Settling into Postgraduate Life - Welcome Week

As a new academic year gets under way, it can be an exciting but also daunting time for new postgraduates, especially if starting at a different university or having been out of education for a while.

We therefore asked four Postgraduate Societies to give their tips on what to look out for and tell us what happens at their institutions in the first few weeks for new for postgraduate students.

Tania, Students’ Association St Andrews
The Orientation Week for new postgraduates is twofold: There are induction events run by the University and different departments to give them the chance to meet relevant staff. Additionally, the Postgraduate Society hosts a variety of activities throughout the week ranging from a drinks reception, town safari, beach picnics and a bonfire!

These events that are open to both Masters and PhD students as we strive to bring both together to build a stronger community whose members benefit from each other. We work closely with other units of the University such as Careers and professional development. For example, we piloted a very successful event last year where current Masters students had the opportunity to speak to current PhD students about their life as a research student to explore the different options.

James, PhD candidate and PG Representative, University of Leeds
Search out your university’s Postgraduate Society – and if they don’t have one, find someone who can help you set one up. It is a great way to meet new people outside of your department, and is a place for Masters and PhD students to discuss work, as well as offering opportunities to get away from the books and computers for a while.

There are opportunities to join various other union societies, to take part in sports, political activity and other pursuits – some societies are often dependent on PG participation to run smoothly, so don’t think they’re only for undergraduates.

So join a society, explore your union, become a PG representative – and if these opportunities don’t exist at your university and its union, don’t be afraid to do something about it!

Emma and Ameila, Little France Postgrad Society, University of Edinburgh
In the Postgraduate Society, we're really keen to make the newcomers feel welcome and give them the chance to meet other postgraduates on campus. We contribute to official inductions but we also host a more informal welcome a couple of weeks into the course.
Aaron, Postgraduate Students Chair, Union of Brunel Students
We work with the University to provide a comprehensive induction for all new Postgrads. This year we worked with the international team to ensure that there were four induction talks about facilities and services for those students who did not have a standardised start date. Every Tuesday our Graduate School holds a coffee morning, in which all Masters and PhD students can come, talk, socialise and get to know the PG community – this event is generally the first that most attend.

PhD students should also be sure to listen to our weekly radio show called academic Brunel in which we invite students to discuss their research on the radio show!

Next Steps

We hope you have found this article helpful. Find our more about what Postgraduate Societies have to offer and further tips for new PhD students .

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