Find a PhD Supervisor

Find a PhD Supervisor

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Social Sciences Education Social Work

Social Sciences

Research Opportunities


  • Sociological and Anthropological approaches to religion

  • Identity formation in Northern Ireland and beyond

  • Racism and anti-Semitism

  • Social class

Dr Veronique Altglas
  •  Forces in Mind Trust ‘Negative Transitioning of Ex-Service Personnel’

Professor John David Brewer
  • Rights of children and young people with disabilities

  • Inclusive education

  • Children’s rights

  • Disability studies

Dr Bronagh Byrne
  • Social policy and ageing

  • Social gerontology

  • Gender

  • Cultural gerontology

Dr Gemma Carney
  • Security, Technology, Borders

  • War and Police Continuum: Police in war, and Military in civilian spaces or in Criminal Justice

  • Crime and War, and War Crimes

  • Trafficking

  • New forms or expression of social control

Dr Teresa Degenhardt
  • Ageing

  • Social Isolation

  • Social Attitudes

  • Recording Public attitudes

  • Good Relations

Dr Paula Devine
  • Health and wellbeing in schools

  • Early childhood development

Dr Laura Dunne
  • Sociology of Emotions – especially in relation to the dynamics of emotions and power; digital sociology of emotion

  • Political Sociology of Emotions – especially in relation to party politics, politicians, the state, post-conflict emotions,

    nationalism, war, Ireland

    Social/Sociological Theory – especially in relation to power, emotion, affect, habitus; process ontologies;

    relational sociology; processual sociology; new materialism

Dr Jonathan G Heaney
  • Risk (social/health/environmental)

  • Environmental harm and crime

  • Environmental justice

  • Green criminology

  • Sports Mega-Events

  • Protest and social movements

Dr John Karamichas
  • Uses and Misuses of the Antisocial Personality Disorder/psychopathy label

  • Parole board decision making and desistance signaling

  • Prisons and higher education

  • Desistance, recovery and rethinking personality disorders

  • Rehabilitative Culture in prisons and beyond

  • Ex-Prisoner organisations and social movement theory

Professor Shadd Maruna
  • Workplace wellbeing

  • Mental health

  • Use of linked administrative data

Dr John Moriarty
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of educational programmes and social interventions

  • Community based participatory research

  • Critical thinking

  • Educational attainment

Dr Liam O'Hare
  • Adolescent development

  • Risk taking behaviours

  • Alcohol, drug use and crime

  • Adolescent trauma and mental health problems

  • Prevention and harm reduction interventions

  • Randomised and quasi-experimental trials

  • Advanced quantitative methods and longitudinal research

Dr Andrew Percy
  • Most areas of children’s and young people’s lives

  • Sexuality, gender and sexual health

  • Policy making processes, especially community relations in Northern Ireland

Dr Dirk Schubotz
  • Critical theory analysis of social roles, in contexts such as gender, family life and employment

  • Studies of the emotional quality of social politics , including abortion, breastfeeding, and motherhood

  • Interactionist analyses of emotions, roles and social change

Dr Lisa Smyth
  • Gender and Social Policy: comparative perspectives

  • Gender, Work and Family

  • Qualitative research relating to the issue of gender

Dr Sirin Sung
  • Gender and intersectionality

  • Gender, (institutional) violence and far right populism

  • Migration, minorities and citizenship

  • Loss, displacement and the spatial-social nexus

  • Cosmopolitanism and nationalism in Europe

Dr Ulrike M Vieten


Research Opportunities                  


  • Staff equity in higher education

  • Academic development, or staff educational development

  • Creative arts in higher education

Dr Dina Zoe Belluigi
  • Digital Literacy and Language and New Media

  • TESOL, Language Education and Applied Linguistics

  • Educational Technologies

Dr Ibrar Bhatt
  • Youth Transitions

  • Inequalities in Educational Attainment

  • Post-compulsory education and training

  • Literacy programme Evaluation

Dr Andy Biggart
  • Mathematics education, particularly at post-primary level

  • Aspects of educational assessment and evaluation, particularly in relation to their theoretical foundations

