If you’re studying a full-time Masters, part-time work can sometimes be tricky to fit around your academic commitments. However, if you can find a suitably flexible job that allows you to work evenings or weekends, it can be well worth the effort.
Another factor to consider is the number of contact hours your Masters has. It’s true that the independent nature of a Masters programme means that you’ll usually have fewer dedicated contact hours than at undergraduate level (especially in Arts and Humanities subjects), but you’re expected to engage in a much higher level of research, reading and self-guided study.
In many cases this means that even though you might only have two or three hours of lectures and seminars a week, you’ll still need to spend lots of time studying / reading at home or in the library. Essentially, don’t expect to be able to work lots of hours each week, even if your Masters is comparatively low on contact time.
In STEM subjects, you’re more likely to have something along the lines of a 9-5 schedule, spending most days in the lab or lectures. If this is you, you’ll need to find a job that fits your circumstances – and make sure you don’t exhaust yourself!
What kinds of part-time job can Masters students work?
There are several different kinds of part-time job and employment contract that are suitable for Masters students.
Perhaps the most common is a zero hours contract, where the employer isn’t required to offer you a set amount of hours each week and you’re not obliged to accept any work they do offer you. Although they aren’t without controversy, zero hours can be a good option for busy postgraduates who don’t want to be forced to work at a particularly hectic study period.
Another option is finding work on a casual hours basis. These kinds of job won’t provide you with a regular income stream but can give you a boost when the work is available. Universities often recruit students for casual work on open days and events, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for potentially lucrative opportunities in your email inbox.
You may also be able to find employment with a fixed-term contract, offering a guaranteed number of hours each week that you’ll need to fulfil. Some companies only require staff in certain roles for one or two days a week, so this can be ideal if your Masters schedule is comparatively relaxed and you think you can manage the balance between your studies and work.