Being accepted onto a PhD programme is incredibly exciting, but there a few things to consider besides your funding. These will include your deadlines and supervisor expectations, networking opportunities and the possibility of taking on part-time work as a teaching assistant. But one of the most important factors to bear in mind will be where you are going to live throughout your studies.
In this article, we will look at the accommodation options for PhD students and how to decide where to live and who to live with. We will also discuss some things to consider when you are choosing a postgraduate accommodation provider and how renting privately with Mansion Student might be a great choice for you.
Accommodation options for PhD students
When looking for student accommodation as a PhD candidate, you may feel overwhelmed by your options. You may have a partner or even children to consider when making a move or may have certain needs and requirements to meet personally.
University accommodation such as general student halls can still be an option when studying for a PhD. However, your university may offer postgraduate-specific halls. This option may be more suitable for those looking for a quieter pace of life than perhaps might be found by mixing with undergraduate students. It may also be possible for you to become a resident tutor in undergraduate residences, which can combine work with a place to live.
Outside of the university campus, you may wish to go into privately rented accommodation. This could be a room in a shared flat or house alongside friends, fellow students or existing tenants who you have never met before. If this does not appeal to you and you want more personal space and privacy, then a single-occupancy apartment or self-contained studio in purpose-built student accommodation may be a better option.
The final option would be to live at home. This would be the obvious choice if you are completing your PhD on a part-time basis alongside employment, or if you have returned to academia later in life.
Choosing where to live during your PhD
There are many factors to think about when choosing where to live during your PhD. You will need to seriously consider the location of your accommodation and whether you wish to be based in the city centre or close to the University such as our Woodhouse Apartments in Leeds. This will depend on your personal preference, lifestyle and the transport options available to you.
Transport links will be an important part of your choice regardless of where you live, as you will need to access your university, fieldwork area and amenities across the city. If you study at Durham University and stay in our Ernest Place accommodation, we will offer you a free bus pass to help you get to university and around the city.
You will also need to consider the proximity of your chosen accommodation to your PhD office or base and field of research if applicable. Some PhD studies can be carried out remotely, whereas others will require you to be close by.
There are also factors regarding the accommodation option itself which you should bear in mind. These include the property’s size and whether it provides the on-site facilities and features you would require to be comfortable and settled. Of course, much of this will depend on your budget and what is affordable to you in the location you want to live in.
Choosing who to live with during your PhD
Equally as important as deciding where and in what type of accommodation you want to live in is who you will be sharing that space with.
You might not want to live with unfamiliar people, as you won’t know their lifestyles or whether you will even get along with them. If you do choose to live with fellow students, you will need to think about what stage of the university system they are in and their different priorities. For example, you could live with fellow PhD students who will probably have common goals and lifestyles, or you could cast your net wider and include Masters and undergraduate students. It really depends on the range of people you wish to live with.
As a PhD student, you could also choose to live with working professionals and non-students. This is particularly popular with older PhD students who perhaps do not want to engage in the typical student lifestyle adopted by undergraduate students.
There will be housing advice and support available through your university, though if you apply for a place to live in university managed postgraduate halls you could be randomly assigned flatmates. If you want more choice, there may be an online portal where you can connect with others PhD students at your university looking for a place to live, or you could look on social media. Many accommodation providers like Mansion Student will also be on hand to provide advice and guidance.
It may be that none of these options sounds appealing to you, and you wish to live alone. This is more common among PhDs than students at other levels, as this type of postgraduate study is quite intense and requires lots of dedicated time for reading, researching and writing. The presence of other people may be too distracting.
Things to consider when choosing an accommodation provider
As you look for accommodation providers, you should research each provider’s reputation— you can look online to see reviews by previous tenants. You should also think about what kind of contract you are willing to get into, especially the length of the contract and its terms and conditions.
When considering a specific accommodation provider, you should look carefully at the condition of the individual rooms or flats as well as the property as a whole, especially shared facilities like the laundry room. Does everything seem to be well maintained, and is the property secure? Additionally, you may be able to speak to current or previous tenants about their experience of staying at that property.
Renting privately with Mansion Student
If you are searching for privately-rented, purpose-built accommodation for your postgraduate study, then Mansion Student could have the perfect place for you.
We offer safe and reputable serviced student accommodation in several major student cities across the UK, with a range of property sizes from three-bedroom apartments to ensuite studio flats. We offer short-term lets as well as longer contracts, so if you are temporarily relocating for fieldwork, we can help you find a suitable room for your stay.
Get in touch to see if we could help you find your perfect home as a PhD student.