Checklist for new research students

As a new research student, it’s important that you’re quickly able to take advantage of the many resources and services available to you at the university. This checklist will show you how to log in to the different services, and tell you where to get help should you have any problems.

The checklist will highlight some differences between the ways PhD/MPhil students and DBA/DprofPrac students use the resources.

Note: The checklist contains a lot of information – if a quick overview is all you need, check out the summary table near the end.

Step 1: Know your university login details

As a research student you will have two distinct identities on university systems. One is your university ID and the other is your student ID. You will not be given either of these until you have enrolled. If you have not enrolled already then contact Twiggy Spagnuolo in the Graduate School. At enrolment you will be given a university ID (an eight digit number which starts 999) and will then need to contact the IT helpdesk on 01604 893333 for your temporary password.

Occasionally there may be a delay in your university ID being set up. In this case Twiggy Spagnuolo will tell you when to expect your university ID details to be available.

Your student ID and student PIN will be sent to you by email. You will need these later for use in the library (see below).

Once you’ve enrolled you should collect your student card from the Student Desk in the Learning Hub. The card will allow you access to buildings on campus. This is your Students’ Union card and is also used to borrow books from the library, and for free and discounted bus transport between campuses.

Step 2: Log into a computer

If you’re on campus you’ll need to log into the university network using your university ID and temporary password. The first time you log into a university PC, you’ll be asked to change your password. Please do this, following the on screen instructions.

Note: If you are using a student computer (e.g. in the library or other open space) then you will need to connect to the staff network. To do this, prefix your university ID with NORTHAMPTON\ when logging in – e.g. if your university ID is 99912345, use NORTHAMPTON\99912345 as the login.

Step 3: Reset your password, PIN and security questions

Padlock (Wikimedia Commons

Image: Sveter (CC-BY-SA)

The password you are given at enrolment is temporary and needs to be changed. You will also need to set three security questions in case you forget your password, and PINs for use when printing or borrowing items from the library. All of this is done on the user portal.

You will need to go through this process for both your university ID and your student ID:

University account

  • Log in using your university ID and the temporary password you were given at enrolment.
  • Set your new password and security questions as prompted.
  • Click My Profile and then Edit Your Information to set your university PIN.
  • Log out (you may need to close your browser to log out).

Student account

  • Log in again, this time using your student ID (the number shown on your student card) and the temporary password for this account (see below).
  • Set your password, security questions and PIN as before.

The temporary password for your student account will be your date of birth in a 6-digit format, followed by the first 2 letters of your family name (with the first letter being a capital letter and the second letter being in lower case) and followed by the = sign.

For example, if your family name is Farmer and your date of birth is 8 October 1982, your temporary password will use 081082 for the date, Fa for the name and then a final = sign: your password will be 081082Fa=.

If you have any difficulty logging in to the user portal or changing your password or challenge response questions then IT Services are there to help (if you can’t log in to the help system, please call them on 01604 893333).

Step 4: Check that you can access resources

Once you’ve logged in to the user portal and changed your password, you will be able to use your university ID and password to access most of the university’s services. Please try all of these as soon as possible to ensure you have access to the resources you need as a research student.

University email: All research students receive a university email account – unless arranged otherwise, all communication between you and the university will take place through this account. Your email address will usually take the form If you cannot access your university email then contact IT Services for help. It is important that you read emails sent to this address and you may want to set up an automated ‘forward’ to your personal email address.

NILE is the university’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and contains a range of tools and sites for research students. It’s important that you’re enrolled onto the NILE site RES001 Researcher Development, which contains links to training materials from Graduate School programmes and other useful information.

RES001 should appear under My courses on your NILE homepage after logging in. If you don’t see it the Learning Technology team ( can help. If you have any difficulty logging in to NILE you will need to contact IT Services to reset your login.

Students registered on a professional doctorate programme (DBA or DProfPrac) will use their student ID to access course and module NILE sites. It is important that DBA and DProfPrac students log in to NILE with the student ID as it links your modules and assessments to your student record. When you move to the thesis module, you should log into NILE using your University ID for access to RES001. Due to the single sign on system, you might need to clear cookies from your browser or use an incognito or in private window, which will disable the single sign on and enable you to sign in with your University ID.

NELSON is a searchable interface to library resources such as books, ebooks and journal articles. If you need to access a specific resource (e.g. Web of Science or Lexis), use NELSON’s Databases tab. It’s a good idea to use the Log in link at the top of the NELSON home page before you start searching (log in with your university ID).

For help using NELSON to find resources specific to your topic, contact your Academic Librarian. For using referencing tools Nick Dimmock in Research Support can help.

Your library account: To borrow books and other resources from the library, you need your student card. Your student number (student ID) is shown on your card, and a student PIN number to go with this account will be sent to you by email. You can change your PIN using the user portal as shown above. Both libraries have self-service machines for borrowing and returning items – if you need help borrowing, just ask a member of library staff. Use the My Account link on the Library Catalogue to view and renew your loans, check progress on your reservations and view other information about your account. Use your student ID and PIN to log in to the Library Catalogue and make interlibrary loan requests.

If you have any questions about using the library then check out the library FAQs or contact

Printing from university computers: you can print from any university PC and collect your work from any printer / copier on campus into a printer, use your university ID and PIN. Printing up to a reasonable limit is free for research students, provided you log in with your university ID.

If you have any difficulty with printing on campus then help is available at the nearest information point, or from IT Services.

Research Support Hub is the place to go for the latest university research news, forthcoming events and research support.

Gateway is the University’s online postgraduate research management system. Log in with your university ID and use it to track your progress, log your supervision, book workshops and manage your researcher development. You will also use Gateway to apply for transfer and manage your thesis submission and examination. For more information, see Gateway for postgraduate students – getting started.

The Research Student Toolkit can be found on the University’s Student Hub, under Postgraduate Research. The Toolkit gives you lots of information about planning your doctorate, advice on the stages and milestones and where to find policies.

LinkedIn Learning is a database of training and development videos that you can access free of charge with your university ID.

Summary of login requirements

To access this: Use this ID: Use this password/PIN:
Log on to university computers University ID University password
User portal (university account) University ID University password
User portal (student account) Student ID Student password
University email University ID University password
NILE (for PhD, MPhil and

Professional Research Module students)

University ID University password
NILE (for DBA and DProfPrac students undertaking the modules) Student ID Student password
NELSON / library databases University ID University password
Student Hub (for the Research Student Toolkit) University ID University password
Printing and copying University ID University PIN
Gateway University Email University password
Library account Student ID Student PIN
LinkedIn Learning (organisation link) University ID University password
Borrowing items from library Student card Student PIN

Don’t forget to ask for help!

There are many people here at the University of Northampton who are ready and willing to make your early days here as stress-free as possible. Your academic colleagues – fellow research students and supervisors – are a fantastic source of advice, but so too are staff in the Graduate School and Research Support. Please feel free to contact any of us.

%d bloggers like this: