Where you live will play an important role in your postgraduate life in the UK – having the right accommodation will really enhance your studying experience. When you first arrive in the country you will want to be sure that you have suitable postgraduate accommodation waiting for you that will give you a comfortable life as a student. This is important whether you are coming to the UK on your own or if you are bringing your family with you from overseas. This is also important if you are a UK student moving to a new town or city to do your postgraduate programme.
There are several ways to find good student accommodation, the two main ones being through your university or via a private accommodation provider – there are benefits to both and it’s important that you find the type of accommodation that suits you best. Postgrad Solutions have recently partnered with UNITE which offers privately managed high-quality student accommodation across the UK.
Institution-owned postgraduate accommodation
Universities recognise the importance of assisting with postgraduate accommodation arrangements, and every university has an accommodation office to help with this. You will find information about the accommodation office in the prospectus and on the website of each university, and there will be information sent to you if you are offered a place on a postgraduate programme. It is extremely important that when this information comes you read it very carefully so that you understand the accommodation situation.
Most UK institutions, for example the University of Derby, offer excellent in-house accommodation for its students - with well equipped, safe, clean and good value halls of residence. If you are able to apply to live in your university's halls of residence then the accommodation offered will probably be a single study bedroom. This may have its own private facilities with a shower and toilet in a separate room leading from the study bedroom. This is described as ‘en suite’ facilities. Alternatively the showers and toilet facilities may be shared between several study bedrooms. In either arrangement there will probably be a kitchen that is shared by several students, and which is equipped with a refrigerator, a cooker and a sink.
The accommodation may be provided with a wide range of different arrangements. Most universities will have mixed halls of residence, which means that both men and women share the same hall. However, most universities will also have single sex halls of residence for those who prefer such arrangements. Similarly there will be variations in the provision of meals. Some halls of residence will be available on a self-catering basis, which means that no meals are provided. In such circumstances the halls will have kitchen facilities. Others may include meals in the cost, and you will be able to eat in the refectory or cafeteria in the hall of residence. Clearly, you can choose whichever arrangements you prefer.
Most halls of residence will have some communal facilities, including for example a common room, a television room, a small shop and laundry facilities. They will also provide cleaning services for the communal areas, including the kitchens, but you will have responsibility for keeping your own room clean. Washing clothes will also be your own responsibility. You will be able to do this using the self-service laundrettes which are available in most halls of residence or in the Student Union facilities in the university. You will also find private laundrettes in most localities, which you will be able to use.
If you are applying to live in a hall of residence then you will need to complete the application form by the deadline indicated to you. The university will then confirm back to you whether or not you have been allocated accommodation. Until you receive this confirmation you should not assume that you have been given a place in a hall of residence.
Privately owned postgraduate accommodation
There are lots of privately owned student accommodation providers that can also help you to find accommodation and it is important to make sure you have a good recommendation. All universities have lists of properties that students can rent from private landlords. In many cases these will have been inspected by the accommodation office to be sure they are of a suitable quality and that the rent is fair. However, the accommodation office will not usually make the arrangements for you – you will have to do this yourself by contacting the property’s owner or landlord. The advantage of such private accommodation is that you can find something to suit your own needs and budget. The disadvantage is that it is difficult to make arrangements before you arrive in the UK, and in some cases if you do have to find private rented accommodation you may find it easier to make temporary arrangements for somewhere to live before you arrive, and then look for a permanent place after you have arrived. The accommodation office can usually give advice on finding temporary accommodation.
Postgrad Solutions has recently partnered with UNITE – a company that provides privately managed purpose-built student accommodation – a great alternative to university halls and private housing. UNITE is the leading provider of student accommodation across the UK with over 130 properties, conveniently located, close to campus and/or the city centre of many of the UK’s main university towns and cities. Plus, they’ll also aim to place you with other postgraduates, which will be a good way to meet other students and make new friends.
UNITE provides both shared flats and self-contained studios, and is great value accommodation with all prices fully inclusive of bills, contents insurance and in-room internet access*, as well as 24-hour security,* including CCTV. The other benefit is that you can make your living arrangements before arriving in the UK by contacting their customer service team or going online.
(*Terms and conditions apply. Visit www.unite-students.com/legalstuff for full details.)
If you are bringing your family with you it is often more difficult to find a university that can accommodate you. Although some do have family flats, many do not. You will therefore have to find private rented accommodation. If you cannot arrange this until after you arrive in the UK, you may prefer to travel on your own initially and then arrange for your family to join you when you have found suitable accommodation.
Looking for funding for postgraduate studies? Check out the exclusive bursaries on offer from Postgrad Solutions.