In order to survive financially in grad school, you’ll not only need to be savvy with budgeting but also look for creative ways to create a steady stream of income.
Fortunately, here are 30 strategies to help you make money in grad school that are flexible, efficient, and fun.
How to make money while in grad school
1. Work on campus
There are plenty of part-time jobs on college campuses that can help you make some money while in grad school. Various school offices, coffee shops, and libraries often hire students as administrative assistants, research assistants, student advisors, or even clerical staff.
A great advantage to working on campus is your job may temporarily shut down during holiday breaks, so you’ll be able to take off when going home.
Work-study programs are also offered to students who demonstrate a financial need. Check with your college’s Financial Aid Office to see if you qualify.
2. Become a tutor
If you have a knack for certain subjects, consider becoming a tutor. You can offer private tutoring or become part of an online tutoring service that allows you to work remotely.
There may also be a tutoring program available at your graduate school to help with tutoring undergraduate students.
This is one of the best side hustles in grad school because you can choose which subjects you want to tutor and work your own hours.
3. Become a freelance writer
One of the most popular jobs during grad school is freelance writing. This is because plenty of writing agencies and entrepreneurs love to work with writers who are actively in or who have recently completed a higher education degree.
They can rest assured that their writers have a good grasp of English grammar as well as efficient research skills.
If you’re good with writing, look for online job boards that offer freelance writing jobs and apply for one. You can also make use of your friends or alumni networks to find opportunities in the writing field.
There are a variety of writing jobs available, from copywriting and content creation to web design and social media management.
You may also be interested in: 9 Simple Steps to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience
4. Deliver food to fellow classmates
A great way to make more money as a PhD student is to join a food delivery service. With the rise of convenience apps, getting meals from restaurants has become incredibly popular among students who are often too busy to cook or go out for dinner.
You can capitalize on this by signing up with local food delivery services such as Uber Eats, Postmates, or DoorDash and delivering food to your classmates when you have extra time.
Of course, you’ll need to have a reliable vehicle and a valid driver’s license to qualify for this job. It’s also important to check your graduate school’s policy on delivering food to ensure it isn’t prohibited.
5. Sell your unwanted items online
One of the easiest and most efficient ways to make money while in grad school is to sell items you no longer need or use. This could include clothes, furniture, electronics, books, and even selling your pokemon cards.
If you really want to make money, you can also sell handmade crafts or products.
These days, there are plenty of online marketplaces such as eBay that make it easier to set up shop and start selling your items. You can even use social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Instagram to promote your goods.
Take some time to declutter before listing your items for sale and you could make a bit of income rather quickly.
6. Find fellowships
If you’re looking for a way to make money without having to work, then you should consider applying for fellowships. Universities, businesses, and nonprofits offer fellowships that provide stipends or money for research projects or internships.
Do some research and apply for any available fellowships that fit your career objectives and interests. This is a great way to earn money and gain valuable experience in your field.
7. Work as a personal or virtual assistant
If you have experience in administrative or clerical work, you can use your skills to make extra money by becoming a personal or virtual assistant.
Many professionals such as entrepreneurs and business owners need assistants to help them with tasks like scheduling appointments, writing emails, or researching topics.
You can find virtual assistant jobs online that allow you to work from home. You can also use your networks to look for local professionals that are local who need help with their admin tasks.
Make sure to let potential clients know that you’re only interested in part-time work so you can still focus on your studies.
8. Become a pet sitter or dog walker
If you’re an animal lover and don’t mind spending time with furry friends, then becoming a pet sitter or dog walker is the perfect side hustle for you.
You can sign up with pet-sitting websites, such as Rover or Wag!, to connect with local dog owners who need someone to take care of their pets while they’re away.
You’ll get paid a fee each time you walk a dog or watch a pet for a few hours at the owner’s home. You can also board dogs in your home if you have the space for it.
This job has the benefit of keeping you physically active and helping you to get outside. This provides a perfect break from a long day of studying.
You may also be interested in: 13 Simple Steps to Start a Dog Daycare At Home
9. Sell textbooks
It’s hard to afford life while in grad school with the expenses that come with it, such as textbooks. However, you can make some extra cash by selling books that you no longer need.
Many students are always looking for ways to save money on their textbooks, so why not take advantage of this?
You can sell your used books online or locally to other classmates and make some extra money in the process. You can sell your books back to the college bookstore as well. While this is most convenient, you may get a lower return than if you had sold them online.
10. Work as a substitute teacher
If you’re looking for a job that pays well and allows flexibility with your studies, then becoming a substitute teacher is worth considering. Many schools need teachers to fill in when there’s an unexpected absence.
You can get paid per day or even per hour depending on the school district’s policies. Substitute teaching is a great way to gain experience in the classroom and have some extra income while still having enough time to focus on your studies.
11. Opt for an accelerated degree program
A great way to afford grad school is by shortening the amount of time it takes to complete your degree.
