Careers Service

Guidance on part-time work

Part-time work is generally beneficial for student and employer alike, but good self-management is required to ensure that your research commitments are met, and a good work-life balance is maintained.

There are several sources of guidance available to help you identify the amount of time that you can commit to part-time jobs during your PhD, and you should familiarise yourself with these before looking for work.

Funder rules

Be honest with your employer about your PhD and discuss options with them for flexible working. It might not be possible but it’s worth having the conversation. Perhaps also start with a temporary position to see how well you are able to manage the competing demands of your PhD and part-time work and whether it works for you.

1st year PhD Politics

PhD part-time work golden rules

1) Check and obtain permission (if required) from your supervisor or funding body before committing to part-time work.

2) Know your employment rights and studentship terms.

3) Manage your time commitment.

If in any doubt, check with your supervisor or funding body.

The University will employ full-time postgraduate research students for no more than an average of 9 hours per week across the academic year (in line with its policy), and recommends that PGR students apply this limit to employment outside the University.  PhD students should discuss any proposed employment within the University or with any other employer with their principal supervisor.

If you are in receipt of any funding for your PhD, be sure to check what restrictions and conditions there are, if any, on the amount of part-time work you are allowed to do. Most funders allow some part-time work, particularly in areas relevant to the students’ research, and encourage a common sense approach to other paid work.

Further information on the average 9 hours per week limit

International students

UK immigration rules state international students in the UK on a Tier 4 visa are normally entitled to work for a maximum of 20 hours in any given week during their studies, although as stated above the University will employ full-time PGR for no more than an average of 9 hours per week across the academic year, and recommends that PGR students apply this limit to employment outside the University.  Importantly Tier 4 visa holders cannot be self-employed, this means that you cannot tutor on a freelance basis for example.

For more information on working during your studies please visit:


For information for PhD students on visa advice please visit:

Institute for Academic Development

IAD (The Institute for Academic Development) has some useful resources on managing your time, and maintaining a good work life balance as a PhD.

Courses are run throughout the year, and can be found here:

Codes of practice

Before you begin your studies you should, familiarise yourself with the University codes of practice for research students, supervisors and tutor and demonstrators, available here:

Human Resources

If you are an employee of the University, the University’s Human Resources department maintains information on employment terms and conditions, pay and benefits, equality, immigration and pensions information, alongside training and development opportunities on their webpage.

Employment Law

Before taking up any employment, you should be aware of both your rights and responsibilities as an employee in Scotland.

Your rights at work