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Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees

Facilities and support

In recent years we have invested more than £500 million in the facilities across our campuses. This has included new and redeveloped spaces for teaching, learning, research and studying, as well as sport, accommodation and social spaces.

Postgraduates have different needs from undergraduates and we provide dedicated postgraduate facilities.

Streatham Campus - many of our departments house postgraduate-only study spaces, common rooms or computer rooms in addition to centrally based dedicated postgraduate PC clusters.

St Luke's - postgraduates benefit from a modern common room, accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, containing a social area, vending machine, kitchen and a quiet room for working.

Postgraduate research students and early career researchers at the University of Exeter are supported by our Doctoral College.

The Doctoral College stimulates, supports and sustains a vibrant research and intellectual environment across and between disciplines for postgraduate and early career researchers. Focusing on investment and development in training, resources and facilities, the Doctoral College provides an outstanding quality experience for those in the early stages of their research careers.

Find out more about dedicated support for postgraduate researchers on our Doctoral College website.

Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

If you are a Postgraduate Research Student (PGR) or ‘Early Career’ Research (ECR) staff member at the University of Exeter, our Researcher Development programmes, funded initiatives, interdisciplinary events, resources and career support provide opportunities to enhance your research and employability, to meet others and become part of our vibrant research community. We offer workshops, webinars, online resources, career guidance and funding to help you design your own professional development programme.


All research students have the opportunity to create an eProfile. This is an online 'window' on your academic life as an early-stage professional researcher. It provides you with an opportunity to showcase your research progress, ideas and wider academic interests. Your pages follow a professionally-designed template and you have your own unique web address. Further details can be found on the eProfiles website.

Other training and development opportunities

Other training and skills development opportunities for both taught and research students include the Teaching and Research Assistantship schemes. More details about these schemes can be found on our Funding for Research Students pages on the Postgraduate Research site.

A £5 million update to our University network has provided a significant improvement in our service in recent years: 24/7 wireless access across all campuses has made study and research more flexible, and our upgrade to high speed 'gigabit to the desktop' service makes download and upload capabilities significantly faster. Security is at the heart of our new network, ensuring maximum protection for intellectual properties during collaborative research work.

Student portal

As a postgraduate student, you will be able to access iExeter – a web-based student portal which is home to vital IT services that you’ll need throughout your time at Exeter, including university messages specifically relevant to you, your email, calendar and timetable, access to online learning facilities and your library account. You can also download iExeter as a free app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play

You will also be able to connect to our Exeter Learning Environment (ELE) via iExeter. A host of programme-based materials are available online, allowing productive study from any computer with an internet connection.

Network and public-access PCs

All postgraduate university-owned halls of residence are connected to our network, giving you access to all university resources and cheap, fast internet access. It’s not a problem if you don’t have your own computer as there are plenty of public-access PC ‘clusters’ – many open 24 hours – and some dedicated for postgraduate use only.

Student Information Desk (SID)

Our Student Information Desk can help with any queries – from support for the specific services offered by the University, to virus problems and internet access. We also run specific technology clinics to help get your laptop, tablet, or other technology working with our system. Throughout the year, we also run short training courses for all key software. SID is also available to contact online.

Our main library facilities at Streatham and Penryn are open 24/7, and we also have specialist library space for postgraduate students; Research Commons, which houses our Special Collections and Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.

We have been investing heavily in digital library resources which can be used wherever and whenever they are needed; what you see on the physical shelves of our libraries now makes up less than half of what is actually available to you.

Guidance to help you find what you need

Each department has an Academic Support Consultant who offers a comprehensive programme of training on information search techniques, information resources in your subject area and journal and database searches, as well as drop-in sessions and surgeries. There are extra services and facilities for international students who have their own Library International Officer.

Other sources of information

Alongside the University-owned libraries, the University also helps operate the Devon and Exeter Institution Library – a private collection on West Country materials and 19th-century periodicals. Additional collections include the Exeter Health Library and Exeter Cathedral Library. Both are run independently from the University, but their collections are included in the University Library catalogue.

In Exeter

Our main library provides world-class facilities that include:

  • 24/7 study facilities and learning spaces
  • more than 24 kilometres of shelving for print collections 
  • state-of-the-art multimedia facilities
  • over 115 public computers 
  • wifi availability throughout 
  • many key academic resources online
  • self-service machines for book issues and returns

In addition to the Main Library, students in Exeter have access to two other library facilities:

Research Commons – our world-class research library facility houses special collections, including the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture and world-class Middle Eastern collections  The study space, a hub for researchers, provides a large, light new reading room, multi-media seminar space and an attractive outdoor terrace.

St Luke’s Campus Library – housing Education and Sport Science collections, with self-service machines, a variety of modern working spaces including dedicated 24/7 computing and study rooms

In Cornwall

The Penryn Campus library and IT facilities provide a comfortable and modern study environment. The library is open 24/7 opening during term-time and offers self-service facilities, a range of different study areas, including group and silent study, and wifi access throughout. The majority of texts have been purchased in recent years and the collection, which contains 120,000 books, 3,000 maps and 25,000 video/DVD programmes with additional online material, is continually reviewed and updated. Archives and special collections include the Camborne School of Mines archives, Institute of Cornish Studies collection and literary and performance archives. The Law collection meets the Law Society’s stringent accreditation standards.

Access is available to all the University libraries with regular transfers between campuses for requested materials. You will also be able to benefit from the inter-loan library service from the British Library and have access to the University College Falmouth libraries.

We boast state-of-the-art laboratories for science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine across all our campuses. The new Science and Engineering Research Support Facility on the Penryn Campus builds upon the £30 million investment in the Environment and Sustainability Institute , and the St. Luke's campus has undergone a £10.5 million redevelopment of the South Cloisters building. This offers a new home for the Institute of Health Research, as well as high-quality student learning and study spaces available to all.

At our Streatham Campus we recently opened the Living Systems Institute (LSI); a £52.5 million interdisciplinary research centre bringing together leading mathematicians physicists, cell and molecular biologists, biomedical scientists and engineers. Together they will apply investigative techniques from engineering and physics to make biology a predictive as well as an observational science, pioneering an exciting new approach to understanding how diseases evolve and how they can be diagnosed and cured more effectively. This is our largest single investment in science, and part of an overall investment of £340m since 2008.

We want your time as a postgraduate at the University of Exeter to be rewarding and fulfilling. To help you achieve your best we offer a range of support services to ensure your full potential is achieved.

Support centres and teams

Our Student Services Centre is in the Forum on the Streatham Campus. This state-of-the-art facility provides a one-stop-shop for a wide range of student enquiries, from support for students with disabilities, immigration and visa advice for international students, as well as Employability and Graduate Development, the Accommodation Office, Student Finance and Registry.

At the Penryn Campus, the  Living Support team can support, advise and point you in the right direction with all sorts of issues such as general student life, academic issues, housing, living in the community, personal relationships and general worries.

Specialist support

Further specialist advice is available from staff in the Student Advice Unit, the Student Counselling Service, Student Skills Development, the Accessibility Service, the Accommodation Office, the International Office, the Residence Support Team and the Multi-faith Chaplaincy.

Visit our Student Services website for full details.

Childcare facilities

At the Streatham Campus, our Owlets Nursery provides excellent childcare for children of University staff and students from between six weeks and five years of age. At the Penryn Campus, childcare facilities are provided by Little Wonders who operate a new nursery on campus and the popular Woodlane Nursery in Falmouth.

There is pressure on car-parking space on the campuses and in the local areas. Students are therefore discouraged from bringing a car to the University. Parking permits for students residing in Exeter are only available to those studying research degrees, eg a PhD.

Further details can be found on our Exeter car parking pages or the Penryn car parking on campus tab.