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Postgraduate Research


School of Arts, English and Languages | PhD
Entry Year
Academic Year 2024/25
Entry Requirements


Spanish is part of the Modern Languages research cluster, which provides a vibrant environment for both disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship. Recognised as a centre of excellence for research into the languages, literatures, histories, linguistics, visual cultures, and cultural identities of Europe and beyond, the cluster is founded on a dynamic and forward-looking research ethos.

Research activity within Spanish covers a wide range of periods, themes and geographical locations, from the literature and culture of early modern Spain and colonial Latin America to post-colonial cinema, enlightenment and post-enlightenment history and literature, modern and contemporary Latin American studies and the visual arts. Our research is situated within an ideological framework which accommodates a balance of traditional and newer areas of investigation. The unit strongly supports an interdisciplinary research ethos and staff are actively involved in several cross- subject research groupings, reading and writing groups. The PhD programme promotes interdisciplinary and cross-regional collaboration in the training and supervision of graduate students.

For more information about the research interests of individual members of staff in Spanish, please see our staff profiles

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).

Subject Summary

You will have the opportunity to pursue an original research project working closely with your supervisory team. Staff at Queen’s have wide-ranging research interests and expertise and are able to provide supervision covering a wide range of periods, themes and geographical locations, from the literature and culture of early modern Spain and colonial Latin America to enlightenment and post-enlightenment history and literature, modern and contemporary Latin American studies including literature and the visual arts. We are happy to receive enquiries from prospective PhD students.

Spanish Highlights

Internationally Renowned Experts
  • This unique programme is delivered by leading international academic experts in fields including Golden Age Spain, Colonial and Contemporary Latin America, Spain during the Enlightenment, Portuguese-language cinema and Brazilian Digital Culture.
  • The Modern Languages Core Disciplinary Research Group won the Vice Chancellor’s Research Culture Prize in 2018 and we pride ourselves on being an inclusive and welcoming community of scholars.
  • In REF 2021 over 99% of Queen's research environment was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Key Facts

Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities undertaken including the regular research seminar series and annual research showcase.

  • The Modern Languages Core Disciplinary Research Group won the Vice Chancellor’s Research Culture Prize in 2018.
  • Queen’s was ranked 5th in the UK for Iberian Languages in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Student Testimonials

Course content

Research Information

Associated Research

Golden Age poetry and drama
Latin American studies
Nineteenth-century Spanish literature and culture
We also have a strong record in supervising comparative and interdisciplinary theses across the different languages and disciplines represented in the School of Arts, English and Languages and with other Schools in the University.

Career Prospects


People teaching you

Dr Anne Holloway
Senior Lecturer

Dr Fiona Clark
Senior Lecturer

Dr Gabriel Sánchez Espinosa

Dr Geraldine Lawless
Senior Lecturer

Dr Maria Tavares
Senior Lecturer

Dr Ricki O'Rawe
Senior Lecturer

Dr Sarah Bowskill
Senior Lecturer and Subject Lead Spanish and Portuguese

Dr Tori Holmes
Senior Lecturer

Professor Isabel Torres

Learning Outcomes

A research degree offers students an opportunity to pursue an original area of research. It allows them to foster their capacity for independent research and critical thought. Undertaking a research degree can enhance a student’s written and oral communication skills as well as their linguistic skills in Spanish and a PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic post.

Those with a postgraduate qualification can earn up to 26% more, compared to those with an Undergraduate degree only (Department for Economy for Northern Ireland, 2021). (

Course structure

You will carry out your research under the guidance of your supervisor. You will also have access to a range of training opportunities via the Graduate School and be part of the Modern Languages Core Disciplinary Research Group.

At the end of your first year, usually 9-12 months after registration for full time students and about 18-30 months for part time students, you will undergo Differentiation. This is to ensure that you are progressing and working well with your supervisory team. You are normally asked to submit work to a panel of up two academics and this is followed up with a meeting with the ‘Differentiation Panel’. This acts as excellent preparation for the viva voce examination at the end of the programme. The Panel then make a judgement about your capacity to continue with your study. Sometimes students are advised to revise their research objectives or to consider submitting their work for an MPhil qualification rather than a doctoral qualification.

To complete with a doctoral qualification you will be required to submit a thesis of approx 80,000 words and you will be required to attend a viva voce [oral examination] with an external and internal examiner to defend your thesis.

A PhD programme runs for 3-4 years full-time or 6-8 years part-time. Students can apply for a writing up year should it be required.

If you are interested in studying for a PhD with us then please do get in touch so that we can match your interests with those of a suitable supervisor. Our academic staff welcome approaches from prospective students; staff can liaise with applicants to develop a research proposal of mutual interest.

To find out more about our staff see:

If you have difficulty identifying or contacting an appropriate supervisor, please contact Dr Gabriel Sánchez Espinosa ( who will be happy to help.

We only take students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from one of our academic staff.

Learning and Teaching

This is a research degree.


Entrance requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. While a Master’s degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) is not essential, it is desirable and applicants without this qualification will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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 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:

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.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 TBC
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 TBC
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 TBC
EU Other 3 £20,500
International £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.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Spanish 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.

Bench fees

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

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal 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.

Download Postgraduate Prospectus