PhD Week 2020: “Am I allowed to do work experience/internships during my PhD?”

PhD Week

PhD students often wonder, “am I allowed to do work experience/internships during my PhD?” Here’s the University’s guidance

The simple answer is yes (within certain University guidelines). International students need to consider visa regulations as well.

The more complex answer is that the University says that UK/EU PhD students can:

  • Work up to 10 hours per week paid work that is academic related, career-related or University outreach.
  • You may do a specific internship if it is considered to be contributing to your PhD and is approved under the leave to work away procedures.
  • You may intermit to take up a career development opportunity.
  • You may work full-time between thesis submission and official notification of viva outcome.
  • You may work full-time after official notification of viva outcome and unconditional approval of degree (unless the notification was to revise and resubmit your thesis.

You will need permission from your Supervisor and to check for compatibility with any funding rules.

International PhD students can work up to 10 hours a week during their PhD and do short internships as above.  However:

  • Sponsorship of your Tier 4 visa will cease if you intermit.
  • The period between thesis submission and official notification counts as vacation and you can work full-time.
  • The period between official notification and approval of degree counts as term time but you can work up to 20 hours per week (the 10 hour rule doesn’t apply).
  • Once your PhD has been unconditionally approved, you can work full-time until your Tier 4 visa expires.

For further detail see Working on a Tier 4 Visa.  The International Students Office can help you with this and also applying for the Doctoral Extension Scheme.

Please note, this advice is accurate at the time of publishing, September 2020. Visa regulations are subject to change and should be checked at the time of reading


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