Project code



School of Education and Sociology

Start dates

October 2021

Closing date

4 May 2021

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2021. 

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and will be supervised by a team led by Professor Jane Creaton.

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for a Portsmouth Global PhD scholarship. Successful candidates will receive a scholarship to cover tuition fees at an international rate for three years, a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£15,609 for 2021/22), and one return flight to London during the duration of the course.  Bursary recipients will also receive a £2,000 for research costs/ conference attendance. 

The work on this project will involve:

  • Analysing national and institutional data relating to the access and participation of black, Asian and minority ethnic students in postgraduate research study
  • Using qualitative research methods to explore the lived experience of black, Asian and minority ethnic PGR students
  • Critically evaluating barriers to access and participation and strategies for addressing them

This project aims to explore the underrepresentation of UK Black, Asian and minority ethnic students in the postgraduate research study and to consider how inequalities in access, participation and outcomes might be tackled. Current research suggests that inequalities at undergraduate level, particularly in relation to the awarding gap, are reinforced at PGR level, with fewer students being admitted to PGR level study and having access to funding. The data indicate differences in patterns of access and completion by subject area and by ethnic group and the influence of other factors including age, source of funding and qualifications on entry.  The project aims to:

  1. Identify and analyse structural barriers to access and participation in PGR study through the quantitative analysis of existing data  
  2. Explore black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) students’ perceptions of PGR study, motivations and barriers
  3. Evaluate potential strategies for increasing access and participation in PGR study

This is an applied project and the intention is that the project includes recommendations both for further research and for actions that can be taken by higher education institutions and other stakeholders to tackle inequalities and to increase the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic students in higher education institutions as postgraduate students and as members of academic staff.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Candidates should have a background in a social science or humanities discipline and some knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Professor Jane Creaton ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code EDSO6130521 when applying.