PhD Electrical & Electronic Engineering Queen's University Belfast
The School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) aims to enhance the way we use technology in communication, data science, computing systems, cyber security, power electronics, intelligent control, and many related areas.
You’ll be part of a dynamic doctoral research environment and will study alongside students from over 40 countries worldwide; we supervise students undertaking research in key areas of electronics and electrical engineering, including power electronics, robotics, wireless communications, cybersecurity and sensor-based systems. As part of a lively community of over 100 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.
Within the School, we have a number of specialist research centres including a Global Research Institute, the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) specialising in Cyber Security, Wireless Innovation and Data Science and scalable computing.
Many PhD studentships attract scholarships and top-up supplements. PhD programmes provide our students with the opportunity to acquire extensive training in research techniques.
Electrical & Electronic Engineering Highlights
- ECIT brings together, in one building, internationally recognised research groups specialising in key areas of advanced digital and communications technology.
- CSIT brings together research specialists in complementary fields such as data security, network security systems, wireless-enabled security systems, intelligent surveillance systems; and serves as the national point of reference for knowledge transfer in these areas.
- Electric Power and Energy Systems research is focused on problems related to distributed sources of energy and their integration into power networks. The cluster is a member of the IET Power Academy and is a major collaborator on all-island energy research.
- SoCaM is dedicated to the design of advanced, integrated, high-speed wireless and couples activities in High-Frequency Electronics, System-on-Chip, Signals and Systems and Digital Signal Processing, and for Gigabit/sec wireless.
- The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology, with state-of-the-art technology, offers a bespoke research environment.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- You will be working under the supervision of leading international academic experts.
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 personal development and specialist training courses offered through the Personal Development programme
- 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
For further information on career opportunities at PhD level please contact the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Student Recruitment Team. Our advisors - in consultation with the School - will be happy to provide further information on your research area, possible career prospects and your research application.
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 a PhD is delayed until you have completed ‘differentiation’.
Differentiation takes place about 8-9 months after registration for full time students and about 16-18 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.
A 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 professional interest. Often part-time candidates choose to research an area that is related to their professional responsibilities.
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.
Research within the School is organised into research themes.
ECIT brings together, in one building, internationally recognised research groups specialising in key areas of advanced digital and communications technology.
Electric Power and Energy Systems research is focused on problems related to distributed sources of energy and their integration into power networks. The cluster is a member of the IET Power Academy and is a major collaborator on all-island energy research.
SoCaM is dedicated to the design of advanced, integrated, high-speed wireless and couples activities in High-Frequency Electronics, System-on-Chip, Signals and Systems and Digital Signal Processing, and for Gigabit/sec wireless.
PhD opportunities are available in a wide range of subjects in electronics and electrical engineering, aligned to the specific expertise of our PhD supervisors.
Queen’s is a leader in commercial impact and one of the five highest-performing universities in the UK for intellectual property commercialisation. We have created over 80 spin-out companies. Three of these - Kainos, Andor Technology and Fusion Antibodies - have been publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Queen’s has strong collaborative links with industry in Northern Ireland, and internationally. It has a strong funding track record with EPSRC and the EC H2020 programme.
Learning and Teaching
Additional Teaching Information
The taught module content will be supplemented by guest seminars from industry experts in the fields of mechanical engineering and business management. These modules are assessed through a combination of practical workshop sessions, independent coursework, and group projects. An Individual Research Project is also undertaken that focuses on applying taught skills to a relevant real-world industrial problem. A dissertation is required to be produced for the project. The project may be taken in the context of a summer placement at a company, for the 1-year programme.
Indicative Proportional Mix of Time in Classes, Tutorials/Seminars/Labs, and Private Study in a Teaching Semester
Typically, about 50% of contact teaching time is scheduled for classroom teaching, with the remaining 50% scheduled for tutorials and practical workshops. Most modules will also devote a portion of this time to other activities such as hands-on laboratory work, computer practicals, case studies, invited speakers, and industrial site visits.
Project and dissertation work involves regular meetings with an academic advisor, with the remaining time devoted to project management, practical lab or computer work, and preparation for written and oral reporting.
Assessment processes for the Research Degree differ from taught degrees. Students will be expected to present write up 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 the research work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.
Program Tuition Fee
Scholarships and Funding
How do I fund my study?
- PhD Opportunities
Find PhD opportunities and funded studentships by subject area.
- Funded Doctoral Training Programmes
We offer numerous opportunities for funded doctoral study in a world-class research environment. Our centres and partnerships, aim to seek out and nurture outstanding postgraduate research students and provide targeted training and skills development.
- PhD loans
The Government offers doctoral loans of up to £26,445 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes for English- or Welsh-resident UK and EU students.
- International Scholarships
English Language Requirements
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