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Do I need to work during my studies? 

Although some students find they can manage to pay their living costs from their Student Finance, university bursary and interest free overdraft (if they are eligible for these), many choose to work part time and in vacations to top up their income. Even though most students have a busy study timetable, the majority are able to successfully combine part time work with their studies during term time. 

How many hours a week should I work? 

You need to make sure that any part time work that you do during term time does not interfere with your studies, so think carefully about how many hours a week you can work and which times of the week will fit in most easily with your studies. A Saturday job or a couple of evenings a week for example may be quite manageable, if you are able to find a job which does not require you to travel far to work.

If you plan to work, it is better to spread the number of hours you work per week throughout the whole academic year, than not to work for most of the year and then have to work for lots of hours each week later in the year because you have run out of money. The most demanding time of the academic year is usually towards the end of the year, so try not to leave working until then.  

Some academic schools have their own guidance about the maximum number of hours students should work per week during term time. If you are not sure what your school’s guidance is, check with an academic staff member such as your tutor. You can use the budget spreadsheet planner to work out any shortfall in your budget and therefore how many hours you might need to work to cover your total costs.

You could also try to get a job with an employer who pays the London living wage which is higher than the minimum wage and designed to reflect the actual cost of living in London.  

Where can I find help getting a job?

 The Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre, Room WG3 in the Queens’ Building can advise you about:

  •  finding part-time or temporary work
  •  gaining work experience
  •  internships and work after graduation
  •  CVs and job applications
  •  preparing for interviews

 If you intend working part time, get advice as soon as you can about your options. This is because job applications and interview procedures may take several weeks and once you have started work, you will usually not get paid straightaway.  

I haven’t worked before – where can I get information about tax and national insurance?

 For detailed information on working including income tax and national insurance and where to look for a job see the advice guide ‘Part Time and Vacation Work’ which is jointly written by Queen Mary’s Advice and Counselling Service and the Careers and Enterprise Centre.  

I’m already working part-time but this is affecting my studies – what can I do?

If you are currently working but this is causing you problems with your studies or you would like to stop or reduce the hours you work but don’t think you can afford to, contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for advice about your financial options. You might also want to speak to your personal adviser or student support officer in your academic school to discuss what study skills support you could access which might enable you to better manage your studies and part-time work. You may also find it useful to use our resources to help you work out your own budget



If you are an EU national, you may only be eligible for an EU Tuition Fee Loan and no Student Finance for living costs, so earnings from part time work might be one of your main sources of funding. However, some EU nationals are eligible for Student Finance for living costs. This is explained in the 'Eligibility for government student finance' section of the 'Undergraduate Funding advice guide.

For more information and advice on rights to work in the UK see our advice guide ‘Part Time and Vacation Work’, the UKCISA website and our EU/EEA webpage.


Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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