Framework tackles barriers in PGR admissions for people from racially minoritised backgrounds

  • Widening Participation & EDI
  • Recruitment & Admissions

A new Competency-Based Admissions Framework is in development thanks to a project led by Nottingham Trent University in collaboration with Liverpool John Moores and Sheffield Hallam Universities, and with assistance from UKCGE.

Photo by Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash.

Equity in Doctoral Education through Partnership and Innovation (EDEPI) is an Office for Students/​Research England-funded project which has drawn on a further collaboration with UKCGE to inform the construction and dissemination of a framework to tackle inequalities in recruitment and admissions.

Last year, UKCGE and EDEPI carried out a survey of UK PGR admissions practices (published in EDEPI: Graduate Admissions Process Survey Report 2022). Looking at the current picture of admissions processes and practices across UK higher education institutions, the survey identified ten key barriers in PGR admissions for individuals from racially minoritised backgrounds. 

The Framework seeks to tackle inequality at scale by framing PGR admissions in the context of the competencies required to successfully undertake PGR study and reducing reliance on traditional measurables such as academic track-record and previous awarding institution. 

Furthermore, the Framework is designed to facilitate the assessment of candidates’ skills and abilities to determine their suitability for a given postgraduate research position. It comprises three broad domains (comprehension and evaluation, delivering results, and socio-emotional competencies). It will be suitable to be utilised in a number of ways, for example, in combination with other admissions tools, lenses and criteria, and as the basis for the development of a bank of common interview questions.

How you can help

Phase two comprises several more rounds of consultation with stakeholder groups (to be carried out between June and December 2023). If you are a postgraduate researcher or a member of staff from an under-represented group, we would be grateful for your views, which you can submit via the survey below.

There will also be a pilot implementation at Nottingham Trent, Liverpool John Moores and Sheffield Hallam Universities in the Academic Year 2023–24. Feedback and pilot evaluation data will inform a review of the draft Framework in Spring 2024, before final publication.

Fill in the EDEPI survey »