The Graduate School

UK/EU Prospective Research Students

UK/EU Prospective Research Students

There are a number of Research Awards available for applicants from the UK or EU countries* who wish to undertake full-time research at Queen's. 

*Please check eligibility criteria for each award by clicking on the links provided within their sections.

If you are successful for funding, awards may cover your tuition fees and make a contribution towards your maintenance.For DEL and AHRC studentships please note that specific residency and citizenship criteria apply.

Depending on eligibility EU applicants for DEL and AHRC may be eligible for a Fees Only award (which covers tuition fees only) or a Full award which covers tuition fees and maintenance. 

A  Fees Only DEL or AHRC Award may be available for those applicants who do not satisfy the criteria concerning three years residency in the UK.

Click here for a list of EU Countries.

To apply for admission (a place) and funding, please complete the online application.

UK/EU Postgraduate Research Funding

Arts and Humanities Research Council Awards (AHRC)

Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership

The Northern Bridge 2017 Studentship Competition is now open.  Postgraduate Research applicants in the Arts and Humanities who are interested in applying for a fully funded AHRC studentship must have applied to Queen’s, via the online Direct Applications Portal, and submitted all required supporting documents by the closing date. The deadline for applications to the Northern Bridge studentship competition is 5:00pm, Wednesday 11 January 2017.

*Please note: it is important to check whether the School or Department to which you are applying has its own internal deadline.

For full details of the studentship competition please refer to the Northern Bridge website at


In addition to standard awards, new for 2017 there are partnership awards which offer unique opportunities to conduct PhD research in collaboration with one of Northern Bridge's Strategic Partner organisations. For a Partnership Award, please first submit an expression of interest outlining your proposed research project in no more than 500 words, and a CV (no more than 2 sides of A4), to by 18 November 2016.

How to Apply

Before applying for either a Partnership Award or a Standard Award, please read the Applicant Guidance Notes 2017 (Standard Awards) or Applicant Guidance Notes 2017 (Partnership Award Route).



Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Celtic Languages

The AHRC CDT in Celtic Languages is a consortium of twelve Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) which supports doctoral research and training in Celtic languages, literatures and cultures.


Applicants interested in applying to Queen’s must contact the Subject Area Contact before submitting: Professor Greg Toner, Irish and Celtic at
Applicants must read the guidance notes on the website before applying, please click here.

Further details at: AHRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Celtic Languages

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The eligibility criteria are applicable to all DFE research awards: DFE research studentships and DFE CAST.

To apply for a DFE award, please fill out the Online Combined Application for Admission and Award.

DFE Research Studentships

These are funded by the Department for the Economy (DFE), formerly Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), and are offered in most Schools for full time PhD research.  Please check the relevant School/Faculty website for details of potential projects and closing date.  The studentship may cover maintenance and fees for a maximum of three years.

  • UK residents: fees plus maintenance. 
  • Other EU residents: fees only. 
    For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click here.

DFE Co-operative Awards in Science and Technology (CAST)

DFE Co-operative Awards in Science and Technology (CAST) awards are for specific research projects in collaboration with an industrial sponsor in the following Schools / areas: Biomedical Sciences in School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, School of Biological Sciences , School of Pharmacy , School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering , School of the Natural and Built Environment, School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science , School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and the School of Mathematics and Physics

Please check the School/Faculty website above for details concerning potential DFE CAST studentships.
Please note that to apply for this award you must use the Online Combined Admission and Award form. 
Depending on eligibility a DFE CAST studentship may cover fees and a maintenance allowance.  In addition a CAST studentship may also include a contribution from the industrial collaborating body.

UK residents*: may be eligible for a Full award which covers tuition fees and maintenance.
EU residents*: may be eligible for a Fees only award which only covers tuition fees (there is no maintenance)
*NB there are also citizenship / nationality criteria applicable

Please note there is no separate allocation for DFE CAST awards.  The School may convert a DFE award into a DFE CAST award where industrial sponsorship is available.  The usual DFE terms and conditions are applicable.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on here.

School Funding Opportunities

Some Schools in Queen's may have studentships / bursaries available outside the centrally allocated awards.   Applicants should ensure that they check the relevant School website for details of available School funding.

North-South Postgraduate Scholarships

The aim of this scheme is to encourage outstanding students from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to cross the border to undertake postgraduate study and experience life in the other Irish jurisdiction. 

Each year, Universities Ireland offers four scholarships, each worth €15,000, to students who have been accepted to undertake a recognised Master’s Degree or are entering the first year of a PhD programme at a university in the island of Ireland that is not in the same jurisdiction as the university where they have previously studied.

Applications are now open for the 2017 North/South Postgraduate Scholarship competition. 

Closing Date:  Online application and accompanying essay must be received no later than 4pm on Thursday 4 May 2017.

Please visit Universities Ireland website for further details, application form and applicant guidance notes:

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

We expect that there will be a number of EPSRC funded research studentships available to support PhD training in research areas relevant to the EPSRC’s strategic priority research areas.   Details of research studentships (including EPSRC) will be advertised on School websites

The majority of Research Council-funded studentships are available from higher education institutions through schemes such as Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs).  

EPSRC research studentships funded by a Doctoral Training Partnership may cover maintenance and fees normally for three and a half years.

  • UK residents: fees plus maintenance. 
  • Other EU residents: fees only. 

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) refer to EPSRC Student Eligibility

EPSRC CDT Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage (PIADS)

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage (PIADS) is an exciting collaboration between Queen’s, The University of Glasgow and more than a dozen industrial partners, which offers unique four-year PhD training in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage, leading to a jointly awarded degree from Queen's University Belfast and the University of Glasgow. 

