Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Part-time Study

Each of the six Masters programmes offered can be taken on a part-time study basis. Part-time students are a highly valued group within ITS, because they contribute valuable life and sector experience to the postgraduate cohort. Most part-timers undertake their studies alongside their existing job in transport or related sectors.


Part-time study is flexible, as students have a degree of choice on how long they wish take to complete the programme. The quickest route normally takes 2 academic years (September - June) but we generally advise students to allow for taking longer, typically 24-36 months (as the dissertation usually follows the taught modules).

Application process - references

Applying for a part-time place uses the same process as for full-time study, but there often differences when it comes to referees. For full-time study we ask for two academic references (typically these are recent University tutors). But for those who left university some years ago and have been working since, we are happy to accept employer references - either one academic and one employer reference, or two employer references, whichever is more appropriate.

Part-time students study alongside full-time students, so lectures and seminars are held during the day, and not at evenings and weekends. The academic year is divided into two semesters, the first runs from mid-September to mid-December (with exams in January) and the second semester runs from late January to May (with exams in June).

As part time students normally have other constraints on their time, we advise that they allow three years to complete the Masters degree, with the final element being the dissertation.  Students usually start the dissertation in their second year of study, and can develop their own topic (usually related to their job/employer) – or choose from the list of topics proposed by ITS staff and industrial partners.

Work-life balance

Deciding to study for a Masters at ITS needs careful thought - and then requires dedication and stamina; for part-time students with work, home and other commitments this is especially true. But whilst they may have time pressures, part-time students can draw on their wider experience, to successfully complete the programme. It is difficult to be entirely prescriptive about the weekly time commitment needed, but other than attending lectures etc, each module involves around 100 hours of private study.


The days of the week that lectures/classes take place depend upon the programme taken.  Lectures for the majority of modules are each contained within one day of the week, and we pair up modules where possible, so that the contact hours for part time students are normally limited to one single day of the week.  However, this is not always the case and there will be some periods where you will be expected to be on campus over more than one day.  For example, the following compulsory modules have lectures running across more than one day per week: 



Programmes where module is compulsory

TRAN5015M Shaping Future Transport Systems



TRAN5300M Concepts and Mathematics for Transport


MSc Mathematical Modelling for Transport

TRAN5350M Transport Modelling in Practice


MSc Mathematical Modelling for Transport

TRAN5912M Transport Integrated Project



Short-fat modules

For added flexibility, some optional modules are delivered intensively over 2-5 whole days (rather than 2-3 hours per week over 11 weeks). These modules can alternatively be taken as individual short courses, thus providing a flexible and incremental route, for those with geographic or other commitments which preclude regularly attending the full programme in Leeds.  You can view the timetable for the modules you are interested in via the programme catalogue.  NB: Please note that the timetable changes each year.  The programme catalogue is updated for the forthcoming academic year around May/June time, if in doubt please check with the admissions office (contact details below) as to whether the timetable is available for the year in which you would like to commence your studies with us.

You may also find the 201718 Pathways Table useful (note that there is flexibility, if the pathways outlined will not work for you).  Alternatively, if you would like to talk through the timetable for the programme you wish to apply for, please contact the admissions team.  Either by email: courses(at) or by phone 0113 343 5353.

The fees for part-time study are simply pro-rated to the full-time fee. This means you pay half at the start of the first year and the other half at the start of the second year. In the third year (and any subsequent years) a University registration fee of approximately £215 (2017/18) is payable.

Fee sponsorship

We encourage potential students to discuss their plans to study with their employer. This should include a discussion about fees - as some students have their fees fully or partially paid by their employer. There is a strong business case for investing in employees by enabling them to undertake postgraduate training, and we are happy to talk to your employer about this if helpful. For organisations interested in sponsoring 3 or more employees, we are also happy to discuss the level of fees payable.

Employer support

It is strongly advised that the employers of part-time students are fully supportive, even if they are not contributing to the fees. Part-time study obviously involves time away from the workplace - this is usually in a regular pattern of a day a week but there will be times when flexibility is needed, so a sympathetic and supportive employer will make a significant difference to the overall experience.

Career enhancement

As well as personal interest in transport, a key motivation for part-time study is career progression. For some jobs there is an explicit or implicit expectation that a Masters is needed, and even where this is not the case, it sets the individual apart from other applicants. A Masters from ITS enhances one's status and it is not uncommon for our part-time students to get promoted during or shortly after their studies. It also provides a route to professional accreditation such as CEng status.

The Dissertation

Part-time students are encouraged to develop a dissertation topic that is closely linked to a workplace issue or project. Access to data and organisational expertise means that these dissertations can be an ideal combination of the theory and the highly applied, and often receive some of the highest marks! Unlike full-time students, for whom the dissertation is concentrated in a 3 month block, a part-time dissertation can be developed over a year or more.

Assessment - coursework & exams

The deadlines for submitting coursework assignments are set for each module, so are that same for full and part-time students. The same is true for exams, which are held in two blocks at the end of each semester. Please note that you may need to attend up to an extra 4 days per year for exams. Other assessments, such as presentations, take place during normal teaching slots, plus there are specific assessments connected to the dissertation. Coursework can be submitted on-line, so there is no need for part-time students to travel to ITS purely to hand-in their work.

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