History is a dynamic and growing research area at Queen's, with recent appointments adding to our strengths in public history, the history of religion, modern Ireland, modern Britain, modern Europe, the United States and twentieth-century Europe. History has a number of collaborative research initiatives with the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's and with other universities in Ireland, the UK and abroad, including Boston College, Vanderbilt and George Washington University.
With Queen’s being part of the AHRC Northern Bridge collaboration (with Durham and Newcastle universities), there are opportunities for co-supervised doctoral work with staff at all three of these institutions.
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 in depth strength in the history of Irish religion, politics, gender relations, social history, and Ireland's relationships with Britain and the wider world, Irish-British relations, economic development and thought, political ideologies, and in the history of modern Ulster.
The Centre for Public History is a dynamic new development at Queen’s, one that involves historians with a variety of geographical and chronological interests. A number of history PhD candidates are engaged in public history related projects which involve internships and collaborations with bodies such as the BBC, Historic Royal Palaces and the Ulster Museum.
Other areas of particular research expertise include oral history, 20th-century British social, cultural, political and imperial history, the 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.
You will engage in ground-breaking research in a historical subject of your choice. Throughout your study you will be supervised by our internationally recognised scholars. We have experts in American, Ancient, Asian, British, European and Irish history. Their research
ranges chronologically from Ancient to Contemporary history and covers a wide selection of themes including political, religious, gender, social, economic, medical and colonial history.
A flourishing programme of events, seminars, and research groups complements our postgraduate courses and doctoral supervision.
Our world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. Learn more about our expertise and click here to find a Phd supervisor and explore research areas.
Resources For Research
The School boasts the following Research Centres:
Institute of Irish Studies – a pioneering centre for interdisciplinary Irish scholarship and teaching.
Institute of Cognition and Culture – one of the world’s first centres for research into cognition and culture.
Centre for Public History – a lively hub for people engaged in researching, teaching and practising public history.
Major research resources close at hand include the extensive collection of Irish manuscripts, books and pamphlets in the Queen's University Library's Special Collections. Our new state of the art McClay Library has extensive book and journal holdings, and also subscribes to many of the principal online resources for historical study, including ECCO, EEBO, HCPP and The Times and The Irish Times Digital Archives). The wide ranging collections of modern and older publications in Belfast's historic Linen Hall Library, the extensive manuscript holdings for Irish and British history of the newly enhanced Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), and other local depositories. The nearby Gamble Library holds specialist collections in religious history and theology. The collections of the Irish National Archives and National Library of Ireland in Dublin are within commuting distance.
About the Programme
The aim of the programme is to produce students who are fully-fledged independent researchers, and students are from the outset given encouragement to disseminate their work at seminars and conferences and by publishing in high-quality locations. 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.
The History postgraduate community is centred around our weekly research seminars, in which students present their own research in a programme and which has also included historians from the universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Georgia, Glasgow, Princeton, UCL, Trinity College Dublin, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Our postgraduate historians also present their work at conferences and seminars. Postgraduates within the School have published or had accepted for publication articles in Historical Journal, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Church History, Scottish History Review, Irish Historical Studies, Journal of American Studies, and History Ireland amongst other publications.
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. View our alumni here.
Many of our doctoral graduates secure postdoctoral fellowships and academic posts in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere in the world.
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.
The School boasts a number of regular research seminars. The Postgraduate Research Seminar, run by research students themselves, meets regularly throughout the academic year: speakers are drawn from our own postgraduate community and from other universities in Ireland and Britain. The Irish History Students’ Association, of which QUB is a founder member, holds an annual conference at which postgraduate students from across the island meet and read papers. Other regular seminar series are in religious studies, US history, Irish Studies, 18th-Century Studies, Medieval Studies and Postcolonial Studies. Queen's hosts regular meetings of the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies.
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, highlighted by our annual Wiles lecture series, delivered by a historian of global standing. Postgraduates thus have the opportunity to become fully part of a programme of active historical research in an atmosphere of wide ranging intellectual interchange and enquiry.
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History at Queen's works closely with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, one of the leading archival depositories in Ireland and Britain.
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.
Our other particular areas of historical expertise are in the United States (especially the Southern states since c1800), early-modern British intellectual and religious history, British espionage, the British Empire since c1800, British-Chinese relations and twentieth-century Britain and Europe.
History has a number of collaborative research initiatives with the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's and with other universities in Ireland, the UK and abroad, including Boston Collegeand Vanderbilt.
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.
The research profile produced by the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) graded 84 per cent of our research activity as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', confirming the School's reputation as an internationally-leading research centre and one of the top 20 UK history departments.
For further information on career development opportunities at PhD level please contact the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) Career Development Team on email@example.com / +44 28 9097 5175
AHSS Development Officers Cathy Wilson and Aileen Carson will be happy to provide further information on your research area career prospects.
Professor Christopher Marsh
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.
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.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
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There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
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.
Find PhD funding opportunities and studentships by subject area.
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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.
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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.
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Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships.
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
Queen's University Belfast is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
For more information please read our Equality and Diversity Policy.
Queen's University Belfast is registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC101788
VAT registration number: GB 254 7995 11