the residence requirements. get the request endorsed by the supervisor(s) and the DPGC.

How many hours is a PhD? ›

Most Ph. D. programs require the full 120 hours, while professional doctorates can require as few as 58 hours. Area of Study: What you choose to study will greatly impact your required credit hours.

Can a part-time PhD get fellowship? ›

No. They don't. However, if you're sponsored by an organisation like a company or an educational institute, you might continue getting your salary, even as your work on your research, provided they have such schemes or are willing to support original research work.

Can I get scholarship for part-time PhD? ›

Re: Is there any scholarships available for part time PhD students in India? Yes, definitely scholarships are available for those candidates who are pursuing Ph. D in India. Different Universities offer scholarships for the candidates those who are doing Ph.

Who is eligible for PhD stipend? ›

In addition to above the candidate should have qualified GATE/GPAT during the last 5 years. For SC/ST/Physically Challenged candidates CGPA requirement will be 7.0 on the scale of 10 or equivalent or general candidate must have secured 75% marks or above & 70% marks for candidates of reserved categories respectively.

How much does a part-time PhD cost UK? ›

Home students beginning their PhD in September 2021 (or later) will be charged the following tuition fees: £4,500 for full-time research degrees. £2,250 for part-time research degrees.

Can international student do part-time PhD? ›

Eligible courses

Student visas are available for qualifications at all levels of the UK higher education system, including Bachelors, Masters and PhD programmes. However, student visas for part-time study are only available to postgraduates. Undergraduate students must study full-time.

How long does a part-time PhD take UK? ›

In the UK, a part-time PhD will typically take you 6 to 7 years; twice as long as doing a full-time PhD. The reason for this is that as a part-time PhD student, you would dedicate around 20 hours per week to your PhD as opposed to the typical 40 hours full-time students would put into their subject.

Is a PhD harder than a job? ›

Overall, a PhD can be harder than a job due to uncertainty, project responsibility, academic hierarchy, and unpaid-long work hours. However, there can be some cases where a job might be more demanding compared to a PhD. Thus, it really depends on the nature of a PhD or job.

What is PhD syndrome? ›

The “pull him/her down” or the “PhD” syndrome is the Ghanaian colloquial term for malicious envy, the arousal of primitive urges to destroy the good fortune of someone simply because one lacks what the envied other has.

Is PhD lonely? ›

Completing a PhD is no small feat. It requires both high intellect and a great deal of tenacity. But it can be lonely at the top, with many PhD students struggling with stress, feelings of isolation and depression. The pressure can mean that many don't see their degree through and drop out early.

How many hours a week do PhD students work? ›

The breakdown. For the most part, a PhD student will probably spend about 30 hours a week in their lab or working on their research and another 10 to 20 doing other things such as classes, TA stuff, homework, or writing. If you don't work in a lab, replace the 30 hours of lab work with 30 hours of writing and research.

What percentage of PhD students drop out? ›

Attrition: How Much is Too Much?” published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, the current Ph. D. attrition rate is approximately 50%. That means one out of every two students who start a Ph.

How can I enjoy my PhD life? ›

Socialize with your lab group and other students. It's a great way to discuss PhD experiences, get advice and help, improve your research and make friends. 13. Attend departmental seminars and lab-group meetings, even (or especially) when the topic is not your area of expertise.

How many holidays do PhD students get? ›

From what I've seen, most university departments suggest taking up to 40 days annual leave as a PhD student. This includes bank holidays and days when the university is closed (over Christmas and Easter).

Can PhD students have fun? ›

The reality is that your social life as a PhD student doesn't need to be any different from how it would be if you were working a regular job. Just like how university graduates who go on to have “normal” jobs still go out and have fun, so can PhD students.

How can a PhD student earn money? ›

Here are a few of the most popular part time jobs for grad students:
  1. Bartending/Wait Staff. You can make a good hourly wage bartending and serving, especially if you're a people person. ...
  2. Tutoring. ...
  3. Freelance Writing. ...
  4. Freelance Textbook Editing. ...
  5. Teach a Class at a Local Library or Community College.
25 May 2018

What is the average PhD salary? ›

A mid-career PHD Student with 4-9 years of experience earns an average salary of ₹5.2 Lakhs per year, while an experienced PHD Student with 10-20 years of experience earns an average salary of ₹12.7 Lakhs per year.

Can I get a PhD without a dissertation? ›

Some doctoral programs don't require a dissertation. In these cases, schools will likely require you to enter the program with a master's degree in that field or a closely related area. Some EdD programs, such as the one offered at Baylor University, don't require a traditional dissertation.

Can an average student do PhD? ›

With sufficient motivation, you probably could. But there's a problem: you need to get into a PhD program, which is hard for an average student. Of course, there are some PhD programs with very low admission standards. But then you need to ask what the odds of success are.

Is a PhD harder than a doctorate? ›

Bottom line: As the PhD is more academic, research-focused, and heavy on theory, an applied doctorate degree is intended for you to master a subject in both theory and practice.

