I'm having trouble finding out how to say 'part time study' in Chinese. Or anything like that e.g. part time degree etc. There doesn't seem to be any generic word for 'part time' and there isn't a specific word for it in this case either. You can say 'part time work' using 兼职 but that contains the meaning for job in it so can't be used with study.

I used to study part time but I literally can't talk about it in Chinese since there is no word for it...save for explaining the whole concept every time I want to mention it.

In China they don't seem to do this and don't really study at all beyond early 20s. There don't seem to be any mature students either..you won't see anyone 30,40 or older in their universities. They just study full time up until this age, then stop for life and get a job.

I guess since there are no mature students, anyone who is working part time would not spend the rest of their week studying so no need for the word.

  • This is not an answer but it might help get you started: the English Wikipedia page en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Part-time_learner_in_higher_education redirects to 在職專班 (zh.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/在職專班).
    – Mou某
    Dec 6, 2019 at 7:41
  • 1
    Your perception is not true. There are lots of mature people in China who already have their jobs and study part time in a university. My wife actually majored her master degree while she was still working. In her case, we could say: 她在职兼读研究生 or 她在职兼修法学研究生.
    – dan
    Dec 6, 2019 at 11:45
  • @dan I don't mean it never happens at all but it's really uncommon. I remember I was studying at a university in China in my 30s and talking to a taxi driver there he thought it was crazy that I could be studying at that age. It's like it was totally unheard of. I also never saw any students beyond ~20 at the university I was at or at universities I was at previously in other cities. But yes, 兼读 is possibly correct although it doesn't appear to be in dictionaries, at least for mandarin.
    – Hasen
    Dec 7, 2019 at 10:27
  • @user3306356 在職專班 is very Taiwanese.
    – sylvia
    Dec 12, 2019 at 17:54

4 Answers 4


全日制 = full-time (something)

非全日制 = part-time (something)

非全日制的学生 = part-time student (implies part-time study)

  • Looks like the London School of Business and Finance Singapore does translate part-time course as 非全日制课程, but what a mouthful. cn.lsbf.edu.sg/programmes/sop/acca/part-time-acca
    – Mou某
    Dec 7, 2019 at 6:41
  • Hmm but that would mean '非全日制' could be used to mean 'part time' and potentially be used with anything. Like for example part time degree 非全日制学位'. Possibly better than 兼 which seems to contain the meaning of an occupation even as a single character.
    – Hasen
    Dec 7, 2019 at 10:19
  • @Hasen 兼 itself means simultaneously; concurrently, could have nothing to do with occupation. E.g. 品学兼优
    – dan
    Dec 7, 2019 at 10:47
  • @dan dict.youdao.com/w/eng/%E5%85%BC Yes it overwhelmingly means simultaneously or double but you could just as well be studying part time and doing nothing else. So I think 非全日制 here is the best answer really.
    – Hasen
    Dec 8, 2019 at 11:07
  • @Hasen You could go whatever you thought was best. Indeed, there are many ways to express it.
    – dan
    Dec 8, 2019 at 11:38

(In Cantonese) you can say:


Which is defined in ABC Canto as:

part-time, as course of study

ji4 gaa1 hou2 do1 daai6 hok6 dou1 jau5 gim1 duk6 zai3 hok6 wai2 fo3 cing4
Nowadays many universities offer part-time degree programs

Part-time course would, thusly, be:


It does seem like the word is catching on in Mandarin but ymmv.

  • 兼读 sounds a correct word for it.
    – dan
    Dec 6, 2019 at 8:26
  • Yes this may be the only way to say it. I explained what I meant to the Chinese girl, she understood what I meant, but had no idea what the word for it was. It's quite probable even using this word, nobody would know what I meant. I also couldn't find these in dictionaries - could you? Although it probably is the correct word if one exists at all.
    – Hasen
    Dec 6, 2019 at 10:32
  • I quoted a dictionary entry above along with its definition and example sentence.
    – Mou某
    Dec 6, 2019 at 11:11
  • Well I meant for Mandarin, not Cantonese.
    – Hasen
    Dec 7, 2019 at 10:16
  • @Hasen it’s on youdao if that means anything to you: dict.youdao.com/w/eng/兼读制
    – Mou某
    Dec 7, 2019 at 10:22

Besides 兼读 indicated in the other answer, 'part time study' could also be 兼修 or 兼学. E.g. 我主修数学, 兼修外语; 我现在在工作,同时兼修/在读研究生.

Note: 在职读书 could be briefed as 在读 in some context.

