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Postgraduate research at Queen's

Postgraduate Research degree types

The following section details the various types of Postgraduate research degrees currently available at Queen's University Belfast


Queen’s is proud to be one of the UK’s leading research universities, offering postgraduate research opportunities across all fields of study. A research degree offers you the opportunity to gain in-depth, specialised knowledge in an original research project, guided by a supervisory team, which culminates in the presentation of a thesis which you defend in an oral examination.

During your studies you will also develop research, personal and professional development skills that will support future careers within academia, industry or the public sector.


You will produce a traditional thesis, or, in the case of creative practice projects, your original creative works and an integrated critical analysis. If you are on an Integrated PhD pathway you normally commence your programme with taught modules and research topic options before completing the supervised research project.

For Admission, an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or Republic of Ireland Higher Education Provider or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is normally required. Specific entrance criteria by programme are detailed in the online Course Finder. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of three years of full-time registration for PhD, two years for MPhil/MD and one year for MCh (or part-time equivalent).

PhD by Published Works

This is awarded for the successful submission of a portfolio of research that was published prior to you registering on the programme, along with a critical analysis and a critical appraisal. You must be an academic member of staff at Queen’s, and have been so for a minimum of one year.

Registration is normally on a part-time basis, under the direction of an adviser appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your published works, with a 10,000-word critical analysis, within one year



These are specialist qualifications that combine taught postgraduate modules with independent research projects located within a profession or practice placement. They can provide entry to a profession, giving you a licence to practise in a reassuch as psychology; or if you’re already an experienced professional, to develop skills in research in areas such as education.

Higher Doctorates

These are awarded to staff who have an authoritative standing in their field of study, and seminal publications which have led to extensions or the development of knowledge by others. In order to apply for this programme, you must have a significant link to the University, normally by being a graduate or a current academic member of staff. You will usually have a minimum of 10 years’ research experience at a postdoctoral level.



The development of transferable skills is an integral part of the experience of being a postgraduate research student. The Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme (PRDP) offers you a choice of training courses and development activities aimed at providing you with the skills to complete your higher degree and enhance your employability.

The funding bodies for postgraduates consider the developmentof these skills as an essential part of training for careers both in academic and non-academic work environments. The courses offered in the Development Programme supplement those provided by Schools and are available, free of charge, toall research students. Funding is available for student-ledinitiatives.

These are training-related activities developed and delivered by research students for research students. These initiatives can involve organising a conference, research seminar or some other research event. To date these initiatives have proven to be very effective in encouraging students to identify their skills requirements and develop their own training.

For further information on the Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme, please click here



You may be permitted to carry out some of your research away from Queen’s. You will need to satisfy the University that youwill maintain appropriate contact with your supervisor, and have access to appropriate facilities, during any periods spent away,and you may be required to spend a specified period of time in residence at the University. You will be subject to the University’s normal training and monitoring requirements.

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Postgraduate research