Opportunity Bristol

Photo of OB Scholars David and Imogen

Opportunity Bristol provides financial support to UK students from Black backgrounds to undertake a fully-funded research-related Masters degree.

Applications open - deadline Monday 30th January

The scheme is part of the University of Bristol's Black Bristol Scholarship Programme, which is supported by philanthropic donations and seeks to address the lack of representation of the Black community at every level of study in higher education, from undergraduate students to those completing PhDs.

Data shows that students from Black backgrounds are much less likely to pursue a PhD or consider a career in academia. The University of Bristol is committed to taking positive action to address this under-representation and this scheme aims to support and encourage students from Black backgrounds to pursue research as a possible career path. 

Over the past 4 years, we have funded scholarships for 65% of all eligible applications.

Opportunity Bristol provides funding for research-focused master's programmes and will help successful awardees to gain the research skills and experience needed to apply for funded doctoral research opportunities in the future.

To date, our Opportunity Bristol scheme has provided funding to 14 Black students to study on research-related master’s degrees.

Eligibility and funding available

The scheme is open to UK Nationals with home fee status from Black backgrounds who hold an offer for one of the eligible programmes (see below) starting in the 2023-24 academic year. By Black background, we mean that applicants identify as having one of the following categories of ethnicity:

  • Black African
  • Black Caribbean
  • Black Other
  • Mixed – White and Black Caribbean
  • Mixed – White and Black African
  • Other mixed background (to include Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other)

Up to six scholarships are available. Each scholarship will cover your course fees in full and will provide you with a grant for living costs at the UKRI rate (at leas£17,668 per year).

What Masters programmes are eligible?

Almost all master's programmes that result in an MRes, MPhil or MScR qualification are eligible as these contain a significant research component. In addition, a small number of specific MSc programmes are also eligible where it is was considered that there was no suitable MRes, MPhil or MScR programme available.

Please check the full list of courses in the guidance document below.

How do I apply?

To apply for the Opportunity Bristol scheme, you need to: 

  • Apply to an eligible master's programme via the online form (please note, as outlined above not all master's programmes are eligible. Read the guidance document to check whether the course you are applying for is eligible)
 Both applications must be submitted in full by Monday 30th January for you to be considered for funding.  

Application support workshops

Opportunity Bristol Application Support Workshops will be held online on:

  • Wednesday 16th November 2022
  • Wednesday 14th December 2022
  • Wednesday 11th January 2023

You can sign up for these sessions here

Further information 

Please read the Opportunity Bristol applicant guidance for the scheme and application process before submitting your application. (‌No applicant will be able to take up an award unless they are also offered a place on an eligible master's programme.)‌  

If you have any questions about the scheme, please contact Dr Patrick Ashby - Patrick.Ashby@bristol.ac.uk.

A Masters was always something I wanted to do but realistically it was unaffordable. This scheme gave me the chance: to learn more, to study more and to become more well-rounded in my area of interest.

Imogen Clarke, 2021-22 Opportunity Bristol funded scholar

Photo of Oonah Lessware Why study a masters by research at Bristol?

Read Oona Lessware's blog on studying an MScR at Bristol.

Opportunity Bristol is one important step for us to help reduce inequalities of access to postgraduate research. This scheme is a fantastic opportunity for UK Black students to undertake funded research-focused master’s study, and we hope can be a stepping stone towards applying for funded PhDs and doctoral-level research in the future.

Prof. Robert Bickers, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (PGR)
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