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Geography

School of Natural and Built Environment | PhD
Entry Year
Academic Year 2021/22
Entry Requirements
2.1

Overview

The research undertaken within Geography falls under two interdisciplinary Research Clusters; Environmental Change & Resilience (ECR) and Culture & Society (C&S).

Physical Geography-related projects focus on themes such as long-term landscape and environmental change, resilience of ecosystems, environmental change impacts on heritage structures, and analysis of contaminated lands. Investigative approaches include a range of geo-spatial technologies such as remote sensing, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), big data analysis and spatial and temporal modelling. Much of our research spans several disciplines, for example projects on the hydrogeology and restoration of bogs, climate change implications for resilience and stability of soil, geoforensics and coastal geomorphology. Funding opportunities to pursue these lines of research are available, including the doctoral training partnership, QUADRAT. Further details are available here: www.quadrat.ac.uk

The C&S cluster focuses on a number of themes, both historical and contemporary, which consider the relationships between human society, spatiality and culture. Two doctoral training partnerships provide relevant funding opportunities for research in these areas: NINE-DTP www.ninedtp.ac.uk and Northern Bridge Consortium www.northernbridge.ac.uk Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to make contact with potential supervisors during the autumn semester.

The four main research themes are:

The Geographies of Knowledge:
Research is focused on the geographies of knowledge, with particular emphasis on the cultures of science. The cluster has expertise on the relationships between science, race and religion since 1650; the historical geographies of scientific knowledge; the cultures of botanic gardens in the age of empire; the reception of Darwinism; the role of climate in debates about human cultures; the geopolitics of apocalyptic thought, and the ways in which cultures of science, technology and outer space are connected to questions of place, landscape and identity in the twentieth century.

Landscapes, Critical Cartography and GIS:
Research consists of quantitative spatial analyses of socio-economic data and qualitative cultural analyses of landscapes and cartographic knowledge from the medieval to the modern period. Critical cartographic/GIS techniques have been deployed to interrogate the veracity of the knowledge universe of the map, while digitally-translated documentary data have been used to re-configure our understanding of medieval urbanism and agrarian economies, as well as the spatial dynamics of religion and the politics of cartographic rhetoric.

Political Geography:
Research is focused on nationalism and regional conflict; critical geopolitics of religion; monumental landscapes and the politics of memory; international relations in a globalised world; colonial and postcolonial geographies of India; the processes of border making, geographies of embodiment and the securitisation of public spaces. This work has been carried out from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

The Population Dynamics of Contemporary Societies:
Research is focused on the population dynamics of contemporary societies and includes census analysis; research on travel to work; employability and labour markets; as well as social and religious segregation particularly in divided cities such as Belfast; the study of borders and external migration.

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 part-time equivalent).

Geography Highlights
Career Development
  • Geography at Queen’s has a long-standing record of inter-disciplinary approaches to understanding the relationship between humans and their natural and cultural environments. Our graduates are equipped with high levels of expertise relevant to some of the leading challenges faced by the world today.

    In addition to support from expert staff in Geography, the University’s flagship Graduate School provides postgraduate students with a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary hub to support their personal and professional development.

    QUB’s Researcher Plus scheme provides PhD students with an opportunity to develop skills which are transferable beyond their research degrees, and the Researcher Plus award provides them with official recognition for the skills acquired in addition to their research.
  • 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. 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.
World Class Facilities
  • Geography hosts three QUB research centres, the Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis, the Centre for Canadian Studies and the Centre for GIS and Geomatics. Strong links exist between physical geography and the QUB Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology (14C Chrono )and with the School of Biological Sciences. Human geography has significant and extensive links with the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics (HAPP) and a number of staff are Fellows of the University's Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

    The University's Core Technology Units (CTUs) provide researchers and graduate students with high-quality training in advanced laboratory techniques and access to state-of-the-art equipment. The Advanced Informatics unit helps us to maintain a comprehensive and systematic data management framework for our research data.

    The University’s McClay Library brings together wide-ranging library, computing and media services in a single location, blending the best features of a traditional library with the latest technology and provides state-of-the-art study facilities.
Key Facts

Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in relation to a wide range of research activities undertaken within Geography including a research seminar series and 'lunch and learn' feedback sessions.

  • Geography at Queens is in the Top 200 in the World QS Rankings (2020).
  • Access to the research infrastructure offered by the range of Research Centres and laboratory facilities based in the School and by the University’s Core Technology Units.
  • Access to the Queen’s University Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme.
  • Office accommodation with access to computing facilities and support to attend conferences for full-time PhD students.
  • Within the wider School and University there is:
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Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

Course content

Research Information

Associated Research
Both research clusters attract funding from a range of sources including; NERC, EPSRC, ESRC; AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, and JISC. The clusters have developed an international reputation in the themes identified in the overview as demonstrated by an impressive record of scholarly monographs and publishing agenda-setting articles that have informed and influenced research directions within the wider discipline of Geography. The cluster's research themes are carried out over a wide range of different geographical contexts and from the Medieval period to the present. Current research is focused on the UK, Ireland, Israel/Palestine, the Balkans, USA, Canada, Burma and India.
Strong connections exist with cognate disciplines in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and with the School of Biological Sciences. Several staff are involved in cross-faculty supervision of a number of PhD projects.
The cluster's research themes are carried out over a wide range of different geographical contexts and from the Medieval period to the present. Current research is focused on the UK, Ireland, Korea, Italy, Israel/Palestine, the Balkans, USA, Canada, Burma, and India.
Strong connections with cognate disciplines in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and is involved in cross-faculty supervision of a number of PhD projects.

