Working part-time during your Master of Laws studies is a handy way to help fund your LLM program and save money on loans. The big question is it possible to work part-time in paid employment and still get the results you want?
Here are some things you may want to consider:
1. Lectures & seminars
The actual amount of time you spend in lectures and seminars can vary between institutions. You'll probably find that unlike your undergraduate degree, attendance is not mandatory but you're supposed to want to go. A rough guide could be 10 or so hours a week for physical lectures and seminars but every course is different.
2. Reading & course work
This is where the work really goes in with reading lists that can be almost impossible to complete. The amount of time you spend on this is up to you, but to have a chance of successfully completing your LLM you've got to think you’ll be ready for about 40 hours a week. It's called full-time study for a reason!
3. Preparation for exams
Again, preparing for the exams is vital so you'll want to give your preparation and revision as much time as you can. Taking a break or a holiday from paid work might be what you need to do at this stage, otherwise you might find it difficult to fit it all in. You'll want to at least be able to fit in at least 40 hours of study per week in the run up to your LLM exams, but in reality you’ll probably have to do more.
Lots of institutions offer part-time study or the chance to gain an LLM by distance learning and both of these modes of study will help to keep your costs down – or at the very least spread them over a longer period of time. Most students will stay at home when choosing part-time learning and by reducing your travelling costs with online or distance learning means you can probably get away with working less. Keeping your existing job may well mean you will get paid more than if you took on a temporary job in a new city. Of course, you will get your LLM after two years or so instead of one year, but you hopefully you’ll have saved some cash whilst doing so.
5. Hours you need to work
This all depends on the savings you have built up or the sources of funding you have managed to find. There are tales of people being able to work 20 hours a week whilst studying full-time, but this is not for the faint-hearted. Work out how much you need to earn to make up the shortfall and then you'll know for sure if you need to work as well as study. Be sure that your visa allows you to work if you are an international student.
6. Ensure studies don't suffer
The most important consideration to make is ensuring that your studies don't suffer if you find yourself having to take on a job to fund your LLM. You also need to make sure you take the time to relax so that you don’t burn out. Spend time with friends and family getting away from your studies and your paid employment. Then you'll be well prepared to concentrate on your studies with the time you have.
In conclusion, yes, it is possible to work part time and study too. If you are able to study part time and work part time in an existing career, then all the better as you'll probably be earning more than a temporary job. It is important to make sure those hours you spend not studying work all the harder for you.