Social Policy - Research
You'll be a social scientist committed to ways of working, through multidisciplinary research, that build knowledge and capacities in the communities around us and have a positive impact on human wellbeing. You'll work in any area of social policy research or practice, including young people and families, education, conflict and social change, social inequality, disability, ageing, health, criminal justice.
Staff in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work publish world-class research which has local and global impact. Our funders and partners include the research councils, government departments, the EU, Council of Europe and the large foundations. School research is informing thinking and the development of policies in many areas including the well-being of children, social cohesion and mental health.
Key interdisciplinary research themes in the School include:
HEALTH, WELL-BEING AND INCLUSION
Research under this theme focuses on the health and well-being of children, young people and adults in schools, the community and in institutions such as prisons. Our research relates to issues as diverse as substance abuse, socio-economic inequality, disability and inclusion, social emotions and the formation of identity, as well as undertaking evaluations of interventions programmes designed to improve health and well-being outcomes, and the inclusion of people marginalised by inequality and injustice.
CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE AND FAMILIES: POLICY AND PRACTICE
Research under this theme explores the development of children and adolescents into young adulthood in their full social and structural contexts. A particular focus of our work in this area is improving social policies and social work interventions into the lives of families and young people. This multi-disciplinary research draws on a range of theoretical and methodological traditions with an overarching social justice ethos.
CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Research under this theme explores the antecedents of offending behaviours across the life course with an emphasis on the impact of traumatic life events and structural inequalities. The research also seeks to better understand the behaviours of criminal justice and other systems for their role in controlling or exacerbating this offending. The overarching social justice perspective that characterises this work situates these questions in the wider socio-political contexts in which they occur.
PEACE IN SOCIETIES
Research under this theme seeks to understand the sources, manifestations and impact of ethno-religious, national and social divisions in divided and transitioning societies, and the nature and effectiveness of efforts to build peace. Our particular interests relate to underpinning theories of conflict, the role of religion in divided societies, the impact of growing up in a divided society, the role of education and schools in promoting more positive intergroup relations in deeply divided societies, shared education, and issues relating to identity, culture and inclusion.
EDUCATION: ADVANCING UNDERSTANDING, IMPROVING OUTCOMES
Research under this theme focuses on education in schools, further and higher education, and on how to improve educational opportunities and outcomes. Our research encompasses issues relating to curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, inclusion and
identity, and includes, for example, the effectiveness of literacy and numeracy programmes; peer tutoring and cooperative learning; teacher education; the nature of identity and authorship in higher education; teaching English to speakers of other languages and applied linguistics; digital literacy studies; children's rights; and Applied Behaviour Analysis. As in other strands, the research is informed by diverse and innovative research methodologies and methods such as random control trials, interventions and programme evaluations, participatory action research, writing practices and knowledge production, and systematic reviews.
There is no specific course content as such. You are expected to take research training modules that are supported by the School which focus on quantitative and qualitative research methods. You are also expected to carry out your research independently under the guidance of your supervisor.
Over the course of study you can attend postgraduate skills training organised by the Queen's Graduate School.
You will normally register, in the first instance, as an 'undifferentiated PhD student' which means that you have satisfied staff that you are capable of undertaking a research degree. The decision as to whether you should undertake an MPhil or a PhD is delayed until you have completed 'differentiation'.
Differentiation takes place about 9-12 months after registration for full time students and about 18-30 months for part time students: You are normally asked to submit work to a panel of two academics who will then meet you formally at your 'Differentiation Panel' to discuss your work. The Panel then makes a judgement about your capacity to continue with your study. Sometimes students are advised to revise their research objectives or to consider submitting their work for an MPhil qualification rather than a doctoral qualification.
To complete with a doctoral qualification you will be required to submit a thesis of approximately 80,000 words and you will be required to attend a viva voce [oral examination] with an external and internal examiner to defend your thesis.
A PhD programme runs for 3-4 years full-time or 6-8 years part-time. Students can apply for a writing up year should it be required.
The PhD is open to both full and part time candidates and is often a useful preparation for a career within academia or consultancy.
Full time students are often attracted to research degree programmes because they offer an opportunity to pursue in some depth an area of academic interest.
The part time research degree is an exciting option for professionals or those unable to commit to full time study seeking to extend their knowledge on an issue of professional interest. Often part time candidates choose to research an area that is related to their professional interests..
If you meet the entry requirements, the next step is to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. We only take PhD students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from one of our academic staff. Therefore, your research interests need to align with the research interests of one of our staff.
The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
HOW TO APPLY
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.
Find a supervisor
If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.
To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles.
You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.
3 academic years full-time, 6 academic years part-time.
Post Course Info
Many of our PhD graduates have moved into academic and research roles in Higher Education while others go on to play leading roles in the public sector or within NGOs. Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability.
Employment after the Course
For further information on career development opportunities at PhD level please contact the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Career Development Team on firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 28 9097 5175 The AHSS Development Officers will be happy to provide further information on your research area career prospects.