The School of Humanities encourages interest and research in many multi-disciplinary areas with programmes ranging from Culture and Colonialism to Irish Studies, English, History, Philosophy or Old Irish to Film and Digital Media.  The skills of critical analysis, problem solving and other transferable skills are attained through our innovative teaching programmes.  Thus graduates are equipped to become responsible citizens and valued members of society.


Professor Steven Ellis

Defending‌Defending English ground:  war and peace in Meath and Northumberland, 1460-1542 (Oxford, 2015) is the culmination of research by Steven Ellis on English frontier societies under the early Tudor kings.  Concurrently, he published with Chris Maginn, The Tudor discovery of Ireland (Four Courts Press, 2015), an investigation as to how the Tudors learned about Ireland.  Ellis joined the History Department at NUI Galway in 1976, and presently holds the established chair of History.  He served as Head of History (2004-11), and is now Head of School.  His research focuses on English society and institutions in Tudor Ireland, chiefly the English Pale as a frontier region with Gaelic Ireland; more recently comparing arrangements for the Pale’s rule and defence with those for the Anglo-Scottish border, another frontier region of the Tudor state.  Military frontiers were a common feature of European society until recent times:  Ellis chaired two EU-sponsored comparative research groups investigating this phenomenon, publishing the findings in two edited volumes (Pisa, 2009; Hannover, 2013 – see his publications).  This line of research has also been developed by his doctoral students, notably Gerald Power (now lecturer in history, Metropolitan University, Prague) whose dissertation was published as A European frontier elite:  the nobility of the English Pale in Tudor Ireland (Hannover, 2012), and Andy Sargent whose thesis on the Anglo-Scottish border formed the basis of two recent articles.


In addition to traditional subjects such as English, History and Philosophy, students in the Humanities are also offered scope to develop areas of interest such as Irish Studies, Journalism, Creative Writing, Film or Drama and Theatre Studies.  Our range of undergraduate programmes combine traditional Arts Subjects with these specialisms thus providing an extra element to the student qualification.

Learn More


Our School has a vibrant student research community with over 120 PhD students.  Students are matched with a supervisor in their area of interest and have access to great archive resources and a broad research community.  Many interactive conferences, collaborations  and initiatives take place each semester fostering a dynamic community of researchers.

In addition, Humanities has twenty-one different taught MA programmes offering many a bridge to PhD research or, particularly for more professionally focussed programmes, increased employability.  Many of our MA programmes are offered on either a full-time or a part-time basis.

Learn More

International Students

Our English, History and Philosophy courses are popular with international students with a few hundred each year taking classes.  Our small group classes allow for exchange of ideas and sharing of different cultures.  Most of our taught MA programmes have a cohort of international students which creates an interesting dynamic and mix of perspectives in class groups.

Learn More

Our Social Media