Career Prospects

Introduction
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 Alastair Ruffell
Reader
Natural and Built Environment
a.ruffell@qub.ac.uk

Dr Andrew Newton
NERC Fellowship
Natural and Built Environment
A.Newton@qub.ac.uk

Dr Diarmid Finnegan
Head of Geography
Natural and Built Environment
https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/NBE/Research/find-a-phd-supervisor/dr-diarmid-finnegan.html

Dr Donal Mullan
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment
D.Mullan@qub.ac.uk

Dr Gemma Catney
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment
g.catney@qub.ac.uk

Dr Helen Roe
Reader
Natural and Built Environment
h.roe@qub.ac.uk

Dr Ian Shuttleworth
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment
I.Shuttleworth@qub.ac.uk

Dr M Satish Kumar
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment
s.kumar@qub.ac.uk

Dr Merav Amir
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment
m.amir@qub.ac.uk

Dr Oliver Dunnett
Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment
o.dunnett@qub.ac.uk

Dr Paul S Ell
Senior Research Fellow
Natural and Built Environment
Paul.Ell@qub.ac.uk

Dr Rory Flood
Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment
r.flood@qub.ac.uk

Dr Tristan Sturm
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment
T.Sturm@qub.ac.uk

Professor Christopher Lloyd
Professor
Natural and Built Environment
c.lloyd@qub.ac.uk

Professor David N Livingstone
Professor
Natural and Built Environment
D.Livingstone@qub.ac.uk

Professor Graeme Swindles
Professor of Physical Geography
Natural and Built Environment
https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/NBE/Research/find-a-phd-supervisor/professor-graeme-swindles.html

Professor Jennifer McKinley
Professor
Natural and Built Environment
j.mckinley@qub.ac.uk

Professor Keith Lilley
Director of Research, Culture & Society Cluster
Natural and Built Environment
https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/NBE/Research/find-a-phd-supervisor/professor-keith-d-lilley.html

Professor Nuala Johnson
Professor
Natural and Built Environment
n.johnson@qub.ac.uk

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 also enhances a student’s written and oral communication skills, and a PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic post.

Course structure

A PhD is awarded for original research in a topic chosen by the student. PhD studies may be undertaken on a full (3 years) or part-time (6 years) basis.

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 programmes of training, provided both by the School of Natural and Built Environment and by Queen’s Graduate School, which is housed in a beautiful converted building just minutes from the Geography Building.

Assessment

Assessment processes for a 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.

Feedback

Supervisors will offer feedback on draft work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.

Project name School Funding Subject Status Sort
QUADRAT DTP: Source-to-sink dynamics and palaeo-environment reconstruction from a dynamically evolving glacial foreland
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD Climatology and Climate Change, Geography, Geology, Geophysics, Environmental Science, Hydrology Dr Alastair Ruffell
Funding
Funded
Application deadline
22 January 2020
School of Natural and Built Environment Funded Geography Closed 2
QUADRAT DTP: PALLADIA: Paraíba do Sul Delta Sedimentary Dynamics
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD Agricultural Sciences, Climatology, Climate Change, Environmental Engineering Dr Rory Flood
Funding
Funded
Application deadline
22 January 2020
School of Natural and Built Environment Funded Geography Closed 2
QUADRAT DTP: Landscapes of Production: Exploring the Palaeaoenvironmental Context of Stone Tool Quarrying, Manufacture, Use and Deposition on Neolithic Shetland
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD Botany, Plant Science, Climatology, Climate Change, Ecology, Conservation, Environmental Science Dr William Megarry
Funding
Funded
Application deadline
22 January 2020
School of Natural and Built Environment Funded Geography Closed 2
QUADRAT DTP: The impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on cyanobacteria blooms in lakes
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD Climatology and Climate Change, Ecotoxicology and Pollution, Environmental Chemistry Dr Helen Roe
Funding
Funded
Application deadline
22 January 2020
School of Natural and Built Environment Funded Geography Closed 2
Placing Astronomy: Landscape, Space and Science at Armagh Observatory, 1790-1916
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD Dr Oliver Dunnett
Funding
Funded
Application deadline
13 January 2020
School of Natural and Built Environment Funded Geography Closed 2
Learning lessons on water demand management from water-scarce countries
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD geography, environmental engineering, development studies Dr Stephen McIlwaine
Funding
Funded
Application deadline
29 May 2020
School of Natural and Built Environment Funded Geography Closed 2
Plastics Recycling
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geography Dr Stephen McIlwaine
Funding
Funded
Application deadline
29 May 2020
School of Natural and Built Environment Funded Geography Open 2
Improving the environmental and social appraisal of infrastructure projects
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD Development Studies, Environmental Engineering, Geography Dr Stephen McIlwaine
Funding
Funded
Application deadline
29 May 2020
School of Natural and Built Environment Funded Geography Open 2

Entrance requirements

Graduate
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.

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 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.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) £TBC
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £TBC
Other (non-UK) EU £TBC
International £22,000

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Geography 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.

How do I fund my study?
1.PhD Opportunities

Find PhD opportunities and funded studentships by subject area.

2.Doctoral Training Centres at Queen's

Queen's has eight outstanding competitive Doctoral Training Centres, with each one providing funding for a number of PhD positions and most importantly a hub for carrying out world class research in key disciplines.

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, £10,000 for students in Scotland and up to £5,500 for Northern Ireland 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 go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply 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.