It is a truth universally acknowledged that doing a PhD will enrich your life, improve your career, and make you a better, happier person.

Isn’t it?

Certainly, there are few other pursuits that will allow you to dedicate yourself so single-mindedly to a research project, academic question, or experimental project in a field of your choosing. And while many PhD graduates do not go on to become full professors or lecturers in their specialism, the PhD develops to a high degree many of the skills and competencies most valued by employers.

But it is becoming increasingly clear that for many of of the students that do go on to study for a PhD that an improvement in one’s general mental wellbeing is far from guaranteed. As a recent article in the Guardian put it, mental health issues among postgraduate research students are becoming so common that they are now an accepted feature of  academic life. Studies from UC Berkeley and the University of Ghent back up this article with statistics, suggesting high levels of depression, anxiety, and mental distress among PhD students.

We believe PhD students should not have to sacrifice their wellbeing in order to reap the significant intellectual and professional benefits of their doctorate. This is why King’s College London is working in collaboration with the University of Derby and the UK student mental health charity, Student Minds, are working on a major project to develop effective resources that can improve the wellbeing of postgraduate research students.

In order to make this project work, we need you, current PGR students – from as diverse a range of backgrounds possible – to join a student panel at KCL.

Participants on this panel will be asked about:

  • Their experience as a PGR student
  • How research has changed their relationships
  • And how the academic process has affected their work/life balance

Throughout, participants will be asked to reflect on both achievements and challenges in their experience of life as a PGR student.

If you are interested in taking part in this project and sitting on the PGR panel, you can fill out an application form here. This page will also provide you with full details, dates, and other information on the project.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Nicola Byrom