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Diversity100 PhD Studentships

In 2020, we marked 100 years since Birkbeck joined the University of London. 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.

Applications for 2023-24 entry are closed. If you would like to be informed of future opportunities to find out more about applying for a doctoral programme or about other future studentship opportunities, please complete this short form. In the meantime, you are welcome to contact the relevant department (links below) for further information about how to apply for a PhD at Birkbeck.

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

Advice for applicants

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.

Number of studentships available 

  • Birkbeck has awarded five studentships each year (one studentship in each school) since Diversity100 Studentships were launched in 2020-21.

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 (£4,596 a year for 2022-23) and provide a tax-free stipend for living expenses at the same rate as UK Research Council funded studentships (£19,668 a year for 2022-23) for up to three years full time or five years part time.

Eligibility criteria

  • The awards are for:
    • new students beginning their PhD studies in Autumn 2023
    • current Birkbeck PhD students providing they will have at least 50% of their doctoral research remaining at the start of the Autumn term 2023.
  • All candidates must qualify for Home fees.
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups include the following:
    • 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.

How to apply

  • Apply for a place on an MPhil/PhD programme
    • Applicants must submit a PhD programme application - you may apply for a place in any of the Birkbeck departments listed below or visit our online PhD programme list to explore potential research areas.
    • You will need to identify a potential supervisor and write a 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.
  • 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.

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.

Opportunities to find out more

  • We are organising some briefing sessions for prospective applicants where you can 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.
  • 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.
  • In addition to information about Diversity100 studentships, you will hear about other future opportunities for funded studentships.
  • If you would like to be informed of future opportunities to find out more about applying for a doctoral programme or about other future studentship opportunities, please complete this brief form. In the meantime, you are welcome to contact the relevant department (links below) for further information about how to apply for a PhD at Birkbeck.

Available departments

Closing date for applications

  • The closing date for applications is midday on Friday 5 May 2023.
  • 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 department will be asked to rank applications received and to identify their strongest candidate.
  • A school panel will then be responsible for considering applications and identifying the strongest overall application in each school. Candidates should be prepared to attend a Diversity100 interview at this stage of the process.
  • The school process for considering applications will be overseen by a panel chaired by the Assistant Dean for postgraduate research or equivalent in each school.
  • All applications for a Diversity100 studentship will be considered on the basis of:
    • a completed PhD programme application (including a research proposal)
    • a Diversity100 abstract.
  • No candidate can take up the award unless they are also offered a place on the relevant doctoral programme.

Notification of outcomes

  • Successful candidates will be informed in the week commencing Monday 19 June 2023.