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About NUI Galway
About NUI Galway
Since 1845, NUI Galway has been sharing the highest quality teaching and research with Ireland and the world. Find out what makes our University so special – from our distinguished history to the latest news and campus developments.
Colleges & Schools
Colleges & Schools
NUI Galway has earned international recognition as a research-led university with a commitment to top quality teaching across a range of key areas of expertise.
Research & Innovation
Research & Innovation
NUI Galway’s vibrant research community take on some of the most pressing challenges of our times.
- Business & Industry
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At NUI Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Research activity in the Discipline of English extends from sexuality to technology, and embraces a wide range of periods and methodologies from early manuscript studies and book history to performance and digital poetics. Keynotes are interdisciplinarity, textuality, and cultural exchange: our researchers compose prize-winning monographs, create scholarly text and online editions, curate groundbreaking exhibitions, and co-ordinate international collaborative projects.
Our track record of successful funding applications at all levels is exemplary. Particular interests within the discipline currently include Chaucerian studies, early modern literature, women’s writing, masculinities, colonial and postcolonial literatures, print culture, travel writing, Victorian literature, theatre history, modernism, Irish writing, digital humanities, contemporary fiction, creative writing, and journalism. New researchers and collaborators in these and other areas of specialization are hugely welcome.
New researchers join a thriving group of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers pursuing individual and collaborative projects under expert supervision. Researchers pursue PhD or postdoctoral programmes and participate in an exciting programme of seminars, research days, performances, conferences, symposiums, and invited speakers here on campus. Professional development workshops prepare researchers for speaking at international conferences and give advice on writing, teaching, and publishing.
The stunning state of the art research facilities of the Moore Institute and Hardiman Research Building (featuring research hubs and individual workstations for all researchers) provide a space for new ideas and make co-operation with other disciplines and institutions routine. The Moore Insititute’s programme of Visiting Fellows, and easy access to all the resources of the James Hardiman Library, including special collections and archives, helps create what is a vibrant community of scholarship.
Galway University Foundation Ros Dixon Visiting Research Fellowship
Applications are invited from researchers in the fields of Russian literature, Drama and Performance, and Theatre Studies, for the inaugural Galway University Foundation Ros Dixon Visiting Research Fellowship. This award is endowed in the honour of the late Dr. Ros Dixon, who specialised in Russian drama, and whose collection is housed in the Hardiman Library. The catalogue for the Ros Dixon Library of Drama and Theatre History and Performance, housed in Special Collections, may be consulted at http://library.nuigalway.ie/, using ‘Ros Dixon former owner’ as the search term.
The fellowship, up to the amount of €3,000, is for a maximum duration of 4 weeks. Applicants must be engaged in research in one of the designated fields – Russian literature, Russian literature in translation, Drama and Performance, Theatre Studies – and may be graduate students, early career researchers, or established scholars. The Fellow will be housed at the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies.
Click Ros Dixon Visiting Research Fellowship for further information and Ros Dixon Fellowship Application Form to apply. The closing date for receipt of applications is 15 March 2019.
To listen to the first annual Dr Ros Dixon Memorial Lecture, "The Limits of the Imagination", please click here.
Full-Text Online Sources
Early English Books Online (EEBO): EEBO is a vast collection of printed material from 1475-1700 in electronic format containing over 125,000 individual full-text titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave’s Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640), Wing’s Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700), and the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661).
Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO): ECCO provides access to digital images of every page of 150,000 books published during the eighteenth century. With full-text searching of approximately 33 million pages, the database allows researchers new methods of access to critical information in the fields of history, literature, religion, law, fine arts, science and more.
Intelex Past Masters: Coleridge: Collected Letters: the complete Oxford University Press edition of Coleridge's letters, augmented by his early family letters and the letters of his son, Hartley. The Emerging Tradition, 1500-1700: Oxford University Press editions of correspondence from important figures in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, including Elias Ashmole, Thomas Bodley, Anne Conway, Thomas Cromwell, Andrew Marvell, Dorothy Osborne, Samuel Pepys, Walter Ralegh, and Henry Wotton. The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats: complete first 3 volumes of the on-going print edition of The Collected Letters published by Oxford University Press, spanning 1865-1904. In addition, the database includes all of the letters from the further 9-12 volumes of the edition, with dating information (so far as this is known), but lacking the full annotation for which the printed volumes are justly famous. A total of 7,378 new letters are featured in the database. Of these, 88 are newly discovered letters belonging to the 1865-1904 period covered by the 3 published volumes. The remaining 7,290 letters belong to the 1905-1939 period which will be published in print and with full annotation in future volumes of the edition.
