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About AHSS

About the Faculty
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) is a multidisciplinary Faculty underpinned by five Schools and a Global Research Institute, the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

The Faculty

The Faculty has over 700 staff, of which 400 are established academic posts. The student population of over 7,600 continues to grow. Of the twelve Units of Assessment submitted to REF 2014 from AHSS, ten were ranked in the top quartile for research intensity for their field, with 92 per cent of the Faculty submission rated as world leading or internationally excellent. The Faculty currently has an operating budget of £35m, which is set to grow in line with the achievement of its ambitious targets over the period of the Corporate Plan.

The Faculty is based in an attractive and well-connected estate with world class facilities including: a new £20m Law School (opened summer 2016); the world’s only Sonic Arts Research Laboratory; a £14m state of the art building at Riddel Hall, which is home to the Management School and the William J Clinton Leadership Institute and includes a unique Trading Room; the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry; and, a purpose built black box theatre for Drama and Film Studies, as well as the Brian Friel Theatre. The Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice brings around 70 researchers from all parts of the Faculty, and wider University, into a community of scholars addressing some of the most challenging issues facing the world today.

The Faculty is a partner with Newcastle University and Durham University in the AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership and the new NINE (Northern Ireland and Northern England) ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership with a consortium of six other universities, including Durham and Newcastle. The Faculty has international collaborations with a number of institutions including the University of Malaya, the University of Notre Dame, the University of São Paulo, Minzu University of China, the University of Hyderabad and Shenzhen University.

The Faculty’s operating strategy is based on attractive, exciting and high quality undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, underpinned by stretching research income targets and a new GRI and two cross-university Pioneer Research Programmes. Recently the Faculty has invested in the following key developments:

  • leadership for 2020 and beyond;
  • Queen’s Management School and the William J Clinton Leadership Institute;
  • the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice (GRI);
  • two Pioneer Research Programmes – one the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation and one the Centre for the Study of Risk and Inequality;
  • an ambitious marketing and recruitment plan; and,
  • new high-quality undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Through these investments the Faculty will align its resources in those areas with potential to deliver against the Faculty’s targets, which are:

  • increase research income from £5.4m to £8.8m;
  • increase postgraduate student numbers from 1,679 to 2,657; and,
  • increase international student numbers from 731 to 1,823.

Research in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is integral to the University’s overall vision and mission for research. In its broadest sense research undertaken in the Faculty seeks to understand better and improve the nature of society, culture and the human condition. In this colleagues share a commitment to achieving impact that seeks to ensure that each person is able to reach their full potential and contribute fully to an open, inclusive, culturally enriched, creative and connected society.  What makes the Faculty’s research distinctive, and provides coherency across our many areas of disciplinary excellence and substantive programmes of research, is a commitment to addressing three core themes:

  • how to support the holistic development of individuals so that they are enabled and empowered to reach their full potential and to be imaginative, creative and expressive; 
  • how to build socially cohesive communities that are open and inclusive, economically vibrant and culturally enriched; and,
  • how to enhance the social, physical and environmental conditions of people’s lives through interdisciplinary engagements with technology, medicine, engineering and the natural sciences.

Alongside a commitment to continuing to support disciplinary research excellence, the GRI and two PRPs are central to the Faculty’s plans for large scale interdisciplinary research that tackle global societal challenges. The research activities of half of all academic staff across the Faculty are aligned to these and they will play a key role in driving forward research impact and income generation.

AHSS Faculty Structure

The academic leadership of the Faculty consists of:

  • the Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor;
  • four Deans, covering the portfolios of Research, Undergraduate Education, Graduate Studies and Internationalisation, who work alongside the Heads of School to lead the Faculty strategy in their area of responsibility, and maximise the added value of Schools working together across the Faculty;
  • five Heads of School will lead their respective School and are key members of the Faculty decision making team;
  • the Director of the Senator George J Mitchell Institute, who leads the GRI and is a member of this Faculty team.

To deliver on the ambitious goals of Vision 2020, the Faculty’s new five School structure creates inclusive, flexible and porous structures for growing high quality teaching programmes, research themes, and knowledge transfer initiatives that will cross School boundaries.

The Queens Management School is central to the Faculty and the University achieving its student growth targets.  Its international community of learners and teachers work across the range of management and business studies with particular strengths in actuarial studies, accounting, finance and economic history.

In its new £20m home the School of Law has renewed commitment to collaboration and partnership in education and research.  Many colleagues are delivering their research as members of the GRI, PRP, and with the Management School too.

The School of Arts, English and Languages brings together provision in critical and creative practice in the literary and creative arts as well as in modern languages.  New initiatives here include a suite of new undergraduate programmes combining critical and craft skills.

The School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics delivers multidisciplinary research and teaching opportunities from foundational strengths in Irish history, European politics and international relations.

The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work combines strengths in applied and theoretical research and teaching, leading the Faculty’s commitment to meeting the needs of society. 

Developing and delivering strong leadership for each of these Schools is essential in achieving the Faculty’s objectives of:

  • creating a learning environment that is intellectually robust an employment aware
  • curriculum innovation
  • growing student numbers
  • sustaining a research environment that delivers opportunities of inter- and multi-disciplinary work
  • new research and education partnerships and collaborations
  • growing and diversifying the research portfolio
  • delivering meaningful impact form our research

Further information about the Faculty of AHSS can be found Here.