Widening participation in postgraduate taught study

Widening participation in postgraduate taught study is an emerging area of work at The University of Manchester and across the sector.

Some cohorts of students continue to be under-represented in postgraduate taught (PGT) study and we are committed to addressing this imbalance.  

Over recent years there has been an increase in research in this area, in particular through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Postgraduate Support Scheme (PSS).

The PSS found that lack of funding was a key consideration but that other factors also played a significant role, including the need for additional support to master the key skills and academic practices necessary for postgraduate study.

Building on these findings we are working to widen participation in PGT study in the following ways: 

  • Manchester Master’s Bursary: 75 bursaries of £4,000 each per year are made available to master’s students meeting a number of widening participation criteria;
  • PGT progression project: We participated in a HEFCE-funded project on widening participation in postgraduate taught study during 2017-19;
  • From 2020, all awards made through the Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarship Scheme will be given to candidates meeting widening participation criteria.

PGT progression project

As part of a consortium including the universities of  Leeds, York, Sheffield and Warwick, we took part in a two-year funded project: Progression to, and success in postgraduate study, by students from BAME and POLAR 1 and 2 backgrounds. The project targeted two groups with notably lower levels of progression to PGT study – Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students, and those whose home postcodes were in POLAR quintiles 1 and 2 (areas of low progression to HE).

There were two strands of activity:

  • Strand 1: a series of pre-course interventions for UG final-year students (both BAME and POLAR quintiles 1 and 2) in three subject areas. These included activities such as webinars, mentoring schemes, and academic skills sessions.
  • Strand 2: a Blackboard course for PGT offer-holders (BAME only) across the University. The course included units on topics such as time management, wellbeing, and academic writing. This course is now delivered to selected home PGT offer-holders across the University on an ongoing basis. 

The end-of-project report is now available:

You can also see the project toolkit hosted by the University of Leeds.

Find out more

To learn more, please contact felicity.wicks@manchester.ac.uk