Part Time PhDs – Everything You Need To Know

Published 16 October, 2023


So, you’re considering a part time PhD? Whether you’re looking to advance your career, gain new skills or knowledge, or simply pursue a subject you’re passionate about, undertaking a PhD can be a great way to achieve your goals. But what is a part time PhD? And what are the benefits and challenges of pursuing one?

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of everything you need to know about part time PhDs, from the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing one, to the different funding options available. We’ll also share some top tips on how to make the most of your part time studies. So whether you’re just starting to consider a part time PhD, or you’re already enrolled on a course, read on for everything you need to know.

What does Part Time PhD mean?

A Part Time PhD is a doctoral degree that is earned through part-time study. Generally, Part Time PhD programs allow students to complete their coursework and dissertation requirements over a longer period of time than traditional, full-time doctoral programs.

Part Time PhDs are popular among working professionals who want to continue working while they pursue their graduate degree. They can also be a good option for students who want more flexibility in their schedule or who need to balance work and family obligations with school.

What are the benefits of pursuing a part time PhD?

There are a number of advantages to pursuing a part time PhD. These include:

  1. You can continue working while you study: One of the main benefits of pursuing a part time PhD is that you can continue working while you complete your studies. This can be beneficial if you’re looking to advance your career or gain new skills and knowledge while you earn your degree.
  2. You can tailor your studies to fit your schedule: Part time PhD programs are generally more flexible than traditional, full-time programs. This means that you can tailor your studies to fit around your work and family commitments.
  3. You may be able to get financial support from your employer: Some employers may be willing to help financially support their employees who are pursuing a part time PhD. This can be in the form of tuition reimbursement, paid leave, or other financial assistance.
  4. You can network with other professionals in your field: Pursuing a part time PhD can also be a great way to network with other professionals in your field. This can be beneficial if you’re looking to make connections for future career opportunities.
  5. It gives you the opportunity to study in more depth: A part time PhD allows you to study a subject in more depth than you would be able to if you were pursuing a traditional, full-time program. This can be beneficial if you’re looking to gain a deep understanding of your chosen field.

What are the challenges of pursuing a part time PhD?

There are also some challenges associated with pursuing a part time PhD. These include:

It can take longer to complete: One of the main disadvantages of pursuing a part time PhD is that it can take longer to complete than a traditional, full-time program. This is due to the fact that you’re only taking classes part time and you may need to take breaks from your studies to work or care for your family.

You may have less time to dedicate to your studies: Because you’re working and/or caring for your family while you pursue your degree, you may have less time to dedicate to your studies than you would if you were enrolled in a traditional, full-time program. This can make it more difficult to complete your coursework and dissertation requirements.

You may have difficulty securing funding: Part time PhD programs are not as common as traditional, full-time programs, which means that there may be less financial support available. This can make it difficult to cover the costs of tuition, books, and living expenses.

Feeling like you’re not making as much progress as full-time students- It’s easy to feel discouraged when you see how much other people seem to be getting done. Just remember that everyone works at their own pace and if you keep plugging away then eventually you’ll get there too! 

What are the different types of part time PhDs?

There are two main types of part time PhDs: online and evening/weekend programs.

Online programs: Online part time PhD programs are typically offered by distance learning institutions. These programs allow you to complete your coursework and dissertation requirements online, which can be beneficial if you’re looking for a more flexible option.

Evening/weekend programs: Evening/weekend part-time PhD programs are typically offered by brick-and-mortar institutions. These programs generally have set class times that you must attend, which can be beneficial if you’re looking for a more structured option.

What is the fee for persuing part time PhD?

The fee for part time PhD programs can vary depending on the institution and program you choose. Generally, online programs are less expensive than evening/weekend programs. Tuition rates for part time PhD programs can also vary depending on whether you’re enrolled as a domestic or international student.

The average yearly tuition fee for part-time PhD study in the United Kingdom is £2,200.

The costs of tuition and living are on the rise. In some cases, it can cost more than a doctorate degree for students to get their education at public universities.

