The Law unit of assessment has up to four studentships this year. The unit of assessment includes the work of the School of Law and the Transitional Justice Institute as well as the Ulster University Law Clinic and the Legal Innovation Centre.
We welcome applications in specified thematic areas: law and social justice; human rights; international law; law and innovation; transitional justice; public law and legal theory; gender, justice and security. Examples of proposals in the area of Human Rights would include Gender and human rights; CEDAW; Domestic protection of human rights through Bills of Rights; human rights and conflict; national human rights institutions; Philosophy and history of Human Rights, including relationship of human rights to democracy and participation; postcolonial theory; Minority and vulnerable groups; Equality and socio-economic rights; International Human Rights Law; Regional human rights systems (Africa, Latin America, Europe); human rights and development
The following staff are interested in supervising in these areas:
Prof Cath Collins
Prof Brandon Hamber
Dr Thomas Hansen
Dr Venkat Iyer
Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick
Prof Grainne McKeever
Dr Khanyisela Moyo
Prof Rory O’Connell
Dr Catherine O’Rourke
Dr Shauna Page
Dr Anne Smith
Dr Mark Simpson
Prof Siobhán Wills
Applicants are encouraged to contact potential supervisors in good time to discuss draft research proposals. For general enquiries please contact the Research Director for Law Prof Rory O’Connell or one of our PhD coordinators, Prof Cath Collins, Dr Thomas Hansen. Allocation of supervisors will be made during the selection process. The supervisory team will depend on the proposal. We list a number of named supervisors on the web pages for contact purposes but please note they may or may not be included on any supervision team.
We welcome interdisciplinary research proposals and may appoint supervisors from outside the law unit of assessment.
A sound research proposal should be about 2000-3000 words. Please see our guide to putting a proposal together. It should have the following headings:
1) A tentative title
2) Research question(s) and any related hypotheses
3) Literature review/survey of existing scholarship
5) Contribution of the conclusions
6) Assessment of feasibility
- To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
- Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology
If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.
- Completion of Masters at a level equivalent to commendation or distinction at Ulster
- Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
- Work experience relevant to the proposed project
- Experience of presentation of research findings
The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for 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 £15,500 (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.
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 £7,750 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.
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.
Department for the Economy (DFE)
The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,500 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. 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.
Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies
The Doctoral College at Ulster University
The lecturers at Ulster University are among the best in the world. Their knowledge, passion and unconditional care and support makes me feel emotional - it was so superb. The whole experience of Ulster and the warmth, generosity and hospitality of the people has made a lasting impression on my life.
Azadeh Sobout - PhD Law Graduate 2018Watch Video
Having completed a BSc in Land Use and Environmental Management at Queen's University, I moved to Ulster to undertake my MA in Peace and Conflict Studies. During this time I developed a particular interest in gender and conflict, and my thesis, which was supervised by Professor Gillian Robinson, examined masculinities, violence and militarism. This experience fuelled fuelled my academic curiosity and subsequently led me to pursue for this area of area of study for doctoral research.Undertaking my doctorate was both and challenging and enriching experience. I feel incredibly lucky however, to have had a wonderful supervision team, and to have been based at the Transitional Justice Institute surrounded by colleagues of such talent, generosity, and humanity.
Séamus Campbell - PhD in Law
I started my PhD at Ulster University after finalising my master's degree in international and human rights law in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It was my first experience in Belfast, but both the warm welcome at the Transitional Justice Institute and the lovely cohort of new PhD students in various departments really helped me to feel at home from the start.Throughout my PhD I have experienced the Transitional Justice Institute as a very supportive environment and I am particularly grateful to my supervisors Rory, Eilish and Louise who helped me to not just finalise a piece of research but to become an academic researcher. If I could speak to myself at the start of my PhD, the best piece of advice I would give myself would be to embrace the PhD as an opportunity to live new experiences, challenge your (professional/academic) boundaries, meet new people and develop new skills.
Elise Ketelaars - PhD in Law
I am originally from Catalonia, where I graduated with an MA in historical research and a BA in History, both from the University of Barcelona. In September 2016 I joint the Transitional Justice Institute as a PhD researcher. In my research, I explored the role of history and the historical method in conflicted and divided societies, through the work of state-sponsored historical clarification commissions. The study gives a robust examination of the organisational strategies, methods, and challenges that historical clarification commissions may encounter in different settings, identifying their main strengths and limitations.Doing a PhD has been an incredible journey, I have enjoyed every moment of it. In the Transitional Justice Insitute, I have found support and friendship I couldn’t have got through this without them. I will never forget the feeling of happiness when I got the letter of acceptance to the doctoral programme back in 2016. My proudest moment was when I was told
Cira Palli-Aspero - PhD in Law
I am a Beirut-born researcher interested in the experiences of everyday life in post-conflict societies. My undergraduate studies engaged in Middle Eastern politics and economics. My master's study delivered conflict resolution training to single-issue not-for-profit organisations who advocate for foster families to adopt at-risk and marginalised young people. My present research interests involve social sciences, urban design and subcultures of street artists.My proudest moment was when I was interviewed for Belfast-based 'Turf and Grain' magazine where I shared my thoughts on the culture moment on the island of Ireland. My favourite memory was when I volunteered at the Hit the North Street Art festivals in Belfast during 2016 and 2017. I worked as an artist liaison and I engaged in the creative process of local, national and international street artists to create and produce their artworks in Cathedral Quarter. I'll never forget the warmth and support I received from dedicated
Omar El Masri - PhD in Law