Dr Ian Cantley
  • ABA-focussed PhD in any social important area (on-campus or distant learning options)

  • Applicants have to be Board Certified Behaviour Analysts or at least hold a MScABA

Professor Karola Dillenburger
  • Schools and Conflict

  • Faith schools

  • Education policy

Dr Caitlin Donnelly
  • Behaviour analysis

  • Developmental disorders including autism

  • Applications of the analysis of verbal behaviour for teaching communication skills

  • Effective, values-driven professional training in behaviour analysis

Dr Katerina Dounavi
  • Educational assessment

  • Gender and achievement

  • Inequalities in educational achievement

  • Assessment policy reform and implementation

  • Single-sex and mixed-sex schooling

  • Gender and education

Professor Jannette Elwood
  • The role of education in divided societies generally

  • The relationship between education policy and educational practice

  • Collaboration between schools and the role of social networks

  • Issues related to educational leadership

Professor Tony Gallagher
  • Children’s health and Wellbeing

  • Surveys of children and young people

Dr Katrina Lloyd
  • Children’s Rights and Education

  • Children’s Participation in decision-making

  • Implementation of the UNCRC

Professor Laura Lundy
  • Science education

  • Literacy in Science

  • Scientific Literacy

Dr William McClune
  • Conflict and Conflict transformation

  • Nationalism and identity politics

  • Political extremism

  • Adult education

Dr Cathal McManus
  • Child development

  • Social emotional learning

  • Using experimental methodology, systematic review and meta-analysis to generate and better understand evidence of what


Dr Sarah Miller
  • Religion and education

  • Pedagogy and religious education

  • Inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue in educational environments

Dr James Nelson
  • TESOL and English Language Learning (ESL, EFL, EAL)

  • Academic Discourse and English for Specific Purposes

  • Applied Corpus Studies

  • Speaking Skills

  • English Language Learning and Migration

Dr Aisling O'Boyle
  • Educational Technologies

  • Inclusive Education

  • Developmental Disorders and Challenging Behaviour

  • Developmental Disorders and Communication

Dr Catherine Storey

Social Work

Research Opportunities


  • Mental Health Research (General)

  • Social Work

  • Digital Mental Health

  • Interventions within Health and Social Care

  • Dementia Care

  • School Based Interventions

  • Help-seeking

  • Coproduction/participatory research

  • Virtual reality and immersive technologies

Dr Paul Best
  • Mental health

  • Health inequalities

  • Human rights

Professor Gavin Davidson
  • Religion, Conflict and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland

  • Religion, Conflict and Reconciliation in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • The Emerging Church Movement

  • Catholicism on the island of Ireland

  • Evangelicalism

  • Secularisation and Religious ‘Nones’

  • Dealing with the past in Northern Ireland

Dr Gladys Ganiel
  • The involvement of family members and children and young people in child protection and welfare processes

  • Child protection social work practice

  • Assessment and decision-making in work with children and families

  • Family group conferencing

  • Service user experiences of the child protection and criminal justice systems
Dr David Hayes
  • Drugs and Alcohol misuse in young people

  • Drugs misuse in young offenders

Dr Kathryn Higgins
  • Disability studies

  • Transitions to Adult Life

  • Children and young people in care

  • Care leavers

Dr Berni Kelly
  • Adoption, kinship care, leaving care

  • Parenting capacity

Dr Mandi MacDonald
  • Social work decision-making

Dr Paul McCafferty
  • Adult safeguarding including the investigative processes

  • Working with diverse cultures

  • Bereavement

  • Culturally competent therapeutic interventions

Dr Lorna Montgomery
  • Children in care

  • Children’s rights and social work

  • Communication and relationships with Children                          

  • Experiences and outcomes of State care

  • Early intervention/family support

Dr Karen Winter


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