Paid Work Guidelines for Oxford Graduate Students

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The University recognises that some graduate students will want to undertake a limited amount of paid work during their studies, whether as part of their academic development (e.g. teaching and demonstrating) or to help to support themselves financially. These guidelines aim to ensure that any paid work undertaken does not adversely affect students’ success in their studies or their ability to complete their course on time. In addition, some graduates will have prescribed limits on how many hours’ paid work they can do, which must be observed: for example, graduates funded by research councils and some other scholarships, and those graduates with student visas. Individual colleges may also have guidelines. Students should be aware that demand for part-time paid work in Oxford often exceeds the amount of paid work available, whether it is academic paid work or other forms of paid work. For this reason, graduate students should not rely on the availability of paid work to fund their University and college fees and their living costs when planning how to finance their studies and completing their Financial Declaration.

Full-time graduate students should generally regard their studies as a full-time occupation of at least 40 hours per week¹, and should normally be available for academic commitments during core working hours (i.e. 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays). Graduate students on taught courses should regard this as applying to term-time study whilst for students on research courses it applies year-round.

The University therefore recommends that full-time graduate students on a taught course (such as a Master’s) do not undertake more than 8 hours’ paid work each week whilst studying. The number of weeks of full-time study required will depend on the course structure. Students may find they have substantial study commitments in the Christmas, Easter and summer vacations as well as the University’s three full terms of eight weeks each. Students should check the structure of their own course, and its implications for any paid work, with their department or faculty².

Students on research courses (such as a DPhil) are advised that any paid work should still allow them to spend at least 40 hours per week for a minimum 44 weeks of the year on their studies³.

Part-time graduate students should ensure that any paid work does not interfere with the commitment of time required for their course. Part-time graduate students wishing to begin or continue with paid work are encouraged to speak to their department or faculty in advance about how it could fit with their course. They are also encouraged to speak to their employer to ensure that any study leave requirements may be accommodated.

1 A student's timetable should take into account both the scheduled hours for the course and time for self-study.

2 Graduate students on taught courses are encouraged to discuss their plans to take on paid work with their Course Director or College Advisor.

3 Graduate students on research programmes are encouraged to discuss their plans to take on paid work with their supervisor. Separate policies apply to teaching.

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