Structured PhD (Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences) (English)

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

Course overview

Download Structured PhD guidelines (PDF file) here.


As part of the doctoral training available on the Structured PhD programme, students avail themselves of a range of interdisciplinary taught modules. The wide menu of available options include modules that:



  • are Discipline-Specific in that they augment the student’s existing knowledge in their specialist area

  • are Dissertation-Specific in that they supply core skills which are essential to completion of the research project, e.g., additional language skills

  • acknowledge a student’s professional development, e.g., presentation of a paper at an International Conference

  • enhance a student’s employability through generic training, e.g., Careers Workshops, computer literacy.


Each student will be assigned a primary Supervisor(s) and a Graduate Research Committee made up of experienced researchers to plan their programme of study and to provide on-going support to their research.


A PhD dissertation should make a substantial and original contribution to its field of knowledge. The PhD degree is awarded for work that is 'worthy of publication, in whole or in part, as a work of serious scholarship' ( NUI Galway Calendar). The length of the dissertation in English is normally 60,000 to 80,000 words. The duration of research is usually four years.

Programmes available

Structured PhD (English)—full-time

Entry requirements

The minimum qualification necessary to be considered for admission to the PhD programme is a high honours, primary degree (or equivalent international qualification), or ’other such evidence as will satisfy the Head of Department and the Faculty of his/her fitness’ (NUI Galway Calendar). It is more usual, however, for successful applicants to have already gained a Master's degree.

Areas of interest

Prof. Daniel Carey: early modern travel writing; literature and colonialism; early modern literature and philosophy; John Locke; seventeenth-century literature and science; eighteenth-century fiction, esp. Defoe; the Enlightenment and postcolonial theory.

Dr. Julia Carlson:
19th and 20th century American literature; censorship, medical humanities.

Dr. Cliodhna Carney: Chaucer; medieval aesthetics; medieval literary theory; Spenser.

Dr. Marie-Louise Coolahan: Women's writing in early modern Ireland; Renaissance manuscript culture.

Prof. Adrian Frazier: Late 19th- and early 20th-century Irish writers, such as George Moore, W. B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde; the Abbey Theatre; 20th century Irish theatre; contemporary Irish poetry; biography; critical theory: literary non-fiction: Golden Age Hollywood Cinema.

Dr. John Kenny: Creative Writing and Practice; the works of John  McGahern; the works of John Banville; contemporary Irish fiction; contemporary world fiction; literary journalism.

Dr. Patrick Lonergan: Globalization and theatre; theatre and the creative industries; modern Irish drama; the works of John Millington Synge; Shakespeare and Ireland.

Dr. Frances McCormack: Old and Middle English literature: in particular the works of Chaucer, religious and devotional literature, and heresy.

Dr. Sinead Mooney: Beckett; modernism; translation studies; 20th century Irish writing.

Dr. Muireann O Cinnéide: Victorian Literature; women's writing; politics and literature; colonial & post-colonial writing, particularly travel writing.

Dr. Lionel Pilkington: Irish theatre history; Irish cultural politics and cultural history; Southern Irish Unionism and Irish Protestantism; J.M. Synge, W.B. Yeats, and Lady Gregory; colonialism and cultural theory.

Prof. Sean Ryder: 19th century Irish culture; the work of Thomas Moore and James Clarence Mangan; digital humanities; critical editing; film studies.

Dr. Elizabeth Tilley: 19th century Gothic literature and history of the novel; 19th century serials, Irish publishing history and periodical production; book history; links between art and literature.

Dr Adrian Paterson: Modernism; fin de siècle, nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature; literature and the arts, especially music; orality, print, performance, technology, including radio broadcasting; Irish poetry in English; the works of W.B.Yeats, Ezra Pound, James Joyce.

Dr. Rebecca A. Barr: Literature of the 'long' eighteenth century; masculinity and literature; printing and print culture; the novel: contemporary poetry and visual culture. 

Researcher profiles

Prof. Daniel Carey: early modern travel writing; literature and colonialism; early modern literature and philosophy; John Locke; seventeenth-century literature and science; eighteenth-century fiction, esp. Defoe; the Enlightenment and postcolonial theory.

Dr. Julia Carlson: 19th and 20th century American literature; censorship, medical humanities.

Dr. Cliodhna Carney: Chaucer; medieval aesthetics; medieval literary theory; Spenser.

Dr. Marie-Louise Coolahan: Women's writing in early modern Ireland; Renaissance manuscript culture.

Prof. Adrian Frazier: Late 19th- and early 20th-century Irish writers, such as George Moore, W. B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde; the Abbey Theatre; 20th century Irish theatre; contemporary 

Irish poetry; biography; critical theory: literary non-fiction: Golden Age Hollywood Cinema.

Dr. John Kenny: Creative Writing and Practice; the works of John McGahern; the works of John Banville; contemporary Irish fiction; contemporary world fiction; literary journalism.

Dr. Patrick Lonergan: Globalization and theatre; theatre and the creative industries; modern Irish drama; the works of John Millington Synge; Shakespeare and Ireland.

Dr. Frances McCormack: Old and Middle English literature: in particular the works of Chaucer, religious and devotional literature, and heresy.

Dr. Sinead Mooney: Beckett; modernism; translation studies; 20th century Irish writing.

Dr. Muireann O Cinnéide: Victorian Literature; women's writing; politics and literature; colonial & post-colonial writing, particularly travel writing.

Dr. Lionel Pilkington: Irish theatre history; Irish cultural politics and cultural history; Southern Irish Unionism and Irish Protestantism; J.M. Synge, W.B. Yeats, and Lady Gregory; colonialism and cultural theory.

Prof. Sean Ryder: 19th century Irish culture; the work of Thomas Moore and James Clarence Mangan; digital humanities; critical editing; film studies.

Dr. Elizabeth Tilley: 19th century Gothic literature and history of the novel; 19th century serials, Irish publishing history and periodical production; book history; links between
art and literature.

Dr. Adrian Paterson: Modernism; fin de siècle, nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature; literature and the arts, especially music; orality, print, performance, technology, including radio broadcasting; Irish poetry in English; the works of W.B.Yeats, Ezra Pound, James Joyce. 

Dr. Rebecca A. Barr: Literature of the 'long' eighteenth century; masculinity and literature; printing and print culture; the novel: contemporary poetry and visual culture.

Find out more

Ms. Dearbhla Mooney
T 353 91 493 339
E dearbhla.mooney@nuigalway.ie

PAC code

GYG08
Important: apply by mid-July for September entry

Current project

’Confessions in Early Modern Literature’

’The Culture of Printmaking in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century’

’British Imperial Policy and Popular Theatre in Ireland, Canada and the US, 1888–1911’

Fees for this course

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

Non-EU: €13,250 p.a. 2014/15

Current Students

Sheila McCormick

Documentary Theatre and the rise in Reality Entertainment

"Rigorous, challenging and supportive!"

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