Sociology - Research

Overview

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 care about young people and families, conflict and social change, social inequality, disability, ageing and health, criminal justice, drugs and alcohol, trauma, violence and abuse and the effect these have on society.


Sociology highlights

A wide range of specialist research methods modules are available as part of the EdD / DChild Taught Doctoral programmes which are also open to PhD students


Internationally Renowned Experts

•The School is home to leading international academic experts in specialist fields with a number of academics holding positions on government advisory councils, Chair positions on internationally recognised committees and memberships of several Research Centres across the University. One of our academics was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for their work in the field of Social Work.


Key Facts

Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities undertaken within the School and there are many resources available including:

•a wide range of specialist research methods modules are available as part of the EdD / DChild Taught Doctoral programmes which are also open to PhD students

•access to the Queen's University Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme

•office accommodation with access to computing facilities and support to attend conferences for full-time PhD students


Learning Outcomes

A research degree offers students an opportunity to foster their capacity for independent research and critical thought. It also allows students to explore an area of interest and so understand and solve theoretical and practical problems within the field. Undertaking a research degree can enhance a student's written and oral communication skills and a PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic post.


Course structure

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 under the guidance of your supervisor.


Over the course of study you can attend postgraduate skills training organised by the 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 up two academics and this is followed up with a formal meeting with the 'Differentiation Panel'. The Panel then make 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 approx 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.

Entry requirements

Entrance requirements

Graduate

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: 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.

•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.

Duration

Mode of study/duration


Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of three years of full-time registration for PhD, or two years for MPhil (or part-time equivalent).

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects

Introduction

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 ahssdevoffice@qub.ac.uk / +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

Dr Caitlin Donnelly 

Doctoral Programme Director

SSESW

Email: caitlin.donnelly@qub.ac.uk

Assessment method

Assessment processes for the Research Degree differ from taught degrees. Students will be expected to present drafts of their work at regular intervals to their supervisor who will provide written and oral feedback;


A formal assessment process takes place annually. This Annual Progress Review requires students to present their work in writing and orally to a panel of academics from within the School. Successful completion of this process will allow students to register for the next academic year.


The final assessment of the doctoral degree is both oral and written. Students will submit their thesis to an internal and external examining team who will review the written thesis before inviting the student to orally defend their work at a Viva Voce.


Feedback

Supervisors will offer feedback on draft work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.

Application date

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply 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.


www.qub.ac.uk/Study/PostgraduateStudy/Postgraduate-research/find-phd-sup...


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.


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 list of Academic Staff (http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ssesw/Connect/OurPeople/AcademicStaff/) 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 Dr Caitlin Donnelly (email: Caitlin.donnelly@qub.ac.uk) 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 School's Scholarships web page: http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ssesw/Study/Scholarships/

Research areas

Research information


Associated Research

The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work combines a rich tapestry of disciplinary strengths, in Sociology, Education, Social Policy and Criminology, so that we proudly proclaim ourselves as key advocates for, the worth and value of the Social Sciences.


Our research is organised through a series of Centres and Networks in our core disciplinary research areas across four interconnected themes:

- Disability

- Health and Well Being

- Research on life course

- Conflict and Change


Research Impact

The School attracts significant funding each year. Recent funding successes include large research awards from prestigious research councils; AHRC, ESRC, NIHR and the MRC.


Research Success

We also secure funding at a local level with peer reviewed funding streams for example HSC Research and Development Office, DHSSPS and charitable bodies. School research is informing thinking and contributes to policy making at local, national and international levels. The School hosts the Pioneering Research Programme, the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation.


PhD Opportunities

The School attracts research students from many parts of the world including several European countries, Ghana, India, Jordan, Russia, Uganda and the USA.


Any project and funding opportunities can be found on the link below.


Current PGR Student Profiles

PhD Title:

Older Women Living with Domestic Violence - Alcohol and Substance Misuse

Years of study: 2014 - 2017


PhD Title:

New Social Movement Theory and the Reparations Movement in Northern Ireland

Years of Study: 2017 - Present


PhD Title:

Autism, Sexuality, and Gender: Challenging Behaviour?

Years of study: 2017 - Present

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year 2020

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!