Full-time or part-time study?

With distance learning you can set your own pace and develop a study routine that works with the rest of your life – work, whānau and community commitments.  

You decide how many courses to study at a time. 

This page includes some things to think about when you are deciding whether to study full or part time.

Study workload

As a guide allow around 10 hours to study a week for every course you do, and you may need more time around assessments and exams. To check how many hours are needed for the courses that interest you:

  • Go to the course page on this site 
  • Look for ‘Workload’ in the grey box.

Image showing workload hours information example for a course of 10 hours

If you want to study more than one course at a time, add up the workload hours to see how many hours of study you may need to do each week.

Note - If you study more than one course at a time you could have assessments due around the same time, so you will need to manage your study closely.

If you choose to enrol in a full-time study load, you need to allow around 40 hours a week for study. This is around six to eight hours a day, five days a week for each week of the course.   

I was working full-time and needed something that I could fit around a 40-hour week and the rest of life, so distance learning worked much better than having to go to classes and being able to submit assignments online was so convenient.

Elizabeth Johnson, Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Management

How much you have available

It’s also important to think about what other commitments you’ll have while you are studying. Do you work full or part-time? What other commitments do you have? Use our Time Tool to help you think about your weekly commitments and how much time you will have for study.  

How much time will you need

When you will study

When to start

Check the course’s start and end dates to make sure you can commit to the workload within that period. Many of our courses are offered monthly, so you have flexibility in when you can start your studies. 

Staggering your course start dates

You may decide to stagger your course start dates, and start one course one month, one the next and so on. This can be great to help you ease into study and manage your workload.

If you do, remember to think about how much time you will need when your course study periods overlap. For example, if you want to complete a certificate that includes four courses and start one course each month, the workload will be around 40 hours each week in month four.  

Diagram showing an example of how weekly workload increases if a learner staggers their course start dates and enrols in oned course in month 1 (which is 10 hours study per week), then course 2 in month 2 (so now has 20 hours study per week) and so on. This peaks at month four, when the learner enrols in course four and has 40 hours study workload per week.

It may be better to have longer breaks between starting each course. For example, you could start a new course every two months. This would mean the peak workload will be around 20 hours a week. 


Need help planning your study?

If you need help to decide how many courses to enrol in at a time, get in touch to talk with one of our Student Advisors.  They can help you:

  • Plan your study to make sure it suits how much time you have available
  • Decide which qualification best suits your study and career goals and what course to start with
  • Work out if you have any study or experience can be cross credited to one of our qualifications. 

Contact the Student Advisor team at: