Studying at Leeds as a Postgraduate
At LUU we understand that postgraduates have a unique experience of University, but whether you’re doing a year-long taught degree or embarking on an MRes or PhD, you’re still members of LUU - and we’re here to make sure you love your time at Leeds.
On this page you can take a closer look at the things that matter to postgraduates, and what’s on offer just for you at LUU.
If you're starting as a Taught Postgraduate in January 2020, we'd encourage you to take a look at the University's Transition to Leeds site, which is designed to support you in your studies and is full of useful information and resources.
And if you’re interested in participating in a Virtual Postgraduate Open Day - featuring loads of sessions including subject talks, accommodation information, chances to ask your questions and more - visit the University’s Virtual Open Days page. Sign in if you’ve already registered, or head to the registration page by clicking sign in > sign up to get involved. There's also a virtual campus tour to allow you to explore from the comfort of your own home.
Representation for Postgraduates
At LUU we are dedicated to representing all student voices, and both taught postgraduates (PGT) and research postgraduates (PGR) have representatives who advocate for change on their behalf.
PGT School Reps
Every year LUU recruits and appoints around 40 Masters students as School Reps. These students work with their School and the University to provide the best possible academic experience for PGTs. Past PGT School Reps have done lots of exciting things, from meeting with the Vice Chancellor about the staff industrial action, to lobbying for better work spaces, or organising events around employability and sense of belonging.
Applications for School Reps will open within the first week of your programme. It’s a brilliant opportunity to develop both your skills and your CV, and to make substantial change to the things that matter to you and your peers.
PhD Students (known as Postgraduate Researchers or PGRs at Leeds) are represented by a group of peers called PGR Reps. There are over 100 PGR Reps - usually about two per School or Research Centre. Your Reps attend meetings with your School, Graduate School, and the Doctoral College to lobby for your interests. They meet the Dean of the Doctoral College at the PGR Reps Forum, where they can submit your questions for response from the highest level. PGR Reps have worked on lots of different issues, from funding during Covid-19, to PGR working space and the rights of Postgraduate Researchers who Teach and Demonstrate.
At postgraduate level your social life might not be quite as hectic as the undergraduate days, but that doesn’t mean there’s not loads of stuff to get involved with. Postgrad students can make the most of our 300+ clubs and societies to make friends and try new activities, and there are plenty of postgraduate-specific events that take place throughout the year, both online and in person. In the past these have included things like a bake off, book club, bi-weekly postgraduate happy hour, board game nights and hiking trips.
We have a postgrad blog dedicated to sharing a variety of postgrad experiences as our contributors explore life as taught and research postgraduates in Leeds. You can also join our Postgrad Hub community on Facebook to connect with fellow students. Finally, there is a Postgraduate Society which is exclusive to PG students like you.
Support for postgraduates
Our expert Help & Support team has loads of experience helping postgraduate students. Some of the most common queries we receive from postgraduates are about:
Help if there are problems with your supervisor(s)
Funding and financial hardship
Advice for students and researchers who are carers
Rights in the workplace
Remember that this team’s services are confidential and free, and because we are separate from the University, our advice is independent and impartial.
For more postgraduate-specific resources why not visit our Postgraduate Hub page on the main website?
We know that a lot of postgraduate students work part time alongside their studies, and our in-house job shop Joblink is on hand to help you find work that suits your schedule. Be sure to check out their vacancies, as well as LUU’s own listings.
Where to live
As a postgraduate student it’s likely you’ll decide to live in private rented accommodation instead of University halls.
Read our Accommodation page for handy information on finding a place to live and our advice for moving in, and read on to discover more about some of the best spots in Leeds for students to rent.
Leeds’ main student hub, Hyde Park is popular with both undergraduates and postgraduates. Most properties will put you between 10 and 20 minutes away from campus. Hyde Park has multiple supermarkets, easy access to the green spaces of Woodhouse Moor and Burley Park, and incredible buildings with rich histories like Left Bank Leeds, Brudenell Social Club and The Hyde Park Picture House.
Just over the bridge from Hyde Park is its bigger sister, Burley Park. A larger, generally quieter area with a better blend of students, young professionals and families, Burley Park is equally well located to the amenities of both Hyde Park and Kirkstall Road. Situated slightly further away from campus than Hyde Park, Burley has many excellent transport links (including a train which can take you anywhere from Leeds Centre to York) and - perhaps unsurprisingly - a lovely little park.
