Working in the UK

Most Tier 4 students are allowed to supplement their funds or gain work experience by working part-time while they study, as long as you ensure you meet the restrictions and conditions outlined below. Be sure to check your visa to make sure that the work limit during term time indicated below is what you have actually been granted.

Tier 4 work restrictions

All students should be aware of the following Tier 4 work prohibitions:

  • You cannot be self-employed or engage in business activity*
  • You cannot fill a full-time permanent vacancy.
  • You must not be employed as an entertainer or professional sports person (including coach).

Students at different study levels will be allowed to work different hours depending on the University term dates, or the stage you are at in your studies. The following limits apply to both voluntary and paid work:

Study Level

Term time work

Vacation work

After course ends

Undergraduate students

20 hours limit during standard University term dates

Full time work permitted outside of standard University term dates

Full-time work permitted after your last term at the University ends, until the date your visa expires. 

Postgraduate Taught (Masters) students

20 hours limit during standard University term dates

If you are studying on a standard 12 month Masters programme, the 20 hour limit also applies during the summer vacation period, when you are writing your dissertation. 

Full-time work permitted after your last term at the University ends, until the date your visa expires. 

Postgraduate Research students

20 hour limit applies throughout your programme

20 hour limit applies throughout your programme

Full-time work is only permitted after the final submission of your thesis (after any required revisions and corrections have been completed and approved, and your thesis has been finally submitted).

Part-time students

Work is prohibited

Work is prohibited

Work is prohibited

*Further information on what constitutes self- employment can be found on the gov.uk website. Engaging in business activity is defined by UKVI as ‘working for a business where you have a financial or significant beneficial interest in a capacity other than as an employee’. An example of this would be setting up a business as a sole trader, but please check paragraphs 316-319 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance for further information.

Work placements

If you are studying a programme which contains a work placement then you can do this full-time with your Tier 4 visa. The University is still required to monitor your attendance on this part of your programme.

Letter confirming term dates

When you start a new job, your employer will ask you for a letter from the University confirming your term dates.  You can obtain this letter from the Student Information Desk

Although legally you can work up to 20 hours, the University strongly advises that undergraduate and taught postgraduate students work no more than 15 hours per week during term time, as extra work may adversely affect your studies. Postgraduate research students should be aware of the advisory limits on the number of hours of work they undertake, outlined in the University’s Employment of postgraduate students: Code of Good Practice.