Ulster University - Magee
Social Work - 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 joining our School as a PhD candidate, you can be confident that you'll be joining a community of committed researchers, who offer dedicated and tailored supervision. You will be fully integrated into the research environment within the school and join a lively research student community.
The School has three pathways for applicants: we assess applications for self-funded study all year round; we invite applicants to apply to the University's annual competition for doctoral scholarships; and we participate in the Northern Ireland and North-East Doctoral Training Partnership of the Economic and Social Research Council.
For more information on each of these pathways, and how to prepare an application, including how to draft a research proposal, please visit our School's webpage that describes the variety of PhD Opportunities.
Social Work Research at Ulster University
Staff within the social work team at Ulster University are engaged in research with practitioners and services users in Northern Ireland and internationally. We aim to support research awareness in undergraduate students and research skills through our post qualifying training.
Our researchers work in partnership with social workers, social work employers, the HSC R&D Division, Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, to respond to the evolving research needs of the profession. We also engage in cross-disciplinary research and work in close collaboration with social work academics in the island of Ireland using the Social Work Education and Research Forum.
We want to engage with prospective students who are interested in researching any aspect of social work practice. We complete quantitative evaluations of social work practice interventions, and qualitative enquiries of practitioner and service users' perspectives on the key questions for our discipline. Recently completed, or continuing projects relate to:
Substance and alcohol dependency
Bureaucracy in social work
Relationship-based social work
ICT in social work
Social work education
Personal educational plans for children in care
Understanding capacity in children with learning disabilities
Autism (an evidence and gap map)
Family involvement in youth justice
Practitioners' decision making and risk management
Practitioner resilience and burnt-out
We welcome interest from prospective PhD candidates in any of these areas.
For more information on the research interests of each staff member in Social Work, please visit the Social Work page on the website of the Doctoral College. For more information on how to prepare an application, including how to draft a research proposal, please visit our School's webpage that describes the variety of PhD Opportunities.
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.
Get additional information for International applicants at https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/apply/international-students
English language requirements
In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.
Get full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found on our English language requirements page.
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 Weblink" below.
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" below.
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.