HistorySchool of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics | PhD
History at Queen’s is the largest group of historians at any university on the island of Ireland. It is a dynamic research area, with strengths in ancient, medieval, early modern and modern periods, across a wide geographical area that includes Ireland, Britain, Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia. We specialise in oral history, gender and women’s history, urban history, public history, religious history political history, and the history of race. Proposals are welcome in any of these areas.
As a History PhD candidate, you will engage in original research in a historical subject of your choice, supervised by our internationally recognised scholars. With Queen’s being part of the AHRC Northern Bridge Consortium(with Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teeside and Ulster Universities), there are also opportunities for co-supervised doctoral work with staff at these institutions.
A flourishing programme of events, seminars, and research groups complements our postgraduate courses and doctoral supervision.
Queen’s is one of the premier research centres globally for the study of Irish history and boasts a large and active team of researchers in this field, with interests ranging from the middle ages to the twentieth century. We have particular strengths in Irish social history, politics, gender and religion, and Ireland's and Ulster’s relationships with Britain and the wider world.
The dynamic Centre for Public History involves historians with a variety of geographical and chronological interests. A number of current or recent history PhD candidates are engaged in public history related projects, which involve internships and collaborations with bodies such as the BBC, Belfast City Council, Historic Royal Palaces, the Public Research Office of Northern Ireland and National Museums NI.
Other areas of particular research expertise include oral history, 20th-century British social, cultural, political and imperial history, history of the U.S. South, gender history and religious history. There are also specialists in the history of Ancient Rome, Medieval England and Europe, Early Modern Britain and Europe, twentieth-century Europe, modern China, India, and South-East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Take a look at our History staff profiles for details.
The School boasts the following Research Centres:
- Institute of Irish Studies – a pioneering centre for interdisciplinary Irish scholarship and teaching.
- Centre for Public History – a lively hub for those engaged in researching, teaching and practising public history.
- The QUOTE hub at Queen's has members from across the University who are passionate about oral history and its potential for producing democratic and inclusive forms of history.
Major research resources are close at hand. This includes the extensive collection of Irish manuscripts, books and pamphlets in the Queen's University Library's Special Collections and our state-of-the art McClay Library with extensive book and journal holdings, and subscriptions to many of the principal online resources for historical study, including digital newspaper archives, Mass Observation Archive, ECCO, EEBO, and HCPP. Also nearby are wide-ranging collections in Belfast's historic Linen Hall Library, extensive manuscript holdings at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), and the Gamble Library’s specialist collections in religious history and theology. The National Archives of Ireland and National Library of Ireland in Dublin are within commuting distance.
About the Programme:
The aim of the programme is to produce independent researchers. From the outset, PhD candidates are encouraged to disseminate their work at seminars and conferences, and through publication or public engagement. The programme culminates in the submission of an 80,000-word dissertation that makes an original contribution to historical knowledge.
Mode of study/duration:
Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the School. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of three years of full-time registration for PhD.
We are proud of our 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. Our graduates have found success in a wide range of careers, including in archives and libraries, public history and heritage, education, journalism, marketing, and civil service.
The research environment within the School is lively, energetic and diverse. As a History PhD candidate, you will be a member of a vibrant graduate community and research culture that hosts regular lectures, seminars and conferences, and research-related training events. You will be encouraged to attend such events, present the results of your research at seminars and conferences, and to organise your own events.
The School boasts a number of regular research seminars. The History Postgraduate Research Seminar, run by research students, meets regularly throughout the academic year. The Irish History Students’ Association, of which QUB is a founder member, hosts an annual conference at which postgraduate students from across the island meet and deliver papers in a collegial environment.
Our prestigious annual Wiles lecture series, delivered across four days by a historian of global standing, is a particular highlight, alongside the Centre for Public History annual conference and the Keith Jeffery Memorial Lecture. Other regular seminar series are hosted in the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Classical and Medieval Cultures Forum, the Centre for the Americas, the Centre for Economic History, and the Religious Studies Forum. Queen's also hosts regular meetings of the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies.
I have enjoyed being a part of a vibrant and friendly community at Queen’s. There were plenty of opportunities to present and discuss my research in supportive settings and I now have a greater sense of how to communicate the relevance of my research to a variety of audiences, which will be beneficial when I enter the job market.
2nd year PhD candidate
There is a great deal of flexibility and opportunities that come with completing a History PhD. I was able to travel to cities across the United States for conferences and to conduct research in a wide range of institutions. The department is very encouraging towards its students, supporting a wide range of initiatives to expand your skills and research interests.
Dr Melissa Baird, 2023 Graduate
With the support of my excellent supervisors, I had the confidence to share my research at each stage of the PhD and was encouraged to attend international conferences in the US and Denmark. Through initiatives like the Postgraduate Seminar Series, the research culture in History is rich and stimulating, as well as sociable, allowing you to make friends and connections across PhD cohorts and within the wider department.
Dr Shannon Devlin, 2021 Graduate
The University's Special Collections also hold important archival and printed primary materials, especially for the history of Ireland, Great Britain and the British Empire, and China.
Significant deposits of modern American, Soviet and British military archival materials have recently been acquired.
We also host annual events including the Wiles Lectures on the history of civilisation and regular conferences on a range of historical themes. A weekly postgraduate seminar is run and organised by research students.
For further information on career development opportunities at PhD level please contact the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) Career development Team at email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: +44 28 9097 5175 AHSS Development Officer: Aileen Carson will be happy to provide further information on your research area career prospects.
1. Independent research on your PhD topic.
2. Regular feedback and guidance from your supervisory team, comprising at least two expert academic supervisors.
3. Feedback on your work every year from academic staff who are not part of your supervisory team.
3. Participation in History’s active research environment, which includes conferences, seminars, lectures, and other staff- or student-led events.
4. Opportunities to present aspects of your work locally, nationally or internationally.
5. Teaching opportunities.
6. Placement prospects, depending on your PhD funders.
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 of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics.
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.
|Northern Ireland (NI) 1||TBC|
|Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2||TBC|
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1||TBC|
|EU Other 3||£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.
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.
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
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.