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Project overview

'National figures demonstrate that white students are still over twice as likely as Black students to get a first class undergraduate degree. At Southampton HESA data shows that 38% of white students obtained a first class degree, compared to only 18% of Black students (HESA, 2020). Similar ratios of this awarding gap are visible also when it comes to progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate study, and then from this to an academic career. We wanted to understand what is causing this ‘broken pipeline’ and what can be done about it.

Project aims
This project aimed to understand the Black student experience in FELS. In order to do this, it looked holistically at the experience across their University education, from recruitment through to graduation, and opportunities and inspiration to continue to postgraduate study and an academic career.

Research questions
• What is the student experience like for Black students across FELS as both undergraduates and postgraduates?
• What elements of good practice are already in place to support Black students, and what areas still need improvement?
• How can we take meaningful action to address the Black awarding gap in our Faculty?
• How can we help tackle the ‘broken pipeline’ for Black students entering PhD study?

The project sought to open up these important and timely discussions in our Faculty. Conversations with Black students through focus group discussions and other interactions, have helped us draw up some clear proposals on what FELS and the University can do to help better support and mentor Black students.'


Lead researcher

Dr Julie Vullnetari

Associate Dean EDI
Connect with Julie
Other researchers

Dr Booker Ogutu


Research interests

  • Developing methods of retrieving bio-geophysical variables from Earth Observation data
  • Understanding the effects of environmental change on terrestrial vegetation
  • Quantifying terrestrial carbon balance and its dynamics in a changing climate
Connect with Booker

Dr Emma Palmer-Cooper PhD, CPsychol, AFHEA

Lecturer B

Research interests

  • Metacognition in Psychosis and other serious mental health conditions
  • Creativity and Wellbeing
  • Student Mental Health
Connect with Emma

Mr Simon Hall

Snr Teach Fell in Mental Health Nursing

Research interests

  • Simon has a number of research interests which predominatley now focuses on improving nursing education and enabling the future workforce. 
Connect with Simon

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs