Skip main navigation

Can I have a part-time job while at university?

Whether you choose paid work, internships or volunteering, it’s a great way to learn valuable skills and meet new people
Young woman working at the counter in a coffee shop
© Ryan Hidajat @ Pixabay

Getting a part-time job whilst you study at university can be a great idea; not only will it provide you with the chance to generate a little bit of extra income to support your studies, it’s also a great way to learn valuable skills and meet new people.

It is very common for students to work part-time alongside their studies, but you should remember that there is guidance about how many hours it is appropriate for full-time students to work. This is to ensure an achievable balance between your studies and paid employment.

Job seeking

If you’re thinking about looking for a part-time job, look out for a university jobs board, if there is one. Most universities and Student Unions will advertise a number of catering, library, bar and administrative roles to new and returning students.

It’s a good idea to register your interest early as some of these jobs may need to be filled before the start of term (and Freshers week); keep an eye on your university’s website for information about how to do this.

It’s also worth knowing that many universities will employ Student Ambassadors to support, on an ad hoc basis, events such as open days, school visits and more.

Working off-campus

Working on campus isn’t for everyone, so why not be proactive and drop into some local shops, pubs and restaurants with your CV and enquire about any vacancies they might have? It won’t hurt to ask and it’s a great way to show initiative and make a good impression. Of course in the current climate, we can’t be sure how government guidance on social distancing may impact these kinds of jobs.

Perhaps you’re already working in retail or hospitality for a chain in your home town. If so, why not ask your manager if it is possible to arrange a term-time transfer to a new location nearer your university?

If you have no previous experience, be realistic and appreciate that you may find it hard to find your ideal part-time job straight away. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with job applications, writing a CV, or going for an interview from your careers department.


Volunteering can be a great way to give back to your local community whilst also developing customer service and cash handling skills (for example, in a charity shop).

There are so many volunteering opportunities available to you whilst completing your studies and each university will have a number of student and charity-led projects you can offer to help with. Volunteering can take many forms, such as supporting local food banks, cleaning up the nearby beaches, tutoring school students in Maths and English or even by offering your time and skills to a volunteer programme overseas.


Internships are another great way to develop and apply employment skills whilst gaining an insight into the job sector you are most interested in. Many run over the summer vacation but you’ll also see some part-time internships available during term time. Make sure to speak to your Careers department to see what they have to offer.

Don’t overdo it!

The most important thing to remember with any part-time work or volunteering is not to take on too much. Make sure your main focus is still your studies but enjoy the endless opportunities out there.

If you feel that taking on a job during term time is too much for you, but are still keen to earn some extra income and develop your skills, then another option is to find seasonal work during your university holidays. You will have more flexibility and could work full time for a shorter period, as long as you still allow time for any work you have over the holidays (and of course time to relax!).

© University of York
This article is from the free online

Next Steps to University: From Choosing A Course to Your First Assessment

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now