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Durham University


Working in the UK during your study

Due to the University's response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) infection, some of the advice given on this page is temporarily suspended. Please follow University an government updates from our latest news page for up-to-date advice.

Working during study

If your visa entitles you to work during your study, you will normally be allowed to work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time* and full-time during holiday periods*. The information below explains how much your visa allows you to work and when.

Please note: Tier 4 students permitted to work, must ensure that they work any permitted hours (20 or 10 hours) into a 7-day period starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday.

Students who work irregular hours and or, who have more than one employer will need to retain records of how many hours they work on any given day, to ensure that they do not breach the Tier 4 working conditions.

Am I allowed to work?

You are allowed to work if your visa or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) states any of the following (or similar):

'Work must be authorised'; Able to work as authorised by The Secretary of State’; 'Work limited 20hrs p/w term time'

You are not allowed to work if your visa or BRP states 'No work' or 'Employment prohibited'.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website gives details

What type of work can I do?

The type of work you can do whilst on your Tier 4 (General) visa is restricted. UKCISA has details of the type of work you can do.

Work hours allowed during term time*

  • Up to 20 hours a week if you are studying at degree level or above
  • Up to 10 hours a week if you are studying a programme that is below degree level (including pre-sessional English)

Please note: UKVI clarified in March 2017 that they consider a week to be 7-day period starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday.

Full details of permitted working hours

Work allowed during vacations

If your Tier 4 visa allows it, you can work full time during official University vacation periods* (Undergraduate students only - see information for postgraduate students below).

Work allowed after your programme has ended

If your Tier 4 visa allows it, you can work full time once you have completed all elements of your programme and once the official programme end date (as stated on your CAS) has passed (See information for postgraduate students below).

*Postgraduate students

Postgraduate students do not have official University vacations during their study and therefore cannot work full time until all elements of the programme have been completed and the programme has officially ended. This means that:

  • PGT students can only work full time after the official programme end date (as stated on the CAS) has passed
    • Internships and similar full time work should be undertaken in the time remaining on your visa / BRP after the official programme end date
  • PGR students can only work full time after completing viva, corrections (if required), final uploading of e-thesis and issue of pass list by the Curriculum, Learning & Assessment Service (CLAS)

In certain circumstances it may be possible to take a short period of vacation from your programme in order to work more than 20 hours per week if neccesary (work which is benefitial or related to your study, for example). You may be entitled to work full time during this period, although any vacation authorised by your Department is limited to:

  • Bank holidays and Christmas closure period, as recognised by your department
  • Up to a further 6 weeks (maximum) vacation per academic year (PhD students only)

You must receive written confirmation of vacation permission before working full time during these periods.

Please note: Taking vacation of more than the periods stated above could affect your visa

Further informaton on Absence, Vacation and Travel Outside the UK

Important information

  • If you work more than your permitted hours per week, you will be in breach of your visa conditions and could face consequences as a result.
  • Your visa requires you have enough funds to support yourself during your study, therefore, you must not be dependent on income from part time work.
  • If you are looking for work, you must apply for a National Insurance Number.

Work placements

You are allowed to undertake a work placement in the UK as long as it is an assessed part of your programme

Further details on placements and 'internships'

University recommendations

While your visa may allow you to work up to 20 hours per week during term-time, University guidelines recommended a lower amount of hours.

Student working hours recommendations are available on the Careers & Enterprise Centre website

Further information

Information about working during your studies is also available from UKCISA

The University of Durham makes every effort to ensure that the information published on this page is accurate. However, the University cannot guarantee the information may not be altered owing to circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) change in Government policy, or change of law. Any changes will be incorporated into the University’s website as early as possible.