Advice and Support page header image.

Advice & Support

Tailored Guidance for Postgraduates

This page provides information for postgraduate students on advice and welfare, academic support, and housing. This includes general health and mental health services available both on campus and further afield, as well as other forms of support for postgraduate students. The page directs you to specific institutions and individuals within the university if you have a particular academic issue. We've also included tips and information for postgraduate students when looking for somewhere to rent. You can find more information on our advice & support pages which is available for all students by clicking the button below.



If you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Please visit our health & wellbeing page relevant and useful for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

We also have a general Health & Wellbeing Page that contains useful information and resources for all Queen Mary Students.

Health advice for international postgraduate students:

Postgraduate students often arrive from overseas to study, which means you are likely to be less familiar with the British health system. When you arrive to London, it’s important to bear in mind the following:

  • The National Health Service (NHS) is “free at the point of use”. This means that you do not have to pay a fee to visit the doctor (a local doctor is known as a “general practitioner”, or GP). If you needed a visa to study in the U.K., you will have already paid for your healthcare during your NHS application, via the NHS healthcare surcharge.
  • Please note that international students from certain countries may be required to register with the police. Please check the immigration letter sent to you by the Home Office for further information. If you are unsure, please contact QMUL's Advice and Counselling Service.
  • If you need a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), please make sure you collect your BRP on time. Instructions regarding timeline and place for collection of BRP can be found on the immigration letter sent to you by the Home Office. If you are unsure, please contact QMUL's Advice and Counselling Service.
  • You should register with your local GP’s surgery when you arrive. This means you’ll be set up in case you have any health issues in the future. You can register at the Health Centre on campus if you live in university accommodation or in the borough of Tower Hamlets, otherwise you can find a local GP where you live. To find a GP and for more information, please visit our health and wellbeing page.
  • Do bear in mind that waiting times can be lengthy when trying to see your GP – and can take days or potentially weeks for an appointment. If you need urgent advice or care, you can ring 111 to speak to a nurse (who may be able to prescribe certain medications over the phone). You may also be able to ring your GP early in the morning for a same-day consultation (often over the phone).
Mental Health advice for international postgraduate students:

Mental health issues can be particularly prevalent among postgraduate students. The first thing to know is that you’re not alone: many postgraduate students have gone through or are going through the same thing and there are support services available to you through the university and beyond.

If you are struggling with a pre-existing mental health condition or are finding things difficult, you can speak to your GP or use the following services specifically for students:

  • QMUL's Advice and Counselling Service offer confidential appointments with experienced counsellors both face-to-face and online. (NB The counselling service does not offer long-term talk therapy, however).
  • If you need to talk to someone urgently. Nightline is an anonymous listening service run by students and for students, where you can talk to a trained volunteer or get more information. You can find details for Nightline here or call them on +44 2076 310 101.
  • PhD Support Groups are run regularly by Researcher Development. These are forums for discussing any problems you might face in a safe and welcoming atmosphere with other PhD students. More details can be found here.

Postgraduate studies can often represent a significant step-up in terms of the pressures and expectations placed upon students compared to undergraduate level. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take regular breaks away from your studies or research if you can, including weekends and holidays. You don’t have to set yourself a fixed working timetable such as 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, but you might find this a useful way to separate time spent studying from your own, free time. You also need time to relax and forget about university life for a while! You may have caring responsibilities or part-time work which you need to factor into your week, so find the best schedule for yourself – there is no one-size-fits-all.

In some cases, though, this isn’t entirely within your control. We understand that being told to simply “take care of yourself” can be frustrating when there are factors beyond your control impacting your well-being. If you are finding yourself over-worked or are being pressured into working more than you should – or than is sustainable for your own health and well-being – then please make use of the resources above, or contact our advice service here. We can help with issues ranging from PhD supervision to bullying and harassment. Remember that we are here to represent your interests as a member and student

As a postgraduate student, there are a number of institutions and contacts within the university who you will interact with – and receive emails from! – either on a regular basis or for specific reasons. It can often be confusing what role each plays and where to go if you have a specific question or issue you need to resolve.

Here at Queen Mary Students' Union, we offer an academic advice service which is an independent, free and confidential service open to all Queen Mary students. You can find out more here.

