Supporting your studies as a student

Masters students with a place to study at university need to recognise that they are just at the start of their postgraduate journey. This article lists the main factors for supporting your studies as a student in the UK.

Winning a place at university is just the start. The reality is that students have to manage not only their priorities related to their course, but also the practical details regarding finance, their emotional and physical health and their future destination.

The financial considerations for a masters degree are very important. UK students are very likely to take on part time work while they are studying in order to supplement their living expenses. International students will also want to do the same subject to the restrictions of their study visa, which has to be carefully considered.

Students need to include relaxation and socialising as part of their routine. Its not good for the individual to focus 100% on academic study, because the experience of taking a masters incudes functioning as a normal adult as much as it requires attention to study.

Help on tap

Remember there are a number of university staff who are able to provide you with individual support, such as your academic tutor or research supervisor.

If you are fortunate enough to study on campus then you will have access to the Student Welfare service to support you if you are facing emotional as well as financial difficulty. You should be able to find a student support number on your universities website.

It is also important to take advantage of any social interaction and recreation, wether that is organised sport or being part of a club or society that interests you.

The other really important challenge to consider is the future. If you have accomplished many steps to get where you are academically then you need to prepare for life after you graduate and use the time diring your masters to plan your next steps.

Our current masters scholarship winner Marjana is studying at Imperial College Business school. She has already secured a graduate placement on completion in September 2022 with a global consumer brand.

She was offered this position before her second term was complete, so she has a clear career pathway already lined up for her.

Take time to plan in advance

One way to prevent difficulties with the postgraduate study environment is to consider your needs before you agree to study the course, and this is where postgraduate open days have an important role to play.

They are relevant – not just in terms of the course and the facilities but also as far as the physical environment you could find yourself in if you chose to study your masters as a particular university.

A few questions you may find it helpful to ask at an open day include:-

  • Where are the facilities (do you have to travel a long way to get access)
  • What are the opening times (labs restricted to weekday/daytime only)
  • How many students can they accommodate at any one time (overcrowding in Libraries can be a real problem during the exam period)
  • Does the level of access work for you and how you will be studying (are you a weekend/late night type of scholar)
  • What opportunities are there to meet, network and work collaboratively with other postgraduates

Make use of university spaces

Postgraduate Study Space

Outside of your own subject area, are there facilities for the broader postgraduate community. Additional to the facilities and services provided by the individual academic School or Department in which you’ll be studying?

Universities sometimes have postgraduate only workspaces in their libraries, as well as in other areas of the campus. This could be a reserved area within the general facilities or a bespoke Postgraduate or Graduate Centre.

Postgraduate Social Space

As a postgraduate, it’s clearly ideal if you have the opportunity to meet and socialise with peers from other schools and disciplines in a welcoming and relaxed environment. Check opening times of postgraduate common rooms and the facilities will be shared.

Students in modern universities have access to online resources for assignments, submission of work and important news via the intranet, which will help you manage your workload as well as keep up to date with upcoming events, such as research related and social events specifically for postgraduate students.

Graduate School/Doctoral College

Should a University have a Graduate School, the services provided differs from each institution, and can include study and social space as well as skills training. Graduate Schools tend to be more for PhD students than Masters but some do provide support to both. They are usually the administrative contact point for the management of students, but may also have or manage postgraduate facilities.

Although skills training is not usually part if the course it is an important issue for postgraduates. Skills training and workshops are provided by a Graduate School or the Employability and Careers Service.


You will expect to use the postgraduate facilities of the Library in a different way as a masters student than you did as an undergraduate. Check the service has facilities and a stock of publications and, in particular, the journals you expect for your research.

Postgraduate Accommodation

Some universities now provide postgraduate-only accommodation and some also offer accommodation suitable for families and couples for students wishing to bring their families with them while studying. International postgraduate accomodation forms part of the admissions process, but not every university guarantees this.

If you require accommodation, you should contact universities as early as possible.

Employability and Careers Office

Some universities have specialist Careers Advisers for postgraduates and/or PhD students. Look for dedicated guidance and expect good postgraduate facilities to be on offer. And expect details relating to postgraduate careers, employability and personal effectiveness. Skills training is sometimes offered by the Careers team.