Sociology - Integrated - Research

The Integrated PhD in Sociology is designed to prepare you for doctoral-level study by providing a year of taught research-focused modules before you move on to your PhD research.

The programme is suitable for all those wishing to engage in research but should appeal to those who have the basis of a research project but require additional support to develop this into a feasible PhD study.

The integrated 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 already working in the education field who are seeking to extend their knowledge on an issue of their professional interest. Often part time candidates choose to research an area that is related to their professional responsibilities.

You'll be part of a dynamic interdisciplinary doctoral research environment and will study alongside students from over 25 different countries; we supervise students undertaking research in a very broad range of social science topics across all subject areas represented in our dynamic School, and you can benefit from studying and learning together with fellow students with research projects in Criminology, Education, Social Policy, Social Work and Sociology.

As part of a lively community of over 200 full-time and part-time research students, you'll have the opportunity to develop your research potential in a vibrant research community that prioritises the cross-fertilisation of ideas and innovation in the advancement of knowledge.

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.

*Year 1 of the Integrated PhD is only available for full-time study therefore the part-time route is only available after year 1is complete.

Subjects taught

Course structure

During your first year you will be required to complete four taught 30 CATS core modules (see below for module descriptions):

- Introduction to Doctoral Research: The research process
-Theories, Frameworks and Concepts
- Principles of Research Design, and
- Applied Data Analysis

You will also be required to complete a pilot research project during your first year of study* and will be allocated a supervisor for this project at the beginning of the process. This pilot research project will help enhance your initial research proposal (required for your course application) into one that can have a demonstrable impact, not only in terms of academic debate and theory, but also in relation to work-based policy and practice.

The taught modules will equip you with the skills necessary to organise, conduct and report on a research report as well as transferable employment-ready research skills.

On successful completion of year 1 you will have gained competence in the following:
-critical evaluation of relevant literature;
-ability to apply a range of research methods;
-skills in communicating research findings and identifying the practical implications of such findings for a range of professional groups. These competencies will be demonstrated through the successful completion of assignments and a dissertation on a topic which will be in your area of professional expertise.

Year 1: Comprises 4 taught doctoral-level modules (30 CAT Points each) and a research project worth 60 CAT points. After successful completion, you will qualify to transfer to the research phase of the integrated PhD. Alternatively, you may exit the course with an MRes in Social Science Research.
Year 2: You will undertake specific skills training and avail of the training courses from the Graduate School. At the end of Year 2 you will be required to differentiate (see below under Research Element), to assess whether you can go on to study for the PhD or the MPhil pathway.
Year 3: You will complete skills training, research and fieldwork, taking an Annual Progress Review, in line with PhD study.
Year 4: In this final year you will complete your data analysis and write up your thesis. You will submit your thesis and take a Viva Voce (oral examination). The viva will determine if you will exit with a PhD or an MPhil.

Part-time students will be required to complete the taught core modules in Year 1 of their study and their mini-research project in Year 2. The research element of the PhD will begin in Year 3 with the student expected to differentiate by the end of Year 4. Students will normally submit their thesis at the end of Year 8.

Entry requirements

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.

International Students
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:

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.

Application dates

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 linked here.

You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.

If you meet the entry requirements, the next step is to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. We only take students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from one of our academic staff. Therefore, your research question needs to engage with the research interests of one of our staff.

Application Process
Please review the eligibility criteria on the webpages. If you believe that you meet these criteria then follow the steps below:

Select ONE potential supervisor from our 'Find a Supervisor' web page and send an email containing:

- a brief CV (1-2 pages maximum)
- a concise statement that you are interested in studying for a PhD, stating when you would start, and how you would plan to fund the research
- a brief statement of the research question or interest, and how you think the question could be investigated

Our academic staff welcome approaches from prospective students; staff can liaise with applicants to develop a research proposal of mutual interest. The potential supervisor should get back to you within a couple of weeks. They may invite you to meet with them or they may invite you to apply formally.

If you have difficulty identifying or contacting an appropriate supervisor, please contact our Director of Postgraduate Research Studies, Dr Dirk Schubotz, or the SSESW PGR Team (email: or who will be happy to help.

For part-time study – the closing date for this option is 31st August each year.

For full-time study (self-funding) – for those full-time candidates who do not wish to compete for a studentship or who are not eligible to compete for a studentship the closing date is 31st August each year.

For full-time study and application for a scholarship/award; please be aware that awards are only available to full-time students. Candidates wishing to apply for scholarships available within the School must apply for full-time study at the same time. Available scholarships and closing dates are detailed on the Funding and Scholarships web page:


4 academic years full-time, 7 academic years part-time.

Post Course Info

Career Prospects
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, private or third sector or within NGOs. Queen's University's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Researcher Plus, bolster our commitment to employability.

Employment after the Course
A key aim of the Integrated PhD programme is to ensure that graduates receive all the support necessary to succeed as an academic researcher, but are also able to develop the high-level research skills and project management experience that will enable them to become desirable candidates for high level positions beyond the university sector.

Employment Links
For further information on career development opportunities at PhD level please contact the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Career Development Team on / +44 28 9097 5175 The AHSS Faculty Development Officers will be happy to provide further information on your research area career prospects.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral at UK Level 8

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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    Course provider