Education is no longer understood only as a sort of training for life, but also as a companion of life. This social trend results in external studies at secondary schools and universities being continually extended. Schools are thus fulfilling the current task of improving the qualification of the working people. External studies at the universities, which constitute an independent system of forms and methods of instruction, are conditioned by the aim and content of university education, conditions of study, as well as by the age and living conditions of the external students. These relationships have been analysed in the article in detail. Characteristic features of the external studies are the self-teaching work of the pupil and the instructional work of the teacher. The instructional work does not consist in the teacher ≫passing on≪ information to the pupil, but only in guiding the pupil how to acquire this information from other sources of instruction (textbooks, literature, the pupil’s own practice). As to the character of the instructional work, we distinguish two systems of external studies, i. e. consultation and correspondence courses. For external studies, to achieve the aims of university education (i. e. creative application of science and its methods by specialists in practice), specific forms and methods of instruction arise, which differ more and more from those of regular studies. This makes itself felt in study plans and curriculums, in consultative lessons and holiday-courses of students, in the teachers’ and students’ methods of work as well as in textbooks. What further contributes substantially to the differentiation between regular and external studies is the influence of the age and living conditions of the external students. While the education of the youth looks ahead, the education of adults is going on simultaneously with their employment. Therefore such content and methods of instruction are sought as take into account the students’ experiences of work and life.