The research undertaken within Archaeology & Palaeoecology largely falls under two interdisciplinary Research Clusters; Environmental Change & Resilience (ECR) for more environmentally-related projects, and Culture & Society (C&S) for more humanities-related archaeology projects.
Projects involving palaeoecology or scientific archaeology focus on themes such as long-term changes and resilience in ecosystems, humans, environments and climate, using approaches such as pollen analysis, tephra dating, dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating. Much of our research spans several disciplines – for example projects on the hydrogeology and restoration of bogs.
Research in the C&S cluster explores the material manifestations of culture through time and space. We combine innovative scientific methods with theoretically-informed analyses to understand past human experience, bringing together the humanities and the sciences.
The combination of environmental archaeology, and especially bio-archaeology, with more traditional approaches to the past, helps to differentiate Queen's from most other Archaeology departments and is seen as both a strength and stimulus to future developments. Thematically, we have identified eight areas of particular specialist interest and especially welcome applications from potential PhD students interested in these areas:
Development of agriculture and the cultural landscape in Europe, Eurasia and its associated economic, chronological and environmental backdrop
Organisation of domestic and ritual space (including landscapes) from prehistory through the post-medieval period in the North Atlantic region
Populations and palaeodiet from Ireland to Eurasia
Refinement of chronologies from selected regions of the world, using the facilities of the 14CHRONO labs
Religion, society and material culture in the central and western Mediterranean
Settlement and economy of medieval and post-medieval Ireland; connections with the New World
Social and bio-archaeological approaches to death, involving the study of mortuary data from Ireland across Eurasia
The causes, timing and impacts of past climate change
Mode of study / duration
Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of two years for an MPhil (or part-time equivalent).
Archaeology & Palaeoecology highlights
- Long-standing record of inter-disciplinary approaches to understanding the relationship between past humans and their environment.
World Class Facilities
- World-leading centre in multiple dating techniques that help us understand past societal and environmental issues.
Members of the C&S and ECR research clusters work closely to develop research that takes into consideration both the social and environmental context of human society (see also Geography and Palaeoecology: Environmental Change). Integrated within C&S is the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork, a financially self-supporting excavation unit with an exceptional record of publication and a high media profile, reflecting a strong commitment to community engagement.
The cluster undertakes research in Ireland, Great Britain and abroad, in particular, the Mediterranean region, territories of the former Soviet Union, the North Atlantic, west Africa and North America, where both staff and research students undertake collaborative projects.
Being based in the recently built 14CHRONO Centre has expanded our research facilities and allowed us to extend our research agenda.
Facilities include an AMS 14C dating facility, an NEC accelerator mass spectrometer, cold storage for biological materials, drawing office, laboratories for post-excavation, human bone analysis, palynology, plant, snail and insect macrofossils, dendrochronology and animal bone analysis.
Students maintain their own research seminar series and attend the fortnightly seminars of the Archaeology and Palaeoecology research clusters, which routinely bring outstanding scholars from abroad as well as Great Britain and Ireland.
Current postgraduates come from Ireland, Great Britain, the USA, France, and the Netherlands.
For further information on career opportunities at PhD level please contact the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Student Recruitment Team on askEPS@qub.ac.uk.
Our advisors - in consultation with the School - will be happy to provide further information on your research area, possible career prospects and your research application.
People teaching you
Dr Maarten Blaauw
Senior Lecturer, Coordinator of Postgraduate Research
Natural & Built Environment
The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component (*taken within the last 2 years) is required.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) Not set England, Scotland or Wales (GB) Not set Other (non-UK) EU Not set International £20,300
Archaeology & Palaeoecology costs
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.
How do I fund my study?PhD Funded Opportunities
Find PhD funding opportunities and studentships by subject area.Doctoral Training Centres at Queen's
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Queen's has seven outstanding competitive Doctoral Training Centres, with each one providing funding for a number of PhD positions and more importantly a hub for carrying out world class research in key disciplines.New UK PhD loans
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The UK Government will introduce new doctoral loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes from 2019. Loans will be offered to English-resident students to study all types of doctorate at universities across the UK.International Scholarships
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Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships.
How to Apply
Find a supervisor
If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.
To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.
You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.
Fees and Funding