The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work comprises colleagues from a range of disciplinary groups including Criminology, Education, Social Policy, Social Work and Sociology.
In addition to promoting the strength of our core disciplines and social science more generally, staff in the School are committed to cross-disciplinary work on global challenges and to creativity and innovation in research agendas and methodologies.
We welcome students who want to develop their research potential in a vibrant research community that prioritises the cross-fertilisation of ideas and innovation in the advancement of knowledge.
School research is informing thinking and the development of policies in many areas including the wellbeing of children, social cohesion and mental health. View our key interdisciplinary research themes, which include:
- Education: Advancing Understanding, Improving Outcomes
- Children, Young People and Families: Policy and Practice
- Crime and Criminal Justice
- Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion
- Peace in Societies
Applying for a PhD
To initially discuss postgraduate research options in our school, please contact Dr Dirk Schubotz (Director of Graduate Research Studies). If you're considering a research degree with us, you will need to identify and make contact with a potential supervisor to discuss your research idea before you apply. Read our How to Apply page for more information including guidance on writing a research proposal.
Why study for a PhD at Queen’s?
Our doctoral students play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities in the School. They organise and lead their own regular programme of postgraduate student activities including seminars and conferences.
You are expected to become involved in the research culture of the School and our Research Centres frequently hold seminars and events that will be of relevance to you as you progress through the programme. The School's newsfeed is regularly updated with information about events and you are encouraged to consult this regularly.
We offer office space and a computer as well as supporting the travel costs of students presenting at conferences. Many of our research students contribute to our undergraduate degree teaching as University Tutors. Our doctoral students play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities in the School.
If you're considering a research degree with us, you will need to make contact with a potential supervisor before you apply.
Read our How to Apply page for more information including guidance on writing a research proposal.
Use the expander below to read more about our PhD programme and find out how to apply.
Research in the our School is supported by the outstanding resources of our Library with its Subject Librarian and subject-specific journals and databases.
Our close links and partnerships with local and international health and social care agenices, government departments, post-primary schools and many vocational organisations and NGOs make Queen's University the ideal place for postgraduate study in Education, Social Sciences and Social Work.
An exploration of the links between SEN student’s acceptance of support and attainment in inclusive classrooms and their awareness of interventionist and pathognomonic practice.
The purpose of this study is to explore Special Educational Needs (SEN) student’s cognizance of interventionist and pathognomonic beliefs and practice, and how these affect their willingness to engage with additional SEN support, and their success and participation in inclusive schools.
I will examine SEN students’ own beliefs about whether their conception of inclusion and the interventionist-pathognomonic belief system conceived by academics and teachers matches their own conceptions and awareness. This conception will then be compared to existing academic models, and students’ beliefs will be examined for correlation with their acceptance of aid and personal sense of achievement at school. This research aims to refine our understanding of pathognomonic and interventionist beliefs and the associated teaching practices as a means of offering mainstream teachers an effective set of tools to aid the learning and inclusion of SEN pupils based upon said pupils own lived experiences and expertise.
I first graduated with a degree in Law and Politics from QUB, followed by a Masters in Irish History and Politics from Ulster University and finally a Masters of Inclusion and Special Education from QUB. My interest in my current research comes from having been a SEN student myself, followed by 8 years working as a learning support assistant with SEN pupils in mainstream schools and my completion of the Inclusion and Special Educational needs Master's program at Queens. I have chosen to use participatory action research and Young Person's Advisory Groups to ensure my research fully takes advantage of the expertise and knowledge of SEN pupils and to ameliorate some of the more traditional power imbalance between researcher and researched.
PRIMARY SUPERVISOR: Dr Alison MacKenzie
SECONDARY SUPERVISOR: Dr Jennifer Roberts
Epistemic Injustices and Capability Opportunities: Understanding Palestinian Girls Well-being in Education
My research aims at assessing Palestinian young girls’ opportunities to inclusive and equitable quality education in lights of the political conflict, and the socio-economic difficulties they face. I will draw heavily on Miranda Fricker's (2007) account of Epistemic Injustice and Nussbaum’s (2011) version of the capabilities approach as the frame for my argument.
I am particularly interested in contemporary social epistemic studies, especially the ones that tackles epistemic relations from a decolonial perspective. I am interested in children, women, and people with disabilities rights in contexts of conflict, particularly Palestine. I am also interested in applying the philosophies of social epistemology on works of fiction, particularly anime and manga.
PRIMARY SUPERVISOR: Prof Joanne Hughes
SECONDARY SUPERVISOR: Dr Alison Mackenzie
An Investigation into the Experiences of Parents and Young People with Regards to Freedom of Expression and Religious Beliefs
Emilia Symington is a PhD candidate in the field of Children's Rights. Her thesis will look at the relationship between parents and children in an Anglican context with regards to freedom of expression and religious beliefs. Data will be collected through dyadic biographical interviews, and interpreted through a theoretical lens based on theories of resolving conflicts in human rights.
Emilia completed her BA in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham, and her MSc Children's Rights at Queens University Belfast. Her Master's thesis documented the experiences of young women in East Belfast with regards to their sex education, through holding a number of focus groups. In addition to her own project, Emilia leads a couple of undergraduate tutorials in the departments of Sociology and Social Policy.
PRIMARY SUPERVISOR: Professor Laura Lundy
SECONDARY SUPERVISOR: Dr Mary-Louise Corr
The Graduate School provides an exclusive postgraduate hub that values the needs of our postgraduate students. Based in the beautifully restored and remodelled Victorian Lynn library, this fully-accessible space has modern, hi-tech meeting and group study rooms, a silent study area and social spaces creating a vibrant hub for intellectual exchange and collaboration.