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Geography PhD Studentships 2019-20 

Available Funded PhD Opportunities

Inter-ethnic/religious mixing in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland

The School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen's University Belfast offers a three-year Department for the Economy (DfE) funded PhD studentship (starting September 2019). The researcher will be based in Geography at Queen’s University Belfast within the Culture and Society Research Cluster, under the supervision of Dr Gemma Catney (

This project will explore the dynamics of ethnic mixing in a ‘post-conflict’ society, traditionally divided along sectarian lines (Protestants and Catholics). Northern Ireland has a small but growing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population, and there is much to be learned about the extent and nature of mixing between established and emerging ethnic and religious groups. The specific focus of the project will be determined between the student and supervisor, but core issues to be considered include, for example: the diversity of social networks and how these have changed over time, the geographies of inter-group mixing and the factors which shape them, and the extent to which sectarian issues may interact with new forms of mixing. The research will explore place of residence as a major site of interaction, but also move beyond it, to think more broadly about the ways in which people from different backgrounds may have meaningful interactions.

There is some flexibility in how this project would be undertaken, but ideally you will be comfortable with adopting a mixed (quantitative and qualitative) methodology. To apply, candidates should send a short project proposal of around 500 words, along with their CV (which should outline academic qualifications and experience). The project proposal should provide: suggested research questions to be explored, brief context for the research questions in terms of the relevant literature, and an outline of the methodological approach(es) which could be adopted.

Candidates may be called to an interview based on a short PowerPoint presentation and questions and answers.  Applicants should have (or be expected to obtain) at least an undergraduate degree at 2.1 or higher in a Social Sciences discipline such as (Human) Geography, Sociology and Social Policy, or Economics.  A postgraduate qualification such as a Master's degree in an allied discipline is desirable. The closing date for applications is Monday 29 April 2019 at 4pm by email to Dr Gemma Catney ( The studentship will start in September 2019.

The successful candidate will be funded through a DfE studentship (including (2018-19 rate) a stipend of £14,777 and Home/EU fees). The candidate must have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years (with no restrictions). EU residents may be eligible for studentship covering fees-only.

For further details, or if you have any other enquiries, please email Gemma Catney:

Further details regarding eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) are available at the following link:


US-Ireland Studentship

UrbanARK: Assessment, Risk Management, & Knowledge for Coastal Flood Risk Management in Urban Areas

The School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s University Belfast currently offers a fully funded PhD position (3 years with the possibility of a 1 year post-doctoral extension) as part of the UrbanARK project.

The UrbanARK project is an international multi-disciplinary collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), University College Dublin (UCD) and New York University (NYU) funded under the US - Ireland Research & Development Programme.  The multinational project brings together leading researchers across the areas of geomatics, spatial data analysis, hydrology, computer science and risk communication to investigate innovative approaches for the collection and management of spatial data to refine flood risk assessments for urban coastal cities and to support immersive risk communication tools. 

The researcher will be based with the Centre for GIS and Geomatics and the Environmental Change & Resilience Research Group at QUB under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer McKinley and Dr. Ulrich Ofterdinger.  The researcher will focus on the acquisition and analysis of mobile LiDAR Scanning and other Remote Sensing data in the urban environment and support the integration of these data into numerical flood risk models and risk communication tools.  Research activities will include field-based activities in Belfast, Dublin and New York and data analysis in collaboration with collaborating research groups at UCD and NYU. 

Qualifications sought:

BSc/BEng 2(i) or higher and/or or an MSc/MEng; Geomatics, Geography, Geoscience, Environmental or Civil Engineering or related subject; must be numerate & familiar with IT; experience of Geographical Information Science (GIS) and digital data acquisition and analysis is advantageous

Interested candidates should contact Dr. Jennifer McKinley ( or Dr. Ulrich Ofterdinger ( for further details.



Bryden Centre Studentship:

Project title: Regional Geochemical Provenance of feedstock: Investigation of Geo-genic influence on Anaerobic Digestion

For further details contact: Dr Jennifer McKinley (

AHRC Northern Bridge studentships:

Suitably qualified applicants interested in applying with a project proposal orientated towards the humanities will be eligible for a Northern Bridge (AHRC) studentship. For further details of this competition, please visit the Northern Bridge website: Note that the deadline for applications is 5pm Wednesday 9 January 2019. For further inquiries about this funding opportunity, please contact Dr Diarmid Finnegan (

ESRC NINE DTP studentships:

Suitably qualified applicants interested in applying with a project proposal orientated towards the social sciences may be eligible for a NINE (ESRC DTP) studentship. Note that the deadline for applications is 4pm Friday 18 January 2019.


General Information on Postgraduate Research in Geography

The School warmly welcomes all enquiries regarding MPhil and PhD research in geography (physical and human); potential supervisors based in the School are listed below.

How to Apply

There are two possible routes to devising a suitable PhD / MPhil topic. The first is to construct a proposal in consultation with a potential supervisor based in the School; the second is to apply for an advertised staff-driven proposal. It is possible to apply for a place to study towards a PhD at any time. Part-time study is possible for self-funded students. We are delighted to receive applications from international/non-EEA students at any time. Deadlines for funding competitions relevant to UK/EU applicants vary.

To apply for any of the opportunities outlined above, please complete an application form on the Queen’s University Postgraduate Applications Portal.


Doctorates are awarded for the creation and interpretation of knowledge through original research. This requires the ability to conceptualise, design and implement projects for the generation of significant new knowledge and understanding. The programme runs for 3 year full-time or 6 years part-time.


An MPhil is like a PhD but is undertaken over a shorter period of time. Entry to the MPhil programme normally requires at least an upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The programme runs for 2 years full-time or 4 years part-time.


For a place to pursue PhD and MPhil postgraduate studies, we normally require an upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) as a minimum in geography or a related subject. Please note that there are differences between entrance requirements and requirements for funding, which are assessed separately. 

Eligibility for funding

There is a residency requirement (UK, EU) for most funding schemes. Funding for non-EEA students varies by country. For examples of international funding opportunities through Queen’s for 2019-20 please see here: Applicants who are non-EEA nationals must satisfy the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements for English language for visa purposes.

Potential Supervisors in Geography 

Dr Merav Amir

Dr Gemma Catney

Dr Oliver Dunnett

Dr Paul Ell

Dr Diarmid Finnegan

Dr Rory Flood

Prof. Nuala Johnson

Dr Satish Kumar

Prof. Keith Lilley

Prof. David Livingstone

Prof. Chris Lloyd

Dr Niall Majury

Dr William Megarry

Dr Jennifer McKinley

Dr Donal Mullan

Dr Andrew Newton

Dr Helen Roe

Dr Alastair Ruffell

Dr Ian Shuttleworth

Dr Tristan Sturm

Dr Patricia Warke