WHY PART TIME POST GRADUATE STUDY CAN BE MORE REWARDING THAN FULL TIME STUDY.
Firstly, I have to say that I have been both an undergraduate and a post graduate studying in the UK, so aspects of this article may be UK specific; but hopefully most of it will apply universally to post graduate studies.
I have recently finished my studies in a full time Masters degree in a humanities subject. After much discussion with other students, both full time and part time, I realised that part time studying can be just as rewarding, if not more so, than a full time degree. A part time degree is not as many students think, a watered down degree, done by the lazy or uncommitted, but can offer the greater rewards. Here are some arguments for the benefit of part time study.
Part time study takes roughly twice as long as full time. This means that a course taking one academic year full time will take two at part time. The fees reflect this, with each year being half the cost for the part time student as for the full time.
Here is one of the main advantages of the part time degree. Like with the fees above, the part time student normally has half the work load of the full time student. For instance, whereas a full time student would have maybe 2 modules per term, the part time would have one. This in itself is a significant benefit.
The full time student can struggle to cover their full reading lists for both modules (post grad study being intense) while completing their all assignments and attempting at the same time to lead some kind of social life and maybe hold down a job (more on this later). The part time student having half the workload can actually benefit far more from this lessened load. While the full time student struggles to cover the primary texts on two modules, the part time can cover all the primary texts on one as well as all the secondary reading. This means that although the part time degree is stretched out over an extra year, the actual amount learnt and knowledge of the chosen subject gained can be far greater than a intensive full time degree.
Also, although not all universities may offer this, there is often the chance for the part time student to ‘audit’ a class or a module.
This involves going along to all the lectures and seminars, doing all the reading etc. but not having to hand in an assignment at the end of it. It is an unmarked class or module.
Basically, the part time student who audits may not get the results from the extra class in terms of grades or certificates, but does for all intents and purposes get the same amount of education as a full time student. They are getting double the amount of education for their money.
No full time student in my experience has ever had the time to take this option.
As part time students are going to have significantly more potential free time on their hands they can benefit over the part time student outside of the educational setting as well.
Money can be a problem for many students, but the part timer has the free time to get a part time job as well as studying. This means that not only will they have more money, but can spend it and their free time having a social life as well. They can potentially come out of university without the crippling mountain of debt that so many university leavers struggle under for years.
Also the part time student has the chance to get more involved in extra-curricula activities at the university, joining clubs for example, holding positions of responsibility such as Union President, or student mentor etc. These kind of activities can be not only fun and rewarding but can improve your CV at the same time, making you more likely to get the job you want on leaving university.
Above I’ve outlined a few reasons why given my experience as a post grad student I would recommend that potential post grad students at university should seriously consider doing part time study. I hope that has been informative and useful and if anyone wants to contact me on the subject I’m more than happy to receive emails and such through the helium site.