Agata Lambrechts, 2nd year PhD student

Professional associations and learned societies provide a wealth of knowledge, and ample networking opportunities  for current students and recent graduates.  However, they are often not accessed as a resource – students don’t know about them, or they do, but are overwhelmed by number of different seemingly relevant societies, not sure which are worth joining.  In this series, we will outline the activities of different societies and associations which are recommended by our staff and current PhD students. 

**Extracts for BERA’s own website at **

The British Educational Research Association (BERA) is the home of educational research in the United Kingdom. It is a membership association committed to working for the public good by sustaining a strong and high quality educational research community, dedicated to advancing knowledge of education.


Since its inception in 1974, BERA has expanded into an internationally renowned association with UK and non-UK based members. It strives to be inclusive of the diversity of educational research and scholarship and welcomes members from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, theoretical orientations, methodological approaches, sectoral interests and institutional affiliations. It also encourages the development of productive relationships with other associations within and beyond the UK. Aspiring to be the home of all educational researchers in the UK, BERA provides opportunities for everyone active in this field to contribute through its portfolio of distinguished publications, its world-class conference and other events, and its active peer community, organised around 30 Special Interest Groups. BERA also recognises excellence in educational research through their range of awards. In addition to the member-focused activity, the convenors aim to inform the development of policy and practice by promoting the best quality evidence produced by educational research.   As an organisation BERA is committed to principles of openness, integrity and transparency and seeks to uphold ethical values in all of its activities and processes.

Participating in conferences as a postgraduate is one of the best ways that I have received feedback on my research work from a range of different audiences and disciplines. Particularly being the co-convenor or the Arts-based education research SIG at BERA this year, I was able to meet with specialists working across my field to explore new partnerships, ideas and avenues for my research work. I encourage all postgraduates not to be afraid and seize these experiences.

Laura Louise Nicklin, 4th year PhD student, University of York

How to join?

BERA’s subscription year runs from 1 January to 31 December (so it may be worth to wait until the new year now to get the most out of your fee!).  You will qualify for the concessionary membership fee of £50 per year (or £40 if you choose to pay via DD) if you meet the following criteria:

  • undertaking a single course of higher or

further education at a prescribed educational
establishment lasting for at least one academic or calendar year (from the outset)

  • undertaking study, tuition or work experience for periods of at least 24 weeks in each academic or calendar year and
  • undertaking periods of study, tuition or work experience which together amount in each such academic or calendar year to an average of at least 21 hours a week.

ID Required to prove your eligibility (please email to


-School ID card

-Report card
-Tuition bill or statement
-Any other document issued by the educational institution that includes your name, the institution name, and the current date or term.

Presenting at the BERA Annual Conference 2016 was an enriching experience. With a vibrant and intellectually stimulating atmosphere, the Conference was a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas and connect with other researchers interested in issues on Higher Education, my area of research. I found it particularly motivating to engage in discussion with members of the Special Interest Group in Higher Education. I had the opportunity to extend my network with others working on projects related to mine, and I look forward to collaborating with them in the near future.

María Ana Chavana Villalobos, 4th year PhD student, University of York