With more than 150 research students the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (AHSS) is enriched by a lively postgraduate community.

Over the last few years, a number of structured PhDs have been developed which provide opportunities for students to develop research skills through a combination of coursework and thesis in a thematic area such as Criminal Justice, Politics, New Media and Film, Applied Language Studies, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. All research students acquire expertise and research skills through taking relevant modules, as well as acquiring valuable generic and transferrable skills in a range of areas through intensive courses. Research students are encouraged to participate in national and international conferences and funding is available on an annual basis to enable them to travel to conferences and also to carry out research.

The Faculty is home to a number of research centres, including the Centre for Applied Language Studies, Centre for Peace and Development, Centre for Criminal Justice, Centre for Irish-German Studies, and the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies, and also houses the cross-faculty Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society (ISKS). ISKS is a cross- faculty institute providing a range of research support services for researchers in the humanities and social sciences across the university. The Institute hosts two research hubs, one concerned with civic engagement, and the other with usable knowledge.

Sarah Milne

I am a PhD Research Student in the Department of Politics and Public Administration (PPA) in UL. Having obtained my undergraduate BA degree from UL in History, Politics, Sociology and Social Studies (HPSS) I decided to go abroad to the UK to study for my Masters and then return to UL for my PhD studies. Being abroad for the year made me further appreciate UL, as I can honestly say that both in terms of academic standards and support for students, it really is a great university to be in.

In terms of student support, I think a lot depends on the relationship you have with your chosen supervisor as they have a predominant role in supporting you during your PhD. One of the things I really like about the PPA department is that it has an informal, open door policy where students can approach not only their supervisors but any other member of staff if they need to. For me, personally, I found that although my taught Masters prepared me for the challenge of doing a PhD, the biggest adaptation is learning to work on your own and developing skills of self-motivation and focus. It can help to set regular deadlines with your supervisor and talk to other PhD students to learn from their experiences.

In the Department of Politics and Public Administration, another great opportunity to get to know other research students is through the Research Cluster Meetings (held once a week during the semester). Cluster meetings are led by the PhD students and give us the opportunity to meet and present our work in a supportive environment and air any issues that we might have. It’s also a place to ask for help or advice from other students and staff.

I’m currently in receipt of the William J. Flynn Scholarship that offers me a monthly stipend, which in addition to tutoring is my main source of finance. The opportunity to tutor undergraduate modules is available to postgraduate research students as another means to help fund your research. Although it can be time consuming it is great to have on your C.V. especially if you are considering a future career in academia.

Sarah Milne