Working during your studies

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Working during your studies is a great way to build new skills, contribute to your local community, and earn a little extra money to fund your university experience. If you're an international student, there are plenty of opportunities open to you, and a few restrictions to know about too.

Working on a Tier 4 student visa

During term time

On a Tier 4 visa, you can work or volunteer for up to 20 hours a week during term time – as defined by the official timetable. But it's very important that you don't work any more than this. If you do, you'll be classified as working illegally, and this will affect your visa. You can find out more about Tier 4 Visas on the UK Government website.

The 20 hours a week you can work includes all employment and any voluntary work too. So if you have a paid job for 15 hours a week, you can't do more than 5 hours voluntary work alongside it.

You also can't work more than 20 hours one week, and less than 20 hours the next week, and then take an average of your working time – your 20 hours must always fall within a single Monday to Sunday period.

Outside term time

Outside of term time, your working restrictions will depend on whether you're studying an undergraduate, taught postgraduate or research postgraduate course.

Undergraduate

If you're an undergraduate, you can work or volunteer with no restrictions during the Christmas, Easter and summer vacations.

Postgraduate taught

If you're on a postgraduate taught course such as an MA or MSc, you can work as much as you like during the Christmas and Easter vacations.

Once you’ve handed in your final dissertation project, you can work full time only once the faculty registrar and academic registry department confirms in writing you've completed your course. Before this, you’re restricted to 20 hours per week.

This may be different if you're on a postgraduate taught course that starts in January or February, as the summer vacation period may be treated differently. Please contact the International Student Advisers for further advice at international.student.adviser@port.ac.uk.

Postgraduate research

If you're on a postgraduate research course, such as a PhD, you can work 20 hours per week. However, you may be able to work longer within recognised annual leave periods – you'll need to get written authorisation from your supervisor and you must provide this to UK Visas and Immigration Compliance.

Speak to your supervisor for more details about this.