Living away from where you're studying?


Hi all, I just want to get a few opinions on this, espically from those who have some experience of this as well. How close do you have to live to your university whilst studying for a PhD? Specifically I'm looking into starting a History PhD, and have been advised by at least one person who has done this that it is not essential to live in the same area as your university, provided you can travel there easily. The reason I ask is that I am settled about a four hour drive away from the only university that could supervise my specific area, and am not keen on moving the family any nearer. Is such a distance possible? Has anyone here experienced this before and share their opinion?


I'm a three hour round trip - the commuting KILLS YOU! I cannot emphasise enough, try to get as close as possible.


I live about 2 hours away from my uni and its ok - BUT I only moved this far away in my third year, and I only go there every 2 months or so. I don't think I'd have been able to make that commute on a daily or weekly basis. I'd say move closer if you can! Plus I found it a great help to be surrounded by other PhDers in the department and I made lots of friends I wouldn't have if I had started as a commuter.


I guess it depends on any restrictions the supervisor may put on you with regards to undertaking the PhD. If they allow you to undertake the majority of it at home, with say weekly commutes to meet the supervisor for a talk or check up and you are OK with that then i would agree that there is little point tomoving the whole family.

However as someone pointed out you do miss out on University facilities and the natural communication you'MAY' get from other PhD students and academics.

Good luck anyway what ever you choose.

Regards Wolfe


I'd agree with what the others would say but it does boil down to your own situation - is there a reason why you wouldn't/couldn't move (relationship or other).
If there are no complications, I would say move closer to the uni - as well as being in regular contact with people in similar work, it will also get you in the PhD mentality and there will be a support network once you settle in (social life should also keep the sanity ... for the first year anyways . Obviously get home on a regular basis though.
If you can't move, try to fit in regular visits to the college to touch base (one-two days every month or so). B&B's could sort out accom. in the short term.


Ooops! Misread the initial post. Since you have little choice, I would recommend
1. Broadband and SKYPE for communication (might need to get yourself set up to the college network for access to databases but should be ok)
2. As stated before, set up an arrangement where you work from home and visit the college for a day or two every so often.
3. Formalise the arrangement with your supervisor - have an agreed progress report format and agreement that he/she will meet to discuss progress when you visit. This will probably be the hardest thing to do but is vital if working in such an arrangement.
Apologies again for misreading the initial post. There are a few people in our dept. doing such an arrangement

Avatar for ginga

In my first PhD, I was 2 hours away and commuted daily (sometimes 6 days per week). I reckon it took about 8 years off my life, and is why I only stuck it for just 9 months. I would never do that ever again. I am now in the second year of a new PhD that is 25 minutes away - much better for me! I would say that you should be able to get from door-to-door within an hour at the most. Gxx


bad idea.


Thanks for the constructive opinions, much appreciated! I have spoken to a few people who have achieved this but just wanted to gather more opinion. I think the general idea was that as my research can mostly be done away from the uni, I would only have to go maybe once a week, and with it being so easy to travel from my home to the uni the actual distance is not relevant. But I did wonder if there were wider implications beyond the research aspect that I hadn't considered