Diversity, inclusion, and doctoral study: Challenges facing minority PhD students in the United Kingdom

Kathleen Mattocks, Shardia Briskoe-Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this article is to provide a platform to converse on barriers and challenges faced by three marginalised groups – women, black minority ethnic (BME) groups, and students living with a disability – throughout the course of doctoral study in political science in the United Kingdom. Much of the literature devoted to inequalities in academia tends to focus on established academics already in a post; the experiences of PhD researchers as the future of the profession have largely been neglected. However, in order to understand the underrepresentation of structurally disadvantaged groups, more insight into what is taking place earlier in the career pipeline is necessary. Based on an online survey and a small number of qualitative interviews, the article’s findings are split into seven different themes, reflecting both challenges that are faced by all PhD researchers, such as financial pressures, as well as those such as isolation, institutional support, and perceptions of disadvantage, that were found to be much more pronounced among minority groups. The article is a preliminary reflective discussion that aims to start a broader conversation about equality and diversity experiences among PhD researchers across the discipline, not just in the UK but on a global scale
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-492
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Political Science
Issue number4
Early online date31 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • PhD researchers
  • doctoral study
  • minority groups

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