  • Looking up 在职 it refers to a job rather than study though, it has the same problem as 兼职. Not sure about 兼读, 兼修 or 兼学 - can you find them in any dictionaries for standard Chinese?
    – Hasen
    Dec 6, 2019 at 10:30
  • 在职读书 is a single term that means: (I) work and go to school.
    – Mou某
    Dec 6, 2019 at 11:13
  • @Hasen It's 在职读书(not 在职),which could be briefed as 在读 in some context. 在职读书 means you work while you have part time study (maybe for a degree). Isn't it what you are looking for?
    – dan
    Dec 6, 2019 at 11:13
  • @Hasen 兼修 is very common. Every native speaker would understand it. 兼读 and 兼学 are understandable too.
    – dan
    Dec 6, 2019 at 11:21
  • @dan My gf is Chinese and she's never heard for any of those words. But since part time study pretty much never happens in China she probably would never have come across it regardless of whether it was correct.
    – Hasen
    Dec 7, 2019 at 10:29

Some people say 半脱产 to refer to part time study and 全脱产 as full time study for people who have a job. And the word for workers to go back to study is 进修.

半脱产学习 and 全脱产学习, or 半脱产进修 and 全脱产进修 are words specifically for people who have worked. Intuitively speaking, if you have never worked, you have no work() to get away with().

全日制学习 is a broader term for everybody, including students who have never worked.

I'm not sure if these words are only used in some parts of China, but it is quite recognized in the northern China.

Searched some description and I pasted below:

  学历中的脱产学习是在学习期间不参加工作的一种学习方式,办学的方式相当于全日制学习。 也就是参加工作后再去校内进行全日制学习的方式, 其管理模式与普通高校一样,学习期间不在原单位工作,不占用周六和周日的工休时间,对学生有正常的、相对固定的授课教室和管理要求,有稳定的寒暑假期安排。

  而半脱产学习就是一边学习,一边工作, 即白天工作时间还是工作,在周一至周五的晚上和周末的休息时间来学习,这种利用业余时间学习的方式称为半脱产。

Here also mentioned 函授 which is also widely recognized. This is a program type designed for workers to get a degree while work full time. You can also go to 夜大(night university) to get a degree. Basically they're the same.

In summary:

半脱产学习 means part time study, still work (normally this is supported by the company you work for, as you expect to get away from work when there is commitment required from the study, although the classes are normally conducted in the nights and weekends)

全脱产学习 means full time study, no work

函授 means part time study, full time work (this type of study is for people who doesn't have a degree but want to get one). Refer here.

Strictly speaking, 函授 might have people who is not working and never worked either, but this type of program is designed for full time workers and classes will be conducted in a way to cater for students who need to work full time. 函授 is probably less popular now, as it's easier for students to get a degree now.

Of course you can use a broader word, like 全日制非全日制学习, however, those words don't differentiate the student types at all.

Like others suggested, 在职读书 is also a commonly recognized word, especially for higher educations (I feel) after degree because I often hear people talk about 在职研究生. I also feel 在职 is more modern than 脱产.

By the way, maybe a lot of people don’t study after degree but there are a lot of people do study in China when they have jobs, and a lot of them are company or corporate sponsored, and normally they don’t mix with full time students. And as I mentioned in the comment section, a master's degree normally requires 3 year full time study in China, and it's a big commitment, some people will simply get one from abroad. Guess that’s why you don’t see them in school. However, everything is changing, and in order to meet the demands, more and more study programs will be available for working class.

  • Yes that's education for employees of a particular company though. What I was referring to was full time mature students like you see in the west. It's common to see students in their late 20s, 30s or even 40s and 50 sitting along with the 20 year olds. Also people in full time jobs take evening classes to learn all manner of things.
    – Hasen
    Dec 7, 2019 at 10:22
  • @hasen Right, it’s hard to see. I think one of the reasons are from the school. Many programs are not designed for working people. A lot of master’s degrees require 3 years full time study in China, which is huge commitment. People who quit their jobs normally go for MBAs, or can go abroad to study. But there are more and more people seek for further education in China now after they work.
    – sylvia
    Dec 7, 2019 at 16:58
  • Just edited my answer to include 进修, I forgot this word too. Not very modern nowadays (maybe?)
    – sylvia
    Dec 7, 2019 at 18:27
  • @sylvia If you recognize 进修, then 兼修 shouldn't surprise you. people might just leave their job to 进修, but 兼修 implies that they are still working while studying in a university.
    – dan
    Dec 7, 2019 at 23:46
  • @dan It doesn’t surprise me but it’s not very commonly used by mainlanders. And 兼修 can mean full time student take another subject of study too. For example I major in Chinese, 兼修历史
    – sylvia
    Dec 8, 2019 at 3:50

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