Literature Online (LION): A fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, 175 full-text literature journals, and other key criticism and reference resources.
Women Writers Online (WWO): The electronic database produced by Brown University Women Writers Project, providing electronic editions of over 200 texts in English or in English translation, authored by women, printed between 1526 and 1845.
LexisNexis Professional: LexisNexis is a powerful on-line research tool offering full-text access to a wealth of news, company, legal, market research and directory sources.
Times Digital Archive: The Times Digital Archive is an online archive of every page published by The Times [London] from 1785-1985. It provides online access to one of the key resources for the study of nineteenth- and twentieth-century history and culture.
Primary Research Tools
The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC): this database provides extensive bibliographical descriptions and holdings information for materials printed in Great Britain or any of its dependencies in any language from the beginning of printing to 1800—together with materials printed in English anywhere else in the world.
IReL: Humanities and Social Sciences. This major initiative by the HEA provides funding (c. €16 million over four years) for subscriptions to major online journals and databases. The first group includes Taylor and Frances Journals Online (1,191 full-text titles), Blackwell Synergy (319 titles), Cambridge University Press Journals Online (100) titles), and Sage Journals Online (360 titles). Subsequent additions are expected to include Project Muse, Film Index International, and the International Medieval Bibliography.
JSTOR: JSTOR is a comprehensive digital library, containing over 160 full-text journal titles.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: an illustrated collection, published in 60 volumes, of 55,000 biographies of the men and women from around the world who shaped all the history of the British Isles and beyond.
The English Experience: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. A collection of nearly 1,000 facsimiles of early printed books.
Lyric Theatre/O'Malley Collection
The papers of Pearse and Mary O’Malley of Belfast include a considerable amount of material relating to the running of the Lyric Players Theatre Company from its foundation in 1950 to the 1980s, mainly relating to the administration of the theatre and publicity for their productions. There is also material relating to Threshold, a literary journal edited by Mary O’Malley and others, including manuscript contributions and correspondence files with contributors.
Druid Theatre Company
The collection consists of files on each production (usually containing programmes, photographs and posters), as well as files of newspaper clippings relating to the Company and productions.
Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe Theatre
Collection of material relation to the administration of the Irish-language Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe Theatre and publicity for their productions, 1928 to the present.
John McGahern Archive
Literary papers of the Irish novelist and short-story writer John McGahern, currently in cataloguing
Researchers in English: Meet our Postgraduate Research Students
There is a thriving community of researchers in the Discipline of English at NUI Galway. Staff, post-doctoral researchers, PhD and MLitt students come together to share ideas and spark projects and collaborations in seminars, workshops, and conferences, and the discipline has a highly successful track record of funding applications. Prospective researchers should in the first instance contact potential supervisors or mentors. A list of staff research interests and contact details is available by clicking here.
Our broad range of research interests is reflected in a wide variety of current and recent projects. Our current postdoctoral reseachers and PhD candidates are listed below:
Laura Ryan (Post-Doctoral Researcher)
Project Title: "Writing Homelessness: Down and Out in Modernist Literature"
Bio: Laura has research interests chiefly in literary modernism and African American literature. She completed her AHRC-funded PhD in 2019 at the University of Manchester, with a thesis entitled “‘You are white – yet a part of me’: D. H. Lawrence and the Harlem Renaissance”. A monograph based upon this thesis is in progress and Laura has so far published on various aspects of her work and interests in English Language Notes, Études Lawrenciennes, Resources for American Literary Study and The Modernist Review. Her current project at NUI Galway, funded by an IRC Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship, explores how experiences of homelessness impacted upon the work of modernist writers and how conceptions of homelessness were formed and transformed in the modernist period.
Emily (Emma) Allen
Project Title: The Power of a Letter: noble Irish women's use of rhetoric as a means of creating political agency and influence in petition letters to the Elizabethan state.