This is why we recommend checking with each university as they offer different rates when applying specifically because there may be some additional fees that need covered like admin/overhead expenses due in addition 50% or 60%.

Is funding and scholarships available for Part-time PhD scholars?

There are numerous scholarships awarded to those who qualify. The part-time PhD is not left out, but because the number of students in this type of program is lower than the full-time, there may be fewer scholarship options. Some of these general scholarships can still be applied to part-time students, so it is important to speak with the financial aid office of the school you are interested in attending.

Another avenue to explore is through your employer. If your company is supportive of your higher education goals, they may be willing to help with the cost of tuition and/or books. Employer reimbursement programs vary, so it is best to speak with your human resources department about what is offered.

For those with a passion for research, there are many opportunities to pursue funding. You may apply subject-specific bursaries or scholarships from departments within your university as well as external bodies such Research Councils and charities that offer grants specifically designed around what they need most at the moment – which means these awards won’t just go towards any project! It’s important you keep up-to date on all new developments in this area because it can depend very much upon where candidates stand after completing their studies.

Part-time PhD students can also apply for federal financial aid, such as Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans. These loans are need-based, so you may not qualify if you have a high income.


How long does it take to complete a part-time PhD?

Like many other countries, the UK has an average time requirement for completing a PhD. The minimum is 6-7 years and maximum 8 Full Time Doctorate Programmes (FTDP). This gives you enough room to explore your options before committing yourself fully into one research project or program.

A part-time PhD will take you longer to complete than a full-time program, but the timeline is still flexible. Many students finish their coursework and exams within 2-3 years and spend the remainder of their time working on their dissertation.

What is the average number of working hours required in part time PhD?

You can expect to work less than full time students, but the hours you do put in will have a greater impact on your education. Full-time undergraduate students are required to log 35 weekly appearances for courses and tasks related with their degrees; however most earners only spend around 40 – 45 per week when accounting for outside activities like jobs or hobbies they may also have going at any given moment during study season (which varies depending upon individual circumstances). As such you have to work for approx 20hrs per week.

This can be broken down into two distinct types of hours: those spent in class, and those spent on research and writing.

Classroom time for a part-time PhD student will be similar to that of a full-time student, although there may be more opportunity to tailor your schedule to fit your needs. For example, if you work better in the mornings, you may be able to arrange your classes for the first half of the day.

The number of hours spent on research and writing will depend on the amount of time you have available to dedicate to your studies. If you are working a full-time job in addition to pursuing your PhD, you may only have a few hours each week to work on your dissertation. In this case, it is important to be very organized and efficient with your time.

Part-Time PhDs for International Students

International students may pursue a part-time PhD in the UK. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering this option.

First, you will need to obtain a student visa. To do this, you will need an offer of admission from a university as well as proof that you have the financial means to support yourself during your studies.

You will also need to meet the English language requirements for your program. Most universities in the UK require international students to take a language test such as the IELTS or TOEFL.

Finally, it is important to note that you may not be eligible for certain funding opportunities if you are pursuing a part-time PhD. For example, you may not be able to apply for research grants that are only available to full-time students.


Earning a PhD is a significant accomplishment that can take many years of dedication and hard work. For some students, the traditional route of completing a full-time PhD program may not be possible due to other commitments. Part time PhD programs offer an alternative way to earn a doctoral degree while still being able to maintain your current lifestyle.

Overall, a part time PhD program can be a great option for students who are unable to commit to a full time program. If you’re interested in pursuing a part-time PhD, make sure to do your research and choose a program that’s right for you.

Stuck During Your Dissertation

Our top dissertation writing experts are waiting 24/7 to assist you with your university project,from critical literature reviews to a complete PhD dissertation.

Recent Research Guides for 2023

Get 15% off your first order with My Research Topics

Connect with a professional writer within minutes by placing your first order. No matter the subject, difficulty, academic level or document type, our writers have the skills to complete it.