Designed and delivered in close collaboration with an impressive range of industrial partners, the CDT provides a cutting-edge and innovative research environment for doctoral students to develop the new technologies, products and systems required to address the expanding data storage needs of today’s fast moving digital world.  The programme aims to equip students with high-level and sophisticated technical training and skills alongside much sought after skills in distributed working, collaboration, entrepreneurship and business planning skills.  

For full details of the programme, the application process and studentships available please refer to the dedicated EPSRC CDT website at

Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on Cybersecurity and Society (LINCS)

The Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on Cybersecurity and Society (LINCS) at Queen’s University Belfast has been established to support pioneering research at the interface between the social sciences and electronic engineering & computer science. LINCS brings together the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) and the the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice to develop a distinctive cohort of doctoral students working across the boundaries of their disciplines who will open up new avenues of enquiry centred initially on the priority themes and specific PhD projects. 

For further details about the studentship competition, eligible themes and projects, and the application process please refer to the  Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice website or the the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) website.

The Higginson Leadership Award

The Higginson Leadership Award was founded by a gift in 1954 from Wing-Commander John S Higginson, MA, CBE, OBE, who lived at Ballyward Lodge near Castlewellan in Co Down.  Wing-Commander Higginson was an RAF veteran of the Second World War, whose post-war activities became increasingly philanthropic in nature, focusing in particular on improving services and facilities for the youth of Northern Ireland.   Wing-Commander Higginson died in November 2000, but the award has been re-launched by his nephew and heir Andrew Higginson OBE, who has assumed the role of Trustee.  Andrew Higginson is Director of Higginson Associates Ltd, London-based Consultants in Conflict Resolution, Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Assistance.

The purpose of the award is to encourage a sense of social responsibility and inspirational leadership among students and alumni of the University, and to support stand alone activities or ventures, rather than extending the students own studies or participation in projects already established by others, which will demonstrate initiative and the ability to inspire or act as a role model for others.  Preference will be given to projects or proposals involving developmental or humanitarian aid overseas, in a post-conflict environment.  

Applicants must either be enrolled Queen’s students or Queen's alumni at the time of application.  

Awards made are normally in the region of £300 - £1800.

Students who have received the Higginson Leadership Award in recent years have led teams on projects to build resource centres and help impoverished communities in Romania, Kenya, Bolivia, Thailand, Uganda and Mostar in many interesting and beneficial ways.

This award is normally advertised in January with a closing date in May.

Further details and application forms may be downloaded from the web or obtained by emailing a request to

Awards are subject to funding availability.

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

Each year, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) offers a limited number of postgraduate studentships.  These are for a period of research leading to a PhD qualification from a United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland university.  Funding is provided for full-time students only.

Further information will be advertised on the DAERA Website

Wellcome Trust and National Institutes of Health Four-year PhD Studentships

These PhD studentships are available to UK/European Economic Area (EEA) nationals.

These awards give postgraduate students from the UK/EEA the opportunity of four years of international collaborative biomedical PhD training, split between a UK/Republic of Ireland academic institution and the US National Institutes of Health campus at Bethesda, Maryland.

If you would like to apply for the competition, please visit the following site for more information:

Recruitment begins in the December, for uptake in the following October of each year.

If you have any queries, please email


Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Northern Ireland and North East Doctoral Training Partnership (NINE DTP)

Queen’s University is delighted to announce its new Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) for Social Sciences funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).   The new NINE DTP is an exciting collaboration with seven partner institutions - Queen’s University Belfast, University of Newcastle, Durham University, Ulster University, University of Northumbria, University of Sunderland and Teesside University. We are offering over fifty fully-funded studentships per year to outstanding postgraduate researchers in the social sciences.

The ESRC NINE DTP runs a single, combined annual studentship competition to recruit and select Postgraduate students of the very highest calibre.  NINE DTP operates an open competition for the awarding of studentships which is centred on the quality of candidates and their proposed research.

Types of studentship available include:

  • +3 years for students who have completed a masters
  • 1+3 years for students who have not yet completed a masters
  • +3.5 years for students who have completed a masters but lack the required core research methods training

Before you apply please ensure you read the applicant guidance notes.  The deadline for submitting an application and supporting documentation for NINE DTP's studentship competition for students wishing to start in October 2017 is 5pm on Monday 16 January 2017.

For full details of the studentship completion, including key contacts and application process, please refer to:

Details regarding other Queen's Doctoral Training Centres

Larmor University Studentships

These studentships were founded in 1943 under the will of Sir Joseph Larmor, FRS, for the purpose of augmenting the emoluments otherwise held by specially deserving students. They have since been supplemented from University funds and are therefore now called Larmor-University Awards.

To be eligible for consideration, candidates must meet the following criteria:

(i) have obtained, not more than three years previously, a good honours degree from any institution; and
(ii) hold another award from the University or from some other source; and
(iii) be enrolled or intend to enrol at Queen's as a full-time or part-time postgraduate students for research on an approved course.

The value of the award will depend on the funds available, but will be such that, when added to the other awards held, the total does not exceed the value of a government-financed postgraduate studentship covering maintenance and full tuition fees. In recent years the Larmor University studentships awarded have been in the region of £2,000 - £3,000.  Subject to funds, it is expected that the award will be in the range of £2,500 to £5,000 for 2017-18.

To apply: please complete the Larmor University Application Form

Closing Date for receipt of completed application forms, including the Head of School recommendation, has been extended to Wednesday 31 May 2017.

Candidates should submit their completed application to the Head of School in advance of the closing date to facilitate the completion of the recommendation section of the application form by 31 May.  

Completed application forms should be returned preferably by email to . Postal applications should be returned by the specified closing date to:

The Graduate School (Postgraduate Awards)
Queen's University Belfast
University Road
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland