The Discipline of Health Promotion has a very active and highly competitive PhD research programme. Graduates of the PhD programme have found employment nationally and internationally as post-doctoral researchers and lecturers with some graduates now in professorial posts. Graduates hold posts not only in dedicated academic health promotion centres but also in related disciplines including nursing, psychology and primary care.

About the Programme

You can take a PhD through the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies, or, through the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. The university offers the opportunity of a traditional 3 or 4 year programme, or a 4 year ’structured’ programme, where students are expected to also complete taught modules in areas relevant to their doctoral studies.

PhD students participate fully in the academic life of the Discipline of Health Promotion and the School of Health Sciences, including attending seminars, workshops, training opportunities, contributing to conference hosting, teaching and social events.

Prior to formal application it is recommended that potential students make direct contact with potential supervisors to discuss their plans and to work on proposals. A full CV and proposal will be requested and considered prior to acceptance onto a research degree programme. Applicants will be required to present to an interview board. Information for Prospective Postgraduate Research Students

Areas in which applications are welcomed 

 Staff Member

Contact Details

Areas of Research Interest

Professor Margaret Barry

T  +353 91 493 348 

Mental health promotion; evidence-based practice and evaluation in health promotion; capacity development and health promotion competencies; public perceptions of mental health.

Dr Margaret Hodgins 

T: +353 91 493 349 

Workplace health promotion; The settings approach within health promotion.

Dr Victoria Hogan T: +353 91 493 465 

Work-life conflict; working time; occupational stress; workaholism; occupational health and safety; workplace health promotion.

Dr Colette Kelly

T: +353 91 493 186 

Food environments; nutrition; body image among adolescents; overweight and obesity; participative approaches to research for young people; Health Behaviours among school-aged Children (HBSC); social care and young people.

Dr. Mary Jo Lavelle

T: +353 91 495119

Environmental sustainability and health, quality of life and wellbeing, sustainable lifestyles, active transport, green spaces, pro-environmental behaviour, and segmentation analysis. 

Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

T  +353 91 493 093 

School health promotion; health inequalities among children and young people; sexual behaviour; substance use and risk taking and women’s health; Health Behaviour in School Children (HBSC).

Dr Martin Power 

T: +353 91 492 157 

Social care theory and practice; care planning; risk; social policy; adult education; and workforce development.

Dr Lisa Pursell

T: +353 91 492 044 

Health inequalities, health impact assessment methodologies, evaluation and health policy.

Dr Jane Sixsmith

T: +353 91 493 466 

Health communications; community health; qualitative methodologies; health services research.

 Current Research Students & Graduates 

To see a more detailed picture of the type of research undertaken through the PhD programme see the table of current research students and PhD Graduates below. 

 Name of Reserach student / Graduate

 Name of Supervisor

 Research Title

Mr Yousef Al Balawi

Dr Jane Sixsmith

The role of social media in the prevention of RTAs through agenda setting.

Ms Maura Burke

Dr Margaret Hodgins

Exploring the rhetoric and reality for Primary Care team professionals: tracking the implementation process of the team-based approach to service provision in Ireland.

Ms Mary Callaghan

Dr Michal Molcho

The influence of the neighbourhood, school and individual factors of bullying among post-primary students.

Ms Clare Carroll

Dr Jane Sixsmith

Understanding early intervention services in Ireland.

Dr Khalifa Elmusharaf

Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan

Strengthening health system in Africa to improve reproductive health during and post conflict.

Mr Declan Flanagan

Dr Michal Molcho

Fun & games & health; a mixed methods study measuring the impact of government health initiatives & recommendations in the North West of Ireland.

Ms Aoife Gavin

Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

Understanding the lives of children with disability/chronic illness.

Ms Helen Grealish

Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

Assessing the impact of research on the development of policy in child and youth affairs

Ms Ursula Kenny

Dr Colette Kelly

Peer influences on adolescent body image.

Ms Tuuli Kuosmanen 

Professor Margaret Barry

Using online technologies to promote young men’s mental health.

Dr Samir Mahmood

Professor Margaret Barry

Health Promotion capacity mapping in developing countries

Ms Teresa Meaney

Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

An exploration of Irish mothers experience of persisting with breastfeeding: a phenomenological study.

Ms Christina Murphy

Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

From paper to practice: An analysis of teacher-delivered relationship and sexuality education in Ireland.

Ms Verna McKenna

Professor Margaret Barry

Health literacy outcomes in Health Promotion programmes.

Ms Aine O’Brien

Dr Michal Molcho

Pediatric injury mortality.

Mr Éamonn O’Bróithe

Dr Jane Sixsmith

Scileanna agus riachtanais litearthachta gaeilge chainteoirí dúchais aaeilge sa ghaeltacht (The Irish language literacy skills and needs of native Irish speakers in the gaeltacht).

Ms Leigh-Ann Sweeney

Drs Michal Molcho and Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

An exploratory study of sex workers psychosocial experiences of the Irish healthcare system.

Ms Yetunde John-Akinola

Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

A Health Promotion approach to the implementation of school health services.


Programme Delivery

All postgraduate research students are supported through the dissertation by a named supervisor who is a member of academic staff. One-to-one supervisory time is negotiated between the student and their supervisor. In addition all students undertaking postgraduate study have a Graduate Research Committee (GRC) usually comprising of three academic members of staff, who provide further advice and support to the student.

Further Information

For further information please check the  NUIG postgraduate programme webpage.