It can be daunting starting your studies somewhere new, particularly if you’ve been out of education for a time.
You may think clubs and societies are only for undergraduates, but there are plenty set up especially for postgraduates.

Postgraduate clubs and societies are a great way to make the most of your time as a postgraduate student: they can help you be part of the university’s postgraduate community, and get the most out of your degree through supporting academic and social activities.

What’s on offer?

Activities may be academic, social or sports-based, or combination of all three. Postgraduate societies based around a subject area may only be open to Research or Taught students, or both, so it’s worth finding out. A “club” usually indicates a sport activity, whilst a “society” will be round a special interest.

Check if you are automatically enrolled once registered as a postgraduate student at your institution or have to join. Membership is usually free but there are some that require payment.

Where to look?

A university-wide Postgraduate Society could be run by the University or be student-led and managed, often via the Students’ Union but also possibly via a Graduate School. Subject based postgraduate societies are often set up in individual departments.

If there isn’t a Postgraduate Society, you could always start one – start by talking to the Students’ Union, and the Graduate School.

The Students’ Union will have a list of all their Clubs and Societies: although many will be open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, there may be some that are specifically set up for postgraduates. The Students’ Union may also have a Postgraduate Officer who will be able to help you with academic issues, social activities or representation.

Peer support and academic activities

As well as social activities (the variety is endless!) postgraduate societies often offer other forms of peer support and academic activities for both masters and PhD students. These could include buddy schemes, skills development, networking opportunities and professional development to help build your career after your course. Some hold academic conferences and invite speakers from industry and academia, which include competitions (often with a prize on offer) such as the Two Minute Thesis Competition.

Get involved before you start

Take a look at Graduate School, department and University and Students’ Unions websites to see what Postgraduate Clubs and Societies there are, and what they do. Follow them on social media and get in touch and make connections before you even start your course.

Next Steps
  • Search and Compare Masters courses on MastersCompare
  • Register here to get regular updates from PostgraduateStudentships and MastersCompare
  • Share your story: tell us what you think of the postgraduate clubs and societies on offer – Are you in one? Have you started your own? Ask any questions you may have and chat to other students on our Think Postgrad page on Facebook and Twitter