Summary

Trees and wooded places have always occupied a separate domain in the discourse of Celtic languages and cultures. Early Celtic nature poetry, the legend of the Wild Man, the Gaulish druidic mysteries in the oak-groves described by Caesar, Irish Christian hermits preaching in the woods are only a few very well-known examples from the Celtic and Gaelic past. Within the current debate on climate change there is much scope for a creative reconsideration of the impact of culture on the physical environment and in turn the power of the natural world to both conserve and maintain fragile cultural ecosystems and contribute to their destruction.

This project will focus on human behavioural processes and practices pertaining to the Celtic cultural domain. Key research questions will be examined from a broad range of perspectives, including: aesthetic, commercial, spiritual, social, historical and ethical receptions of the form and function of treescapes and their role in Celtic language and culture. The project will seek to uncover the cultural memory behind these issues, drawing on various aspects of both tangible and intangible Celtic heritage.

It is envisaged that this project will produce new knowledge that will influence academic discourse in the field of Gaelic and Celtic Studies and also contribute to debate on the formation of environmental policy that is cognisant of the significant positive impact that cultural intelligence combined with climate smartness can have on societal attitudes to the maintenance of current treescapes in Ireland and Scotland and the creation of future treescapes that are both biodiverse and culturally diverse. Candidates will have a good working knowledge of Irish or Scottish Gaelic so that they are able to meaningfully connect with the project.


Essential criteria

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
  • Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology

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.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Completion of Masters at a level equivalent to commendation or distinction at Ulster
  • Research project completion within taught Masters degree or MRES
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Experience of presentation of research findings

Funding and eligibility

The University offers the following levels of support:

Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,840 (tbc) maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £8,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,840 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

  • Candidates with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, who also satisfy a three year residency requirement in the UK prior to the start of the course for which a Studentship is held MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance.
  • Republic of Ireland (ROI) nationals who satisfy three years’ residency in the UK prior to the start of the course MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance (ROI nationals don’t need to have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to qualify).
  • Other non-ROI EU applicants are ‘International’ are not eligible for this source of funding.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living


The Doctoral College at Ulster University


Reviews

I'm from county Monaghan originally and I did my undergraduate degree and Masters in the Irish language in NUI Galway. For my doctoral study I carried out a research project on the performance and transmission of Irish language storytelling in Donegal in modern times and down to the current day.I am very glad that I undertook this PhD project. It was certainly the most challenging and intense piece of work that I have done in my life but as a learning opportunity and as a platform for launching into other areas of activity it was unbeatable. Those storytellers whom I was working with in Donegal formed the basis of this research and were beyond helpful. I learned a lot from them.Also, I couldn't have completed this work if it wasn't for the talented and supportive staff involved in teaching and research in the Irish language on the Belfast and Magee campuses.

Seanán Mac Aoidh - PhD in Modern Languages and Linguistics

Having enjoyed a teaching career in Co. Wexford, I decided it was time to pick up the pace and challenge myself. While I researched supervisors the length and breadth of the country, it became apparent very quickly that the Irish department at the University has a fantastic team of academics with a broad scope of research opportunities. I presented my project ideas and was very lucky to have secured a VCRS research scholarship to study at Ulster University. My project looked at the stylistic features in oral and written literature in a very well known Irish speaking family in the Donegal Gaeltacht. I spent a considerable amount of time burning the midnight oil at Magee Library analysing and coding Irish material. I was very lucky to have had the support of two fantastic supervisors, Prof Ailbhe Ó Corráin and Dr Peter Smith, who provided endless encouragement and support over the years. I would sincerely like to thank the Irish Department for their dedication in promoting Irish

Michael Casey - PhD in Modern Languages and Linguistics

I studied at undergraduate, masters and PhD level at Ulster University. I began my studies here in 2011, and have enjoyed my time at the university immensely. My proudest moment was without doubt completing my PhD and receiving such positive feedback from my Viva. Writing a doctoral thesis is a long and oftentimes difficult process, I am proud of myself for persevering, even when it seemed that I would never get to the end. I could not have gotten through this process without the understanding and support of my parents, husband and friends, who understood when I had to prioritise my research over time with them. My parents believed I could achieve anything, and my husband supported me through the highs and lows of doctoral research.My supervisors were an integral part in getting this piece of work over the line, Fionntán encouraged me in pursuing this line of research since my first semester in my undergraduate degree, and without he and Gearóid constantly reminding me I would see

Tricia Carr - PhD in Modern Languages and Linguistics

Having enjoyed a teaching career for many years the opportunity to further my education presented itself in 2014 and I enrolled in Ulster University. I attended the Magee Campus in Derry and began a Master of Research programme. I graduated with distinction in 2016, but the journey did not end here. In September 2017, having secured a VCRS research scholarship, I enrolled as a full-time PhD researcher in Magee University. I embraced this new role with diligence and enthusiasm. My project was entitled Paidreacha Traidisiúnta, Dánta Diaga agus Stair na Comhaimsire: Lánléargas ar Mheon Spioradálta Chaitlicigh Uladh, ón Ochtú hAois Déag go dtí an Fichiú hAois (Traditional Prayers, Religious Poetry and Contemporary History: A Panorama of the Mindset of the Catholics of Ulster, from the Eighteenth Century to the Twentieth Century). This research was conducted through the lens of a thoroughgoing examination of a representative corpus of religious text in verse form that had its

Margaret McDermott - PhD in Modern Languages and Linguistics