For both Postgraduate Taught & Postgraduate Research students:
  • Postgraduate Administrators: You should contact the admin team in your department, school, or institute if you have specific questions related to postgraduate issues. There is usually (although not in event case) a postgraduate administrator who you can contact. Please find your PGR Administrator/Research Manager here.
  • Course (PGT) or Subject (PGR) Representatives: They are student elected and appointed in line with QMSU processes to represent the views of their fellow students and bring any concerns to the attention of your School. There are also Reps for both PGT and PGR students in each faculty. You can get a full list of Reps, including your own Course Rep, and School Rep and how you can get involved here.
For Postgraduate Research students:
  • Directors of Graduate Studies are the point of contact for both PGT and PGR researchers in each School. They are usually a senior member of academic staff in your school and serve as the first point of contact for any issues within the School. You can find contact details for your DGS here.
  • The Doctoral College oversee the recruitment and admission, training and development, academic progression and examination of Queen Mary’s PGR students. It also runs the induction events for new PhD students at the beginning of each academic year and organises training for PhD supervisors, as well as allocating research funding for conferences, fieldwork and other expenses through the Postgraduate Research Fund (PGRF).
  • The Research Degrees Office is the administrative hub for PGR students, located on the second floor of the Graduate Centre on Queen Mary’s Mile End campus. This is where you’ll go when you register as a student for the first time and pick up your student card, and for other administrative issues.
  • Researcher Development run training courses for Queen Mary’s research community, particularly for PhD students. This includes research methods skills, well-being initiatives for researchers and one-to-one advice for career and academic development. They also run regular PhD support groups.

Housing is one of the most important issues for postgraduate students. If you have any questions about housing, in the first instance, take a look at our housing advice page below. However, as a postgraduate student, you may encounter specific issues different from those which undergraduates come up against. Find out more here.

How close do I need to live to campus?

Some postgraduate students, particularly those who do not need to be on campus regularly such as PGR students in the later stages of their PhD, may decide to move further away from the university, even outside of London. *This often applies to part-time students, those who have caring responsibilities or who already live outside London. It’s important to know that you’re not the only one in this situation if you do live outside London! Just make sure that it won’t negatively impact your studies or research first, particularly talking this over with your supervisor (if you are a PGR student) or course coordinator (if you are a PGT student) beforehand.

*If you are an international student, your visa may stipulate restrictions on where you live and how often you come to campus. Please contact QMUL's Advice and Counselling service if this may affect you.

Renting as a postgraduate student, with income?

As a postgraduate student, you are more likely to be living with others who may be in full-time employment than when you were an undergraduate. In London, many estate agents and landlords will have a preference for tenants in full-time employment. You may still require a UK-based guarantor if you cannot prove your income reaches a certain minimum threshold (calculated by estate agents based on the monthly rent of the property you are looking to rent) – see this page for more information.

In other cases, particularly if you are funded by either a research council or the university and therefore have a de facto guaranteed monthly income, you can negotiate with the estate agent and argue your case. In other words, you can argue that you should be treated as if you had a full-time job. Often, estate agents and landlords may not understand that a PGR student, in particular, will have a monthly income and in that sense is not the same sort of tenant as an undergraduate. You can ask your supervisor or a member of your department or school’s admin team to provide a reference for you, if one is needed, in the same way that a manager would provide one for a full-time employee.

Where can I find a property?

If you are looking for a flat or house to rent, your first port of call will probably be a site such as or, although these are often better suited to those who wish to find an entire property. If you are looking for a room only, is a good place to start. Another option is, which is another site where you are often able to rent directly from landlords rather than through letting agents.

Having problems with a landlord or estate agent?

If you are experiencing any issues with a landlord or estate agent and need legal advice regarding your rights and/or the landlord or estate agents’ responsibilities, the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre may be able to help – see this page for more information.

Queen Mary also has a Housing Services department, who can help you with a wide range of housing issues, including looking for accommodation, problems with your landlord, issues between tenants, legal issues and emergency accommodation. Their contact details can be found here.

Alongside your research at postgraduate level, you may want to think about what you would like to do career-wise once you are finished with your time here. People will be at varying levels of knowing what they want to do after research; some may have a really clear vision of their future, whereas others may be willing to consider different pathways.

This page details the opportunities for career development as a postgraduate student, including academic routes as well as less conventional pathways for research students. It will also highlight where you can go for further skill training and careers advice.

