You’ll be part of a dynamic doctoral research environment and will study alongside students from over 25 different countries; we supervise students undertaking research in key educational areas including education in divided societies; an effective education; children’s rights in education; educational assessment and inclusion.
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 a local and global impact. Our funders and partners include the research councils, government departments, the EU, the 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. Key interdisciplinary research themes in the School include:
Health, Well-Being and Inclusion
Research under this theme focuses on the health and well-being of children, young people and adults in schools, the community and in institutions such as prisons. Our research relates to issues as diverse as substance abuse, socio-economic inequality, disability and inclusion, social emotions and the formation of identity, as well as undertaking evaluations of interventions programmes designed to improve health and well-being outcomes, and the inclusion of people marginalised by inequality and injustice.
Children, Young People and Families: Policy and Practice
Research under this theme explores the development of children and adolescents into young adulthood in their full social and structural contexts. A particular focus of our work in this area is improving social policies and social work interventions into the lives of families and young people. This multi-disciplinary research draws on a range of theoretical and methodological traditions with an overarching social justice ethos.
Crime and Criminal Justice
Research under this theme explores the antecedents of offending behaviours across the life course with an emphasis on the impact of traumatic life events and structural inequalities. The research also seeks to better understand the behaviours of criminal justice and other systems for their role in controlling or exacerbating this offending. The overarching social justice perspective that characterises this work situates these questions in the wider sociopolitical contexts in which they occur.
Peace in Societies
Research under this theme seeks to understand the sources, manifestations and impact of ethnoreligious, national and social divisions in divided and transitioning societies, and the nature and effectiveness of efforts to build peace. Our particular interests relate to underpinning theories of conflict, the role of religion in divided societies, the impact of growing up in a divided society, the role of education and schools in promoting more positive intergroup relations in deeply divided societies, shared education, and issues relating to identity, culture and inclusion.
Education: Advancing Understanding, Improving Outcomes
Research under this theme focuses on education in schools, further and higher education, and on how to improve educational opportunities and outcomes. Our research encompasses issues relating to curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, inclusion and
identity, and includes, for example, the effectiveness of literacy and numeracy programmes; peer tutoring and cooperative learning; teacher education; the nature of identity and authorship in higher education; teaching English to speakers of other languages and applied linguistics; digital literacy studies; children’s rights; and Applied Behaviour Analysis. As in other strands, the research is informed by diverse and innovative research methodologies and methods such as random control trials, interventions and programme evaluations, participatory action research, writing practices and knowledge production, and systematic reviews.
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.
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:
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.
Our research comprises a variety of methodologies, among which are randomised control trials; ethnographic, children’s rights-based, multidisciplinary, projective and constructivist methodologies, and large-scale attitudinal surveys. Innovations in methodology, as well as developing innovative practice, are key drivers of our research activity. The wider influence of research is also evident in the extensive involvement of staff and students in key national and international research networks and our ability to attract major international conferences to Queen’s.
The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work provides a rich and vibrant context for educational research. The core discipline of Education at Queen’s is one of the leading areas for educational research in the UK and Ireland and our education research has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87 per cent of the research undertaken within this subject assessed as 'internationally excellent' or 'world leading' (REF, 2014).
Our research is organised through a series of Centres and Networks in our core disciplinary research areas.
The School's research funders and partners include the research councils, government departments, the EU and the Council of Europe. Our research is informing thinking and the development of policies locally and internationally.
Education is delivering a wide range of research projects including working with the CESI research centre at Queen's, supporting the dissemination of a Shared Education model with the Department for Education in Northern Ireland and internationally. Our researchers are also working towards improving literacy on an international level for primary school students with innovative methods and robust research.
Please review the eligibility criteria. If you believe that you meet these criteria then follow the steps below:
Using the School filter option within our Find A PhD Supervisor Tool, select one potential supervisor from our list of Academic Staff 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 Graduate Studies, Dr Dirk Schubotz, or the SSESW PGR Team who will be happy to help.
For the part-time study – the closing date for this option is 31st August each year.
For the 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.
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.
Supervisors will offer feedback on draft work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.