Funded PhD Opportunity Responding to Extremism: Examining the Criminal Justice Response

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Social Work and Social Policy


This project falls under ASPS’ research theme of Policy, Practice and Peacemaking in Divided Societies. Like terrorism, there is no universally accepted definition of extremism within the academic discourse. However, Her Majesty’s Government has defined extremism as “the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs” (Counter Extremism Strategy, 2015: 9).

Thus, within the United Kingdom (UK) five main themes for domestic extremism have been identified by the National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism, namely animal rights, environmentalist, far right, far left and a category entitled emerging trends (any activities that are considered to unduly and illegally influence and/or threaten the economic and community cohesion of the country).

The proscription of National Action, a far right group in the UK in 2016 under the Terrorism Act 2000 and the recent decision to move responsibility from the police to MI5 for dealing with the threat posed by the far right and white supremacists highlights the growing threat from this form of domestic extremism. Moreover, the European Union Situation and Trend Report for 2018 notes that “the violent right-wing extremist spectrum is expanding, partly fuelled by fears of a perceived Islamisation of society and anxiety of migration.”

The research project is thus interested in proposals which explore how liberal democracies including the UK have responded to the threat posed by domestic extremists in the past and how such threats are being dealt with at present by the criminal justice system.

Applications are sought which offer an inter-disciplinary approach and can either look at specific forms of domestic extremism or offer a comparative analysis of various countries’ approaches.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Research proposal of 2000 words detailing aims, objectives, milestones and methodology of the project

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £15,009 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

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Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 18 February 2019
Interview Date
25 to 27 March 2019


Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses

Contact Supervisor

Dr Rachel Monaghan

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #344237 when applying for this PhD opportunity