Art & Design - Research

Ulster University - Belfast

Art & Design - Research

The Belfast School of Art has established the most mature Art and Design research environment on the Island of Ireland, which REF2021 recognises as 100% internationally excellent (joint 1st within the UK). Ulster's focus on practice and applied research holds deep register in this subject area, with 100% of Art and Design research impact being rated as world leading and internationally excellent. Art and Design submitted the 2nd highest percentage of 4* star outputs of any unit within Ulster University and ranks in the top 20 for 4* outputs of any Art and Design submission in the UK. Independent assessment places Art and Design at Ulster in the upper percentiles of over 80 UK institutions for grade point average score, quality index and proportion of staff submitted.

We reside in a state of the art building in Belfast city centre, located in the Cathedral Quarter, an area that is known for its vibrancy, where the University plays a central role in the creative and cultural life of the city. The PhD community at Belfast is a vibrant one. Their PhD research space is in the heart of the research hub for the School and within the wider Art & design community of Undergraduate and Postgraduate students.

Our PhD researchers have their own peer reviewed, in-house Journal Publication called Intersections as a print and digital edition. It nurtures interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing across the Faculty of Arts Humanities & Social Sciences, which is the home of nine different Research Units. We enjoy strong relationships with the cultural sector and industry for example Collaborative agreements with the Ulster Museum, long standing engagements with national galleries, collaborative PhD’s with NI Pain Forum, and a key stakeholder in the AHRC funded Creative Cluster, called Future Screen NI and Studio Ulster, a Belfast City Regional Deal pillar project. These specialist centres bring together industry and academic research across animation, film & broadcast, games, and immersive technology and virtual production. We have access to the excellent facilities across the Belfast School of Art course subjects which includes a new facility for Screen broadcast and immersive technology.

We welcome applicants interested in researching across the spectrum of Art & Design disciplines. We encourage interdisciplinary research with other sectors. Our staff also co-supervise PhD Researchers in other research units including Computer Science, Business & Management and Arts & Humanities in particular.

Our main thematic groups are:
* Arts, Conflict & Society
* Art, Design & Health
* Art, Space & Place
* Creative Industries

Applicants are encouraged to contact potential supervisors in good time to discuss draft research proposals. For general enquiries please contact the Research Director for Art & Design, Prof Justin Magee or our PhD coordinator, Dr Catherine O’Hara.

Where practice-based or applied research is proposed, we expect to see a portfolio of related Art & Design Practice which may be reviewed as part of the preparation for application and more formally considered during interview.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

Application dates

How to Apply
We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies.

Get full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application (see "Application Date Weblink").

Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system (see "Application Weblink").

Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.

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Careers and opportunities
PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral at UK Level 8

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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    Course provider