Do you have the time to study for a masters degree? For many people in full-time work, the prospect of balancing their employment with intensive online learning is daunting.

However, online students around the world are proving that it can be done. It undoubtedly requires organisation, commitment and determination. But those traits are vital to achieve any worthwhile success.

Moreover, by enrolling on an online masters programme and committing to your continued development, you are setting an example that could inspire your friends, family and colleagues, as well as potentially enhancing your own future prospects.

The benefits of studying for a masters degree while working full time

There are many benefits to enrolling on an online masters programme while you continue to work.

By being in employment, you could have the opportunity to immediately demonstrate and implement in your job the knowledge, tools and insights you learn during your studies. You can apply what you learn, without having to wait until the end of your studies before being able to show your new understanding and skills.

You could also appreciate more clearly the benefits of planning and strong diary organisation, as you learn to manage and respond to the competing demands of work, study, and personal commitments.

How to use your time more productively

Enrolling on an online education programme is likely to involve learning how to use your time more productively.

This isn’t as hard as it sounds. It simply requires focus and discipline. For example, consider the long-term, cumulative benefits of studying each night instead of watching television.

There are various different approaches to managing the demands of a masters programmes. Some students choose to get up early and study before work. Others divide up their time and study in shorter chunks several times a day, such as in their lunch break, on their commute and before they go to bed. Others set aside consistent blocks of time each evening, preferring to study once other family members have gone to bed.

For example, Preima Murugaiya – who studied an MSc in Project Management with the University of Roehampton, London Online – planned each day carefully to ensure she set aside ample study time. “Each weekday I’d make a checklist,” she said. “I spent an hour studying early in the morning, an hour at lunch, and then again in the evening. Thankfully my children were very supportive. When I first started, my son would keep quiet and say ‘mum is studying’. I’d also give them some homework, so they could busy themselves, then after an hour of study I’d go to play with them.”

Etido Inyang, a married father of four who travels extensively through work, is another graduate of the University of Roehampton, London Online. He agrees that planning is key for any online student. “Everybody feels that study outside of work is difficult, but it can be done,” he said. “All it took was time management. A lot can be done when you have a good plan that you can execute.”

Valentina Maggiulli who graduated with an MBA with distinction in 2015, also travels extensively at part of her job. She developed a disciplined approach to ensure her study needs were met.

“I usually study at home in the evenings but also often on weekends. I travel quite often, so I always have my laptop with me to access my reading materials. On average, I dedicate around 20 hours per week to studying. I try to stick to my plan and be disciplined to study on a regular basis.”

A good online education should offer a high level of student support. At the University of Roehampton Online faculty members not only provide ongoing grades and feedback to students but stimulate discussion and student interaction. Many students also draw strength from their programme peers and the fact that they are part of a global network.

How can online education fit into your life?

One of the major attractions of enrolling on an online masters programme is the flexibility that can be offered to students studying around the world. With no need to attend campus for lectures, students are often freed from the traditional timetables associated with higher education. They can study at a time that suits them.

At the University of Roehampton, London Online, students can log in to their classroom or online library 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are no set lecture times. Instead, students watch the online recordings, contribute to shared activities and get involved in the online classroom at their own convenience. Comprehensive support is available.

Online programmes are structured in a way that makes them more manageable than campus-based programmes for working students. Every Roehampton Online masters programme, for example, comprises seven modules and a dissertation.

Each module is 10 weeks long, and contains five two-week learning units with usually a two-week break in between. Students submit a written project at the end of each module, before starting work on their dissertation – which is approximately 10,000 to 12,000 words long.

Breaking up the online masters programme into more manageable ‘chunks’ like this makes it easier for students to fit their studies around their work and other commitments. And this flexible learning model not only gives students regular opportunities to learn from their peers but also to receive faculty feedback.

Watch this video to find out more about the online learning experience at the University of Roehampton.

Discover your true potential by studying for an online masters degree from the University of Roehampton.

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