Keeping a handle on your time while you study a postgraduate degree can be complicated, especially with everyday life commitments adding to the stress. Whether you have a part-time job, are studying in the evenings after your 9 to 5 or are just trying to keep your head above water, you can end up feeling like you don’t have time to breathe, let alone study. If you feel like you need a little help, have a read of these tips from some graduates who’ve been through it and come out the other side.


Balancing earning and learning can be tough, but it can also be professionally and financially rewarding. I’m Hannah and I worked part-time in retail while studying for my master’s degree. I had a zero-hour contract, which was a great way for me to work flexibly around my studies. I would often pick up more shifts during university holidays to earn extra money, and then reduce my hours when I was working towards my exams or assignments.

I found the following tips really helpful, and I hope you do too.

Manage your diary and stick to a routine

Plan out your diary to include lectures and seminars for that week alongside your work hours so you can see what each day will look like. Create your daily routine and stick to it. Make sure to allow time to work on assignments, revision for any upcoming exams and of course time for relaxation too.

Set aside time for yourself

Studying and working is a balancing act, but don’t forget to make time for yourself. Continuing with your hobbies, socialising with family and friends, and making time for self-care is really important, and helps you perform better in your studies and at work too.

Find a workspace that works for you

Knowing where I worked best was a game changer for me as it helped me to make the most out of my study time. The university library was my best space, but everyone works in different ways, and it might be that you study well at home, or in a coffee shop. Finding a location that works for you can help you create a consistent routine and improve your productivity.


I’m Oli and I studied a master’s in a different place to where I lived, which meant a lot of time commuting. Having dedicated time to study on the train helped me, but it also meant that I struggled to settle in one place to get work done. Here are the tips that helped me during my degree:

Ask for help when you need to
My advice for studying a postgraduate degree is to make sure you get the help you are entitled to. A common misconception is that university student support teams only offer advice to undergraduate students. This is false. As a postgraduate student, you are entitled to all the support the university offers, from scholarships to counselling to career advice – so make the most of it.

Accommodate yourself

It’s really important factor in the support you need to get the right work/life balance. If you know it’s going to take you more time to do your assessments one week as you need a little bit more support, then try reducing your hours at work. There’s no point of you accessing support if it’s going to become a burden and stress you out more.

While studying my MA I had regular essay writing support due to my dyslexia, which really helped me with my assignments, and CV writing workshops to help with my job search.


Managing studying, friends and family commitments is a challenge at the best of times, but then throw in part or full-time work alongside studying a postgraduate degree and you’re in a whole new ballgame. I’m Talene and I worked a full-time job alongside studying a full-time master’s degree.

Working full-time whilst studying isn’t for everyone, but it can be achieved.

Here are a few tips from me to help you manage your time and hopefully stress less.


This may sound cliché but look at your workload alongside your social calendar and understand what needs to be done now and what doesn’t. Can going for drinks with your friends be rearranged to focus on working on your assignment that’s due in in two weeks? You can still have a social life – but be willing to sacrifice– short term pain, long term gain!

Be honest

Let your friends, family and colleagues know that you’re juggling a lot, so if you need extra time on a work project or need to rearrange plans with your loved ones they can understand.

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable

Working and studying at the same time requires patience and a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it when you get to where you want to be.