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Politics & International Studies - Research


Traditionally, the Politics and International Studies research cluster has maintained a strong focus on research in Irish politics and, while that continues, the research portfolio has developed to explore larger questions of identity, ethnic conflict and conflict transformation. Related areas where members of staff are active researchers and where supervision is available are the politics of the European Union, gender politics, community relations, political parties, peace processes and leadership, memory studies, conservative thought and the politics of constitutional change in the United Kingdom with special reference to England and Englishness.


The Politics and International Studies research group is located within the Institute for Research in Social Science which is one of the University’s Research Institutes created to concentrate on the highest quality research. The Institute supports a vibrant research environment through a range of activities. The research environment within the Institute is interdisciplinary and orientated toward producing research that has real life impact. It places a premium on the inclusion and development of research student.

Entry requirements

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements. For general entrance requirements go to:

Entry Requirements

You will need to hold a First of Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in an area relevant to your chosen project to be able to apply.

If you have obtained an undergraduate degree from a non-UK institution, we can advise you on how it compares to the UK system.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for research degree programmes is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. This is the only acceptable certificate for those requiring to obtain a Tier 4 visa.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.


As a full time student, the expectation is that you will work on your project on a daily basis, either on or off campus as agreed with your supervisor. You will be entitled to 40 days holiday per annum.

Part time students are expected to meet with their supervisors on a regular basis, most usually this would be monthly but this is dependent on the project area.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Although academia is considered to be the most obvious path for any PhD holder, with around two thirds of our graduates remaining in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the degree also paves way for a career in industries centred on research and innovation.

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).

Further enquiries

Contact: Dr Kristian Lasslett
Tel: +44 (0)28 903 66248

Research areas

Research facilities and groups

The Faculty Research Graduate School provides dedicated support to students throughout the research period including research training and development opportunities. Office space and computer rooms are available to all PhD students. A team of IT technicians provide further support. All students have access to a range of excellent library resources including databases and software. There are excellent collections of primary and secondary materials on Irish politics, the politics of Northern Ireland and British politics, including newspapers, pamphlets and political ephemera. Research areas such as political theory, policy-making, European politics, gender studies, conflict transformation are all well-resourced. Students may also gain access to the resources of INCORE - International Conflict Research. INCORE was founded through an agreement between the United Nations University and Ulster University to establish a research and training centre devoted to further understanding of ethnic conflicts and their transformation.

In collaboration with other research units and the Research Graduate School, we offer additional academic support to enhance the student experience including:

A methodological master-class series led by senior researchers

A seminar series

Postgraduate writing workshops

Biannual research student away days

Financial support to attend relevant national and international conferences, seminars and workshops

Processes to encourage joint publications between students and staff

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2017

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