Working during your studies

Who can work?

If you are studying at LSE with a Tier 4 visa, you will be allowed to work during your studies. This will be stated on the sticker in your passport or on your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).  Tier 4 students must remember that the main intention of their visa is study and this should be their priority.

If you are in the UK as a Student Visitor, you are not  permitted to work. It is important that you understand the rules about working in the UK as the consequences of getting
this wrong are extremely serious.

LSE guidance on working during your studies

LSE recognises that many students want to work part-time and advises all students to work a maximum of 15 hours per week while studying.  This is to ensure that any work does not affect your studies.  You are responsible for setting your own balance between part-time work and academic coursework.

The School doesn't normally consider the negative impact  work of part time or applying for future roles as exceptional circumstances for poor performance in assessments.

For full details of the regulations go to our page:

conditions of study at LSE - undergraduate students

conditions of study at LSE - postgraduate students

European Economic Area (EEA) / Swiss Nationals

Most EEA/Swiss nationals do not need to ask for permission from UK Visas and Immigration to work in the UK.  

If you are a Croatian national studying in the UK, you will need to obtain authorisation to work in the UK.  Further advice can be found on the UKVI web pages.

For advice on working in the UK as an EU national, go to UKCISA

Tier 4 students on full time degree courses

Check your visa to make sure that you have been given the correct working entitlements. If you think the Home Office has made a mistake (for example if you have only been granted permission to work a maximum of 10 hours per week),  ISIS may be able to get this amended. 

For details on how we can get this amended go to our page on checking your visa and correcting errors. You will be unable to work 20 hours per week until your immigration permission has been amended.

Under the UK immigration rules, you are legally permitted to work with the following restrictions:

  • a maximum of 20 hours paid or unpaid work per week during term time (term time includes the dissertation period for 12 month MSc students) 
  • full time work is permitted during vacations 
  • you cannot take a permanent contract (open ended) until you have submitted an application for a work permit e.g. Tier 2. 
  • no self-employment (including  freelance or consultancy work or setting up your own business)
  • no work as a professional sports person or entertainer.

Students with visas on Language Centre courses

If you have student immigration permission and you are studying on a course that is below degree level, you are permitted to work with the same restrictions listed above but you can only work part time for a maximum of ten hours in any seven day period during term time.

Remember, if you are in the UK as a Short-term Student, you are not permitted to work.

When is 'vacation time'?

All students can work full time during the Christmas and Easter breaks as these are outside term time.

If you are a 12 month or second year 24 month Masters student, the dissertation period until your official programme end date stated on your CAS is not  vacation.  Whilst you are not attending classes, you are still academically engaged  in writing your dissertation and this is a component part of your programme structure.

Your academic department is able to authorise a vacation of a maximum of four weeks during your dissertation period.  You can only request one four week vacation during your dissertation period.

The Registry can issue a letter confirming you are on vacation. During this time you would be able to work full time, but only once you have received the letter from the Registry.   The letter is not able to be issued retrospectively.

The Registry will only be able to issue a letter confirming this vacation period if the email is sent by a member of staff in your academic department.  Please note that disruption to studies resulting from a vacation period may not subsequently be used in an appeal against a decision of the Board of Examiners.

If your department agrees to authorise a vacation period prior to the end of your course then please ask them to email with the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your LSE ID number
  • The dates of your holiday period that they are willing to authorise (no more than four weeks long).

Any full time work completed during the dissertation period without permission is a breach of your Tier 4 visa conditions. As a Tier 4 sponsor, LSE is legally required as part of our sponsor licence agreement to report any students we are aware have breached the conditions of their visa. You should think carefully about the long term consequences of breaching your working conditions before taking any risks.

What are the term dates for MPhil/PhDs

For all registered research students, vacations are the Christmas and Easter breaks in each year of registration.  However, you are considered to be continuing your studies during the summer vacation.  MPhil/PhD students are not able to work full time during the summer.

Term dates for MPhil/PhD students


The rules on internships are the same as the general rules for working. The number of hours that you can work is the same regardless of whether your work is paid or unpaid.

12 month Masters students are unable to undertake a Summer internship in the UK during the Summer vacation.  Whilst you are not receiving teaching, you are still academically engaged in writing your dissertation.

Can I volunteer?

There is a legal distinction between volunteering and paid or unpaid work. However, the definitions are complex so to avoid any problems, you should consider volunteering in the same way as part-time work and not volunteer any more than 20 hours in any seven day period. If you also have a part-time job you must be careful to work no more than 20 hours between volunteering and paid work. For more information go to:

LSE Volunteer Centre

Can I do several part-time jobs?

You can work for different employers at the same time, but you must not exceed the maximum of 20 hours work total across all of your positions in any seven day period.

Working at the end of your studies

Remember – you cannot work full time before the official programme end date that was stated on your CAS. When you are granted student immigration permission you are given an extra number of months after the end of your programme to obtain your results and graduate. The amount you are granted depends on the length of your programme:

  • Undergraduate students: you are granted the length of your programme plus four months
  • General Course students: you are granted the length of your programme plus two months
  • Master programmes less than 12 months: you are granted the length of your programme plus two months
  • Master programmes of 12 months or longer: you are granted the length of your programme plus four months.

UKVI considers the extra months after your official programme end date stated on your CAS as vacation, so you will be able to work full time. However, you are still restricted by the Tier 4 conditions so you are unable to take a permanent (open-ended) full time contract until you are in a position to switch into visa route that allows permanent, full time work .

Tip: Don't forget that the Home Office have a record of your official programme end date as this was provided on your CAS.

If your employer offers you a permanent contract before you can apply to switch visa category, you may need to request that they hire you on a temporary contract until you can apply for your new visa.

PhD students

PhD students are advised to monitor the number of hours work they undertake, especially if they have a number of jobs.  For example, if you are working as a Sub-Warden in a halls of residence you should ensure that any other work that you are undertaking does not take you over the 20 hours total per week permitted under the Tier 4 rules.

The official programme end date for PhD students can change depending on whether you need to extend your visa for your viva or corrections.  We advise that you check whether you can work full time with ISIS before taking a position.

What happens if I don't complete my programme?

For more information about the rules for students retaking exams check the guidance on our web page

Re-taking Exams

If you start working full time and then receive exam results showing that you have not passed your programme, you must stop working and contact ISIS for advice.

What happens if I break the rules?

If you work when you do not have permission to do so or you take employment that is not covered by the rules, you are committing a criminal offence. If found, you could be:

  • taken to court;
  • fined up to £5,000;
  • be sent to prison for up to six months; 
  • liable to be removed (deported). 
  • banned from returning to the UK from between one to ten years and would have to declare this ban and your illegal working on future immigration applications to the UK and other countries.

You should consider the long term implications working illegally may have on your future before taking the risk.

How can I show an employer that I can work?

Your visa is your main form of evidence that you have the right to work in the UK.   Employers wanting to recruit students need to confirm that a student has the right to work in the UK. The Home Office will accept the following as acceptable evidence:

  • A printout from the LSE website confirming the term dates of the School.
  • A copy of a letter or email addressed to the student confirming term time dates for the student's course - a Certificate of Registration will confirm this information for your employer.
  • A letter addressed to the employer confirming your term dates - the LSE are unable to confirm to an employer a student's right to work in the UK. However, the certificate of registration includes all the required information for your individual circumstances. 

Your employer can also read the Comprehensive Guidance on Preventing Illegal Working on the Home Office website:

Home Office

They can also call the employers helpline: 0300 123 4699

We have also written a guidance leaflet to outline the rules for employing LSE students

LSE leaflet for employers [pdf]

More information


UK Visas and Immigration