So what are prospective PhD students (holding offers) doing for accomodation when they start. Private flat or postgrad halls? And what are your reasons? Same questions to people who are current or former students too.

This is just an issue playing on my mind and I'm just trying to decide.



I always lived in private accommodation and found it worked really well - for me. In my first year of my PhD, the Uni operated a housing open day for prospective postgrad students to meet each other and find places to live. It was really successful and I lived with some great people.

Having not lived in postgrad halls I can't comment on my personal experience. But having visited people who did, I think you would need to think very hard about doing so, especially if you have lived out as an undergrad. It was like walking back into undergrad halls again, lots of noise and mess. But maybe that was just the places I visited.


I'm a subwarden in undergraduate halls because, well, I'm poor and need the cheap rent. Thinking about moving to subwardening in postgrad halls in my final year though. It's not bad, free food, no bills and a decent lot of other subwardens to talk to...although we do tend to be a strange lot.


Private most certainly. My undergrad halls were awful, messy, noisey not my sort of thing. Would never go back even if it's Postgrad halls.

I like things to be just so, and dishes piled up for days or in the sink, or food being left out really stresses me. In private landlord or letting agency owned places people tend to treat them better, not always as it depends on who you live with. I have decided it is easier for me to live alone so that is the main reason I will not do halls again. :p


======= Date Modified 07 Jun 2010 11:19:46 =======
I live at home with my husband and children but other post grads I know seem to do fairly well out of being a hall tutor (think that's like a warden) they get free flat on campus in exchange for being on call a few nights a week. The senior hall tutor gets paid as well (about £6k I think) but has a bit more to do.

A lot depends on what you are used to, if it's a new town etc - do you need to make friends in which case on campus might be good but there is the problme of first years partying all the time. Are you used to having your own space in which case shared flat might be hard going.


I lived in postgraduate halls in my first year and I found it a great experience. It's much much quieter than the other halls, most students tend to be mature and many were international so you had a range of cultures. Yes, the fire alarm went off a few times but much more rarely than the undergrads and it was a bonding session when we were all outside! I got to know most of the people living in the block as we were less than 100.

I moved 400 miles away to do my PhD, and I think if I'd have rented private in my first year, I'd have been very lonely. I shared with 5 others, who were all tidy and we went out for dinner/movies regularly. We've remained friends and still meet up for dinner often.

If you're considering postgrad halls, look up your universities halls group/page on facebook or 'google it' and see what others have said about their experience living there.

CB :-)


I didn't know you could get postgrad halls, I'm sure you can't where I am as we had a PGCE student living with us in halls when we were noisy first years!

I start my PhD this year and will be living with my parents, I'm self funded and simply cannot afford to move out unfortunately, if I manage to get funding for next year I will definitely move out, so that I am closer to uni, at the moment I live 60 miles away and go in 2/3 times a week (completing my MSc there now). I find it ok living at home, I have everything I need and it's easy in terms of getting my washing done and having food in the house, but I'd love it if it was quieter, they are becoming more understanding though!


Thanks for the replies. Well my thinking right now is either between PG Halls or renting a studio/1 bedroom private flat (i.e. no flat share).

I really have to have known people for at least a year before I share a private flat with them. Halls is different though. I lived in PG Halls for my MSc and it was generally quiet and the people were nice (although it was an effort to get them away from their books!). My only issue was with the bathroom but I would get an en-suite at this particular place.

I'm also moving hundreds of miles away and I don't know a soul there. So maybe a private flat could get lonely. Also I can't get to the town that often during the summer (to view flats) because I may go abroad and it's bloody expensive to get there. Thus going with halls, with all bills inclusive may be more convenient. But yeah I'll try to find out a bit more about their halls before making a decsion.


I am going into a student studio flat aimed at postgrads opposite the uni. Very quiet so will be good for getting work done and only 2 mins away so i can pop into the lab when i need to.

I'm lucky in the way that I already know a few people at the uni so won't miss out on the social aspect of living with people :-)


I'm in the exact same boat - moving far away for my PhD to a new city where I won't know anyone - and I agree it is a tricky decision.

Not keen on shared private housing with unknown house mates, because there is a risk of getting on with them really badly. Even if they are alright people and we don't hate each other, I still feel a bit uncomfortable sharing living space with people I don't know that well.

Living in halls is an interesting idea, but I am not so keen in my late 20s to live in a tiny pokey room in an institutional environment.

So this leaves the living in a flat by myself idea. The idea is very appealing in many ways and is my most likely option. But I'm scared it could be a mistake and I might end up feeling really lonely.

I'd be interested to hear from more current/past PhD students on this issue.


I only ever stayed in halls for the first 5 months of my undergrad. Having been in a boarding school for 8 years, I just couldn't hack any more communal living and decided to rent ever since. I moved from London to North East to do my MSc, and again rented a flat. Doing my PhD at the same uni as my MSc, and I've now bought a house with my OH. I would never ever ever live in halls again!


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I suppose it depends on what sort of accommodation is available for the money! Over my uni 'career' I have spent three years in undergrad halls and five years in private accommodation. When I did my MSc I was sharing a house with 6 others, and to be honest it was not that much different to being in halls. They were mates but the place was messy, noisy, dirty, and intolerable at times! When I got my PhD place I decided enough was enough and I was going to live somewhere nice. But whilst I could afford a not-very-nice place to myself, I could afford a really lovely brand new two bedroom flat if I shared with someone else, so I did! I think you need to have a good look around and see what you can get for the money. In the city I'm in, halls are around £100 per week (uncatered) and when I look at what I'm getting for the same money there is absolutely no contest. But of course you get to meet people in halls, and when I've been new it's been good to meet folk and I've always ended up staying mates with the people I've lived with in halls. But even though I only live with one other person (who was a stranger when we moved in together) I've made lots of new friends through my PhD so it hasn't been a barrier to meeting people, although you do have to make a bit more of an effort to get to know people at the start. But personally, I would never go back into halls now! Although admittedly, I haven't experienced post-grad halls. Best, KB


I guess it kinda depends what sort of person you are. Living alone is something I've never done and it's my absolute worst nightmare so if the choice was halls or studio I'd go halls every time. Another consideration is the cost difference of sharing versus having your own place - I have a good friend who decided she wanted to live alone but now cannot afford to do anything as most of her studentship gets taken up by rent, bills etc.

When I moved to a new place to do my PhD I moved wth my boyfriend, we looked at a mixture of one bed flats and shared houses, and could get so much more with sharing. We still shared with people 2 1/2 years later and it's been great. Yes you never quite know with people before you move in, but we have had no problems and over this time have lived in 2 houses with 10 different people(all of which were complete strangers before moving in). Not all of them have turned into our best friends but they've all been fine.