Supervisor Name: Prof Marie-Louise Coolahan
Aislaigh (Ashley) Cahillane
Project Title: Writing Water Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Embodiment, Privatisation and Hydrofiction
Supervisor: Prof Lionel Pilkington
Project Description: This research analyses twenty-first century literary representations of freshwater in crisis. It focuses on novels which challenge the simplification of water into a resource or commodity in order to articulate a water justice stance. Novels under study include: Karen Jayes’s For the Mercy of Water (South Africa); Claire Vaye Watkins’s Gold Fame Citrus (United States); Natasha Carthew’s All Rivers Run Free (England); Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide (India); Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones (Ireland); and Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book (Australia).
Bio: Before coming to Galway, Ashley earned an MA in Postcolonial and World Literature at Maynooth University. Her PhD project at NUI Galway is funded by an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship. In 2020, she contributed an article entitled ‘Dry Country, Wet City: A world-ecological reading of drought in Thea Astley’s Drylands’ to a special issue of the Humanities journal on ‘World Literature and the Blue Humanities’.
Project Title: ‘This Brytish Discovery and Recovery Enterprise’: John Dee and Elizabethan empire
Supervisor: Prof Daniel Carey
Project Title: Contextualising the writings of Tom Murphy
Supervisor: Prof Lionel Pilkington
Supervisor: Dr Cliodhna Carney
Project Title: The residue of inexpressibility in the fiction of Dermot Healy
Supervisors: Prof Sean Ryder & Mr Mike McCormack
Project Title: Revisionary aesthetics and mediation in the works of W. B. Yeats and James Joyce
Supervisor: Dr Adrian Paterson
Project Title: Dislocating reformist notions of the family in the work of Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, and Edith Wharton
Supervisor: Dr Adrian Paterson
Project Title: ‘Is childhood then so all-divine?’ Investigating representations of the child and pedagogical realism in the work of Anne Brontë
Supervisors: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide & Dr Justin Tonra
Project Title: Embodiment and identity in the literature of South Asian women writers
Supervisor: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide
Project Title: Fairy tales making waves: adaptations in the wake of second and third wave feminism
Supervisor: Dr Lindsay Reid
Project Title: A carpenter of words: the poetry, engravings and art of David Jones
Supervisor: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide
Bio: Colette is a visual artist, published bi-lingual poet and short fiction writer. She has 14 volumes published (Colette Nic Aodha). Her initial primary degree was Irish and History, her MA (modern Irish) was published by Coiscéim, who have also published her Irish language poetry/visual art and short stories. Arlen House publishes her English language, dual language, and bi-lingual poetry collections. Colette’s interest include modernism, disability studies, Irish Studies and Celtic studies.
Project Title: Love and John McGahern
Supervisor Name: Dr John Kenny
Project Title: The use of metaphor in academic writing by Chinese writers in an English-language academic environment
Supervisors: Dr Frances McCormack & Dr Tony Hall (School of Education)
Project Title: ‘The Life of a Nation’: Arts policy in Ireland 1948-1968
Supervisor: Prof Lionel Pilkington
Project Description: Focusing on case studies that deal with An Tóstal, the All-Ireland (Athlone), North Cork (Charleville), Clare (Scarriff) and Western (Tubbercurry) Drama Festivals, this research argues that amateur drama festivals, supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, dynamically contributed to the paradigm shift that took place within post-war Irish society.
Bio: Ian Kennedy has worked in primary, secondary and higher education for over twenty years. A Doctoral Researcher at the Department of English, National University of Ireland, Galway, he is the Access to Post-Primary Teaching Project Co-ordinator and Academic Writing Tutor at St. Angela’s College, Sligo. His previous research included a cultural history of the Yeats International Summer School (2015) and a phenomenological approach to a Theology of Mission (2002). His current research examines the cultural impact of the amateur drama movement on the paradigm shift that took place in post-war Irish society.
Project Title: 'Disability as Subtext: A Study of the Elision of Disabled Subjects in Young Adult and Children’s Literature'
Supervisor: Dr Emily Ridge and Dr Lindsay Myers (Discipline of Italian)
Project Description: This project aims to explore the representation of subjects with disabled-adjacent characteristics in young adult and children's literature, and how this form of implicit representation of the disabled community may impact the reader's relationship with the text in a different way to that of a more typically explicit depiction. It strives to highlight both the virtues and the pitfalls of this form of representation in comparison to works that hinge around the explicit portrayal of a disability.
