This research cluster focuses on a number of themes, both historical and contemporary, which consider the relationships between human society, spatiality and culture. The four main 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, the spaces in which financial knowledge is produced; 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, and the use of camouflage techniques as sources of political resistance. 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 two years for MPhil (or part-time equivalent).



Programme Details

Research information

Associated Research
The cluster attracts research funding from, among others, ESRC; AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, and JISC. The cluster has developed an international reputation in the themes identified above as demonstrated by an impressive record of producing scholarly monographs and writing agenda-setting articles that have influenced the research directions of the wider discipline.
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


People teaching you

Dr Nuala Johnson

Email: n.johnson@qub.ac.uk

Entry Requirements

Entrance requirements

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.

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

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) Not set
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) Not set
Other (non-UK) EU Not set
International £19,700

These are due December 2017 

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?

PhD Funded Opportunities

Find PhD funding opportunities and studentships by subject area.
Find out more >

Doctoral Training Centres at Queen's

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.
Find out more >

New UK PhD loans

The UK Government will introduce new doctoral loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes from 2018. Loans will be offered to English-resident students to study all types of doctorate at universities across the UK.
Find out more >

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.

* information shown is for 2017-18 and should be used as a guide until 2018-19 scholarships are confirmed.

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.

Speak to your 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. If you have your own research idea, contact the relevant School www.qub.ac.uk/about/Leadership-and-structure/Faculties-and-Schools to discuss it with us. If you are unsure of who to contact, email our Faculty Hubs www.qub.ac.uk/about/Leadership-and-structure/Faculties-and-Schools for guidance. You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.

Download a prospectus


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