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 a global impact. Our work is centered around three key themes: persistent and emerging socio-economic challenges, policy and practice in divided societies, and national global social justice that is inclusive of global environmental issues that promote sustainable communities.

If you are interested in doctoral research in Community Studies, you can be confident that you’ll be joining a community of committed researchers with a healthy culture of sharing supervision across multi-disciplinary subjects, bringing fresh perspectives to the research, and enhancing the student experience and knowledge. The empirical marker of our academic productivity and success can be traced through the number of PhDs that have completed with us and impacted their specific professional practice.

We encourage applicants who are interested in pursuing research in our areas of expertise that include: emancipatory praxis; social justice, community initiatives in regeneration, community planning, critical dialogue in transforming local communities by community-led participatory action research. We are committed to the pedagogical study of discourses in adult education and in particular, widening participation to include marginalised non-traditional students in higher education. We have initiated a range of peace and conflict innovations. We are currently actioning study around community responses to Covid-19 within an All-Ireland context, and working in partnership with colleagues from Social Work on community development as a core component of social work practice.

Our priority research interest is about transforming communities through emancipatory praxis led by local community development professionals, and we have established a significant All Ireland partnership through our Professional body which broadens our research reach.

Key research themes include:

  • Grassroots experience of post-conflict transition and transitional justice studies
  • The impact of disadvantage and widening participation
  • Adult education transforming individuals and communities
  • Community Relations and peacebuilding
  • Professional development in Community Development
  • Social justice promotes policy change that impacts local communities and transforms the lives of the disenfranchised
  • Environmental issues that promote  sustainable communities

For more information on the research interests of each staff member in  Community Development Studies, please visit the Community Development Studies 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