IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


New scholarships to break down barriers to success for British Muslim students

14 April 2023

The scholarships will support students in British Muslim communities to pursue postgraduate study at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, through a new partnership with the Aziz Foundation.

Two women wearing gowns, headdress and mortarboards pose for a photo on their university graduation day (Photo: John Cobb for UCL IOE)

The Aziz Foundation Scholarship will provide full tuition fees for up to three Master’s students at IOE.  

The Aziz Foundation seeks to provide higher educational opportunities for individuals who are actively engaged in British Muslim communities. By improving access to university at the postgraduate level, the partnership aims to not only support these scholars, but to also enable them to create positive change within their communities. 

Professor Nicola Walshe, IOE Pro-Director Education, said: “At IOE we have a clear and longstanding commitment to improving lives through education and social research, and this lies at the heart of all we do.  As part of this, we are very much focused on work to increase the diversity of our student body and ensure that all our students are fully supported to achieve their potential, both whilst they are with us and beyond. We are absolutely delighted to have developed this partnership with the Aziz Foundation which we firmly believe will help us in our mission to achieve this, and - in doing so - support the wider communities within which we sit.” 

Zain Sardar, Programme Manager at Aziz Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to announce that IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, has become one of the Foundation’s Preferred Partners, demonstrating a commitment to extending Widening Participation at the postgraduate level and reducing education inequalities for minority students. 

“We look forward to working closely with the university to widen access and increase opportunities at the postgraduate taught level for British Muslim communities.” 

UCL is known as the first entirely secular university to admit students regardless of religion or faith, and pursues an ongoing commitment to ensuring that barriers to university access are mitigated as far as possible, regardless of background, ethnicity, age or disability. 

UCL recognises that social and educational inequalities in the UK put some students at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing and succeeding in higher education. It participates in the Race Equality Charter, which focuses work identifying and removing on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and students.  

UCL is also strongly determined to eliminate disparities in degree awards between BAME students and their White peers by 2024 – a goal that is incorporated within the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan. This includes activities such as the Inclusive Curriculum Health Check and Student Curriculum Partner scheme, which work to ensure that students are at the forefront of diversifying the institution’s curriculum. Research into teaching, learning and assessment shows that delivering an inclusive curriculum – that ensures every student, regardless of background, can participate fully - has a positive effect on the experience and outcomes of all students. 

Across the university, a range of cultural and social support for our Muslim students aim to create a diverse and welcoming community for all, for instance through the UCL Student's Union Islamic Society, which is one of the biggest and most active in the UK, the UCL Staff-Student Interfaith Forum, and Religion and Belief Equality Steering Group, which promote positive attitudes toward staff and students of faith or belief, and raises the profile of good practice in this area. 

IOE joins UCL’s Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences in partnering with the Aziz Foundation to actively promote widening participation at the postgraduate level through the scholarship schemes. Recipients of the Aziz Foundation scholarship will begin their programme of study in September 2023. 



John Cobb for UCL IOE