MA (Irish Studies) full-time and part-time

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Course overview

The MA in Irish Studies is a one year interdisciplinary programme drawing on the disciplines of English, History, and Irish and including sociological and political science perspectives. The programme focuses on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and seeks to provide for participants a critical interrogation of key junctions and issues in the historical, cultural and social development of modern Ireland. The approach will be interdisciplinary throughout, aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of the Irish experience since the early nineteenth century to the present day.

A wide range of political and literary texts and other forms of cultural representation will be studied as primary material, and students will be encouraged to make interconnections between the various strands of their course.


The Centre for Irish Studies

The Centre for Irish Studies, which offers this MA, has established itself as one of the premier locations worldwide for interdisciplinary research and advanced teaching on the cultural, social and political endeavours of Irish people, in Ireland and beyond.  As the only centre dedicated to Irish Studies in Ireland, its integrated, interdisciplinary programme of learning explores key aspects of the Irish experience in its historical and contempoary settings.

Another programme feature is that in addition to the Irish-language module, students attend two intensive Irish language weekend courses in the Connemara Gaeltacht.  Field trips, guest seminars and workshops are also scheduled throughtout the academic year, with additional Graduate Research Training provided in Galway and Dublin to support and direct MA dissertation research.

Key facts

Entry requirements

NQAI Level 8 degree at H2.2, GPA 3.0 or equivalent international qualification. IELTS score of 6.5, or equivalent if applicable.

Duration: 1 year, full-time
2 years, part-time

Next start date: September 2015

ECTS weighting: 90

Average intake: 15

Closing date: Candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible.  Please view the round offer dates.

Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

Modules include:

  • Ideology, Politics and Society in Ireland 1800–1921 (10 ECTS)
  • Young Ireland to the Free State: Writing in English 1849–1922 (10 ECTS)
  • Decline and Revival: Language, Literature and Society 1800–1939 (10 ECTS)
  • Divided Ireland: Politics and Society since 1921 (10 ECTS)
  • The Politics of Modernity: Writing in English 1922 to the present (10 ECTS)
  • Gaelic and Free: Cultural Politics and Writing in Irish since 1939 (10 ECTS)
  • Dissertation (30 ECTS) Irish language classes at levels appropriate to students’ needs run in both semesters. Continuous assessment is employed and all students must be deemed Satisfactory in Irish in order to graduate.

Irish language classes at levels appropriate to student's needs run in both semesters. Continuous assessment is employed and all students must be deemed satisfactory in Irish in order to graduate. The teaching language of the MA progrmame is English.


Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre(PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who teaches this course?

Module convenors:

  • History: Dr John Cunningham
  • English: Dr Marie-Louise Colohan
  • Irish: An tOll. Gearóid Denvir
  • Political Science and Sociology: Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh

Requirements and assessment

Course assessment of all modules is by continuous assessment during the year. A dissertation is submitted at the end of the year. Essays, dissertations, and oral presentations may be in either English or Irish at students’ own discretion.

Find out more

Dr Louis de Paor | Dr Nessa Cronin
T: +353 91 493 660 | +353 91 492 893
E: |


PAC code

GYA20 (full-time)
GYA21 (part-time)

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,015 p.a. 2015/16
 - Tuition: €5,791 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €13,250 p.a. 2015/16

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your full-time tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay full-time TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.  M.A. EU Full time programme:  €6,015, EU Part time programme:  €3,065 p.a.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Current students

Fion Lau

Fion Lau

"The course of study I’m pursuing here at NUI Galway is one that isn’t commonly found, and is one that I felt would be best pursued 'on the ground' in Ireland. My MA course is focused on Ireland, but is an interdisciplinary course—as such, I have the opportunity to study everything from the history, to sociology and politics, to literature (in both English and Irish). I also got a crash course on Irish, and am learning to translate from Irish into English—something I thought would be a good idea to actually do in Galway. Particularly as I’m an international student, I felt the course would provide me with a broad background in Irish history, politics and literature, and therefore give me a good foundation for study at the PhD level. Additionally, the Centre for Irish Studies (where I’m based) brings in speakers and provides opportunities for postgraduates to come together to present and discuss their work, which is immensely helpful."

Graduate profile

Des Lally

(MA [Irish Studies], 2008–09)

"I returned to University, not for career advancement or qualifications, but for the sake and reward of learning itself. The Centre for Irish Studies is an open house for those who share a love and appreciation of Irish culture and who also are willing to challenge themselves and learn from others. Long may it continue."