Should I Study Full-Time or Half-Time?
When you apply to undertake a Doctorate or Master of Philosophy degree, you will be asked to nominate your preferred 'status of attendance'; in other words, whether you would prefer to be a full-time or a half-time student.
While half-time candidature is appropriate for some candidates who would otherwise not have the time or financial resources to undertake a research degree, it is advisable to enrol as a full-time candidate where possible.
The pursuit of a higher degree by research is an engrossing, challenging and time consuming occupation and can be made more demanding where work and family commitments must also be juggled.
Anyone carrying out research must, to a certain extent, 'live with' his/her research questions and problems until they are solved and given that full-time students normally need three to four years to obtain a PhD, the difficulties of half-time study are obvious.
It is also worth considering the hidden risk of undertaking a half-time degree: will the results of a research project conceived seven or eight years earlier still have currency at the time of submission? In fast moving, experimental fields, the answer is likely to be no.
An added advantage of full-time candidature is that you can fully engage with the research culture of the School and the University and interact daily on an informal basis with peers and academic staff in your School.
The availability of these support structures, together with the opportunity to gauge your progress against that of other students, can greatly assist you to keep your candidature on track for a timely completion.
If you are planning to study in Australia as an international student visa holder, a condition of your visa is that you study full-time.