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AHSS Summer Schools 2025

Our 2025 Summer School offers international students a three-week introduction to the rich tapestry of historical, cultural, political, environmental, and socio-economic factors that combine to make Northern Ireland a unique place. This experiential programme will situate Queen’s, Belfast, and the north of Ireland within the key conversations that shape our wider world.

Not simply academic in scope, Queen’s 25 provides insights into the histories, locations, and future visions of Belfast and this part of Ireland by engaging with local people and visiting a range of political, historical and cultural sites. You will learn about our city and explore this country alongside peers from other international universities, drawn from across the world.

Week 1 comprises core content and is taken by all students on the summer programme; after this introduction, you design your own summer school experience from our offering of two-week thematic strands.

Week 2 & 3: Build your own Summer School experience, choosing from a range of unique 2 week programmes: 

  • Story
  • Irish Studies
  • Identity and Intergroup Relations in Divided Societies
  • Leadership 
  • Sustainability

Programmes for 2025 subject to change


Monday 16th - Friday 20th June 2025

Belfast: Culture, Identity, History, and Politics
Academic Lead: Professor Dominic Bryan

Week 1 will explore the entwined social, political, and historical realities of the city today, discovering multiple community perspectives on modern Ireland/Northern Ireland. By the end of this week students will understand the multiple ways we can use and interpret the past and differentiate between various discipline-centered conceptions of the past. We will provide students with a new or enhanced understanding of Queen’s University Belfast and the history of the institution within the Belfast city region. Students will be guided through a campus orientation and meet with the key members of staff and students delivering the summer 2025 programme. Students will be oriented to the city of Belfast and visit Derry-Londonderry. 


WEEKS 2 & 3

Monday 23rd June- Friday 4th July 2025

In weeks two and three, participants will have the opportunity to dig deeper into the theme of their choice, both within and beyond the classroom. Through projects, in-class sessions and engagement with local communities, political decision makers, businesses and non-Governmental organisations, participants will explore multiple perspectives on conflict, peace and extremism, contemporary Irish studies, Northern Irish leadership initiatives, or take the opportunity to explore their own creative and storytelling abilities.

Programmes for 2025 subject to change


Full details of 2025 programmes are to be confirmed. As an example, programme details from previous years are below. 

Topic Summary

This topic capitalises on Northern Ireland’s long-established culture of storytelling and creative composition and the many significant, diverse contributions made by our artists and practitioners to local, national and international creative industries. It comprises of different strands of composition, narrative creation, and the formulation of stories across a range of media (e.g., music, sound production, writing, performance).


(i) 'Immersive Audio Production' – introduces participants to a range of recording and mixing workflows for creation of audio content in immersive audio formats. Teaching will take place in the Sonic Laboratory - a unique concert hall featuring a 56 channel loudspeaker array designed specifically for 'immersive' audio projection. Topics covered will include spatial soundscape recording, ambisonic encoding and decoding, surround sound music mixing, surround sound audio post production, and Dolby Atmos immersive audio presentation. Delivery methods will include lectures, workshops and Sonic Lab listening sessions to critique commercial music and film mixes and participant work-in-progress. Participants will gain practical experience of recording, editing and mixing soundscapes, speech and music for immersive audio presentation. The strand will conclude with Sonic Lab performances of the work created throughout the summer school. 

(ii) ’Writing’ – offers participants the opportunity to work on a piece of their own prose writing across the two weeks, introducing students to the skills required in terms of craft, technique, editing, and rewriting. Whether you are new to the processes of writing or plan to work on an already existing piece of your own composition, you will form part of a supportive and engaged writing workshop (maximum size 12-14 per workshop) led by experienced members of the Seamus Heaney Centre teaching team. Across the two weeks you will produce a number of 200-300-word pieces of writing that will be workshopped by your peers, so your openness to receiving feedback and your readiness to redrafting your work in light of it will be a key aspect of the learning process. You may also opt to work with students on either the Immersive Audio or the 3D Real Time Interactive Design strands to produce an individual recording or a hybrid collaborative version of your work as part of the closing performance event for the summer school. 

