Architecture (Practice-Based)School of Natural and Built Environment | PhD
Architecture at Queen’s addresses the issues of architecture and urbanism in an increasingly globalised world, where factors such as sustainability and climate change, identity and heritage, and notions of craft and form create a complex context that architecture has to mediate.
Architecture at Queen’s values both traditional academic and practice-based research. We have the expertise to support PhDs (full and part-time) involving deep investigations into cultural, historic and technological contexts both in Ireland and globally, and we offer a practice-based MPhil or PhD (both part-time) intended for those seeking to extend or redefine the boundaries and ambition of their current design practice. Our research-by-design activities surface new knowledge through not only the analysis of the existing, but also the documentation of new processes, behaviours and situations revealed through sophisticated design thinking. In both, architecture is seen both as a lens and as a measure of urban, suburban and rural landscapes.
Mode of study / duration
This programme is intended for those in design practice and who would remain in practice for the duration of the PhD while enrolled on part-time basis at Queen’s. Registration is on a part-time basis only, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of six years.
Architecture at Queens is in the Top 200 in the World QS Rankings. In the island of Ireland we are the leaders in Architectural research and indeed we have world-class expertise in Architectural Design, Sustainable Cities, Heritage, and Architectural Humanities. Head of Architecture, Dr Sarah Lappin, was Chair of the Architectural Humanities Research Association for six years, and we were co-founders of the All-Ireland Architecture Research Group. You’ll conduct research that addresses the issues of architecture within an increasingly globalised world, focusing on an area of research strength such as materiality (developing new technologies); urbanism (sustainability and heritage); sustainability (developing urban resilience by adaptation); heritage (documenting the architectural past), and cultural context (gaining a real-time understanding of motion in the city). We value both traditional academic and practice-based research, particularly research-by-design, which we use to make new knowledge through not only the analysis of the existing, but also the documentation of new processes and situations created by new design thinking.
Architecture (Practice-Based) Highlights
- Architecture has collaborations with numerous universities and other organisations around the globe. These include: TU Delft; MIT; Tokyo Metropolitan Government; Green Building Council, Australia; Innovate UK; Northern Ireland Climate Change; Belfast City Council Sustainable Development Group; Todd Architects, Belfast; and Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast.
World Class Facilities
- Architecture at Queen's boasts modern, state of the art design studios and review/exhibition spaces. In our brand new workshop, students can test ideas through laser cutting, model making and 3D printing.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- In the island of Ireland we are the leaders in Architectural research and indeed we have world-class expertise in Architectural Design, Sustainable Cities, Heritage, and Architectural Humanities.
- Working closely with their chosen supervisors, PhD students are also connected to the School of Natural and Built Environment’s research themes, benefitting from the cross-disciplinary context of research in the school.
As a Russell Group university and ranked in the UK top 10 (Guardian University Guide and Complete University Guides 2022), Queen’s is one of the best places in the UK to study architecture.
- In terms of research quality, Queen’s is ranked 12th in the UK for Architecture, Built Environment and Planning (REF 2021/Times Higher Education).
Visit our School website and read about the exciting research being undertaken by our current PhD students.
Architecture at Queen’s offers the opportunity to make an original contribution to the discipline of architecture through a PhD or MPhil within the department’s accomplished, academic environment. Each lecturer in architecture pursues a unique research interest so that as a whole, the school is a diverse and lively place to study.
Working closely with their chosen supervisors, PhD students are also connected to the School of Natural and Built Environment’s research clusters, benefitting from the cross-disciplinary context of research in the school. As part of the Russell Group, the university often hosts symposiums, seminars and conferences which connect researchers with renowned academics from across the globe.
Many of our PhD graduates have moved into academic and research roles in Higher Education while others go on to play leading roles in educational practice, the public sector or within NGO’s. Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability. 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 Michael McGarry
Natural & Built Environment
Learning OutcomesA research degree offers students an opportunity to foster their capacity for independent research and critical thought. It also allows students to explore an area of interest and so understand and solve theoretical and practical problems within the field.
Undertaking a research degree also enhances a student’s written and oral communication skills, and a PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic post.
A PhD is awarded for original research in a topic chosen by the student. This programme may be undertaken on a part-time (6 year) basis. To complete with a PhD qualification you will be required to submit a thesis of no more than 80,000 words. Research students are appointed a primary and secondary supervisor who will guide them through their research, supported by an independent panel reviewing students’ progress.
This independent research is complemented by postgraduate skills training organised by Queen’s Graduate School, and other internal and external training courses organised through your supervisor.
If you meet the Entry Requirements, the next step is to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. We only take students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from one of our academic staff. Therefore, your research question needs to engage with the research interests of one of our staff.
Please review the eligibility criteria on the webpages. If you believe that you meet these criteria then follow the steps below:
Select ONE potential supervisor from our list of Academic Staff (https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/NBE/OurPeople/AcademicandResearchStaff/) and send an email containing:
a brief CV (1-2 pages maximum)
a concise statement that you are interested in studying for an MPhil, stating when you would start, and how you would plan to fund the research
a brief statement of the research question or interest, and how you think the question could be investigated
Our academic staff welcome approaches from prospective students; staff can liaise with applicants to develop a research proposal of mutual interest. The potential supervisor should get back to you within a couple of weeks. They may invite you to meet with them or they may invite you to apply formally.
If you have difficulty identifying or contacting an appropriate supervisor, please contact Catherine Boone (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) who will be happy to help.
Assessment processes for the research degree differ from taught degrees. Students will be expected to present drafts of their work at regular intervals to their supervisor who will provide written and oral feedback; a formal assessment process takes place annually.
This Annual Progress Review requires students to present their work in writing and orally to a panel of academics from within the School. Successful completion of this process will allow students to register for the next academic year.
The final assessment of the doctoral degree is both oral and written. Students will submit their thesis to an internal and external examining team who will review the written thesis before inviting the student to orally defend their work at a Viva Voce.
Supervisors will offer feedback on draft work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.
Learning and Teaching
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 a minimum of 6.0 in Speaking and Listening and a minimum of 5.5 in Reading and Writing, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University, is required. *Taken within the last 2 yrs. 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.For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
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.
|Northern Ireland (NI) 1||£4,596|
|Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2||£4,596|
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1||£4,596|
|EU Other 3||£18,900|
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. The NI/ROI, GB and Isles fees relate to academic year 2022-23 and will be updated to 2023-24 rates once they have been confirmed. All fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
More information on postgraduate tuition fees.
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.
Some research programmes incur an additional annual charge on top of the tuition fees, often referred to as a bench fee. Bench fees are charged when a programme (or a specific project) incurs extra costs such as those involved with specialist laboratory or field work. If you are required to pay bench fees they will be detailed on your offer letter. If you have any questions about Bench Fees these should be raised with your School at the application stage. Please note that, if you are being funded you will need to ensure your sponsor is aware of and has agreed to fund these additional costs before accepting your place.
How do I fund my study?1.PhD Opportunities
Find PhD opportunities and funded studentships by subject area.2.Funded Doctoral Training Programmes
We offer numerous opportunities for funded doctoral study in a world-class research environment. Our centres and partnerships, aim to seek out and nurture outstanding postgraduate research students, and provide targeted training and skills development.3.PhD loans
The Government offers doctoral loans of up to £26,445 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes for English- or Welsh-resident UK and EU students.4.International Scholarships
Information on Postgraduate Research scholarships for international students.
Funding and Scholarships
The Funding & Scholarship Finder helps prospective and current students find funding to help cover costs towards a whole range of study related expenses.
How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on 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.