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Postgraduate studentships

Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) PhD Studentships for September 2013

The School has four PhD studentships to allocate for 2013/14 and welcomes proposals on topics relating to the School’s research priorities and themes.  These priorities and themes are reflected in the School’s research clusters and are as follows:

(a) contemporary social issues and policy

(b) family policy and child welfare

(c) identities, lifestyle and culture

(d) social divisions and conflict and

(e) life-course research.

Applicants are advised to explore the School’s website to attain further details of the staff’s research interests in the above areas.

Applicants must have a 2:1 undergraduate degree and a masters degree, preferably in a social science or cognate area.  Training in research methods is also desirable. Selection will also include an interview. Applications will be appraised using the University’s selection criteria.

For a full award (fees and stipend), applicants must have been resident in the UK for three years. Details of PhD studentships covering tuition fees and maintenance for home and EU students (subject to the Department for Employment and Learning UK residency rules), can be found here. Successful applicants must meet the DEL criteria.

The deadline for application is 4.00pm on the 6th February 2013.

To apply, applicants should access the University’s on-line application system. A considered research proposal (1,500-2,000 words) must be attached to the application.

DEL Strategic Priority Studentship (Public Health and Conflict)


Queen’s University, Belfast is pleased to announce a Strategic Priority Studentship for post-graduate research (Ph.D.).  The Studentship will be jointly affiliated with the School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work and the School of Pharmacy.  Funding is available for three years and will cover university fees.  A monthly stipend is also provided. 

Working title of the Studentship: 

“Medicating conflict-related trauma through prescription drug use: Trends at neighbourhood level and diffusion to the illicit drug market.”


Rates of prescribed tranquillisers were disproportionately high in Northern Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s, and possibly linked to general practitioners’ exposure to patients who were experiencing high levels of conflict-related trauma.  More recently, government bodies have voiced increasing concern about high rates of prescribed benzodiazepines, and disproportionately high rates of sedative and tranquilliser use have been reported among Loyalist and Republican former prisoners.  Prescribed opioids have emerged as a social problem with some global estimates indicating that self-reported use (i.e., annual prevalence) is highest in Northern Ireland.  Illicit street sales of prescribed drugs have also been highlighted in the region. 

Research aims:

The proposed project will address four research aims: 1) to critically examine trends in prescribed benzodiazepine and opioids, 2) to map these trends in conjunction with annual police data relating to prescribed drugs (i.e., seizures and arrests), 3) to explore trends in relation to geographic areas in Northern Ireland, that have experienced high/low levels of political violence, and 4) to utilise multivariate analyses to identify macro-level factors that contribute to rates of prescribed benzodiazepine and opioids.


The project will be supervised by Dr Karen McElrath (School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work) and Professor Carmel Hughes (School of Pharmacy).

Start/End dates:  October 2013 to 30 September 2016

 How to apply:

Apply via Queen’s University’s online application system which can be found at http://go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply.  All applications will be appraised according to the University/School selection criteria for admission to post-graduate research.  These criteria include a 2:1 undergraduate degree or higher (or the equivalent), and a master’s degree, preferably in the social sciences.  DEL eligibility criteria on residence, nationality and academic qualifications also apply (http://go.qub.ac.uk/Cxbbc)

Previous research training (e.g. research methods) is desirable and should be highlighted in the application.   The application must include a tentative methodological strategy that would meet the research aims of the project (500 words maximum).  The selection process will include an interview. 

Deadline for Applications: 25 February 2013