(iii) ‘3D Real Time Interactive Design’ – delivered by Queen’s MediaLab, this strand combines creative and engineering expertise in the development of digital, virtual and immersive  technologies. In the first week, our Technical Workshop will equip you with the techniques needed for generating 3D interactive settings, while in the second week, you will take the techniques learned from week one and work on your own project ideas. Collaborating with students on the other strands within Story is also an option for you as you work on a final output as part of your experiential learning here at Queen’s. 

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Identify a creative field and topic, and formulate the appropriate mode for its realisation

  • Produce a piece of creative content, whether in digital, musical, visual or written form

  • Work independently or as part of a production team in the completion of your creative project

  • Demonstrate self-editing skills whether on an independent or on a team creative project

  • Identify primary and secondary sources where appropriate

  • Undertake independent library-based research where appropriate


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Topic Summary

The Irish Studies programme takes a deeper dive into understanding identities in Ireland and their relationship with the wider world through explorations of the country’s history, culture and language, with particular reference to the acute divisions over identity in the north. It looks at the origins and structural legacies of colonialism and religious change in shaping Ulster’s conflicting ‘ethno-religious’ communities, but also at how the relationships between these have changed, sometimes in surprising ways, over time.


The region’s history is placed in the wider contexts of Irish economic development, famine, gender relations, mass emigration and the rise of an overseas diaspora, alongside the specific forms of nationalism and unionism. The causes and consequences of the partition of Ireland will be followed through to the experience of the Troubles of 1969-97 and their aftermaths, and how the ‘difficult’ past of Ireland is remembered and represented today. A visit to the Ulster-American Folk Park will focus on how migration has and continues to mould Irish society and identity.  

In week two we will focus on the cultural expressions of Irish identity, looking first at the decline and revival of the Irish language. We will discuss the contribution to Irish culture and identities of some of the country’s leading writers from the 18th century to the present, and look particularly at how contemporary Northern Ireland has been represented on screen and stage, in poetry and in novels. The week includes a field trip to Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney’s ‘Homeplace’ at Bellaghy and a plantation ‘big house’. 

Intended Learning Outcome

  • Develop a more rounded understanding of the culture and history of the north of Ireland, and its relations with the rest of the island and overseas
  • Identify and analyse primary and secondary sources and texts where appropriate
  • Undertake independent library-based research where appropriate
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Topic Summary

This two-week module will bring together inter-disciplinary perspectives on the causes and consequences of division and conflict, and the processes that can be used to promote social cohesion. Students will have the opportunity to engage with representatives from key governmental, NGO, and community groups in Northern Ireland to discuss how the experiences from here might be applied to other contexts experiencing social division and polarization. 


Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Understand how identity can be both a cause and consequence of conflict
  • Examine processes that can contribute to social division and polarization
  • Explore identity-based interventions designed to enhance social cohesion
  • Assess how experiences from a divided society like Northern Ireland can be applied to other contexts
  • Gain an understanding of the legacies of conflict and political division
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Topic Summary

The news is replete with stories about how poor or ineffective leaders have contributed to, or failed to resolve, a plethora of organisational and societal challenges. And yet, we rarely take the time to consider what types of leaders, and leadership styles, approaches and techniques might work ‘best’ in specific situations, and where and how we can maximise the potential of leadership for the greater good.  

This course will allow us to explore and critique a range of leadership theories and practices to uncover how leaders can influence others, both directly and indirectly, to create change.  The impact of culture, power and control, and group dynamics on leaders’ effectiveness will be discussed. 

Following from the maxim that before you lead others you need to know how to lead yourself, specific sessions throughout the programme will allow you to discover your own leadership styles and approaches and explore how you might demonstrate leadership in a range of different scenarios. 

The course is very interactive in nature and will draw on a mixture of short lecture sessions, problem-solving and case-based workshops, guest speakers, and site visits.  Several senior leaders from across the public, private and third sectors in N. Ireland will offer their insights into their leadership journeys and the challenges and opportunities they encountered along the way. There will also be opportunities for you to discuss how you might have addressed some of the situations that these leaders encountered. 

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the evolution of leadership theory and practice. 
  • Examine the relationships between leaders and leadership, culture, and power and influence. 
  • Explore the role of leaders and leadership in driving individual, group, organisational and societal change. 
  • Develop a clear understanding of your own leadership styles and capabilities. 
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Topic Summary

This two-week module will take you on an inter-disciplinary journey to better understand multiple aspects of sustaining life on Earth. You will have the opportunity to engage with leading academics to discuss topics spanning the smallest atom to the largest universe and how these impact on human culture and our future.  Experts with specialised knowledge of sustainability from multiple perspectives including climate science; impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; technological and nature-based mitigation; and the connections between people and planet will guide you on your journey.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Gain an enhanced understanding of the working of the universe and our solar system.
  • Discuss how our atomic level understanding of materials has, and will continue to, impact human development.
  • Explore key aspects of climate change, how we will adapt and its mitigation.
  • Gain an increased knowledge of the key characteristics of culture and society and how it adapts to change.
  • Explore specific technologies which are being developed to provide society with clean energy and understand their interaction with nature.
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Bellaghy Bawn Irish Studies Summer School 2017
Fees & Discounts
Summer School Fee 2025: £2,995


  • All tuition fees 
  • Ensuite accommodation 
  • Welcome and farewell meals 
  • Field trips 

£300 deposit is required within 2 weeks of accepting your offer to secure your place. 

***Does not apply to group bookings***


Early-bird discount: Secure your place by 31 January 2025 to receive a 10% discount (applies to individual direct applicants only)

Group bookings: Get in touch with our team at to discuss our offer of 10% discount for groups of 10 or more participants

The path leading to the McClay Library
Summer School Entry Requirements
Entry Requirements for 2025


  • Must have completed a minimum of 1 year of University/College study prior to summer school
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 2.7 or above 
  • Must have a reference or referral contact from global education/study abroad office or professor 
  • International students wishing to apply for Summer School must be competent in written and spoken English in order to benefit fully from their chosen Summer School programme

Applications open November 2024

Visa Information
Find out more about visa requirements

Please read our Study Abroad guidance pages for visa information and requirements.

Students should begin to prepare as early as possible before they are required to begin their studies. This should allow them sufficient time to have everything in order for their arrival at Queen’s.

If you are an international student, you will receive a Visa support letter from the International Summer School on payment of fee in full. 

If you have any further queries, please contact the International Summer School co-ordinator at Please let us know that you will be attending the three-week International Summer School and provide information on how we can help you. 

Student room
Take a look at our accommodation

If you select the accommodation option, your accommodation will be provided for 20 nights in Elms BT9, a purpose-built student village, offering a range of modern, comfortable and secure accommodation just 15 minutes' walk from Queen’s campus

The village includes the Treehouse, which is the main social space for all students living with us and includes the coffee bar, snooker & pool tables, table tennis, TV lounge with 2 x 85 inch TV screens with BT Sports, games & karaoke room, 2 bookable kitchen spaces, outdoor BBQ area, computers and high-speed internet.

You will have your own ensuite bedroom, and share a kitchen and communal living area with 9 or 10 other summer school participants. There is also a self-service laundry facility located within the accommodation (equipped with washing machines, dryers, irons and ironing boards).

If you select the accommodation option, your booking will include:

- 20 nights at Queen’s student accommodation
- Private room
- Private ensuite bathroom
- Utility bills
- WiFi Internet
- Bed linen and towels
- Communal kitchen and common room with a TV and kitchen equipment
- 24-hour safety staff
- Reception (8am - 8pm, 7 days a week)

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Support Services
Additional Student Support

Queen's is committed to equality of opportunity for all students and will, therefore, strive to facilitate students with disabilities as an integral part of the Queen's community.

Support is provided to students with a wide range of needs. Support available varies and will be tailored to meet your individual requirements.

More information can be found on our Disability Services page, or if you would like to talk to us regarding any additional support please email

Students Free Derry Wall Summer School 2017
Individual Applications

Please ensure you read our Terms & Conditions prior to application. 

The Terms & Conditions contain important information relating to:

  • Cancellations and refunds
  • Data protection
  • Student Charter

You can also click HERE for QUB's general regulations including core values and student charter.



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