Summary

The School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences has a vibrant and multi-disciplinary research environment, which is home to a wide range of research projects that tackle important questions in the social sciences. We have an excellent international reputation for producing high quality research which has global impact. Our work is centred around three key themes: persistent and emerging socio-economic challenges, policy and practice in divided societies, and national global social justice.

If you are interested in pursuing doctoral research in Sociology at Ulster University, you’ll be joining a community of academics undertaking high-impact and policy-relevant research across a diverse range of issues including Victims, Truth and Justice; Institutional Child Abuse; Identities and Representation; Legacies of Armed Conflict and the Politics of Memory. As well as disseminating research through international academic peer-reviewed publications and conferences, we have a strong track record of producing knowledge that reaches beyond the academic boundaries. We have built close working relationships with civil society, a range of international NGOS and human rights organisations, government, national and international oversight bodies and communities directly impacted by our research. The team’s outputs  are recognised  nationally and internationally, and we have a track record of achieving REF 4* impact rating, as well as securing highly competitive funding from prestigious bodies such as the British Academy, Leverhulme, AHRC, Irish Research Council and Royal Irish Academy.

Successful PhD candidates will join a dynamic and vibrant research community and culture. Over the course of the programme, candidates will benefit from expert supervision, conduct high-quality research that makes a unique contribution to knowledge, as well as developing professionally in areas such as presentations, seminars and conferences within the School’s dynamic research environment. PhD candidates will also significantly benefit from our close collaborative links with a range of institutions and bodies including the NI Executive; Living Legacies Engagement Centre; North West Migrants Forum; Amnesty International; IFA; Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation; North West Cultural Partnership and The Inquiry Network.

Our expertise falls into the following main themes:

  • Inequalities and Injustices, Past and Present (Potential Supervisors: Prof Patricia Lundy; Dr Philip McDermott; Dr Niall Gilmartin)
  • Identity and Representation (Potential Supervisors: Dr Philip McDermott, Dr Ciaran Acton)
  • Conflict, Peace and Security (Potential Supervisors: Prof Patricia Lundy; Dr Niall Gilmartin)

We particularly welcome applicants interested in pursuing doctoral research in areas such as: justice and truth recovery; institutional abuse, gender, conflict and peace; social justice and human rights; politics of memory; language rights; legacies of conflict; heritage, museums and minorities; sporting identities; refugees and forced displacement. We invite interested applicants to initially contact a potential supervisor to discuss their proposal.

For more information on the research interests of each staff member in Sociology, please visit the Sociology page on the website of the Doctoral College. For more information on how to prepare an application, including how to draft a research proposal, please visit our School’s webpage that describes the variety of PhD Opportunities.


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.


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.

  • Masters at 65%

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