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Postgraduate student experience: identity, belonging and attainment

The overarching aim of this project is to undertake an in-depth examination of postgraduate students’ teaching and learning experiences in a multicultural learning context, with a focus on the ways in which student identity can shape student experience, their sense of belonging and impact their academic attainment.

Outcomes from the project will inform and develop pedagogy and practice on the ECS postgraduate taught programmes.

The key research questions that will guide the project are:

  1. In what ways does the postgraduate student identity shape their learning experiences in their MA programmes?
  2. How does student identity and the learning environment impact on students’ sense of belonging and academic attainment?
  3. In what ways can pedagogy and practice respond to student voice and need for change?

The participants will comprise approximately 70 postgraduate students enrolled in 6 MA Education & Society programmes offered in the School of Education, Communication and Society (MA Education, Policy and Society, MA Education Management, MA Education, MA STEM Education, MA Education in Arts and Cultural Settings, MA International Child Rights Development) which together consist of over 350 students.

This study arises from a small scoping research project which began prior to the pandemic in 2018 – 2020 with the aim of exploring postgraduate students’ experiences of teaching and learning in ECS, to help staff improve and develop their teaching practice in response to students’ learning needs. As the project continued, the researchers identified the importance of how the students positioned themselves in a multicultural postgraduate learning space, how they constructed their learning identities and how they interacted with their peers to support their learning.

The full project team, made of Dr Mili Mili and Dr Emma Towers and the student-researchers:

From left to right: Mengyi, Erum, Clare, Mili, Emma, Zaeto, Esther, Tara.

Dr Mili Mili and Dr Emma Towers in the middle of a group of student-researchers posing in front of Waterloo Bridge Wing entrance.
Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigator



Funding Body: Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Amount: £4613.80

Period: February 2023 - July 2024