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Four tips to manage your part-time postgraduate course

Studying for a part-time postgraduate degree requires balancing multiple deadlines and assignments. Here are four tips to help you get through the academic year

  • Student life
Molly Whyte's avatar

Molly Whyte

March 27 2017
Balancing a part-time postgraduate course


I am almost at the end of my first year of studying for an MA in Arts and Cultural Management at King’s College London. The final finish line is still in the distance, so I won't pretend to have all the answers. Still, certain habits and approaches have helped me to manage my academic workload alongside other responsibilities so far.

I hope that this will be useful if you are considering taking up an MA course or another part-time qualification. If you are in a similar situation to me, do share any other advice you have in the comments section.

Schedule efficiently

All degrees involve managing competing priorities, but this is an even more important skill for part-time students. You are likely to be switching between mindsets and travelling frequently between home, work and university. Figure out ways to save time, like organising group project meetings before or after class and reserving books that you can pick up at the library when you are nearby.

I also recommend thinking about how and when you work best. For example, when working on essays, I like to write in the morning and read or edit in the afternoon.

Maintain boundaries

Establishing a clear divide between paid/professional work and university work is not always easy so I find it helpful to separate my tasks. I have set days for my work with Student Hubs and for MA work, which change each term. It can be good to allow a degree of flexibility though.

Sometimes I schedule meetings with my London-based colleagues after class or note down essay-related thoughts on my lunch break. I also make time for writing, relationships and rest. Switching off is important too!

Build relationships

It can be harder to develop relationships with other students and tutors when you need to head straight from class to work or fit in a productive afternoon at the library. Make time to socialise with classmates, even if that just means a quick cup of tea or lunch on campus.

Get to know your tutors and different research areas in your department as well. If you are not on campus during office hours, try to arrange another time to meet - most academics can be flexible too.

Look ahead

It can be useful to think ahead. As a part-time student, you can quiz your full-time friends about the modules you could take in future years. You will also get to see them go through the dissertation process first and hopefully benefit from their experiences.

Even so, avoid planning too far in advance. Try to appreciate having more time to explore your interests and gain additional experience.

Molly Whyte is a part-time student in MA Arts and Cultural Management at King’s College London

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