Teaching as a PhD student:

As a PhD student, you may have the opportunity to teach undergraduate students, and possibly even PGT students. At Queen Mary, you are likely to be a “Teaching Associate” (TA) or “demonstrator”. Often, you won’t get this opportunity in your first year but in the later years of your PhD once you have settled into PGR life more (although some PGR students may teach in their first year).

Teaching can be one of the most interesting and stimulating parts of being a PhD student, but also comes with increased stress (including imposter syndrome!). Researcher Development runs regular courses which every postgraduate student at Queen Mary who will teach can attend, but your Department or School may also run sessions tailored for your specific field.

If you teach, you can also sign up as a member of UCU. While the Students’ Union represents all students at Queen Mary, UCU represents academic, teaching and other professional services staff – this includes you when you are teaching (and only in your capacity as a TA or demonstrator). In other words, any issues related to teaching should be addressed to UCU, whereas issues with your PhD studies fall within the Students’ Union’s remit. You are only a full member of UCU while you have a teaching contract (i.e., while you are currently teaching at Queen Mary), and this affects things such as voting rights and strike action, so contact UCU find out whether and when you qualify as a full member.

The Queen Mary Academy offers support for graduate teaching assistants, teaching associates, demonstrators and PhD students who teach in a variety of roles. This includes a workshop for those entirely new to teaching (‘Teach your first session’), GTA development workshops, and two different routes to gain Associate Fellowship of Advance HE (AFHEA). Please find more information on these opportunities here.

UCU membership for PhD students:

The University College Union (UCU) represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges and other organisations across the UK. PhD students who teach (for example tutors and demonstrators) are eligible to join UCU for free for up to four years. You should select the ‘standard full membership’ option and tick ‘yes’ under ‘eligible for free membership’ here. This will entitle you to all rights of subscription-paying members whilst you complete your degree. This includes voting, support with problems at work, legal support and access to the local and national fighting funds if you experience pay deductions following industrial action. These rights all begin immediately on joining.

PhD students who teach as a condition of their funding from Queen Mary and hold no contract of employment with Queen Mary are still eligible for the standard free membership. Postgraduates who do not (or do not yet) teach may join UCU for free as non-voting associate student members by selecting ‘student membership’ on the sign-up page.

QMUL’s Careers and Enterprise service:

QMUL’s Careers and Enterprise team can provide various support and recourses on topics ranging from improving your CV and getting a part-time job to securing an internship or graduate scheme. You can book a meeting with one of their team members to explore career options, improve your applications, prepare for interviews or even build your network.

You can also gain work experience through the Careers and Enterprise service, including fields outside of academia, through the Aspire Programme, extracurricular opportunities and QTemps (which hosts paid temporary work opportunities for Queen Mary students and graduates. Please find out more about these opportunities here.

The Careers and Enterprise service also has a section of their webpage dedicated for PhDs and Early Career Researchers, with tailored support and research, here.

Part-time jobs at the Students’ Union:

The Students’ Union has around 150 student staff working across the Mile End, Whitechapel and Charterhouse Square campuses in many different commercial outlets and departments. Our student staff are the focal point of the organisation, and they play a key part in delivering an excellent service to all our members.

Across your Students’ Union, there are a wide variety of part-time jobs that become available to students across the year, including internships, Receptionists, Team Members, Fitness Instructors, Retail Assistants, Videographers, Photographers and many more.

Student staff roles fit perfectly around your studies, as we understand the value of your education and want you to study well during your time working with us. Working hours are flexible with hours varying for each role.

To see if there are any current vacancies, please visit this webpage.


As a postgraduate student, especially based in London, you may experience some financial challenges. To find out more about where you can go for money advice, as well as information on how to fund your postgraduate study, please read more information below.

Funding support from your Students’ Union:

We have some loan and funding opportunities available to you from your Students’ Union, including the Welfare loan, Graduation fund and Liberation fund. To find out more about these, please visit our funding page.

The Students’ Union also has a page dedicated to money advice for all students. While postgraduate experiences can sometimes vary from undergraduate, you may still find some of the resources highlighted here useful.

Recent News

PG Consultation Group

Thu 13 Jun 2024

The Students' Union is currently running an initiative to improve postgraduate research experience by speaking with our PGR community directly.

Advice & Support

Thu 13 Jun 2024

Tailored Guidance for Postgraduates

Postgraduate Life

Thu 13 Jun 2024

Transition to Postgraduate Life

Student Voice

Thu 13 Jun 2024

Ensuring Postgraduates are Heard


Contact Us

Postgraduate - website admin