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Harriet

May 15th, 2024

Making postgraduate applications easier: the ACE PGR initiative

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Harriet

May 15th, 2024

Making postgraduate applications easier: the ACE PGR initiative

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Applying to a PhD programme may be an overwhelming experience for you. There are research proposals to write, personal statements to perfect and references to obtain. With so many different things to juggle at once, realising that you’ll also have to pay a £95 application assessment fee may be a financial strain.

That’s where the Attaining Comprehensive Equality in Postgraduate Research (ACE PGR) Initiative comes in. It’s a unique pilot scheme that exists to make the process of applying for postgraduate study simpler. In its initial stages, the initiative has focused on broadening opportunities for BAME applicants from the UK.

At its core, LSE is an institution committed to attracting and nurturing academic excellence in students from a range of backgrounds. In order to maintain the globally and culturally diverse environment that’s so integral at LSE, the university is taking concrete steps to encourage UK candidates from minority ethnic backgrounds to apply for postgraduate research programmes.

ACE PGR builds on the work carried out by the Widening Participation Team, a group of committed staff members striving for equality in applications at the undergraduate level. Recognising that BAME students remain the most underrepresented group in research positions across the UK, both are striving to create a more inclusive environment. Diversity and inclusion, as well as the elevation of unique perspectives are principles continuously emphasised during my time here at LSE, and the ACE PGR Initiative is one of the ways that promotes this.

So, what does this actually mean for you? Firstly, ACE PGR will waive the PhD application fee for all self-identifying BAME applicants of UK nationality who apply for MRes/PhD and MPhil/PhD programmes at LSE. This will give you the time and space to focus on your application without worrying about the financial implications when applying for postgraduate study at LSE.

Furthermore, the initiative isn’t just about getting you through the door; it’s also here to make you want to stay once you’ve arrived. Dedicated to enhancing long-term academic success for postgraduate students, the scheme is focused on increasing funding opportunities for BAME candidates, creating a network of support, and organising focus groups to help inform best practices. The ACE PGR initiative also adopts a contextual admissions process. This means LSE will draw on a variety of information when assessing your application to ensure students with potential are not overlooked based on exam results alone.

Worried about the interview stage of the application? ACE PGR sets up 15-minute pre-interview sessions where you can speak with a member of your relevant department of interest. This is a great opportunity to voice any concerns you may have whilst getting advice from academics that have been in your shoes already.

Finally, the initiative offers unsuccessful applicants tailored admissions feedback. While nobody likes to think about what can go wrong with an application, there’s a lot to be said for this. With access to constructive and useful feedback from academics in your chosen field, you’ll be well-equipped to re-apply for postgraduate study in the future.

To note, as a self-identifying BAME applicant, you’ll automatically be included in the scheme, unless you choose to opt-out in your online application. This means you don’t have to dig for information – participation is made easy.

As a PhD student myself, I know first-hand how stressful application season can be. It feels like everywhere you look, there’s another deadline approaching and another form to fill out. That’s what makes the ACE PCR initiative so important. Not only does it help increase diversity at the postgraduate research level, but it also recognises how difficult the PhD application process can be for you… and is here to do something about it.

Read more about the LSE ACE PGR Initiative.

About the author

Harriet

Hi! I'm a PhD candidate in the Department of International History. Having earned both a BA and MA from LSE, I'm *arguably* London’s biggest fan... and a self-proclaimed expert on the best food in the city!

Posted In: Applying: PhD

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