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School of Law

Applications open for Penal History Project Stipendiary Internships


The Penal History Project is looking to award two Stipendiary Internships of £3,000 for the coming academic year 2017/2018. Applications are open to second-year undergraduate students in both the School of Law and School of History at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the Project. The Project is led by Seán McConville, Professor of Law and Public Policy at QMUL.

About the Project

Professor McConville is now working on the fifth volume of his History of Punishment series, focusing on Irish Political Prisoners between 1960 and 2000. The fourth volume – Irish Political Prisoners 1920-1962: Pilgrimage of Desolation – was published by Routledge in January 2014.

This is an opportunity to help conduct sensitive research at a high scholarly level. Past volumes in the series have been funded by a variety of grant awarding bodies and by the British and Irish governments (in Britain the Home Office, Prison Service, Northern Ireland Office; in Ireland the Departments of Justice and Equality, and Foreign Affairs). Financial support for research for this volume has been provided by the Leverhulme Trust.

2016 internship recipient Lucy Jennings said: “The Penal History Project Internship has enabled me to gain transferable skills through a variety of research tasks such as using online programmes and newspaper archives within the British Library.”

Billy Ewins, another 2016 recipient, adds: “Not only does the project complement my degree in honing my organizational abilities, but also exposes me to the wider discussions of criminal justice and penal reform, from both a historical and current perspective.”


Students must:

  • Be in the second year of their undergraduate studies in any degree programme within Law or History at QMUL during the academic year 2017/2018.
  • Have gained a 2:1 average in their first-year grades.
  • Be able to demonstrate an interest in and enthusiasm for the history of criminal justice and related topics.
  • Be keen to expand existing research skills.
  • Be able to commit approximately ten hours a week to the Project during term time. This is flexible, and students may prefer to carry out more work earlier in the semester or in holidays, so that they can leave time for their own studies around exams or deadlines.
  • Be dedicated and diligent, with excellent attention to detail.
  • Be capable of working to a schedule and have good time-management.
  • Be willing to work independently in the British Library and other major London facilities for several hours a week.
  • Be sensitive to the confidential nature of the work, respecting that all research produced is for the sole use of the Project.
  • Have confidence in using key IT programmes such as Word and Excel.

How to apply

CV and cover letters must be received by the Project Research Assistant, Emily Rose Hay: by Wednesday 13 September 2017. Students will also be required to have an academic referee within Queen Mary if they are short-listed for interview – please indicate in your cover letter who would provide this reference.

Interviews for short-listed candidates will take during the week beginning Monday 18 September 2017, and work on the Project will commence as soon as scholarships are awarded. Students are expected to commit to the Project until summer 2018. All Project appointments are subject to Leverhulme Trust approval.

If you have any questions, please contact Emily Rose Hay:



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