Is it possible to work full time and do a part time phd in the area of software engineering in England saying that I want to use my job earnings to pay my tuition fees? And if I start a part time PhD funding myself this way then how difficult is it to get some funding from the same university (waiving the tuition fees at least) so I can quit job and focus totally on my PhD?

  • 1
    You could do both part time, but would struggle to do one full time and one part time. I've always thought if you can't get a PhD with funding don't do one, it's hard enough without the added stress of financial strain.
    – FChm
    Dec 8, 2019 at 21:03
  • I dont imagine finding part time job in software engineering is that easy ??
    – user117162
    Dec 8, 2019 at 21:08
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    If you are a British national (or EU citizen) there is plenty of full funding for a PhD, I would pursue this. Please don't pay for one yourself (unless you are very wealthly!). A part time PhD is likely to take you 7 years (working 2 days a week), working a full job on top of that, would be difficult for anyone.
    – FChm
    Dec 8, 2019 at 21:11
  • Thank you @FChm, unfortunately I am not but I am almost becoming one, neither I am wealthy unless I would not think of working to fund it, but I agree with you, phd students should always be paid to do a phd, it takes many years and it is a job at the end
    – user117162
    Dec 8, 2019 at 21:17
  • There is still funding for international students but rarer, you could try reaching out to some universities you are interested in and asking them for advice. If you are self funding a PhD and are an international student I believe tuition can be ~£15,000 per year. Personally, unless you have a lot of savings it would be very hard to fund this while working a PhD. The best bet is once you have British citizenship just apply for PhD positions at universities - they will nearly always come with funding and you can then do one full time!
    – FChm
    Dec 8, 2019 at 21:25

1 Answer 1


Answering the question as asked, the answer would be yes. There are part-time PhD positions available at many UK university Computer Science departments. There are currently part-time PhD students currently attached to many UK Computer Science programmes and the regulations and fees are arranged for both full-time and part-time students. However, that being said, the situation is far from being that simple, as indicated in the many comments.

The majority of part-time doctoral students are likely to be experienced industrial practitioners who are enhancing their qualification portfolio with a PhD or are working for a commercial research based organisation and have linkage between their work and a potential PhD. It is less likely, and indeed less acceptable that the student is working purely to fund the PhD. This will be considered by the university to be an unacceptable situation which does not give the student sufficient hours to perform the necessary work.

There are also further hurdles to this route. One is employment. Would an employer take on someone who is planning on a part-time PhD? Perhaps; but if you are not from the UK or the EU, then there is the issue of study visas and work-permits to contend with.

If it is finance, then as also mentioned in comments many departments have fully funded PhD research positions available and often advertise these in the academic press and online. The main database of these funded positions is hosted on behalf of UK universities at jobs.ac.uk and in that database there are 94 advertised PhD positions in Software Engineering as of today's date and four of those are advertised as being for part-time students.

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