Working hours and holidays


Research students are often concerned at the lack of clear guidance concerning working hours and holiday entitlements, since neither is governed by regulation. The differing requirements of disciplines and types of research will to a large extent determine the length of the working day/week appropriate to the individual concerned, and students must, in the main, be guided by their supervisor and department.

Some students commencing research degrees are surprised that they are not entitled to the long vacation periods to which they have become accustomed as undergraduate and postgraduate taught students. It should be noted that research students sponsored by the UK Research Councils may, subject to the agreement of their supervisors, take reasonable holidays, not exceeding eight weeks in the year (including public holidays). Up to a maximum of four weeks holiday may be taken at the end of the period of the award. These Research Council rules may be used as a guide by all full-time research students not subject to the rules of other sponsoring bodies.

Please note that funding bodies may also place restrictions on the amount of work students may undertake outside their studies. You should check the guidance provided by your funding body.

Students should be aware that there is an optimum efficiency to be achieved by pacing oneself between work and recreation: some students become so exclusively work-oriented that they take little or no time off, and they and their work suffer as a consequence.