Anthropology - Research

Anthropology Studies at Queen's is internationally renowned and a long established and rapidly expanding centre for postgraduate teaching and research training.

Examine human behaviour and relationships under expert research supervision and join a vibrant interdisciplinary postgraduate research community that includes students from all over the world.

Our programme, collaborations with other departments and institutions, and excellent resources mean that whatever your area of interest, there is the anthropological expertise to match. We offer supervision in a wide range of topics, including aspects of social and economic change, borders and migration, conflict transformation and human rights, emotions and the senses, gender, kinship and marriage, environmentalism, tourism, new religions and political movements, ethnomusicology, and performance, art and culture.

A flourishing programme of events, seminars, and research groups complements our postgraduate courses and doctoral supervision.

Our world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. Learn more about our expertise and click here to find a Phd supervisor and explore research areas.

About the Programme
This programme involves substantial original research, normally including ethnographic fieldwork of 12 months and leading to the production of a thesis of up to 80,000 words.

The PhD programme is designed to provide training in the methods of independent research and will provide the student with a professional credential at the highest level. The research normally will be based upon an analysis of original field research materials.

Normally, PhD students during the first year, after about 10 months (or 20 in part-time study) will be examined in the differentiation. In order to progress on the PhD pathway, successful completion of differentiation, and, if required, approval of an Ethical Review application, are conditions for students to proceed to field research for a year (anywhere in the world including the UK). It is expected that students commence the fieldwork from July onwards.

The School will provide training for the fieldwork, a risk assessment will be conducted and students will discuss with their supervisory team about the resources that will be required. Supervisors offer support throughout the year at the field site.

The location of the field is your choice, but this is judged and agreed on the merit of the research at the differentiation. After fieldwork, students return to the University and start writing their thesis under the guidance of their supervisors.

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 History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics.

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.
•Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
•Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.


Mode of study/duration
Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the School. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of three years of full-time registration for PhD.

Research Seminars
Anthropology postgraduate life centres around the weekly Anthropology seminar, and a regular postgraduate seminar, as well as regular events within the School, in the Institute for Cognition and Culture and the Institute of Irish Studies.

Careers or further progression

We are proud of the students who have graduated with their doctorates. Where possible we stay in touch so that the link and relationships remain long after a student has left the School. View our alumni here.

Recent doctoral graduates in Anthropology have gone on to postdoctoral positions in a range of institutions, including the University of Stirling, University of Oxford, Minzu University, University of Waterloo, Masaryk University, University of Sydney and University College Cork; PhD graduates also find employment with a very wide range of employers, including the Council for International Educational Exchange, Handelsbanken Bank, the Institute for Conflict Research, US News and World Report and the Bangladesh Civil Service.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

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

Development Officers Cathy Wilson and Aileen Carson will be happy to provide further information on your research area career prospects.

Further enquiries

Tel: 028 9097 3879

People teaching you
Dr Dominic Bryan 
Tel: 028 9097 3232


Anthropology highlights

Student Experience
•The 2014 Research Excellence Framework results confirmed Queen's University's reputation as a 'world-leading' centre for research in Anthropology.
•The Anthropology research cluster provides each research student with a first and second supervisor and supplies additional training through postgraduate and qualitative research methods seminars.
•Research students discuss and present ongoing work in the weekly postgraduate seminar. They are encouraged to publish an article in an academic journal and present work at national and international conferences.
•Research students can gain teaching experience as tutors in modules taught in the School.
•Overall monitoring and evaluation of progress of research students is carried out by the School Postgraduate Committee, which also deals with all issues arising from postgraduate admissions and changes of enrolment

The postgraduate community within the School is lively, energetic and diverse and, contribute enormously to the research culture of the school. It includes many of our own graduates, as well as graduates of British and Irish universities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, and UCD, and international institutions such as Princeton, Georgetown and Minzu University Beijing.

Application date

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 linked here.

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

Postgraduate Research
There is no standard closing date. You should however check both the University's website and refer to the relevant School/Institute webpage for information on deadline dates for postgraduate funding applications, as these will also determine when your application for admission should be submitted.

Research areas

Research Success
Our regional interests include Ireland, the British Isles, Europe, Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, Japan, the Caribbean, Latin America, Melanesia and Australia. We offer supervision in a wide range of topics, including:
•Anthropology and Philosophy
•Aspects of Social and Economic Change
•Borders, Migration and Transnationalism
•Conflict Transformation and Human Rights
•Emotions and The Senses
•Gender, Kinship and Marriage
•Human/Animal Relations and Environmentalism
•Identity, Ethnicity and Nationalism
•Music, Popular Culture and Tourism
•New Religions and Political Movements
•Performance, Art and Material Culture
•Public Policy

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year 2020

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