Many universities offer accelerated degree programs that allow students to complete their degrees in a shorter period of time and even at a fraction of the price.
These programs usually require greater financial investment upfront, but can end up saving you money overall as you’ll be spending less time and money on tuition. Plus, you’ll be able to start working in your field and earning money sooner.
12. Find an internship in your field
Internships are a great way to gain experience, build your resume, and even make some money. Even if you’re already in grad school, you can still take on an internship to help with expenses.
Many internships offer a stipend or hourly rate that may not be as much as working full-time but can still help cover some of the costs associated with grad school.
Plus, internships may help you to build relationships that lead to better paying jobs in the future.
13. Start a print-on-demand business
For those who are looking to earn passive income in grad school, starting a print-on-demand business can provide the ideal solution. This is where you create custom designs that are printed on clothing, accessories, and more.
Companies like Teespring or Printful will handle all of the production and shipping so you don’t have to worry about managing inventory or fulfilling orders yourself.
You also have the option to create your own website or use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to promote your designs. As long as you have a good design and the right marketing, you can make some decent money from this side hustle.
14. Sell digital items on Etsy
If you’re creative, you can make money while in grad school by selling digital items on Etsy. This platform allows you to sell digital downloads such as printables, graphic designs, and more.
You can create your designs from scratch or use free templates from sites like Canva to get started quickly.
The best part about this side hustle is that there are plenty of great digital items that can benefit students, such as study guides, planners or budgeting worksheets. You can also customize them to create unique products that will stand out from the competition.
15. Sign up for surveys and studies
While this isn’t the most consistent paying gig, signing up for surveys and studies can help you make some extra cash when you’re in a pinch. There are plenty of companies and research groups that are willing to pay people to participate in their projects.
You may even be able to find opportunities directly from your university or school. These types of gigs don’t usually pay a lot, but they’re great for some extra spending money. Plus, you can usually fit them into your schedule since they don’t require a lot of time.
For more convenience, there are plenty of online sites where you can take surveys such as Swagbucks and Opinion Outpost. These sites usually require that you meet certain criteria such as age, gender and location to qualify for surveys. So make sure that you read up on the rules before signing up.
16. Become a TA
A TA, also known as a teaching assistant, is an important support role in the classroom. TAs help professors teach by grading assignments, preparing materials for lectures, and even leading class discussions.
This job doesn’t always pay, and may not pay very well, depending on where you are. But it can provide some valuable experience and a steady source of income if you’re lucky enough to find the right opportunity.
Plus, being a TA often requires less time than working a traditional job, so it may give you more flexibility to focus on your studies. You’ll also be teaching in classes that are highly relevant to your degree program, so it can be a great way to gain valuable experience and perspective.
17. Try out mystery shopping
Mystery shopping involves visiting stores, restaurants, and other businesses to evaluate customer service. Companies hire mystery shoppers to review their services and provide feedback on how they can improve.
If your college town has nearby movie theaters, car dealerships, or other businesses that offer mystery shopping gigs, you may be able to take advantage of them. The pay is usually minimal but it’s a great way to get some extra cash while having fun.
Plus, since the work can usually be completed during your free time, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing too much time for studying.
18. Become a graphic designer
Especially if your degree is centered on the visual arts or design, you can use your skills to make money while in grad school. Graphic design jobs range from creating logos and websites to designing promotional materials for companies.
You don’t need a professional degree or certification to get started, and it doesn’t require too much time or effort either. All you need is a good portfolio and an eye for good design.
To build a portfolio, offer free designs for other students or local businesses. This will help you get started and show potential clients your work.
You can also create a profile on reputable freelancer sites such as Fiverr, where you can showcase your services and find potential buyers. Plus, these platforms make it easier to find work and get paid.
Related: 25 Best Ways to Make Money Drawing
19. Work as a referee
If you’re sporty, enjoy the outdoors, and looking to socialize and have fun while working, then refereeing is the perfect job for you. Referees watch and monitor games, ensuring fair play and safety rules are followed.
These games can range from youth soccer leagues to college basketball games. Not only is it a great way to make some extra money, but it can also be fun and help you stay in shape too.
Refereeing gigs usually pay per game or hour and can be found through your local parks and recreation department or through sports organizations in the area.
You may need to take a one-day certification course as well as purchase your uniform, but you’re likely to earn your investment back during your first weekend on the job.
20. Become a local tour guide
Do you love the area that your college is in, or are you going to school in your home town? If it’s a metropolitan or touristic area, you could become a local tour guide, showing visitors the sights and sounds of your town.
This type of gig can be especially lucrative if you have access to popular tourist destinations or historic landmarks that many visitors would like to see. You could also provide food tours or walking tours.
You don’t need any special qualifications to become a tour guide, and you can set your own rates. However, you could also join a tour group company if you want some structuring, support, and training.
