Is studying part-time an option for me?

Kathrin Mueller, U-Multirank

Nov 03, 2020 15:26 (CET)

Is studying part-time an option for me

Studying at a university requires time. Apart from attending lectures and seminars, successfully studying also involves the preparation and study time at home and the drafting of assignments or theses. Although the exact amount of time needed can vary (depending e.g. on your semester, subject, personal pace or schedule), full-time study programmes usually are designed to have a workload comparable to a full-time job.

Have you ever wondered whether part-time studying could be a worthwhile alternative for you if your personal situation does not allow you to pursue a full-time study programme? 
In this article, we will explain what exactly studying part-time means and for whom it might be a promising alternative to a full-time study programme.

What does part-time study mean?

Generally speaking, studying part-time means a reduced time commitment of the study load per semester, compared to a full-time programme. Consequently, the duration until graduation increases. De facto part-time students are enrolled in a full-time programme, but complete less courses per semester than intended in the study plan. This can either be the case as an informal way of studying or by officially being approved as part-time students.

Official part-time programmes are completely designed as part-time offers, with a reduced schedule for all students of this programme. Often, in such programmes, the courses are also offered at times that make it easier to combine studying with other commitments (e.g. at weekends or in the evening).  

Is there a certain amount of hours per week for part-time studies?

The exact amount of time needed for part-time programmes varies as much as the offer of part-time programmes itself. It is therefore worth to carefully compare the specific study conditions, if you plan to enrol in a part-time programme.

Why should I study part-time?

There are many reasons why people chose to study part-time. Part-time studying allows you to combine studying with other obligations and commitments, such as raising children or caring for relatives in need of care. Another main reason for studying part-time is the possibility to study while already being regularly employed.

Studying part-time while being employed

Life-long learning has become more and more important. Even if you have already started your job, you are expected to keep up to date with the developments in your working area. Job positions with managerial responsibilities often require the proof of certain formal qualifications. Therefore, obtaining another degree, can help you to climb the job ladder. Moreover, by successfully having passed a part-time programme while being employed at the same time, you demonstrate your high motivation, stamina and stress resistance – skills that are highly acknowledged by employers.

How do students experience part-time studies: findings of the U-Multirank student survey

How satisfied are part-time students with their study experience? To answer this question, the most recent U-Multirank student survey data was analysed. We compared full- and part-time students’ evaluations for the overall satisfaction with the study experience and two aspects of study organisation: the feasibility of the programme (e.g. being able to graduate within the norm time) and the access to classes (e.g. no overlaps in time of offered courses). Participating students rated those aspects on a 6-point scale, ranging from very good (1) to 6 (very poor).

The results show that overall, full-time and part-time students are almost equally satisfied with all three analysed outcome variables (see figure 1).

Full and part time student satisfaction - 1


However, if the group of part-time students is split up, the picture changes: as visualized in figure 2, students who actually study part-time, but are formally enrolled in a full-time programme, stated to be significantly less happy with their study experience in total, as well as with regard to the feasibility of the programme and access to the classes. Part-time students in official part-time programmes, on the contrary, indicated to be significantly more satisfied with their study experience and the organisation of the study programme, compared to both other groups. They hence represented the most satisfied of all three analysed student groups.


Full and part time student satisfaction 2


Takeaways on studying part-time

Studying part-time allows you to combine studying with other personal commitments. As such, and in line with the goal of life-long learning, it represents a considerable option for personal development in every life span. Moreover, it can be beneficial for your own career path.
The U-Multirank results however show, that studying part-time can be perceived as dissatisfying if the study programme structure is not aimed at such a form of studying.

Given these findings and the great variety of part-time study options, you should compare programmes and their conditions in detail if you plan to start a part-time study programme.
U-Multirank gives you the perfect basis for this: it includes in-depth information on both full- as well as part-time study programmes. Explore our Best university for me tool to find the perfect programme for you!



Stay informed about U-Multirank:

Financial Partners:

close Icon

Consent Preferences / Cookie Settings

This page allows you to opt out of optional cookies used by the U-Multirank website.

Once you have set your cookie preferences, we will follow the specific choices you made. Please remember that if you delete your cookies, or use a different browser or computer, you will need to set your cookie preferences again. 

Required Cookies

These cookies enable core site functionality. It is not possible to disable these cookies since our services do not work without them. They are emitted by the CMS and by the U-Multirank Data Collection-API and they hold information about your choices. They are used for functional purposes only and are not valid beyond this session.

Tracking Cookies

These cookies are used to track performance and to monitor functionality of the website. This information helps us to optimize our services. Embedded partners are Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, DoubleClick and HotJar.