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Diversity100 PhD Studentships

In 2023, we celebrated our bicentenary, marking 200 years of changing lives and helping people to access higher education. Birkbeck is a research-excellent institution profoundly committed to widening participation.

Diversity100 studentships actively address under-representation at the highest level of research, and encourage Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students to consider academic research in all disciplines.

Please note, all prospective Diversity100 applicants are also encouraged to find out more about the full range of studentship opportunities available at Birkbeck. 

Applications for 2024/25 entries are now open

Successful candidates will be identified on the basis of demonstrating a strong academic background and/or exceptional research potential that establishes their readiness for the proposed doctoral research.

This will be considered on the basis of:

  • a completed PhD programme application (including a research proposal) 
  • a Diversity100 abstract. 


  • If you would like to find out more about the Diversity100 studentships, about the PhD application process and about what it is like to be a doctoral researcher at Birkbeck, you can sign up to attend one of our online D100 briefing sessions during the Spring Term.
  • One of our current Diversity100 students will speak at the session and you will have opportunities to ask questions. 
  • These events are designed to provide information for those who are considering whether to apply for a doctorate in the future, and those who are actively applying for a place on a doctoral programme.

Number of studentships available 

  • For entry in 2024/25, Birkbeck will award up to five Diversity 100 studentships.

Value of award

  • These studentships will offer financial support to Home fees Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic PhD students.
  • The studentships cover all tuition fees (£4,712 a year for 2023/24) and provide a tax-free stipend for living expenses at the same rate as UK Research Council funded studentships (£20,622 a year for 2023/24) for up to three years full time or five years part time.

Essential Eligibility criteria

  • The awards are for:
    • new students beginning their PhD studies in Autumn 2024
    • or current Birkbeck PhD students providing they will have at least 50% of their doctoral research remaining at the start of the Autumn term 2024.
  • All candidates must qualify for Home fees.
  • Applicants must be from one of the following Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups:
    • Arab
    • Asian - Bangladeshi
    • Asian - Chinese
    • Asian - Indian
    • Asian - Other 
    • Asian - Pakistani
    • Black - African
    • Black - Caribbean
    • Black - Other 
    • Gypsy or Traveller
    • Mixed - White/Black Caribbean
    • Mixed - White/Black African
    • Mixed - White and Asian
    • Mixed - Other 
    • Other - Any other Black or Minority Ethnic Group.

Advice for applicants

How to apply

  • 1.) Apply for a place on an MPhil/PhD programme
    • Applicants must submit a PhD programme application - you may apply for a place on any of our doctoral programmes.
    • You will need to identify a potential supervisor and write an agreed research proposal.
    • When you complete your online Birkbeck PhD programme application form, please use the Finance section to state that you intend to apply for a ‘Diversity100 PhD studentship’.
    • If you wish to demonstrate your preparedness for doctoral research using examples drawn from experience other than your academic record, you should highlight these features in your research proposal and outline how this relates to the research you propose to carry out. The following are provided as examples to illustrate this:
      • e.g. You have developed valuable knowledge built up from your professional practice which has led you to ask specific research questions that you wish to answer through your doctoral research proposal.
      • e.g. You are an experienced teacher and are proposing research into an aspect of education where you have specific knowledge that would be relevant to the research.
      • e.g. You work within a specific community where you have a detailed understanding of potential subjects for a study and access to networks and communities of relevance.
      • e.g. You work within a government department and you are proposing research where you would be able to organise access to resources that would be otherwise difficult to source.
  • Please note that it may take between 4-6 weeks for you to receive an outcome for your PhD programme application so you should begin applying as soon as possible.
  • 2.) Submit an abstract using the online Diversity100 studentship form
    • In addition to the PhD programme application, you must submit an abstract of your research proposal by completing our abstract form. The abstract must be no more than 250 words and must be written in a way that can be understood by a non-specialist.
    • Your abstract should be concise and include the following: 
      • A brief background to the proposed research area
      • The purpose of the proposed research; what would the research propose to examine or discover?
      • The principal question or argument you would be researching
      • The relevance of the proposed research; why would this research be important to complete? E.g. are you aiming to address a gap in knowledge or solve a problem? Are there any social or practical benefits to research in this area?
      • The scope of your project and the type of research you would carry out including key methodology or approaches you have identified.

Current student applications

  • Current Birkbeck students applying for a Diversity100 studentship are invited to include a brief statement of support, which can be used to provide:
    • information about your progress with the PhD to date
    • achievements or changes to the original research proposal.
  • Current Birkbeck PhD students should include their brief statement of support in the online abstract form.

Support and Guidance about the application process

  • To find out more about what you should expect to do in order to apply for a PhD, please see this overview of the PhD application process.
  • Please note, depending on the PhD programme you are interested in, there may be additional requirements that you need to meet in order to submit a successful PhD programme application. This information will be available to you via the relevant PhD programme prospectus page.
  • Writing a successful PhD programme application is likely to require a period of preparation that will last several weeks or more. During this time you will need to consider your research area, identify a potential supervisor and discuss your potential research project with them. You must plan to allow sufficient time to complete this process.
  • Birkbeck has been part of developing a three-week course in collaboration with the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange, designed to provide information and advice for anyone deciding whether doctoral study is the right path for them. Swapping myths and misconceptions for useful tips and resources, the free ‘Is a PhD Right for Me?’ course will help you prepare for PhD applications and beyond. 

Closing date for applications

  • The closing date for applications is midday on Monday 13 May 2024.
  • All those wishing to be considered must have submitted a Birkbeck programme application and a Diversity100 abstract by this date.
  • You are strongly encouraged to apply in advance of the deadline wherever possible.

Selection process

  • Each school will be asked to rank applications received and to identify their strongest candidate.
  • A faculty panel will then be responsible for considering applications and identifying their strongest overall application. Candidates should be prepared to attend a Diversity100 interview at this stage of the process.
  • The faculty panel will be chaired by the Head of Research or equivalent.
  • No candidate can take up the award unless they meet all eligibility requirements and are also offered a place on the relevant doctoral programme.

Notification of outcomes

  • Successful candidates will be informed in the week commencing Monday 17 June 2024.