At the University of Bath, we've designed a range of online courses that allow you to fit study around your current personal commitments. Many of our postgraduate students remain in full-time employment throughout their course, and don't let assignments get in the way of family time.
Delivered in a digital setting, you get to choose when and how you access the course material - all you need is a device with internet access so you can connect to our Virtual Learning Environment with 24/7 technical support.
Although we've created a flexible way for you to learn, choosing to study for a postgraduate degree remains a big commitment. Here are our top tips for helping you balance studying with your work commitments.
1. Set expectations
If you continue to work full-time while studying for your online degree, it's going to eat into your evenings and weekends. Talk to your boss and/or partner about what the workload will look like, and discuss what support they might be able to provide.
2. Stay focused
You decided to study an online degree for a reason and it’s important to stay focused on that reason. There will be times when studying feels like a challenge but don’t give up. Think about what you wanted to get out of it, and how achieving a postgraduate degree will benefit your future. If it helps, print that reason out and stick it up somewhere visible to keep you motivated.
3. Create a dedicated workspace
Everybody likes to study in different ways. You need to create an environment that works for you and provides the space you need to focus. If you don’t already have an office at home, think about whether you could set up a desk in a spare bedroom or corner of the house. Coffee shops are another option if you don’t mind some background noise, or if you like quiet you could try the local library. Alternatively, there are many co-working spaces that open 24/7 and offer full use of the facilities for a low monthly fee.
4. Employ strong time management
At the beginning of every 8-week unit you will be given a list of assignments and graded tasks that need to be performed. Create a study schedule that breaks down the requirements into bitesize chunks. Then spend some time managing your diary so you maintain a good balance of work, study, family and personal time.
5. Use technology wisely
It's time to get smart about using every available minute. While it might not always be possible to sit and complete your assignment, there are apps to help transcribe your ideas, read the news or latest research, or listen to audiobooks or podcasts.
Think about the time you have available when commuting, during your lunch break or travelling to see clients, and how technology can help you make the most of that precious time.
6. Create a support network
At the University of Bath, we offer opportunities to collaborate with your peers through our Virtual Learning Environment. So even though you might be studying online, you're never studying alone.
7. Get some sleep
While it can be tempting to work into the early hours to try and get ahead, research shows this can have a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing. What’s more, a decent night's sleep is great for enhancing your brain power. Catching eight-hours of undisturbed slumber helps to boost your cognition, concentration and productivity, as well as improving your problem-solving skills and enhancing memory performance.
If you want to see how studying an online MSc at the University of Bath can help you to have the best of both worlds, discover more about our online environment.