BME doctoral students’ perceptions of an academic career

Exploring black and minority ethnic (BME) doctoral students' perceptions of an academic career

Jason Arday  June 2017

Executive Summary

This report explores Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) doctoral research students’ perceptions of an academic career. The purpose of the research is to explore the experiences of BME doctoral students and the impact of these on their perceptions of the attractiveness of an academic career.


The report provides a qualitative snapshot of the challenges faced by BME postgraduate research students (PGR).


The interplay between personal, economic and social factors including ethnicity, overt and covert racism, and marginalisation are explored. A strong appetite for pursuing an academic career was identified.


This, alongside a number of themes such as the importance of supervisory and mentoring support; feelings of marginalisation and isolation; the impact of subject choice; and access to teaching and research opportunities were explored. The report is based on interviews and survey work with 20 BME doctoral students from a range of academic disciplines.

There remains a paucity of empirical, evidence-based knowledge in this area. This report endeavours to add to the growing literature on higher education, equality and diversity and social justice.


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