The Institute of Cognition and Culture (ICC) is one of the world's first centres for research in the cognitive science of culture. This is a burgeoning interdisciplinary field in which scholars seek to explain patterns of cultural stability and variation utilising theories and methods of the cognitive and evolutionary sciences.
We offer a unique programme of Doctoral research that is based on the recognition of a need to cross traditional disciplinary divisions in the scientific study of cultural phenomena. Our training in a wide range of research methods and theoretical approaches equips students for rigorous scientific investigation, enabling them to generate significant discoveries that are of relevance to potentially many diverse fields of academic scholarship on cognition and culture.
This is a burgeoning interdisciplinary field in which you’ll seek to explain cultural patterns using the cognitive and evolutionary sciences. We recognise the need to cross traditional disciplinary divisions in the scientific study of cultural phenomena, covering topics including religious beliefs and ritual actions, secularism and atheism, social cognition and agency.
Our world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision.
Our PhD at the Institute of Cognition and Culture (ICC) aims to create a new breed of scholars capable of (i) grasping the discoveries of multiple disciplines - in particular, those connected to the cognitive and evolutionary sciences, (ii) formulating and testing hypotheses through rigorous methodological means, (iii) applying these methods cross-culturally, often in collaboration with other researchers, and (iv) building a well-integrated body of knowledge on a specific topic. The students we seek for this endeavour should demonstrate great analytical skills, creativity and motivation, and a deep interest in the field of cognition and culture.
A flourishing programme of events, seminars, and research groups complements our postgraduate courses and doctoral supervision.
About the Programme
The PhD programme at the ICC runs for 3 years. In the first year of training, students prepare their research proposals in consultation with their supervisors and receive group training on a wide range of methods as well as individual orientation on issues specific to their project. This phase culminates with the assessment of the proposed research. If successful, the student ‘differentiates’ (i.e. advances to the status of PhD candidate). The second year comprises the research and data-collection component of the postgraduate training, where students systematically test the hypotheses defined in their proposals. This normally entails two phases. In the first, PhD candidates conduct a research study (or series of studies) within the laboratory facilities of the ICC. In the second, students apply their methodology to a distinct cultural context that is identified as being able to address and refine core features of the PhD candidate’s theoretical model. In the final year of postgraduate training, analysis of research findings is carried out in consultation with supervisors and other staff members, leading to the production of a thesis of up to 80,000 words.
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 three years of full-time registration for PhD, or two years for MPhil (or part-time equivalent).
The postgraduate community within the School is lively, energetic and diverse and, contribute enormously to the research culture of the school. It includes many of our own graduates, as well as graduates of British and Irish universities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, and UCD, and international institutions such as Princeton, Georgetown and Minzu University Beijing.
We are proud of the students who have graduated with their doctorates. Where possible we stay in touch so that the link and relationships remain long after a student has left the School.
You will be a member of a vibrant graduate community which hosts regular lectures, seminars and conferences and will be encouraged to present the results of your research at these events and more widely at international conferences and workshops.
Queen’s students also have the opportunity to attend rich variety of public lectures and research seminars available within the School and in other parts of the university. Postgraduates thus have the opportunity to become fully part of a programme of active research in an atmosphere of wide ranging intellectual interchange and enquiry.
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Religious beliefs and ritual actions
Secularism and atheism
Social cognition (moral psychology, intergroup conflict, etc.)
The production, development and investigation of scientific hypotheses in each of these domains of human culture are grounded in the body of knowledge emerging from the evolutionary and cognitive sciences.
For further information on career development opportunities at PhD level please contact the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Career Development Team on firstname.lastname@example.org / +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 Maruska Svasek
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, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 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: 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) £TBC England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £TBC Other (non-UK) EU £TBC International £16,950
Tuition fees for students from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and the EU have not been set for 2020-21. The tuition fees for 2019-20 was £4,327. This normally increases by inflation annually and will be set in January 2020. The international fee quoted above is for the academic year 2020-21.
Cognition and Culture 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