In the UK, the majority of postgraduate learners are studying part-time, and the full-time market is predominantly made up of international learners:
- Full-time enrolments: UK learners 126,955; international learners 169,515.
- Part-time enrolments: UK learners 210,620; international learners 29,345.
- All enrolments: UK learners 296,470; international learners 239,965.
It seems as if some UK students are spreading the cost of their postgraduate study paying fees for part-time learning over a period of time, and they’re also staying in work and using part-time study as a way of improving their career opportunities.
Many international learners who come to the UK want to study here full-time. And, international students studying on a Tier 4 visa can only study full-time courses.
For: you qualify in the shortest possible time.
Against: if you’re in full-time work you need to give it up to study.
For: suitable if you have to balance study with personal or work life. Also useful if you want to change your career or improve it while still in employment.
Against: will take you longer to finish the course and you may not feel quite so much part of the university.
Blended learning and postgraduate study
For: suits you if you want to work from home, and can reduce travel costs and sometimes tuition fees.
Against: you may miss some of the company and mental stimulation of academics and fellow students. Like distance learning, it’s not a study mode that’s immediately suitable for group projects and group learning.
With distance learning, all your time is spent learning at home. Resources will be supplied and you’ll be assigned a tutor. The main advantages to this mode of study are costs and flexibility, as the timescales can be longer.
Block mode learning and postgraduate study
For: combines some of the strengths of full-time with part-time study – you keep your job but have complete involvement in learning at other times.
Against: it’s still not as quick to finish as full-time study. Remember too that the allocated blocks of university time are for lectures and classes. You’ll still need to do research and assignments in your own time.