Accomodation in Sheffield



so I would start my PhD in Sheffield from February and I should start looking for a place soon. I have 4 questions and I appreciate any input from you guys:

1- What is the advantage of living in a university dorm over renting a private place? As far as I had a quick look, the price is not particularly lower for dorms,...Do I stand a chance to get somewhere private applying from outside UK???

2- What does a self-catering dorm actually mean?? perhaps means meals would be served 24/7? Are the meals included in the rent?(I might sound weird but sorry we do not have such kind of dorms here in Germany)

3- I would get ca 14000 lb per year, so nearly 1100 lb per month as my stipend. What would be a reasonable amount to consider for rent? (for other expenses please assume an average life style, eat out maybe once a week, etc.) And does anybody have any idea how much the utilities cost in the UK, esp. in Sheffield??

4- Health insurance: how much does it cost for PhD students and from where should I get one?(I am a German citizen).

Thank you so much.

Avatar for Eds

Self-catering = NO food whatsoever provided :D it's just you and the pizza menus bro.

Probably hve a kitchen (of sorts) for you to prepare your own nouveaux cuisine.


1. Most postgrads are in private renting.

I think that the advantage of dorms is that you can secure the accommodation easily and it's probably close to uni.

Yes you can find somewhere by applying from outside UK, or you could just book viewings then make a weekend trip to view the properties and then pay the deposit to secure it if you find one you like (if living alone) or contact the uni and see if they can ask around your dept for a place to share?

2. That would be nice to have meals served 24/7! No, it means get your own...

3. Rent obviously depends on so many things. As a rough guide on sharing a place, you're looking at £300 to 600 bills included. Most PhD students live very well on their stipend. It's more than enough.

4. Free! Got to love the NHS :) Just register with a doctors surgery when you arrive

PS - check your uni website because they will have most of the info on there.

Avatar for Mark_B

Hi Fabian

Funnily enough, myself and the rest of the 'team' here are based in Sheffield. I came here as a PhD student myself.

It's a great city, very friendly and very affordable for the UK.

I'm not sure if either of the universities have their own postgrad accommodation, but there's a huge amount available across the city (including dedicated student buildings).

We also have the best beer in the UK. No argument.

Happy to try and help with any more specific questions, but I haven't lived in student accommodation here myself.



as a german you'll notice most of the accommodation will be not the quality you're used to. you might want to check for double glazing, damp and somesuch. avoid sash windows. some britishers think it's totally normal to have 15 degrees inside your house during winter. prepare to be ripped off one or other way. dorms, while not super cheap, might provide more longterm tenancy security than private places where they can raise the rents fairly arbitrary... english renters do not have the same legal protection and rights as in germany. it's not easy and it's good to ask around, for instance here and get some help from the locals.

Avatar for Eds

What locals? Local britishers? They won't be very useful; they'll be far too busy ripping people off or vandalising their sash windows.


Quote From windowsill:
as a german you'll notice most of the accommodation will be not the quality you're used to. you might want to check for double glazing, damp and somesuch. avoid sash windows. some britishers think it's totally normal to have 15 degrees inside your house during winter.

Yes the joys of cheap student properties. Yes I'm experiencing it now, and no, I don't think it's normal and I don't think any other 'Britishers' think so either! Students don't have to put up with poorly insulated properties with ineffective heating systems - you get what you pay for. If I had to live in student properties the rest of my life... well, that's one incentive to get a well paying job isn't it!

But for now? Yes, gotta put up with it unless I want to get a parttime job so I can afford a better place.


I would try a room mate website and try to live with some other postgrads. Good for social integration. Also, stick to the west of the city - Broomhill, Hunter's Bar, Walkley, Fulwood, Crookes, Crosspool, Greystones, Nether Edge are all nice areas (some more studenty than others).

Avatar for Mark_B

Best that we don't get into too much of a UK vs Europe sidetrack here...

Speaking specifically of Sheffield:

Lots of the accommodation in the city has been specifically designed and built for students. It's modern, clean and of a good quality.

As anywhere, there will be some 'dodgier' options. Ask your university for a list of approved or recommended landlords.

You won't be subject to arbitrary rent increases - you'll sign a tenancy agreement that sets out the terms of your let. This also prevents you from being evicted or otherwise mistreated. You're covered by some fairly solid legal rights as a tenant in the UK. Again, ask your university for advice on these if you're concerned.

Hope that helps!



1. I privately rent, but it has been unstable as I have moved twice during my studies (past 3 years) due to landlords selling the property I was renting. International students in my department all have the university owned accommodation. I would recommend this over private as it is difficult, costly and stressful to secure a private rent even as a home student (high letting agent fees, required to supply lots of documentation and references just to be considered for a property etc.)

2. As others have mentioned, self-catering means you cook for yourself! The student accommodation that I have seen in Sheffield always has a small kitchen with cooking appliances.

3. I am on the same stipend and I manage just fine! It covers all my rent, bills, transport, food etc. Sheffield is reasonably priced as it is up North. If you were heading to study in London for instance, you would struggle on this amount but up North you will be comfortable on this.

4. NHS- usually when you enroll you will be asked if you would like to join the University health centre and asked to complete a (usually online) medical questionnaire.


Thanks everyone. These all were very useful.
Although I must admit I was kind of hoping that self-catering means I would get home-quality warm meals everyday!!!=))))).
Thanks again you guys.