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Postgraduate Research (PHD AND MPHIL)

The School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics welcomes enquiries from students who wish to continue their studies in these subjects with a view to obtaining a higher degree. A graduate may pursue research, on a full-time or part-time basis, and submit a thesis for the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Our School has more postgraduate research students than any other Humanities or Social Sciences subject at Queen's. In recent years many new members of staff have been appointed, substantially increasing the range of research supervision available within the School. All members of staff are qualified to supervise research students. Currently, there are research students dealing with topics on Irish and British history and politics, international relations, European integration, gender, political theory and popular culture, electoral systems and parties, comparative ethnic conflict, the Middle East, and many other areas.

A friendly and supportive atmosphere exists among the postgraduates in the School. Each student is given a primary and a secondary supervisor and is encouraged to consult the members of staff working in his/her area of research. Every year the School runs a series of public lectures with many prominent speakers from academia and practical politics. There also exists a lively postgraduate research seminar series.

The Graduate School

All Postgraduate students will benefit from access to the newly open Graduate School. The Graduate School offers a unique facility for postgraduate students, providing a range of support  ‌servicesincluding training, learning workshops and events to maximise the postgraduate experience here at Queen's. The Graduate School aims to support postgraduates in the development of transferable skills to assist in the succesful completion of their studies and also for use in their future careers. Visit the Graduate School website

Scholarship Opportunities

Further Information


The school has expertise in a number of areas including Governance and Public Policy, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Contemporary Irish History, Political Theory and Philosophy. You are STRONGLY encouraged to familiarize yourself with staff members working in your area of interest in advance of submitting a proposal. Access to the research interests and supervisory areas of the School’s members of staff can be accessed here.


  • A RESEARCH PROPOSALThe School requires a high quality, viable and original research proposal that will be submitted with the application form. Please note that this is a particularly important part of your application, and will decisively influence the decision about your admission.  If you have consulted with any members of staff within the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, please mention this in your proposal outline as well. The research proposal will be assessed by independent subject-specialists within the School who will comment not only on its quality and originality, but also on the scope of the project and its potential to be completed within the relevant time limit for full-time or part-time students respectively. The research proposal should be 1500 - 2000 words (not including the bibliography) and it should address the following:
    • Research Question: Include a clear statement about your topic and why it is important to study. Different ways to phrase this statement include a research question, a hypothesis to be proven / disproven, a proposition, a problem to be solved, or a research puzzle. Whatever approach you take, you must be absolutely clear about your topic and research area.
    • Research Context & Justification: Include a clear justification as to why this topic is important to study in the general areas of Politics, International Studies or Philosophy, or alongside any interdisciplinary areas your topic covers. This will include a discussion of the research context of your topic, and a statement about one or more of the following: why you think the research is worth doing, what difference you think your research will make, what ‘added value’ your project will bring, and/or why this research excites you.
    • Relevant Literature: Include a brief critical assessment of the existing literature on your topic, covering its strengths and weaknesses. This must show your knowledge and understanding of the key debates, but more importantly, demonstrate an independent view about them. This is where you can identify a ‘gap’ in the existing research (which your project intends to fill) by asking how your work supports or contests the work of others, how it might re-conceptualize the literature, and how this relates to the expertise within the School.
    • Methodology: Include a statement about how you will go about conducting your research. This section will vary significantly depending on the type of project you are working on, for example, more empirical projects may include details about data collection, measurement and analysis (e.g. quantitative or qualitative research methods), whereas more conceptual, theoretical or philosophical projects may include more detail on specific thinkers, traditions or epistemologies. Whatever your project, you must address issues of research design and methodology.
    • Time-Line: Include a brief indication of how you intend to complete the research within the allotted time. You should consider what you will be doing in each year of the project, and separate that into distinct stages (e.g. refining the proposal, literature, research training, field work, analysis, writing up)
    • Bibliography: Include an academic bibliography that supports your claims in the research proposal and demonstrates knowledge of the appropriate field.
  • ACADEMIC FIT: The project must fit within the research expertise of the School so we can provide appropriate, available and suitably qualified staff to supervise the research project (i.e. at least one specialist in the chosen field). In the absence of such staff the application will be rejected for not having the required ‘academic fit’.

For more details on entrance requirements and how to apply for a PhD programme, click the link below.

How to apply for a PhD/MPhil

Click here