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Matthew Lewis

Where are you from?


Glenavy, Co. Antrim      


What year did you complete your degree?


I completed my BA in 2007, my MA in 2008 and my PhD in 2011 (all at Queen's).


What degree pathway are you studying at Queen’s?


I studied for a PhD in modern Irish History.


Why did you choose to study History at Queen’s?


I studied at Queen’s for both my BA and MA. When I decided to continue with my post-graduate studies it seemed logical to stay with the university. My current research interests are in twentieth century Ireland, and this is one of the Queen’s history department’s major research strengths.


What do you particularly enjoy about studying this subject at Queen’s?


Queen’s is an excellent place for the study Irish history in particular. The history department has great strength in research in this area, among both the staff and the postgraduate students. This is further reinforced by complimentary research in the Politics and Irish Studies departments (particularly in regards to twentieth century Ireland). Speaking more generally there are great opportunities to aid in your academic development. The Postgraduate Office, for example, provides a range of useful training courses on various academic and general employability skills. Within the school of history there are also events such as the postgraduate research seminars which provide an excellent chance to get experience presenting conference papers, gain feedback on your research and generally exchange ideas with fellow historians.


What about studying at Queen’s in general? What is that like?


Queen’s is a great place to study. In terms of facilities it has a wonderful library, and its Special Collections in particular are a godsend for anyone studying Irish history or literature. There are also great IT facilities and a real wealth of online resources, such as access to digitised journals, eBooks etc. In terms of socialising, there are plenty of opportunities to mingle with other research students at events such as seminars, conferences and book clubs, which very often include complimentary drinks receptions.


What are you planning to do in the future? What career would you like to pursue?


An academic career is a possible consideration, but a PhD can open up many career paths; I am trying to keep my options open.


Would you recommend studying at Queen’s to other students? What advice would you give them?


Queen’s is a great place to study history. The university and the department have an impeccable international reputation and there’s a good friendly atmosphere among the staff and students. My advice to anyone considering a PhD would be to choose a subject your passionate about and make the most of the three years.