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We recognise that there are many different reasons for wanting to study part-time, whether it’s to fit around your family commitments, boost your career prospects, or enable you to earn while you learn. Around a fifth of undergraduate students in the UK study part-time.  

It offers a more flexible approach to learning, allowing you to complete your studies over a longer period. This is typically four and a half to nine years for an undergraduate degree, or two to three years for a postgraduate course. Part-time students follow the same structure as full-time but take fewer modules per year depending on how long they wish to take to complete the course.  

The University offers a range of part-time degrees to suit the interests and time commitments of our students.  

Below are some frequently asked questions that we are often hear but if you have a particular query about studying as a mature student please visit our mature students page or contact the Student Centre and our team will be happy help.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete a course part-time?

As a part-time student at the University of Suffolk you will attend the same classes as full-time students but you chose how much time you devote to your study each year and how many credits you obtain. 

This gives you the flexibility to choose how long it takes you to complete your qualification, but as a guide: 

  • Foundation degrees typically take three years to complete part-time 

  • Undergraduate degrees typically take between four and a half to nine years to complete part-time 

  • Postgraduate degrees typically take two to three years to complete part-time 

Will I be the only part-time or mature student on the course?

For 2020/21, part-time students made up 18% of the student population at Ipswich and the Partner Colleges, and almost 75% of those part-time students were aged over 25 (on entry). 

Why can't I study Nursing or Midwifery part-time?

Nursing and Midwifery courses are a big commitment; they are practical courses and require a certain number of practice hours each year. 

Some universities offer part-time pre-registration nursing programmes and these normally last for five or six years. They are available to staff already working in the NHS - usually as an assistant or an associate practitioner with qualifications up to NVQ level 3 (or equivalent) and the NHS as your employer, would provide support in terms of time off to attend on a part-time basis. 

What are credits?

Part-time students follow the same structure and modules as full-time students but only take a proportion of the modules per year. The number of modules studied per year depends on the individual and the time they wish to take to complete the course. 

Undergraduate part-time study may lead to the following awards: 

  • Foundation degree - 240 credits 

  • Honours degree - 360 credits 

Postgraduate part-time study may lead to the following awards: 

  • Postgraduate Certificate - 80 credits 

  • Postgraduate Diploma - 120 credits 

  • Masters degree - 180 credits 

Part-time study programmes can be extended into full-time studies depending on students' own circumstances and aspirations. 

What undergraduate degrees are available part-time?

There are a large number of undergraduate courses available to study part-time, please check the course pages to see what is available. 

What postgraduate degrees are available part-time?

Nearly all of our postgraduate courses can be studied on a part-time basis. 

For more information visit the postgraduate courses page. 

Is childcare available?

The Student Life team can offer advice about childcare opportunities and the benefits and funding that may be available to students who have dependents. Alternatively, a list of childcare providers can be found on the Suffolk County Council website.  

How do I fund my part-time degree?

Students studying in the UK do not have to pay their tuition fees in advance and this includes part-time students. Providing you do not already have a degree and you are eligible, part-time students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan if they are studying at least 25% of the full course each year. The fees are covered by a loan supplied by the government and paid direct to the institution for you. There is no age limit on tuition fees. 

For more student finance information, see our part-time study fees and finance page

Funding for postgraduate students

There are a number of ways to fund your postgraduate degree, for more information see our postgraduate study funding page

Can I continue to work while I study?

Some students decide to continue in employment while studying part-time, and employers who want to support those students can pay some or all of their course fees. Other employers offer options for flexible working or study leave. Students are still eligible to apply for the Tuition Fee Loan if their employer is unable to fully fund their tuition fees, but employers cannot take out the loan on behalf of their employees. 

I haven't written an essay for years, is there any help available?

The Learning Services team offer additional support to students at all levels of study and provide year-round workshops in study skills, academic writing, referencing, maths, statistics, research methods and computer skills. Drop-in’s and one-to-one appointments with Academic Skills Advisors are available and the team also provides a range of online and downloadable resources for students to use.   

More information on the support available.   

My question is not listed here, how do I find out more information?

For more information on studying at the University of Suffolk, prospective students are welcome to visit the Student Centre in the Waterfront Building in Ipswich. The Student Centre is our one-stop-shop, giving information and advice on aspects of student life. The team can also be contacted on:   

01473 338833, or by email

Alternatively, why not visit us at one of our Open Events