Course Overview

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 is 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 
Structured PhD (English)—part-time
Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System


Learning Outcomes

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.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Current research projects

’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’

Current funded research opportunity

Work Placement

Related Student Organisations

Career Opportunities

Find a Supervisor / PhD Project

If you are still looking for a potential supervisor or PhD project or would like to identify the key research interests of our academic staff and researchers, you can use our online portal to help in that search

Research Areas

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

Dr Victoria Brownlee: 16th and 17th-century English literature; religious and devotional writings; the early modern Bible and reformed exegesis.

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

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

Dr Sorcha Gunne: Gender studies and feminism, contemporary world literature, globalization and development, literary and cultural theory, postcolonial writing, popular fiction, South African and Irish writing.

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

Mr Mike McCormack: Fiction writing; short stories, novellas, and longer forms.

Ms Bernadette O’Sullivan: Journalism studies.

Dr Justin Tonra: Digital Humanities, Literature and technology, Quantitative approaches to literature, Book History, Textual Studies, Scholarly Editing, Literature of the Romantic period

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

Dr. Andrew Ó BaoillJournalism studies; political economy of media; technology and culture.

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.

Prof. 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.

Dr. Richard Pearson: Nineteenth-century literature; print culture and the literary marketplace in the nineteenth-century; archaeology and anthropology in fiction; the writings of W.M.Thackeray and Charles Dickens; William Morris and the arts and crafts movement; digital humanities.

Dr. Lindsay Ann Reid: Tudor and Jacobean Literature; Middle English Literature; Classical Mythology; Ovidianism; Adaptation, Intertextuality, and Reception Sudies; Periodisation; Book History and Early Print Culture

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.

Researcher Profiles

See 'Areas of Interest.'

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€5,250 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2021/22

Extra Information

EU Part time:  Year 1 [2021/22] €3,575. p.a.

Contact Us

Ms. Dearbhla Mooney
T 353 91 493 339

What Our Students Say


Rosemary Gallagher |   English (Structured PhD)

As a PhD student in English you have the benefit of the different backgrounds and research interests of its vibrant and varied staff, as well as the support of your fellow postgraduate students. We’re very lucky here—it’s a great place to learn and work.


  • Postgraduate Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Prospectus 2021 PDF (12.6MB)