Bio: Ruairí Kennedy completed his BA in Ancient and Medieval History and Culture in Trinity College Dublin, where he developed an interest in the relationship between mythological tales from our past and more contemporary stories. He went on to graduate from an MA in Writing at NUI Galway, where he solidified his bond with creative fiction, both as an outlet for his own personal projects as well as his research. He was drawn to his topic from both a mixture of his academic disciplines, as well as his own childhood, where he faced the various struggles that his disability presented him, and how they moulded his relationship with literature.
Project Title: Modelling women philosophers’ correspondence networks in seventeenth-century Europe
Supervisors: Prof Marie-Louise Coolahan and Prof Mathieu D'Aquin (Insight Centre for Data Analytics)
Project Title: The role of the Gate Theatre in Irish modernism, 1928-1945
Supervisor: Prof Patrick Lonergan (O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance)
Project Title: ‘To begin with’
Supervisor: Mr Mike McCormack & Prof Felix Ó Murchadha (Discipline of Philosophy)
Project Description: A practice based PhD in English and Philosophy.
1. A Philosophy thesis on the theme of beginning titled: How do ‘I’ begin? An exploration of the self as narrative construct arising in an intersubjective context.
2. A Novel on the theme of new beginnings exploring how received narratives define character and the possibility of deconstructing these narratives.
Bio: Tomás completed degrees in Philosophy in the 1980's, B.A (NUIM) and M.A, (University of London). He has returned to academia after an absence of 30 years and is combining his interest in philosophy with his interest in creative writing.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Title: he Faerie Queene and the ethnogenesis of Elizabeth I’s realm: Edmund Spenser’s poetic undermining of past tales in relation to his Tudor present
Supervisor: Dr Cliodhna Carney & Prof Michael Clarke (Discipline of Classics)
Project Description: This project analyses how Edmund Spenser’s epic-romance The Faerie Queene (1590, 1596) undermines narrative historicism and then contrarily engages in it. On one hand, it argues that Spenser tries to debunk the mystical vision that the sixteenth-century English were coming to have of themselves and their British-Trojan history. However, it then examines how Spenser manipulates past tales to express Ireland’s barbarity in an attempt to validate its need for colonisation.
Bio: Andrew Levie achieved his BA Connect in English and Classics with Creative Writing at NUI Galway, where he fostered a research interest in the transmission of classical literature through the Middle Ages. He then pursued an MSc in Medieval Literatures and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, where he focused on how medieval authors’ works manipulated the classics for their own contemporary means. This lead him to compose his master’s thesis on how Edmund Spenser subtly undermines the Tudor’s claimed Trojan ancestry in the epic-romance The Faerie Queene. Andrew is delighted to continue his research back at NUI Galway, where his project is currently funded by the Hardiman Research Scholarship.
Email address: email@example.com
Project Title: Revealing social hierarchy through literature and music
Supervisor: Dr Adrian Paterson
Supervisors: Dr Frances McCormack
Project Title: Secondary worlds and liminal spaces: a study of Enid Blyton
Supervisors: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide & Dr Lindsay Myers (Discipline of Italian)
Supervisor: Prof Lionel Pilkington & Dr Anne Karhio
Project Title: “When They Talk About Mothers”: Investigating Queer Kinship in Contemporary Poetry
Supervisor: Dr Cliodhna Carney & Dr Lorna Shaughnessy (Discipline of Spanish)
Project Description: This Creative Practice PhD investigates representations of alternative forms of kinship in lesbian poetry through poetry specifically composed for this dissertation and a critical project that applies queer kinship concepts to the work of key poets. Quirke has published one collection of poetry from the dissertation The Road, Slowly (Salmon Poetry 2018) with the second collection How We Arrive In Winter expected to be published in May 2021.
Bio: Liz Quirke is a poet and scholar from Kerry. Salmon Poetry published her debut collection The Road, Slowly in 2018 which the Irish Times described as a collection of “hard-won poems that rise out of a larger silence, re-doing the lyrics of Máire Mhac an tSaoi and Eavan Boland for 21st-century Ireland.” She teaches on the MA in Writing at NUIG and is completing a practice-based PhD on Queer Kinship in Contemporary Poetry, funded by the Irish Research Council, which will include her second collection How We Arrive In Winter (due to be published in May 2021). She is also one quarter of pandemic.ie which earned Arts Council support and is being archived by UCD Library.
