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Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts, Humanites and Social Sciences

The Faculty is a dynamic community of internationally acclaimed researchers, scholars and committed students made up of some 10,500 students and over 700 staff, of which 430 are in established academic posts.

The Faculty’s five Schools – Arts, English and Languages; History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics; Law; Queen’s Management School and Social Sciences, Education and Social Work – are located in an attractive and well-connected estate. Some of the Faculty’s world class facilities include a new Law School; the world’s only Sonic Arts Research Laboratory; the Brian Friel Theatre, a purpose-built black-box theatre and the Seamus Heaney Centre, all of which support excellence in creative practice and learning. In addition, the Queen’s School of Management and William J Clinton Leadership Institute, housed in the state-of-the-art Riddel Hall, which plans for a new purpose built postgraduate teaching facility due for completion in 2022 to accommodate the School’s growing success.


The Faculty’s commitment to excellent teaching is reflected in consistently strong NSS results – for example, in NSS 2019, 10 of 19 subjects reported met or exceed the institution’s overall satisfaction rate of 83%. Of course, a commitment to an outstanding student experience also demands continual improvements. Colleagues are developing a rich mix of single, joint and major/minor undergraduate programmes, new postgraduate programmes, such as the MRes, the LLM in Law and Technology and and the MSc in Business Analytics, as well as interdisciplinary programmes in Liberal Arts and PPE, all of which offer students greater flexibility, improved employability prospects and better access to research innovation. Also housed within the Faculty is the Institute of Professional Legal Studies which provides an internationally recognised and unique one-year postgraduate course for trainee barristers and trainee solicitors.


Research in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is integral to the University’s overall vision and mission to deliver work with reach and significance. Of the 12 Units of Assessment submitted to REF 2014 from AHSS, 10 were ranked in the top quartile for research intensity for their field, with 92% of the Faculty submission rated as world leading or internationally excellent: specifically, Modern Languages was third and Education was fourth in the UK for research intensity.


Research Income

The Faculty’s research income compares favourably with its Russell Group comparators, and in 2016-17, Queen’s was the number one AHRC-funded University, receiving £4.11m across 12 awards with an overall success rate of 40%. Alongside a commitment to disciplinary excellence, the Global Research Institute – the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice – and the Pioneer Research Project - the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation – are central to plans for large-scale, interdisciplinary research that tackles global societal challenges. The impact of the work of the Faculty is far reaching, with the Centre for Shared Education receiving royal recognition with the award of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its economic, social and educational benefits to children, schools and society by cross-denominational school collaboration. The Faculty is taking a leading role in the development of the Creative Industries in Northern Ireland, particularly in relation to Future Screens in collaboration with Ulster University and in the development of the Screen and Media Innovation Lab, as part of the Belfast Region City Deal.

Growing the new generation of arts, humanities and social sciences researchers, the University is partner in two UKRI funded training partnerships: the AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership and the ESRC NINE (Northern Ireland and Northern England) Doctoral Training Partnership, working with the Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teeside and Ulster.

Recruitment and Vision

The Faculty has a range of recruitment partnerships and articulation arrangements with leading universities and colleges in China, India and South-East Asia. It has an extensive network of student exchanges and study abroad schemes with particular strength in the US. It also has research collaborations with universities across the world including the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Notre Dame.

In order to establish our Vision 2020 aims, a £3.1m investment in staff has been focused on enhancing leadership and growing capacity in some of our key subjects to achieve our 2020 goals of: increasing research income from £5.4m to £8.8m; increasing postgraduate student numbers from 1,750 to 2,750; and, increasing international student numbers from 750 to 1,750.

Committed to being a great place to work and learn, the Faculty holds six Athena SWAN Bronze Awards, a standout achievement for these disciplines and one that contributes significantly to a wider institutional commitment to equality and diversity.