(Structured PhD) Child and Youth Research

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies,
School of Psychology

Course overview

The PhD in Child and Youth Research is a four year full-time or six year part-time structured PhD programme delivered as part of a collaboration between the School of Psychology and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC) at the School of Political Science and Sociology. 


The programme prepares students for careers on developing policy and research in the child and youth area.  Graduates have gained employments as postdoctoral researchers, academic co-ordinators in the third level sector and employment in research and consultancy organisations.


The programme combines thesis and taught modules.  All students must complete a major dissertation (c.80,000 words).  The taught modules which are delivered in years one and two provide course participants with the opportunity to widen their knowledge and skill base as well as feeding into the development of their thesis work. 


Module Titles:


Year One:



  • Qualitative Research Methods

  • Quantitative Research MEthods

  • The Social World of the Child, Theory and Research


Year Two:



  • Research Ethics and Pragmatics

  • Youth and Society

  • Glocal Policy and Research for Children


A wide range of topics are covered including:



  •    Children’s rights

  •    Child protection

  •    Working with Commissioners

  •    Randomised controlled trials in applied social settings

  •    Ecology of child development (family, peers, culture)

  •    Early years provision

  •    Spaces and places of childhood

Programmes available

Structured PhD (Child and Youth Research), full-time

Structured PhD (Child and Youth Research), part-time

Entry requirements

Entrants will be expected to have an upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent international qualification) in a social science. If applicants do not have a degree of that kind, they must have demonstrated high ability by some other means (e.g. through publications or achievement in a higher degree). Applications are welcome from individuals with strong policy and practice experience in relation to children and young people.  Garda vetting is required for students participating in this programme.

Areas of interest

Child and Youth Research.

Researcher profiles

Elaine Byrnes

PhD Supervisor: Dr Padraig MacNeela 

PhD Title: A Mixed Methods Exploration of the Intersection of Alcohol Use, Sexual Behaviour and Gender in Emerging Adulthood.    

Anne Cassidy

PhD Supervisor: Dr. Brian McGrath (NUIG)

PhD Title: Transitions to Adulthood: Farm Youth and the Future

Ronan Conway (Graduated 2014)

PhD Supervisors: Dr Caroline Heary (NUIG) & Dr Michael Hogan (NUIG)

PhD Topic: Adolescent Self-Regulatory and Psychosocial Capacities: A 12-month longitudinal study of the impact on positive youth development and risky-behaviours.

Thomas Conway

PhD Supervisor: Dr Padraig MacNeela

PhD Topic: An exploration of into how the current economic recession is affecting the adult development of young Irish males experiencing different socioeconomic circumstances.

Sheila Garrity

PhD Supervisor: Dr. John Canavan (NUIG)

PhD Title: Exploratory Study of Relationships between Parents and Providers of Childcare Services in Ireland

Helen Gleeson

 PhD Supervisors: Dr. Molly Byrne (NUIG) & Dr. Caroline Heary (NUIG)

PhD Title: An exploration of the factors that influence young people’s attitudes toward Gardai in Ireland. A Mixed Methods study.

Maire Hanniffy

PhD Supervisor: Dr Michelle Millar (NUIG)

PhD Title: Life Foundations - An Exploration of School Readiness

Marcella Horrigan-Kelly

PhD Supervisor: Dr. Michelle Millar (NUI Galway)

PhD Title: Connecting with Families: Exploring Teenage Parent Service Users Perceptions of Universal Primary Health Care Child and Family Health Services in the Community Setting

Siobhan Kavanagh

PhD Supervisor: Dr Padraig MacNeela (NUI Galway)

PhD Title: An Exploratory Study of Positive Interventions for Mental Health.

Lisa Ann Kennedy

PhD Supervisor: Dr. Padraig MacNeela (NUI Galway)

PhD Title: Ethnic Identity and Acculturation among Adolescent Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Ireland: A Qualitative Exploration

Tanja Kovacic 

PhD Supervisors: Prof. Pat Dolan (NUI Galway) & Dr. Anne Byrne (NUI Galway)

PhD Title: Social Construction of Resilience and Civic Participation: Contextual, Historical, Cultural and Generational Attitudes of Slovenian Youth and Adults.

Joseph Mooney 

PhD Supervisor: Professor Caroline McGregor (NUI Galway)

PhD Title: How Adults Tell: Messages for Society and Policy Makers in relation to Adult Disclosures of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

Claire O’ Driscoll (Graduated 2013)

PhD Supervisors: Dr. Caroline Heary (NUI Galway) & Dr Eilis Hennessy (UCD)

PhD Title: ‘Peer stigmatization of psychological difficulties in childhood and adolescence: An investigation into implicit and explicit public stigma towards peers with ADHD and depression’.

This research is funded by the Health Research Board (HRB)

Anne O'Kelly

PhD Supervisors: Dr Bernadine Brady (NUI Galway) and Professor Chris Curtin (NUI Galway)

PhD Title: Hearing Children’s Direct Views about being Consulted During their Parents’ Separation and Divorce Process: the Implications for Children, the Challenges and Opportunities for Parents, Family Support Services and Family Law Services in Ireland. 

Rebecca O'Shaughnessy

PhD Supervisor: Dr Cormac Forkan (NUI Galway)

PhD Title: To Examine the Wellbeing of Children Living with Parental Mental Illness in Ireland.

Leonor Rodriguez Estrada

PhD Supervisors: Dr Annmarie Groarke (NUI Galway) and Prof. Pat Dolan (NUI Galway)

PhD Title: The relationship between perceived social support and adolescent adjustment to maternal cancer: a mixed methods approach.

Charlotte Silke

PhD Supervisor: Dr Caroline Heary (NUI Galway)

PhD Title: An Investigation into How Children Discriminate against Peers with Mental Health Problems. 

Find out more

Dr. Caroline Heary | Dr. John Canavan
T +353 91 495 059 | +353 91 495 397
E caroline.heary@nuigalway.ie | john.canavan@nuigalway.ie
www.childandyouthresearch.ie/

PAC code

PhD (full-time) GYG00
PhD (part-time) GYG42

Current project

Fees for this course

EU: €4,275 p.a. 2014/15 inclusive of levy

Non-EU: €13,250 p.a. 2014/15

Current Students

'I am delighted to be enrolled on the Structured PhD in Child and Youth Research.  The course has given me the opportunity to meet a range of world-class experts, to partake in workshops headed by leaders in the field of youth research, and to connect with other early-career researchers with similiar interests.  The dedicated core staff are approachable and helpful.  Being a part of this course is a challenge, rewarding and enriching experience'

Lisa Ann Kennedy

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Closing date:
1st May, 2015