I have an old family friend in Japan (born and raised). We were recently talking about academics as he is in his 2nd year of Uni and I have 1 B.S and soon to have another with the goal of moving on to a Masters this fall.

While talking he asked if I "Work or study" as he knew I completed my first degree but was unaware I started my second. When I mentioned that I both go to Uni and work a corporate job in my industry he was, no joke, speechless.

He couldn't believe someone could both attend a Uni and work at the same time without failing classes. He told me that people only work part time jobs very sparingly during school semesters and then work more during the summer but can't even begin to believe working in a corporate job while still studying.

I don't know too many people that attend my Uni and don't either have 2 part-time jobs or a full time jobs (except for those with free rides or very generous parents).

Many people I know from other countries (I try to culture myself) ask me the same question "Do you work or study?" and they get very confused when I tell them "both" and explain my situation.

Is this only common in the US? I've talked to people from Singapore, Japan, Canada, Greece, and the UK and they all can't believe working and going to Uni at the same time.

  • 2
    If you have a 9-5 job, when are you are attending classes since classes are usually in the morning?
    – Alexandros
    Jul 21 '15 at 4:00
  • 14
    Is this only common in the US? — I don't think this is common even in the US.
    – JeffE
    Jul 21 '15 at 4:03
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    Then you do not have a full time job. In Greece, it is common for students especially in the STEM field to have part-time jobs (private tutoring, building websites etc). Also, getting a second degree is easier than getting your first (you have already learnt how to study more efficiently).
    – Alexandros
    Jul 21 '15 at 4:12
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    I think the question "What percentage of US college/university students also work a full-time job?" is already an interesting one. If by this one means students who are enrolled full time in a BA/BS program at a 4 year college or university, I would expect it to be about 1%. I think we should nail this down before we compare to other countries. I also think "It seems that I need a full-time job to attend this school" would be a useful thing to mention to a financial aid officer. Jul 21 '15 at 4:34
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    Most full time jobs has not such a flexibility, nor in the US or else, so I don't think many does this way, in whatever "first world country". Also, most people is busy with their first degree, meaning they can only do unqualified/low paying jobs. Also, I seriously question a worth of any degree that someone gets doing a 40+ hours workweek, as it means that you can commit less then 30-40 hours to study (including commuting and all other stuff).
    – Greg
    Jul 21 '15 at 4:38

In Germany, at least one survey reports that 47 percent of students work during the semester, and 63 percent work during the holidays between semester.

Most of these students earn less than 500 Euros a month, but 6 percent earn more than 1000€ after taxes. Over 60 percent that have jobs have one to finance their studies/living expenses. For 7 percent of students, their job is their only source of income.

According to the Sozialerhebung 2012 (a large survey by a federal agency) figure 9.10, 13 percent of students studying towards their first degree worked more than 20 hours a week on average in 2012. Whether that's "common" is a matter of interpretation.

The part on financing reports a median income of 300€ from working, with 63 percent of students doing some kind of work. Figure 6.5 shows that 2 percent of students only finance through studies through work, with an average income of 960 Euro, and 13 percent mainly finance their life through working, with an average income of 660 Euros.

(All sources in German)

  • 1
    I have no idea about the quality of those statistics, but I like seeing an answer that has some. Mar 13 '16 at 12:55
  • 1
    @zibadawatimmy thank you! The Sozialerhebung, at least, is done by the "Deutsches Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung" the German Centre of Higher Education and Science Research (loose translation), a federal agency and should be pretty reliable.
    – YviDe
    Mar 13 '16 at 13:03

Many colleges in Taiwan have evening divisions. They offer evening programs for the students who have full time jobs in the daytime.

For example, College of Management of China University of Technology

has set up a daytime program in the four-year college division and an evening program in the extension division.

Usually their evening program will take 5 years for the students to get their bachelor degrees. This is because the evening division students really don't have much time to take classes in the evenings.

Working full time in the day and go to school in the evening is not uncommon in Taiwan. I personally have many friends who received their Bachelors degree from evening divisions of universities.


I am from Portugal and I'm finishing this year my Computer Engineering graduation. I've been working fulltime since I've started studing and here we have a thing called "student worker statute". This statute is very important on examination period were the employers must give two extrad days off per exam. Here in Portugal there's a lot of people who works and study at the same time although it's more frequent they work in par-time.


In Australia it certainly happens frequently. I know of a few people who have completed masters degrees while working full time in their fields. My former boss started and finished his MBA while running a department.


My country is NZ .When I was at Uni in the 1980s it was normal for students to work over the holidays .In fact well over 90% did so including me .Now days the situation has changed and there is a new normal .I work with lots of students which they now call interns.It is normal for Uni students to work part time during thier studies and work over the holidays .In the 1980s it was normal for a postgrad student to have a research position but I was very lucky as a repeat student which technically means undergrad to have a position .Nowdays most postgrad students do not get any research position .These days most students employment is mainly in the service industry and therefore has little vocational relevence to compensate the low wages.


I am from Germany, and here you are not even allowed to have a fultime-job while being a student

The reasoning is that you cannot work fultime and study fultime, so are only allowed to work 20 hours/week on average (fultime being 40 hours).

If you want or need to work more, you have to either find illegal work (as the word says, illegal) or enroll as a part-time student (at least with respect to some social security issues and such, which is mandatory in Germany)(which has all kinds of unwanted consequences on the level of taxes, social fees and so on).

Probably even more extreme then in Japan :D

  • 2
    Can you provide the source of this, please? I know plenty of people, who already started full-time work before they finished their studies (in Germany). Maybe things have changed?
    – Chris
    Mar 12 '16 at 22:33
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    And since the question was about if people work in other countries, while studying - are you suggesting this is not the case in Germany? I think plenty of people are working (yes, part time only), but I had been working alongside studying since my 4th semester and many people I know did the same. The university even encourages it and employ you themselves as tutors, etc.
    – Chris
    Mar 12 '16 at 22:37
  • I can provide plenty of German language sources, can you read them or have someone translate them to you? Might take a bit longer to find them in english.
    – Valjean
    Mar 12 '16 at 22:41
  • I understood the question (and still understand it so, on second reading) this way: the authors Japanese friend says Japanese students work if at all, parttime, which the author sees as opposed to his own case, where he works fulltime, which he does not deem unusual, so he wishes to know how common it is in other countries for a student to work fulltime. I am not denying that a lot of German students work parttime
    – Valjean
    Mar 12 '16 at 22:43
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    Non of this means that you are not allowed to work full-time - you may have to pay for health care, etc, but you are allowed to work as much as you want. If you can collect the credits at the same time, nobody is going to expel you for the university ...
    – Chris
    Mar 12 '16 at 23:19

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