You could also offer “free” walking tours, which draw people to your services, but you won’t go home empty-handed since most people will pay you in tips.
21. Look for employer tuition reimbursement options
Another way to make money while in grad school is by searching for employers that offer tuition reimbursement. Many companies understand the value of higher education and will offer this perk as part of their benefits package.
While tuition reimbursement is an incentive offered by some employers to assist with education expenses, student loan repayment assistance differs in that it helps offset loans already taken out.
Tuition reimbursement is a great way to receive money for completing academic courses that might have other criteria, such as minimum GPA requirements, employment rules, and regulations, or pre-defined eligible classes.
22. Become an influencer
If you don’t mind putting your face out there, you can become an influencer and make money while in grad school. This is a great way to leverage your knowledge and skills by offering advice or insights through social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, or YouTube.
You don’t need to have a huge following to start making money as an influencer. Micro-influencers can connect with brands and companies with as few as 1,000 followers. You’ll get paid by companies to promote their products or services through your posts.
You can also take advantage of referrals, where you’ll receive a commission based on sales generated from your link. You can also get free products from companies which could help to reduce your grad school spending.
23. Teach English online
If you’re a native English speaker, there are many opportunities to teach English online. You can join websites dedicated to teaching English as a foreign language and look for students that are looking to learn the language.
You’ll need some basic qualifications, such as a TEFL certificate, but once you’ve got those under your belt, you can start teaching part-time and make a decent income.
The pay rate per hour usually ranges between $10-$20, so it’s an easy way to earn some extra cash while in grad school.
You can increase your earnings when you gain experience over time, especially if your graduate degree is in a field related to teaching English.
You may also be interested in: 7 Best Companies to Teach English Online to Japanese Students
24. Start a yard work business
If you have a green thumb and know your way around gardening tools, you could start a yard work business. You can advertise your services on local classifieds or social media, or even put up posters at local stores to attract customers.
You’ll need some basic tools such as mowers, trimmers, rakes and shovels, but you can also rent larger equipment such as wood chippers and tillers. This is a great way to make some extra money while in grad school, and it will also help you stay fit and active.
You could also offer additional services such as lawn mowing, leaf raking, snow removal, and more for an added fee. During the holidays, you can also offer to hang Christmas lights or other decorations to make your business stand out.
25. Work as an on-demand cleaner
If you’re looking for some extra cash while in grad school, consider becoming an on-demand cleaner. On-demand cleaning services are growing in popularity and there is a lot of demand for this type of service.
As a small investment, you’ll need basic cleaning supplies such as mops, brooms, and detergents but you can also rent equipment if needed.
You can develop long term relationships with clients or take on one-off jobs for a quick paycheck. Either way, it’s a great way to make some extra money.
26. Start an affiliate blog
An affiliate blog is a great way to make money while in grad school. You can start a blog, write content about products and services that you’re passionate about, and then include affiliate links in your posts.
You’ll earn a commission for each sale made through your link, which can be an effective way to monetize your blog over time.
This isn’t a fast way to make money while in school, but it’s a path toward passive income. This means if you spend your school breaks, evenings, and weekends building the blog for one year, you may have a steady source of income when you’re done.
Different affiliate programs have different payout structures, so make sure to research each one before signing up.
27. Work as a coder
If you’re in a degree program related to coding, you can use your skills to make money while in grad school. There are many websites that offer freelance coding jobs such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr.
You can also take on coding projects with longer timelines so that it doesn’t interfere with your studies too much. This is an excellent way to make money while in grad school, as the pay rate for coders can be quite high.
28. Build people’s websites
If you know your way around web design, you could offer to build people’s websites. This job involves creating websites for individuals or businesses using content management systems such as WordPress.
You can also build website templates that you can sell multiple times or offer custom design services. In addition to web design, you could also offer web hosting, domain registration, and other related services.
29. Work as an audiobook narrator
Do you have an interest in voice acting? If so, you could work as an audiobook narrator and make money while in grad school.
You’ll need to be articulate, confident in front of a microphone, and able to create different character voices. You can find freelance audiobook narration jobs on platforms such as ACX or Fiverr.
You’ll need a good recording setup, such as a quality microphone and soundproofing foam, to ensure that your recordings come out sounding professional. You can also work with audio editing tools like Audacity or Pro Tools to polish up the final product before submitting it for approval.
You may also be interested in: 6 Proven Ways to Make Money on Audible
30. Sell stock photography and videos
If you have a knack for photography and videography, you could sell your work as stock footage. Many companies are always looking for stock photos and videos to use in their campaigns or advertisements, and there’s plenty of demand for quality content.
You can create a portfolio of your best work on websites such as Shutterstock or Adobe Stock and earn royalties from each sale. The earnings are small, but they become passive after you upload your media, and you can make a lot of money over time.
About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, Bankrate, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. With more than 10 years of experience in the financial and legal industries, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in these fields, as well as her own journey in turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio, she’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom. Find out more.