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Postgraduate Research

Arts Management and Cultural Policy

School of Arts, English and Languages | PhD
Entry Year
Academic Year 2024/25
Entry Requirements


You will be part of a growing doctoral research environment and will study alongside students from Northern Ireland and abroad. We supervise students undertaking research in:

• The design and delivery of cultural policy and the interpretation of these processes by arts managers and
policy makers
• The attachment of social policy areas to cultural policy
• The social processes of cultural production within institutional settings
• Access, participation and audience development in the arts
• Issues of equality and diversity
• Internationalisation and transnational exchange
• Reception of art and culture
• Institutional, historical and social frameworks for the making and displaying of art and heritage
• Impact of arts and cultural work

We are also interested in projects developed through interdisciplinary approaches and supervision teams:

• The management and governance of cultural sectors and institutions
• Sustainability and relevance of business models for arts management
• Evolving theories of cultural economy and cultural ecology
• The impact of new technologies on arts and cultural industries management and cultural policymaking

Subject Summary

The School welcomes applications for research, which are underpinned by empirical and/or theoretical methodologies. We are also interested in action-research and practice-based methods as well as those methods that are stakeholder engaged, inclusive and/or collaborative. We have a strong commitment to the development of interdisciplinary approaches that take account of culture, policy and management as historical and social processes

Arts Management and Cultural Policy Highlights

Global Opportunities
  • Brokering Intercultural Exchange is an Arts & Humanities Research Council Funded research network that brings international arts and cultural management practitioners together with educators, policymakers and researchers to explore the relationship of arts and cultural management to intercultural, transcultural and international exchange
Industry Links
  • Cultural Policy Observatory Ireland is an all-island research network based at Queen’s to further research and information exchange on cultural policy across the island of Ireland
Student Experience
  • Students are supported to publish their work as well as initiate and lead seminars with invited national and international researchers. By encouraging public engagement activities, we actively encourage students to realise the real-life impact of their research

Key Facts

Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities undertaken within the School and there are many resources available

  • Based in the School of Art, English & Languages, we have the advantage of the networks, research possibilities and professionals associated with the Brian Friel Theatre, Queen's Film Centre, Sonic Arts Research Centre and the Naughton Gallery
  • The PhD programme is deeply connected to the arts and cultural sector in Northern Ireland, the UK and Ireland and with global connections.
  • We are open to both theoretical and practice-based research projects

Course content

Career Prospects

We encourage applicants who are interested in further academic work or work within the arts and cultural or public policy sector. Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability

Employment after the Course
For further information on career development opportunities at PhD level please contact the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Career Development Team on / +44 28 9097 5175. Development Officers Cathy Wilson and Aileen Carson will be happy to provide further information on your research area career prospects

People teaching you

Dr Ali FitzGibbon
Senior Lecturer in Creative and Cultural Industries Management

Dr Kim-Marie Spence
Lecturer, Arts Management and Cultural Policy

Maria O'Brien
Lecturer, Arts Management and Cultural Policy

Learning Outcomes

A 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 can enhance a student’s written and oral communication skills and a PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic post

Course structure

Arts management and cultural policy is an interdisciplinary area of study. As such, there is no specific course content and no single approach to doctoral study. You are expected to take research training modules relevant to your area in this and other relevant Schools which focus on quantitative and qualitative research or humanities based methods. You are also expected to carry out your research under the guidance of your supervisor but the process is a self-guided independent study.

You will also be invited to take part in any research seminars associated with staff and other PhD students on the programme. Over the course of study you can attend postgraduate skills training organised by the Graduate School. Doctoral candidates studying in English as a Second Language are expected to avail of further training in aspects of academic writing and research.

You will normally register, in the first instance, as an 'undifferentiated PhD student' which means that you have satisfied staff that you are capable of undertaking a research degree. The decision as to whether you should undertake an MPhil or a PhD is delayed until you have completed 'differentiation'. Differentiation takes place about 9-12 months after registration for full time students and about 18-30 months for part time students: You are normally asked to submit work to a panel of up two academics and this is followed up with a formal meeting with the ‘Differentiation Panel’. The Panel then make a judgement about your capacity to continue with your study. Sometimes students are advised to revise their research objectives or to consider submitting their work for an MPhil qualification rather than a doctoral qualification. To complete with a doctoral qualification you will be required to submit a thesis of approx. 80,000 words and you will be required to attend a viva voce [oral examination] with an external and internal examiner to defend your thesis. A PhD Programme runs for 3-4 years full-time or 6-8 years part-time. Students can apply for a writing up year should it be required. The PhD is open to both full and part time candidates and is often a useful preparation for a career within academia or consultancy. Full time students are often attracted to research degree programmes because they offer an opportunity to pursue in some depth an area of academic interest. The part time research degree is an exciting option for professionals already working in the arts and cultural sector or policy area who are seeking to extend their knowledge on an issue of professional interest. Often part time candidates choose to research an area that is related to their professional responsibilities. 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. Your proposal to be considered for PhD study should show clearly how your project will align to the research interests and specialisms of BOTH our discipline here at QUB AND the staff member you think might be your supervisor.

Application Process:

Please review the eligibility criteria on the webpages. If you believe that you meet these criteria then contact Dr Ali FitzGibbon, Senior Lecturer in Creative and Cultural Industries Management at with the following information:

- a brief CV (1-2 pages maximum) detailing relevant study qualifications and employment experience

- a concise statement about your interest in studying for a PhD, stating why you wish to do this, when you would start, and how you would plan to fund the research. This and your submission (below) should make the alignment of your proposal to QUB’s interests in this field clear.

- a 3 - 4 page submission of your research question, its contribution to knowledge (discipline studies, the gap it addresses in existing research or knowledge), and how you think the question could be investigated. Please outline how this aligns to QUB’s interests and the relevant staff member who might supervise you. Please also include (as a table or bullet points) a short summary of how you would complete this project over 3 years/6 years if applying for part-time study.


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

This is a research degree

Research degree

No Opportunities Currently Available

Entrance requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. While a Master's degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) is not essential, it is desirable and applicants without this qualification will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

International Students

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, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University, is required. *Taken within the last two years

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:

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.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 TBC
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 TBC
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 TBC
EU Other 3 £20,500
International £20,500

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. All fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Arts Management and Cultural Policy costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

Additional course costs

All Students

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.

Bench fees

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.

Download Postgraduate Prospectus