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BPS updates, Equality, diversity and inclusion

BPS research explores experiences of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority postgraduate psychology students and trainees

The BPS is exploring barriers preventing Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority postgraduate psychology students and trainees from developing their careers.

30 October 2023

By BPS Communications

In newly-launched research, the society aims to better understand the factors hindering the professional development of these students and trainees.

The study will look at areas such as curriculum design and supervision, and make recommendations for change to remove any barriers and ease their career progression.

As part of the first stage of the research, being carried out for the society by the University of Lincoln Eleanor Glanville Institute, the views of student/trainees and staff/supervisors are being gathered through two separate surveys (more details below).

Adam Jowett, Chair of the BPS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Board, said:

“The BPS is committed to identifying and addressing the barriers faced by Black, Asian, and Ethnic Minority postgraduate psychology students and trainees. This vital research will help inform next steps in paving the way for a more inclusive future in the field.”

Debra Malpass, BPS Director of Knowledge and Insight, added:

“This study will build on previous research exploring why barriers around race and ethnicity continue to permeate training and career progression. For example, a report commissioned by the BPS in 2021* report found that Black and Asian individuals were just as likely as White students/trainees to study psychology at undergraduate level.

“However, only 9 per cent of applicants with Black and Asian ethnicities were accepted onto clinical psychology training courses from the 17 per cent who applied.

“The aim of this research is not just to describe the problem again. It will deliver actionable recommendations for both the BPS and for postgraduate psychology course leaders to help to remove barriers and increase progression of Black, Asian and Ethnic postgraduate trainees.”

Any postgraduate student/trainee who identifies as Black, Asian or from an Ethnic Minority background is being asked to anonymously take part in this survey about their experiences of race and ethnicity. The survey takes around 10-15 minutes to complete, and includes questions about inclusion, discrimination and belonging.

Lecturers, supervisors and course leaders for postgraduate psychology in the UK are asked to complete a separate, short survey (10-15 minutes) about strategies to reduce racial and ethnic barriers for postgraduate students and trainees.

*The 2021 Right Track report by the BPS found that people from Black and Asian backgrounds are less likely to hold senior NHS roles and are less likely to be accepted onto clinical psychology training courses.