Postgraduate taught students (PGT) and postgraduate research students (PGR) can occupy a grey area between students and staff, and it’s not always clear how a Students' Union can provide support. Your Postgraduate Hub sets out to explain what your Students' Union can do for you, and how you can get involved in change and democracy, as well as in clubs, societies, and sports. Don't know what a Students' Union is? Find out who we are and what we do here.
Tell us what’s it like to be a postgrad researcher at QM (and get paid to do it).
The PGCG is a small group of PGRs that meet regularly to discuss the PGR experiences at Queen Mary. The group is chaired by Matthew Beach, VP Communities (and a current PGR). The PGCG meetings will be structured around a set of questions from Matthew, but there will also be space for you to raise points outside of the pre-prepared questions. It’s a bit like a focus group taking place regularly, where PGRs can talk about their experience and suggest ideas for improvements that the Students’ Union team can then take forward internally and also in the wider university structure.
In line with the Students’ Union’s new strategy and in response to feedback from PGRs, the Students’ Union is launching our new Postgraduate Consultation Group (PGCG) this academic year.
The Students’ Union represents all Queen Mary students, including students enrolled as PhD researchers and other postgraduate research students (postdocs are unfortunately not eligible). However, we recognise that our existing services and activities don’t always meet the needs of PGRs, and we are therefore introducing a brand-new way and more flexible for you to get involved and tell us about your life at QM as a research student.
Yes! We know life as a research student can be pretty busy, and your feedback is really valuable to us. Therefore, members will get £35 per meeting to thank them for their time and feedback.
The PGCG meets 8 times per year, and each meeting takes 1.5 - 2 hours. To become a member, you don’t have to be available to attend all the meetings. Before each meeting, we’ll check which members are available and select up to 15 members to attend each meeting. Depending on the number of people that sign up to take part, we’ll try to allocate a fair number of meetings to each member, so we hear from a range of PGRs.
Please note that you’ll only get paid for the meetings you attend.
In short – turn up and be prepared to talk about your experience as a research student at Queen Mary.
To help us facilitate the PGCG in an effective way, we’ll ask you to submit your availability before each meeting. We’ll sort this online, so it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
You may also find it helpful to take a bit of time before the meeting to reflect on your experience, so you are prepared to discuss your experience at the meeting.
All current PGRs at Queen Mary are eligible to be part of the PGCG, (postdocs are unfortunately not eligible). We are not looking for any particular skill set or knowledge, but you need to be willing to speak up and share your experience at the meetings.
The PGCG is a feedback collection forum, and we’ll cover a wide range of topics in relation to the experience of research students at Queen Mary. This can include but is not limited to induction, supervision, community, belonging, support, career planning, funding, housing, work-life balance, social activities, campus spaces and resources.
The PGCG is not suitable for individual casework – for example, the PGCG will not be suitable space to raise a concern about a named individual or raise a complaint about a specific service.
We ask all PGCG members to maintain confidentiality by not sharing feedback raised at the PGCG with anyone outside of the group. If a member wishes to discuss the work of the PGCG, they are welcome to do so in general terms, but it would not be acceptable to share details of specific points raised by other members.
The Students’ Union team uses the feedback from PGCG to make changes to Students’ Union services/activities and lobby for changes to services/activities provided by Queen Mary or external organisations. The meetings will be minuted by a Students’ Union staff member to ensure feedback is captured, but the feedback will be anonymised before it is use for improvement processes or lobbying.
Interested in joining the PGCG? All you need to do is complete this short sign-up form here before the 7th November to be considered for the first consultation, which will be on 14th November at 12:00-13:30.
When the sign-ups close, we’ll contact everyone that has signed up to arrange the first meeting. We’ll contact you via email shortly after the form has closed, so please check your inbox, so you don’t miss the email about the first meeting. We’ll ask you to complete a quick online poll to confirm your availability. When we know who’s available for the first meeting, we’ll select up to 15 members to participate in the first meeting. We’ll email you directly to let you know whether you’ve been selected for the first meeting or not. If you’ve not been selected for the first meeting, we’ll do our best to allocate you to one of the next meetings instead (depending on your availability and the number of people that have signed up).
Do you have a question? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year the Students’ Union elects a Postgraduate Taught Rep and a Postgraduate Research Rep for each faculty. Our reps work throughout the year to represent PGT and PGR students within the Students’ Union and to the University, attending meetings and lobbying for changes and improvements to the University and Students' Union.
We also elect a Vice President Communities, who works full-time as part of our Executive Officer team and is responsible for leading our work engaging with student communities.
Your elected representatives want to hear your ideas to improve the university experience for postgraduate students. Use the form below to tell us your big or small ideas and your reps will work hard to make it happen.
To find out who your reps are, see what they are working on or to tell us your ideas, visit the links below.
The subsequent dropdown sections outline how QMSU supports postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students.
If you have an issue that you want to raise, the first person you should speak to is your course director or your head of department, school or institute. However, there may be situations where you don’t feel comfortable, or you wish to raise an issue that affects more than just you in your school or department. In those situations, you may wish to speak to your course representative. You can find a list of representatives by clcking the button below.
If you have an issue that you want to raise, the first person you should speak to is your PhD Supervisor, or your school’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). However, there may be situations where you don’t feel comfortable, or you wish to raise an issue that affects more than just you in your school or department. In those situations, you may wish to speak to your subject representative. You can find a list of representatives by clicking on the button below.
Don’t have a PGR Subject Representative in your School / Institute / Department? Why not be a representative? Contact your Faculty PGR Representative for more information.
Contact the Student Voice team at your Students’ Union with any questions you may have.