Social Policy - Research

Ulster University - Belfast

Social Policy - Research

The School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences has a vibrant and multi-disciplinary research environment, which is home to a wide range of research projects that tackle important questions in the social sciences. We have an excellent international reputation for producing high quality research which has global impact. Our work is centred around three key themes: persistent and emerging socio-economic challenges, policy and practice in divided societies, and national global social justice.

If you are interested in pursuing doctoral research in Social Policy at Ulster University, you’ll be joining a community of academics who focus on documenting, illuminating and theorising some of the most difficult social problems we face. Our research contributes to new knowledge across a range of policy areas. It highlights the relationship between structures of government, policy making approaches and their impact on public services and users.

Social Policy at Ulster University
The causes of and policy responses to social welfare issues are often contested and work in the cluster has often emerged in response to politically charged debates, for example in the area of reproductive rights, migration and equality and discrimination. Our research is also influential in bringing about change, and our extensive collaborations with NGOs, policy stakeholders, public sector bodies and users are critical to our research and impact. Our research centre, ARK provides further opportunity for work on large scale survey data sets and opportunities for inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral collaboration.

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

All applications are made online and applicants are advised to discuss their application prior to submission with relevant staff in order to develop an appropriate research proposal (see "Application Date Weblink").

Post Course Info

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

  • Apply to

    Course provider