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 master's degree.

Applications now open for 2024 entry

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.

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. 

To date, our Opportunity Bristol scheme has provided funding to 21 Black students to study on research-related master’s degrees.

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


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 2024-25 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)

Funding available

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£18,622 per year).

Scholarships are available for full-time and part-time study (to 0.5FTE), providing the programme is available for part-time study, which you can find out by looking at the programme page. Funding will be pro-rata for part-time students.

What Master's 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.

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

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. You can find entry requirements and other information about each programme using the search tool.

Application support workshops

Opportunity Bristol Application Support Workshops provide students with further information and practical advice on completing an Opportunity Bristol application. They will take place on:

  • Wednesday 15 November
  • Wednesday 13 December
  • Wednesday 17 January

Book your place

Further information 

Please read the Opportunity Bristol applicant guidance 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

Why study a masters by research at Bristol?

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

Applicant guidance

Information about eligibility and the programmes available for 2024 entry.

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. Harry Mellor, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Postgraduate research)
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