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Part-Time Grad School?


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I'm full-time, but I know some part-time grad students; they're mostly people who've lived in the area for a while and/or are working outside of school as well. The tricky thing with being part-time is that, although your tuition and fees are lower, you may not qualify for a lot of funding (TAships, fellowships, scholarships often have a 9 c. minimum, or a minimum number of credits completed to-date that's hard to achieve without being full-time), student memberships to professional organizations, and so on. I imagine it just depends a lot on slogging through a program's paperwork to see what benefits require full-time status.

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Some schools will allow it while others will not, from my experience. My current school does not but I have been at schools that did allow PhD students to be part-time. However, you also have to check whether or not your individual program will allow it as well, because although the Graduate School may be provisions for this, they may require you get permission from the department and advisor. 


As others said, you will be lacking a lot of benefits as a part-time student. I don't know anyone who completed an entire PhD as a part-time student. The cases I know of involve part-time studies on a temporary basis only. For example, a graduate student may choose to take a couple of terms part-time after they or their partner had a baby. Or, they might have to go home for a semester or two to care for someone. In these cases, some students prefer to take part-time status instead of a leave of absence in order to still receive some support and to have time counted towards minimum residency times. Also, depending on the policy, part-time status may result in lower tuition than off-campus full time status.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My experience is in the UK where it makes total sense to study part-time. The masters (1 year) is a separate program from the PhD. You submit in three years full time, six part-time, but you can submit early (2 or 4 years) so conceivably you could finish in four years if you are on top of things. It allows for life to get in the way without derailing you (some weeks study doesn't happen other weeks lots of writing gets done). Problems include the issues of not having a strict schedule of full time can lead to lack of routine. Can feel disconnected from full time students. Being on a non traditional schedule can cause administrative and paperwork confusions.

Edited by olekaygee
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