UCL Faculty of Life Sciences


Closing the Faculty of Life Sciences BAME Awarding Gap: Are we there yet?

20 February 2023

The Faculty of Life Sciences BAME Awarding Gap (AG) continues to decline, currently standing at 1.2 % compared to the UCL BAME AG of 4.1% (for 1st Class degrees).

Students in a laboratory doing experiments. Photo by David Bishop.

The BAME AG is the disparity in the number of 1st and 2:1 classification awarded to White and BAME students. Historically, UCL has an average BAME AG of 5% compared to the national BAME AG of ~15%, despite the achievements in high University entrance exams by all groups. 

Interestingly, during the first exam session of the pandemic, both White and BAME students achieved better degree results in the 2019/2020 academic year, in comparison to previous years, which was correlated to the No-Detriment Policy (NDP) implemented by UCL during the pandemic.

Under Dr Afia B. Ali, (Associate Professor at the UCL School of Pharmacy), leadership as BAME AG Lead for the Faculty of Life Sciences, since 2021, the AG continues to decline even after the NDP policy has been lifted. Afia investigated the factors that contributed to closing the AG in 20/21.  She provides further evidence to support the retention of “good teaching practices” adopted during the pandemic that will provide equal opportunities to all UCL students. 

It is paramount to eliminate this disparity in the gap in order to create a more equal and diverse workplace and society, but also to deliver a fit for purpose education system, which is the at the core of UCL’s identity and values based on student demographic. Afia’s aims to continue engage staff and students across the faculty that will impact on curriculum design and assessment with an ultimate output of closing the AG.