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The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy has a strong international reputation for innovative research, across a wide range of specialist areas including contemporary Irish political history, ethnic conflict, European politics, international politics, philosophy and political theory.

The School’s long-standing goal has been to expand the research base in such a way that highlights key areas of politics and philosophy and addresses the specific challenges and opportunities associated with its location in Northern Ireland, while at the same time encourages engagement with a range of current regional, national, European and international challenges and phenomena, e.g. the nature of deeply-divided societies and transformations attendant on peace processes. Staff contribute through their established expertise in a range of sub-disciplines, e.g. applied normative philosophy, comparative politics, ethnic politics, European politics international relations, Irish politics, Middle Eastern politics, political economy, political theory, the politics of gender.

The School hosts regular research seminars, symposia, colloquia, and conferences, has a flourishing community of postgraduate research students, as well as an extensive suite of postgraduate taught programmes that reflect its key areas of research strength. It has its own Distinguished International Professors, as well as a range of postdoctoral and visiting research fellows, and is home to a Centre for Ethics, a Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics and a Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict. It is also currently the editorial home of the British Journal of Politics and International Relations (BJPIR). 

In line with successive research strategies the School places considerable emphasis on: strengthening its core research areas; encouraging and promoting collaborative and interdisciplinary research; and developing national and international research projects and networks. The School is also heavily engaged in the activities of two of the University’s interdisciplinary research institutes, namely the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, and the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities.