How Many Hours Can A Full Time Student Work In The UK? The Full Facts

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It’s understandable with such staggeringly high tuition fees that studying in the UK can cost a lot of money.

If you’re studying in the UK as an international student, you’re allowed to work for up to 20 hours maximum per week during term-time and full-time during holiday breaks.

However, you do need to consider the restrictions in place you must stick to, in order to be allowed to work whilst studying.

Prestige Student Living has done some research and is here to advise you on the ins and outs of working whilst being a full-time student! Check out our points below.

The Facts

If you’re from a non-EU/EEA country, or Switzerland, you don’t need to apply for permission to work in the UK.

Your eligibility to work in the UK whilst studying depends on two main restrictions, those set by state-run official institutions and those set by your own university.

It really all depends on the course you’re studying, and whether your university may limit your working hours aside from government restrictions.

In a nutshell, a student can work 20 hours in any given week during term time if you are studying a full-time programme at degree level and above.

If you’re studying a full-time programme below degree level it’s 10 hours and full time during holiday periods and after your programme end date (until your visa expires.)

Tier 4 Visa

This visa is the official student visa in the UK, all conditions are printed out on the Tier 4 sticker, including the hours you can work during term time.

When you receive your residence permit paperwork, you’ll be able to see if you’re able to work or not whilst studying.

If any of the below is stated in the letter, you can work in the UK:

  • Able to work as authorised by the Secretary of State
  • Work as in Tier 4 Rules
  • Restricted as in Tier 4 Rules
  • Work must be authorised
  • Restricted work – Part-time during term-time, Full-time during vacations
  • Restricted work time
  • Work limited to 10 hours per week at maximum during term-time

Jobs you won’t be able to do

There are certain types of jobs paid or not paid, that you won’t be able to do when you have a tier 4 visa, these jobs include:

  • Full-time permanent job
  • Entertainer
  • Self-employed or freelance
  • Initiate a business activity
  • Professional sportsperson including sports coach
  • Work as a dentist or doctor in training, except if you’re part of a foundation programme.


If a work placement is mandatory for the course you’re studying, you’re allowed to work for less than 33% of the whole duration of your course. There are exemptions to this rule, however, listed below:

  • Work placement is an important part of the course you study and there’s a UK statutory requirement that allows you to exceed the limit.
  • Your study course is part of a study abroad programme and it’s at RQF 6 or SCQF levels, which means you’re allowed to work up to 50% of the total length of your studies.
  • You’re a Tier 4 (Child) aged 16 or above, so you’re allowed to work up to 50% of the total length of your studies.

Are there any other restrictions?

University guidelines recommend a limit of 15 hours per week for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students. Postgraduate research students should work no more than 9 hours a week also.

What are my vacation periods?

If you’re an undergraduate student at university, you’ll have three vacation periods, winter, spring and summer!

Postgraduate students get winter and spring, the summer vacation period doesn’t apply for postgraduates as you’re expected to study for your dissertation.

Do not work full time during this period.