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A day in the life of a Corruption and Governance MA (online) student | James Bartoli-Edwards

James Bartoli-Edwards

James Bartoli-Edwards

Ever wondered what it would be like to study a Masters degree 100% online and part-time?

Wonder no further.

James Bartoli-Edwards is a Bristol based Corruption and Governance MA (online) student and full-time Operations Support employee at financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown. In this blog, James shares a typical day in his life as he juggles his studies with work, exercise and much-needed downtime.



7.00am – Time to wake up

I work full-time alongside my part-time study so Monday to Friday I get up at 7.00am. This gives me plenty of time to have a decent breakfast (usually a few eggs, couple of slices of bread, and a veg smoothie to go) before leaving home at 8.00am. I then do the 30-minute walk to the office.

8.30am – Starting work

When I get to the office, I start working and usually have my smoothie whilst getting some of the easy early-morning tasks done.

Two desktop screens and a keyboard on a desk with an empty tupperware box and blue water bottle to the right.

Work set up at the office.

There’s sometimes a lull in the workload around 11:00 which I use to get a little extra studying done. My office system blocks access to platforms like Canvas (the University of Sussex’s virtual learning environment for online students) and personal emails, but luckily, I can still access the Uni’s online library so I can still get hold of most of the readings for each week.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm, so I usually do the bulk of my studying later in the day at home.

1.00pm-ish – Lunch time

I don’t have a fixed lunch time at work, but I usually end up taking it at some point between 12.30pm and 1.30pm – some sort of pasta dish if I’m organised, but usually whatever I can be bothered to rustle up that morning when I’m not!

Most days I go to the gym in my lunch break so that I don’t have to go after work and take up my valuable evenings. When not at the gym though, I walk 5 minutes round the corner and sit by the river in the sun looking out over the harbour with a good book.


A view of a harbour with buildings in the background.

A view of the harbour.

2.00pm-ish – Back to work

For the next few hours, I’m back to the office, fuelled by some gooey protein bar, and again looking out for the rare lulls in work to do a bit of extra reading.

Protein bar on a blue wrapper by a black keyboard

Afternoon snack.

Unfortunately, because of my working arrangements, I’m not able to attend any of the live seminars offered as part of the Corruption and Governance Masters programme, all of which so far have been on a Friday afternoon. Luckily, they are recorded though, so I can watch them at my convenience during my evenings!

5.00pm – Home time

I finish up at work at 5.00pm and then walk home.

When I get back, I usually have a snack, and take the opportunity to sit down for an hour and shake off the working day, maybe with a book or even an episode or two of Spongebob Squarepants.

6.30pm – Uni

After having a short pause and a bit to eat, I sit down to get a good chunk of studying done. I give myself a strict two-hour window on workdays and work through the tasks for the week. This way I can get most of the work done by the weekend where I do another 4-hour chunk of  work on the more thought-provoking tasks.

Laptop with a red keyboard on a kitchen table.

An evening study session.

8.30pm – Down time

After studying and work, I settle down for a relaxed evening and dinner (if I’m lucky, cooked for me otherwise cooked by me). A bit of TV maybe, or a film. More than likely it’s washing up and tidying, and occasionally putting the washing on.

10.30pm – Bedtime

Working and studying side-by-side requires me to be well rested and energised so I can jump into each day! So, it’s an early bedtime for me and 9 hours sleep ready for the next day.


Interested in studying an online Masters in Corruption and Governance with the University of Sussex? Visit the course page to learn more about the course modules, entry requirements and typical study-time commitment per week and see if it’s right for you.