Another popular student area, Headingley is a leafy suburb dominated by pubs (which facilitate the infamous Otley Run, an 18 stop bar crawl and thing of Yorkshire legend), restaurants and tree-lined roads. A move to Headingley will situate you between 20 and 40 minutes away from campus, depending on where you live, but will also include easy access to two good sized Sainsburys supermarkets as well as plenty of independent shops. Like Burley, you can count on a variety of excellent transport links in the direction of the University and town centre.
Woodhouse is the area closest to the University, so if you are prioritising proximity it might be best for you. Smaller than the other neighbourhoods, Woodhouse tends to have fewer students and more local Leeds residents. Living here comes with no need for buses.
Managing your workload and ensuring your wellbeing
Embarking on postgraduate studies means that the style and intensity of your workload changes from your previous studies - particularly if you’re a postgraduate research student.
Some of the changes you might experience include more of a focus on essays than examinations, a shorter study period (for PGT students), more of a focus on independent learning, and an increased workload.
If you’re starting a PhD, you will have extremely limited contact hours, taking the form of supervisions and occasional training as opposed to the lectures and seminars of lower-level study. With more intensity and autonomy, it’s normal to feel a bit daunted, but it’s a really exciting opportunity to develop your skills and interests. These changes can take some time to adapt to, but there are plenty of ways to manage your workload and preserve your wellbeing.
Managing your workload
Plan well in advance. Know your deadlines at the beginning of the semester and formulate a plan for when you’ll work on certain tasks over the course of the term. Account for other responsibilities like part time work, as well as your well-deserved down time, and stick to it to ensure you never miss a deadline or have to sacrifice other things to get your work done.
Form study groups with your coursemates. This can help to motivate you, enable you to discuss ideas outside of formal seminars and help you to feel supported and understood during challenging times. If you’re a PGR working on something totally different to your cohort, it still pays to get together and discuss your research, answer questions and identify any areas for improvement. It’s also important as a PGR to actively avoid becoming isolated - and this is a great way to do so.
If you’re a PGT student, make use of your Academic Personal Tutor. If you have an academic issue, don’t bury your head in the sand. Your tutor is there to help you and will be a valuable resource in helping to steer you through your course should you need the support.
When a task feels overwhelming, break it down into manageable chunks and focus on getting through each one in turn. This will help you to focus on the moment rather than panicking about a large piece of work and stop you from feeling overwhelmed and procrastinating as a result.
Stress can be a normal part of University life, especially as a postgraduate student. However it’s crucial to recognise when things are getting too much, and to know how to regulate your stress levels to ensure your health and wellbeing.
Below, two Leeds students who worked in LUU’s Postgraduate Project, Imogen Stevens (MSc Climate Change and Environmental Policy) and Sagal Arboshe (MA Global Development) take you through their stress management tips.
Develop good habits. Taking the time to take care of your body through eating and sleeping well and staying hydrated will also benefit your mental wellbeing, leaving you feeling nourished and reinvigorated.
When feeling stressed or anxious, make a note of the thoughts that come into your mind and challenge yourself. Ask yourself if there’s evidence for the way that you’re feeling; are there other ways of viewing the situation; how is thinking this way affecting you; are you concentrating on your weaknesses instead of your strengths?
Remember that academic performance is tied to your health and wellbeing. It’s important to be kind to yourself, to work through each task one at a time and to recognise that each day is a chance to start again.
While dedication towards academic performance and studying is key, studying is not the be-all and end-all of university life. It is important to maintain balance by practising pleasurable things as well as necessary and routine tasks, and taking time to rest, relax and have fun in order to de-stress and improve the quality of your work.
At LUU and at the University of Leeds you’re surrounded by resources designed to help you through the tough times, including the following:
You will have School or Centre staff including Student or PGR Support Officers, Academic Personal Tutors, Directors of Taught Postgraduate Studies and Directors of Postgraduate Research Studies with whom you can discuss any difficulties you’re experiencing
Studying at the University of Leeds means that you gain free membership to Big White Wall where you can access peer support, online modules and resources for self-management which empower you to improve your wellbeing.