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Shaun McDaid

Where are you from?

Milford, Co. Donegal

When will you complete your degree?

I submitted my PhD thesis in September 2009.

What degree pathway are you studying at Queen’s?

I completed a PhD in Modern History.

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

I wanted to undertake my current research in the recent history of Northern Ireland for a number of years. Queen’s seemed the obvious place to do this, given the high quality of research conducted within the School of History. I was sure that the staff here at Queen’s could provide the necessary expertise to help me complete my doctoral studies.

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

I am particularly impressed with the quality of supervision I have received conducting my research on Northern Ireland politics and British-Irish relations during my time at the School of History; it has been first-rate. I have also received a great deal of encouragement from members of staff within this School and other departments. The administrative staff are also extremely helpful and supportive. On a personal level, I have been given the chance to publicly present my research and get involved in undergraduate teaching, which I feel has been a great benefit to me in developing my skills. There are also a number of excellent research seminars, such as the joint Queen’s/University of Ulster seminar series, where students get the chance to hear top scholars present papers and to participate in the formal and informal discussions which follow.

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

Belfast is an excellent place to study history. There are many interesting sources for researchers in the Queen’s Library, particularly the special collections section. The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland is within easy reach of Queen’s, as is the Linen Hall Library, which has arguably the finest political collection of any library in Ireland. Belfast is a lot more affordable than Dublin, for example, making it an attractive place to study. Queen’s also has plenty to offer outside the academic realm. I really enjoy the multicultural environment here, and it has been a pleasure for me to meet people from other interesting cultures and countries. After a hard day at the archives, I recommend having a go on the climbing wall at the Physical Education Centre, checking out some of the free electro-acoustic musical performances at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, or relaxing at Northern Ireland’s premier art-house cinema, the Queen’s Film Theatre.

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

Ideally I would like to work in the third level education sector, furthering my research in history and politics.

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

Yes. If you want to undertake doctoral research in history, and are ready for the significant personal commitment that entails, I am sure you will find the necessary help and support at Queen’s to realise your ambition.