Which degree is higher than PhD? ›

The Doctor of Education is technically higher than the PhD.. It is longer and can require you to study more than one area of expertise in addition to doing the dissertation - longer credits, longer study, more costly.

Is Professor higher than Doctor? ›

It is widely accepted that the academic title of Professor is higher than a Doctor, given that the job title of professor is the highest academic position possible at a university. Remember that the Doctor title here refers specially to a PhD (or equivalent doctoral degree) holder and not a medical doctor.

Is online PhD respected? ›

If you go to a quality school, many employers recognize and value an employee who obtains a PhD, no matter if it is online or at a traditional school. However, if you are still wary about the reputation of a particular school, then ask the students who have graduated from the program.

Can I do my PhD from home? ›

The candidates do not need to go out of the country and they can complete their PhD degree by staying in their home country. The Universities offer online PhD in various fields like engineering, nursing, education, design, medicine, science, arts, etc.

Is full time or part-time PhD better? ›

For full time, the scholar can complete their program in as less as three years and engage in the job market where they have higher chances of being employed. A part-time scholar, on the other hand, may be required to take up to nine years to complete their course.

Can you do a PhD by distance learning? ›

Students can avail of Distance Learning Ph. D. Programs as it is affordable and students can pursue this degree through part-time or full-time mode.

Is it possible to do a PhD Online? ›

Online doctorate programs are rising in popularity as more and more professionals see the value of refining their skillsets via efficient and convenient programs. Today, there are 205 accredited institutions in the United States offering more than 1,000 online doctorate programs.

How many hours do PhD students study? ›

Many PhD students have about 40 hours a week of reading and classwork, plus around 20 hours a week of assistantship or lab time. And that's minimum. You may also be teaching while you're doing your dissertation.

What happens in part-time PhD? ›

The part-time PhD student will largely work independently but will work on his or her subject in consultation with the supervisor. At least six months of course work will have to be attended by them full-time.

Does part-time PhD get stipend? ›

Part-time PhD Candidate:

One time incentive of ₹ 2,50,000/- on successful completion of the PhD.

Can you do a PhD without a Masters? ›

There is no one way to get onto a PhD programme without a Masters. Usually, the route you take will depend on your abilities and your subject's requirements. Though it is technically possible in any department, students from the Sciences are most likely to be able to jump from a Bachelors to a PhD.

Can you get a PhD in one year? ›

The number of one-year doctoral programs is pretty slim. Almost equally as rare are two-year doctoral programs, but there's a few colleges and universities offering these programs in a handful of academic areas, with different types of requirements, and we'll discuss each one of your options below.

Which countries offer free PhD? ›

Then you'll be pleased to learn there are a number of countries where PhD tuition is both free and world-leading. As many students now choose to do, you could opt to pursue your studies free of charge, or relatively inexpensively, in Germany, France, Finland, Sweden or Norway at world-class establishments.

Is PhD from Open University valid? ›

Is a PhD from IGNOU valid? Yes, IGNOU is a recognized University in India; hence it is not only valid in India but also throughout the world.

What is the easiest PhD to get? ›

Examples of the easiest PhD programs: PhD Psychology. PhD Counselor Education and Supervision. PhD Business Management.
...
Online DBA program focuses:
  • DBA in General Management.
  • DBA in Organizational Leadership and Development.
  • DBA in Strategy and Innovation.

What is the quickest PhD to get? ›

The Top Seven Fastest Online Ph.D. Programs
RankSchool
1Bowling Green State University
2East Carolina University
3Georgia State University
4Hampton University
3 more rows
17 Sept 2020

What is the easiest doctorate to get? ›

Below is a list of 30 easiest Doctorate programs without Dissertation:
  • Doctor of Osthepatic Medicine (DO)
  • DME – Doctor of Music Education.
  • DPT in Physical Therapy.
  • DNP in Nursing.
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
  • DNP in Nursing.
  • DPT in Physical Therapy.
  • DVM in Veterinary Medicine.
9 May 2022

Can you have a life during PhD? ›

Earning a PhD is a commitment no matter the program, and if you choose a part-time opportunity, it can stretch to seven years past your bachelor's. However, part-time PhDs, whether on campus, online, or hybrid, have become commonplace, and more people take advantage of them every year.

How can I enjoy my PhD life? ›

Socialize with your lab group and other students. It's a great way to discuss PhD experiences, get advice and help, improve your research and make friends. 13. Attend departmental seminars and lab-group meetings, even (or especially) when the topic is not your area of expertise.

How do PhD students live? ›

15 Tips on Surviving Your PhD
  1. Establish a routine you can follow. It's crucial to stay on track. ...
  2. Start writing from day one. ...
  3. Create a positive community. ...
  4. Build effective networks. ...
  5. Put money woes to rest. ...
  6. Make sound nutrition your ally. ...
  7. Add exercise to your routine. ...
  8. Learn how to deal with rejection.
19 Dec 2018

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