Postgraduate Research Students, NUI Galway

National Student Survey

School of Geography, Archaeology, and Irish Studies (although survey relates to our school before the addition of Irish Studies)

2020 Action Plan







Research Infrastructure and Facilities

The School scored above College average in this section and no actions are necessary.

No new actions needed.




The School scored below College average in terms of satisfaction with the regularity of contact with supervisors and appropriate level of support.


In response to this, it is proposed that -

The basic activities of supervision consist of (1) formal consultation hours, (2) reading and commenting on draft chapters, and (3) field and lab visits where required. Recommendation that a minimum number of consultation hours should be allocated to research students annually with their supervisors, and that these hours should be recognised as ‘teaching’ hours by the College. This would have the dual benefits of ensuring regular contact between student and supervisor and having the work of supervisors recognised as a time-intensive activity.

Chair of School Research Committee (Carleton Jones) to bring up issue of getting College to recognize supervising hrs as formal teaching hrs with College Research Committee in Sem 2.


Sch Research Comm to canvass opinion throughout SoGAI regarding appropriate min number of consultation hrs per postgrad.

*Not Started


Research Culture

The School scored above College average on all questions in this section so actions are not urgent. However, it has been suggested that we might seek to improve our postgrad research culture even further with an annual School postgraduate seminar at which PhDs in Archaeology, Geography and Irish Studies present their work as a group to the university community.

To be discussed at School level in Sem 2

*Not Started


Progress and Assessment

The School scored above College average in this section and these matters are currently handled well within the framework of annual GRC progress reporting and meetings.

No new actions needed



Development Opportunities 

The School scored below average in PhD satisfaction with their teaching experiences.

Teaching: The provision of teacher training is not within the capacity of the school to deliver, but opportunities for PhD students to lecture and to examine in their relevant research areas could possibly be expanded.


Also – if PhD students are interested in teaching we could make sure they first take the CELT GS506 ‘Teaching & Learning’ course as guidance in postgrad teaching is an area which the survey indicates is a perceived need.


The School scored below average for PhDs submitting a paper for publication.

Publication: The practice of pre-emptively structuring a PhD thesis so that after the PhD several chapters can be swiftly turned into stand-alone publications has proved successful in some School theses. Where appropriate, supervisors may consider using this strategy more frequently.



To be discussed at School level in Sem 2




Expansion of practice to be discussed at School level in Sem 2



*In Progress(i.e. already being done to some degree)




*In Progress(i.e. already being done by some supervisors)


Research Skills

A majority of our PhDs require practical GIS skills. An initiative to provide practical, hands-on training in how to make GIS maps, in a series of workshops led by an expert, will be run in Semester 2 of the 2019 – 2020 academic year.

Run by Archaeology Dept for PhDs throughout School.

*In Progress


Personal Outlook

School scored above College averages

No new actions needed



Other Transferable Skills

School scored above College averages

No new actions needed



Responsibilities and Supports

School scored below College average for PhDs knowing who to approach other than their supervisors for academic advice.

In response it is proposed that –

It is made clear in Discipline postgrad handbooks that they can approach their GRC with academic queries outside of the scheduled yearly progress meetings.

Disciplines to include in their 2020-21 postgrad handbooks

*In Progress


Overall Experience

School scored highest in the College for overall research experience. However, the School scored below College average for PhDs having confidence they will complete on time.


In response – The actions listed above under ‘Supervision’, ‘Research Skills’, and ‘Responsibilities and Supports’ should help PhDs have confidence that they will complete on time.






As above

Some In Progress, some Not Started

*Not Started      *In Progress      *Complete