Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of:
- Carolingian history
- Early medieval intellectual history
- Glossing studies


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Focus

I am an historian of early medieval intellectual culture. To date, my research has resulted in two solo-authored substantial monographs. My first book provides an edition of glosses on Prudentius’s Psychomachia, an allegorical work that had a profound influence through the Middle Ages into the early modern era. My second on the reception of Martianus’s textbook on the liberal arts illumines the central work underpinning medieval ideas of education and learning. Providing comprehensive first editions of early medieval glosses on foundational texts, both books establish the significance of glosses as evidence for early medieval intellectual activity. Moreover, the larger issues arising from these studies pertaining to micro-texts and hypertexts reach right into the modern world. Additionally, collaborations on interdisciplinary projects have extended the scope of my research beyond the field of glossing studies into the areas of the classical commentary tradition and the materiality of the medieval book. More recently, I have explored the reception of Vergil for insight into Carolingian imperial ideology as well as the Carolingian conception of earth.


My current project probes annotations on the Psalms added to Carolingian manuscripts for insight into Carolingian imperial ideology. It seeks to examine these annotations both as a source for Carolingian ideas about empire and for what they reveal of the role of Jerusalem in shaping an enduring articulation of empire in the post-Roman West.



Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, London in 2010, past awards include an AHRC Leadership fellowship (2020-2021) to organise an international conference and undertake exhibition organisation at Queen's on crafting knowledge in the medieval and modern worlds ( Thanks to a Leverhulme International Fellowship in 2017, visiting fellowships were held at the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Galway; Huygens ING, Amsterdam; Laboratoire d’histoire des théories linguistiques, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Paris; and the Abteilung für Griechische und Lateinische Philologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich.


Other awards include an AHRC Research Fellowship (2009-2010), Scaliger Fellowship, Leiden (2005), National University of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003-2005), Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship, Irish Research Council (2001-2002), Research Fellowship, University College Cork (2000-2001), Wingate Scholarship, Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, London (1998-1999), Rhodes Scholarship, Rhodes Trust, Oxford (1995-1998), Olwyn Rhys Scholarship, St. Anne’s College, Oxford (1995-1997), DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) awards (Munich 2002 and Heidelberg 1991), and a Research Fellowship, University of Konstanz (1992-1993). 


Invited to sit on the advisory boards for the Leverhulme funded project Boethius in Early Medieval Europe (Oxford) and the Irish Research Council project Global and Local Scholarship on Annotated Manuscripts (Galway) as well as to contribute to international collaborative projects in Stockholm, Helsinki, Vienna, and Princeton, Sinéad O’Sullivan has served as guest editor for a major digital collaborative project at the Huygens Institute (Leiden), co-organised an international conference in the Hague and has recently been invited to serve as an Associate Editor for The Journal of Medieval Latin (Toronto and Turnhout, Brepols). Her research has brought to light new materials for understanding the texts shaping the cultural history of the medieval West. Publications include single-authored monographs that are standard reference works, major research volumes of which she was chief editor and co-editor respectively, and numerous solo-authored articles in leading journals and peer-reviewed articles in edited collections.


At Queen’s, Sinéad O’Sullivan is currently an Athena SWAN Lead for HAPP. Past roles include Programme Convenor for History, Senior Tutor, Senior Exams Officer, Advisor of Studies, Socrates-Erasmus co-ordinator, and membership of the Theology Board.




Sinead O'Sullivan teaches on the following programmes / modules:




The Roman Origins of the East and West 300-700


Kings, Courts and Culture in Carolingian Europe, 800-1000


Expansion of Medieval Europe, 1000-1300




Case Studies in History (MA in History)


Dissertations (MA in History)



Relevant Websites

Full CV at

Current project:

Colloquium: Crafting knowledge in the early medieval book: practices of collecting and concealing, Queen’s University, Belfast, 12-13 July 2021

Public Exhibition: ‘Ciphers, Codes and Notes: Crafting Knowledge in the Medieval and Modern Worlds.’ The McClay Library.

Online Exhibition: Ciphers, Codes, and Notes: Crafting Knowledge in the Medieval and Modern Worlds. 

Public Engagement Event: Ciphers and Codes, Past, Present, Future, The Great Hall, Queen's University, Belfast (Schools of HAPP and EEECS & Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London)

Online Lecture: IHR Earlier Middle Ages Seminar: Reading the Psalms in the Carolingian Age.

Podcast: How and Why History: Who was Charlemagne



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