PGR Wellbeing and Support

We know that studying for a postgraduate research (PGR) degree can be demanding and that the independent nature of studying can be isolating. This in turn can have a detrimental impact on your mental health and wellbeing.  Some of the common challenges our postgraduate researchers are facing include or relate to:

  • Loneliness
  • Managing academic pressures
  • Maintaining a good work/life balance
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Financial stress
  • Establishing and maintaining a good relationship with your supervisor

We want you to know that you are not alone and the University is here to support you throughout your time here.


Pushing a research area to new limits can be daunting but there are various support systems within the University that you can access. This support ranges from College Support with the Wellbeing Officers to Central Wellbeing Support covering Disability Support and Mental Health and Wellbeing as well as the University's external partnership teams like UBHeard. Most importantly, it will be a safe space outside of your supervision team to talk through difficulties within your research and progression but also difficulties you may be facing at home or with your mental health. Our Wellbeing Officers are there to signpost you to the most appropriate support. If additional support is needed, this could be directing you to UBHeard (the 24/7 telephone line) or even your GP. 

You will not be alone in some of the worries you will have throughout your research; peer support is one of the best ways to help overcome some of the concerns. If you are ever unsure of what support is out there, reach out and a friendly face will be there to listen.

Mia Wright, EPS Wellbeing Officer

Access your College Wellbeing Officer here.


All of the University Wellbeing Services are open to postgraduate researchers as well as taught students. For example, if you have a disability the University can provide a range of adjustments and will work with you to create an individual plan detailing what adjustments you require known as a Reasonable Adjustment Plan (RAP). However, we also have some PGR specific information, resources and activities that may supplement this support.  You can find out more by reading the information below.  

PGR Contacts

If you are struggling and this is starting to affect your academic progress, we would encourage you to speak to your supervision team as soon as possible.

All PGRs are also assigned a mentor who is responsible for pastoral support. Mentors will be available for consultations and discussions between you and your mentor will remain confidential if you wish. Your assigned mentor will be noted at the top of your GRS2 monthly supervision meeting form. 

PGR Resources

PGR Wellbeing Resource List - This Resource List provides signposting to easy-to-digest resources to support those facing PGR-specific challenges to their wellbeing.

PGR mental health workshops - Join the University Graduate School for monthly mental health workshops on topics such as stress management and starting a conversation about mental health. These workshops are led by Bloomwise, a mental health consultancy set up by two UoB PGRs. 

Online group coaching for PGRs - The University Graduate School offers group coaching sessions twice a week, delivered by The PhD Life Coach Dr Vikki Burns, to help you develop effective coping strategies to deal with issues likes coping with uncertainty about the future, managing the inner critic or procrastination.

University Graduate School events calendar - engaging with the PGR community enables peer support and helps with overcoming feelings of isolation. 

The Research Skills team in the Library offers a Working Effectively with your supervisor training course. This workshop will help you understand what to expect from the supervisor-researcher relationship and how to get the most from your supervisory team. It also covers the support available across the University which complements your supervision, and who can help you if things go wrong. 

Protecting your mental health - A practical guide for postgraduate research students in STEM - Created by mental health charities Jonathan's Voice and the Charlie Waller Trust, this free guide covers preventative measures you can take to look after yourself, through to what to do when self-care is not enough.

PGR Support

There are many further resources available to you as a Postgraduate Researcher at University of Birmingham, as well as support for your wellbeing and mental health. Please take a look at our Support homepage for information about what is in place for research support, IT support and overseas fieldwork. 


You can find further information about the University Wellbeing services on the Your Wellbeing page and a helpful summary of who you can contact in different circumstances on the Time to Talk? page.      

Postgraduate Researcher, 2022

Feedback on therapeutic services

“This service has helped me immensely with implementing things to lead a healthier life. I now feel more at ease, and it is hard for me to contextualise, but the sessions have improved my life. I'm happier and more at peace with the challenges in my life. I'm positive I can maintain these changes and continue to do better in my life.”






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