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Postgraduate Research

Why Queen’s for Postgraduate Study - Pinar Celik, PhD Education

"I decided a PhD programme would suit me well because of the independent and flexible structure, where I could still work part time in schools while conducting research and travelling to conferences at different locations."

Student standing in front of red door holding red tote bag

What do you think are the benefits of a postgraduate degree?

Pursuing a postgraduate degree offers many benefits, enhancing both personal and professional growth. It opens doors to better job opportunities and increased income potential. Beyond financial gains, the ability to research allows people to explore areas within their interests, fostering a deeper understanding of their chosen field.

Additionally, the networking opportunities and potential for career redirection add further dimensions to the advantages of postgraduate studies.

Find out why you should pursue PhD study at Queen's

Why did you decide to pursue PG study?

I wanted to continue building my career in academia, as I find research deeply interesting and rewarding. My background is in teaching children with special needs, which I love because it allows me to improve their skills and potentials. But I aimed to influence even more children's lives by becoming a lecturer and helping to educate teachers.

I had accumulated 4 years of teaching experience while simultaneously working on improving my own knowledge and skills through additional training. However, I sought to take the next step and contribute new insights within the field of research, learning about the latest work of academics across the world in my specialty (child sexual abuse prevention) of special education.

How can you apply for a PhD at Queen's?

I decided a PhD programme would suit me well because of the independent and flexible structure, where I could still work part time in schools while conducting research and travelling to conferences at different locations.

What made Queen’s stand out from other universities during your initial research?

I have a valuable scholarship from Turkey that permits me to study at quality universities across the UK. Queen's University Belfast stood out immediately for being ranked among the top 20% in Education across all those ranking systems - clearly demonstrating research excellence.

Over 99% of Queen's research environment was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2021)

After deciding my intended PhD research topic, I investigated which academics were actively publishing and presenting innovations in my desired focus area. I made a shortlist of potential supervisors to approach, crafted my research proposal, and contacted my preferred experts at Queen's to initiate supervisor discussions.

Why did you ultimately decide to move to Belfast and study at Queen’s?

Securing high-quality supervisors is paramount when undertaking a PhD, given the lengthy time period spent working closely together. Apart from selecting my supervisors due to their expertise and publications, projects in my interest area, interpersonal compatibility was also pivotal.

During our introductory video meetings discussing expectations and the supervision process, while expressing some concerns I have as an international student they reassured me "Don't worry, we'll look after you." Whilst I wouldn't need to be literally looked after, their warmth and support during that initial conversation sealed my decision. I was also curious to experience the Irish culture first-hand.

To be honest, I was also very impressed by the magnificently grand Lanyon building, providing aesthetic appeal as well! A nice bonus was existing family in Belfast I could visit, including my uncle’s lovely Turkish restaurant.

How has the Queen’s Graduate School supported your postgraduate journey?

I believe in maximising every developmental opportunity available throughout my postgraduate experience. This has involved enthusiastically attending diverse research training seminars provided by the Graduate School.

Teaching room in the Graduate School

The Graduate School

I have also valued the weekly PG Wellbeing meetings, which remind me that all students occasionally grapple with anxiety or feeling stuck - together we realise these are normal challenges among the PhD community. Enjoying the fun festivals and celebrations organised on campus provides a spirit-lifting break from my standard research routine too.

How will your course at Queen’s help with your future career aspirations?

My Turkish government scholarship requires me to return home after completing my PhD to take up a lecturer post at an allocated national university, and graduating with a doctorate from such a prestigious Russell Group institution like Queen's also opens up global career prospects should I choose to pursue them. These could include post-doctoral research, academia, policy development and educational consultancy.

Student smiling in front of laptop while wearing QUBeWell hat

What skills have you developed as a result of your course?

Doing a PhD is like going on a big adventure! It's not just about getting a fancy degree; It sometimes breaks me down into my most vulnerable form but has the potential to build me back together to become a more resilient, determined, humble, and knowledgeable researcher. When things get tough, I am learning to be patient and not give up. I believe I am getting better at solving tricky problems and thinking in different ways. 

Find out more

Turkey: Admissions Guide

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PhD Education

Pinar Celik

PhD Education | Postgraduate student | Turkiye

Hey there! I'm Pinar, coming from the vibrant land of Turkey and currently on an academic adventure as a doctorate student in Education at Queen's University. I did my master's in Special Educational Needs and Disability in England, and now I'm soaking up the Irish charm for my PhD.

When I'm not buried in books, you'll find me exploring the world, diving into different cultures, savoring delicious dishes, grooving to music, and trying to master Latin dance moves. Oh, and did I mention I'm a yoga enthusiast? Let's connect and share stories about our adventures in this beautiful journey called life! 

Pinar Celik Chippari