Postgraduate facilities what can you expect

Written By

Think Postgrad

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you study on campus 24 hours a day?
  • Can postgraduate students get accommodation on campus?
  • What facilities should a postgraduate student expect?

As you start your search for a Masters course or PhD, it is important to consider the quality of facilities. There can be big variations between universities, by level of study and subject areas. So what can you expect from postgraduate facilities when you start your degree?

Your academic needs as a postgraduate student, particularly if undertaking research, won’t be the same as those of undergraduate study. Your priorities and requirements will have changed. If you can, visit the institutions which you are considering to experience the campus and its facilities. Where this is not possible, virtual tours of the facilities are often provided on university websites and these can help you choose a university. Remember that the UK published league tables such as The Good University Guide/ The Sunday Times/ The Guardian don’t focus on money spent on postgraduate facilities so they may not be a good indicator.

Below we give some key facilities often used by postgraduates. Your own priorities will depend on your own subject and personal circumstances. A few questions you may find it helpful to ask for each include:

  • Where are the facilities (do you have to travel a long way to get access)?
  • What are the opening times (labs restricted to weekday/daytime only)?
  • How many students can they accommodate at any one time (overcrowding in Libraries can be a real problem during the exam period)?
  • Does the level of access work for you and how you will be studying (are you a weekend/late night type of scholar)?
  • What opportunities are there to meet, network and work collaboratively with other postgraduates?

Postgraduate Study Space

Outside of your own subject area, are there facilities for the broader postgraduate community. Additional to the facilities and services provided by the individual academic School or Department in which you’ll be studying? Universities sometimes have postgraduate only workspaces in their libraries, as well as in other areas of the campus. This could be a reserved area within the general facilities or a bespoke Postgraduate or Graduate Centre.

Postgraduate Social Space

As a postgraduate, it’s clearly ideal if you have the opportunity to meet and socialise with peers from other schools and disciplines in a welcoming and relaxed environment. Check opening times of postgraduate common rooms and the facilities will be shared. Students in modern universities have access to online resources for assignments, submission of work and important news via the intranet, which will help you manage your workload as well as keep up to date with upcoming events, such as research related and social events specifically for postgraduate students.

Graduate School/Doctoral College

Should a University have a Graduate School, the services provided differs from each institution, and can include study and social space as well as skills training. Graduate Schools tend to be more for PhD students than Masters but some do provide support to both. They are usually the administrative contact point for the management of students, but may also have or manage postgraduate facilities. Although skills training is not usually part if the course it is an important issue for postgraduates. Skills training and workshops are provided by a Graduate School or the Employability and Careers Service.


You will expect to use the postgraduate facilities of the Library in a different way as a masters student than you did as an undergraduate. Check the service has facilities and a stock of publications and, in particular, the journals you expect for your research.


Some universities now provide postgraduate-only accommodation and some also offer accommodation suitable for families and couples for students wishing to bring their families with them while studying. International postgraduate accomodation forms part of the admissions process, but not every university guarantees this. If you require accommodation, you should contact universities as early as possible.

Employability and Careers Office

Some universities have specialist Careers Advisers for postgraduates and/or PhD students. Look for dedicated guidance and expect good postgraduate facilities to be on offer. And expect details relating to postgraduate careers, employability and personal effectiveness. Skills training is sometimes offered by the Careers team.

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