Working while studying


Important information about working during your studies.

Whether or not you can work in the UK will depend upon the type of visa that you have. Your visa will confirm whether you are permitted to work. It is very important that you follow the conditions of your visa.

Short-term study visa

If you have a Short-term study visa, you are not permitted to take paid or unpaid employment nor are you able to undertake a work placement as part of your course.

Tier 4 (General) Students

Generally, students studying at degree level or above or who are on a study abroad program can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations, this will also be stated on your student visa. 

If you are studying a course at Goldsmiths below degree level (for example, on one of our International Foundation Certificate programmes)then you can work a maximum of 10 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations.

If you are unclear about your working conditions or think they are incorrect then get in touch with us for more information. 

It is important to understand that there are some restrictions on your employment if you have a Tier 4 visa.

You cannot:

  • Be self-employed or engage in business activities. Business activity includes working for a business, not as an employee. For example, as a contractor
  • Fill a permanent position 
  • Be a professional sportsperson or sports coach/entertainer, although music and dance students studying at degree level or above can undertake a work placement that involves professional performance if it is arranged by the University and is an assessed part of your course
  • Setup a business, or be involved in the management of a business, for example, as a director
  • Work more than the number of hours stated on your visa during term time under any circumstances

Term time

It is important to understand what term time means. Term dates are set by Goldsmiths, and cannot be amended. They are published in our web pages.

The start and end dates on your visa are linked to the official term dates.

For postgraduate students, the summer period is still considered to be term time for you, which means you cannot work more than the 20 hours per week. Once the official course end date has passed (as listed on your CAS statement) you can work full time until your visa expires.  During Easter and Christmas vacation, you can also work full time.

For undergraduate students, you can work full time during the summer vacation period. During the Easter and Christmas vacation, you can also work full time.

Work placements 

You can participate in a work placement for up to half of your course if you are studying at degree level or above or even more if it is a legal requirement (for example, if you are a PGCE student).  If you are studying below degree level then your work placement cannot be more than one-third of your course.  The work placement can be carried out in addition to your other employment but only if your work placement is an assessed part of your studies and was originally stated on your CAS letter. If you are unsure about this please contact us prior to taking on the placement. 

If you need help finding work in the UK then you should speak to our Careers Service.

Frequently asked questions

Can I carry out volunteering work?

Yes, although there is a difference between voluntary work and volunteering, if you are genuinely volunteering then these hours can be undertaken in addition to the cap on hours. However, if you do voluntary work then this and any other (e.g. paid) work that you do must not exceed the number of hours you are permitted to work during term time. Voluntary workers will usually have contractual obligations to perform the work (e.g. to attend at particular times and carry out specific tasks) with the employer being contractually required to provide the work – the contract does not have to be written. The worker is usually remunerated in kind. Please contact us if you are considering volunteering so that we can advise you further.

Do I need a National Insurance Number?

You do not need a National Insurance number when you are looking for work but once you start a job you will need to apply.  Information on applying for a National Insurance Number can be found on the HM Revenue and Customs website.

Can my dependents work in the UK?

Yes, if you have a Tier 4 dependent then they can take any type of employment including self-employment but they cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training.