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Finding time to study

Studying doesn’t have to mean giving up what’s important to you.

The OU’s unique, flexible approach to learning means you can fit study around your job, family, friends and leisure time.

Use our personal Time Planner to help you work out how many hours a week you have free to study and get some fantastic study tips from OU students.

How much time do you need for study?

Choosing to study part-time or full-time will affect how many hours you spend on your studies each week.

Part time

Part-time study is roughly equivalent to studying at half the rate of a student on a full-time course at a traditional university.

  • You’ll study 60 credits worth of study a year.
  • You’ll need around 16–18 hours to study each week.

Full time

If you want to complete your qualification at roughly the same rate as a student at a traditional university, for example, an honours degree in three years, you can choose to study full time.

  • You’ll study 120 credits worth of study a year.
  • You’ll need to do around 32–36 hours of study per week.


Flexible study

Because OU study is flexible, you don’t have to stick to just part-time or full-time study. You can choose to study more or less each year to suit you.


How many hours can you find for study?

Finding time to study isn't always as hard as it seems. Use our Time Planner to see how many credits you could study per year.

Plan your time  

How do our students make time for studying?

We asked our students for their hints and tips on fitting study into their lives. Check out each of the sections below for more information.


Study doesn't always have to be in large chunks, if you can just squeeze in an hour after work or read something on the train home it all adds up.

Sarah, BA (Hons) Business Studies

I've learnt to use 'down time' as study time (that first hour after getting back from work when I just want to sit on the sofa, or that extra episode of a Netflix box set).

Katie, MBA