Email address: Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Title: F.R. Higgins and the Irish poetry of his time
Supervisors: Dr Adrian Paterson & Prof Lionel Pilkington
Project Title: The Construction of the Pagan Other in Old English Poetry
Supervisor: Dr Frances McCormack
Project Title: The Construction of the Pagan Other in Old English Poetry
Supervisor: Dr Frances McCormack
Project Title: Combating the stigmatisation of depression through an exploration of mental illness fiction and memoir.
Supervisor: Dr Dermot Burns
Email address: email@example.com
Project Title: ‘On the Origin’: evolution, empire, and the self in Edward Lear
Supervisor Name: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide
Project Description: This project examines Edward Lear’s work in the context of evolutionary theory’s impact on questions of the self and empire’s place in nature.
Bio: Emily Tock completed a BA in Russian language and literature, and lived and worked in Moscow for four years. She returned to the US to complete an MA in library science, and worked for many years as a librarian and Russian language teacher. She is currently an IRC funded PhD student at NUI Galway. Emily has published articles on the topics of Edward Lear’s travel literature, Irish copyright, Nabokov’s publishing history, and Russian-Western relations.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Title: The journal of Caroline Synge (1818-1862): a digital edition and study in life-writing
Supervisors: Dr Justin Tonra & Prof Sean Ryder
Recent Research Graduates
The Patroness of the Hartlib Circle: Women’s Authorship and Reception 1640-1665
See also the RECIRC project, funded by the European Research Council: www.recirc.nuigalway.ie
The Playboy and the Beauty Queen: Druid’s Role in Exporting the West
A Study of the Victorian Popular Periodical Publications known as Penny Bloods and Penny Dreadfuls
Irish Travellers: an Exploration in Criticism and Fiction
‘Not our line of territory’: A New Study of Social, Political, and Economic influence on Irish Theatre, 1957-1984
Hiberno-English: Quo Vadis? : a Study of Four Evolving Phonemes in the Hiberno-English of Secondary-School Students in Galway City and County
Literature of the Unword: A Comparative Study of Samuel Beckett and Jack B. Yeats and Mary Swanzy
A Novel and an Essay on the Process of John McGahern’s 'The Dark’ (practice-based)
Measuring Moments: Annotating and Quantifying Narrative Time Disruptions in Modernist and Hypertext Fiction.
The Shape of Africa: Liberia & Travel Writing
Big Houses, Epistolary Relationships and the Irish Revival
Chanté Mouton Kinyon
Postcoloniality in the Irish and Harlem Renaissances
Mairéad Ní Chualáin
Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe: Staging works derived from English and Hiberno-English (MLitt)
From Science to Sensation: A Study of Visual and Literary Representation in Scientific Exploration in the mid C19th
The Ethics of Narrative Form: The Gentleman and the Socially Marginal in Gaskell, Dickens and Eliot
Gender and Ethnicity in Modern Irish Theatre: Martin McDonagh and Marina Carr
Deforming Disability in the works of James Joyce & Samuel Beckett
Teaching Richard III
From The Dark to the Rising Sun: John McGahern and Irish Cultural Development from the Sixties to the Twenty-First Century
Documentarties on women's experience
Francisco Jesús Rozano García (with Medieval Studies)
A Farewell to Elegy: Generic Redefinition of the Old English Text in the Early Medieval Literary Tradition
Mairéad Ní Chroinín (with the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance)
The Live Experience and Mobile Digital Theatre (Digital Arts and Humanities)
Mairead Casey (with Film)
'Playing Devil's Advocate: Cultural Expressions of Gender, Sexuality, and Sexual Violence in Possession and Exorcism Narratives of 21st-Century American Horror'
Andrea Ciribuco (with Italian)
Emanuel Carnevali: A Translated Italian in Modernist America
Recent Post-Doctoral Researchers
Dr Marina Ansaldo
This project resulted in an online database showcasing images of Ireland that appeared as part of travel accounts, both manuscript and printed, created before 1850. The project represents a collaboration between the Moore Institute (NUI Galway) and the National Library of Ireland.
Dr Anne Karhio
Virtual Landscapes? New Media Technologies and the Poetics of Place.
The project focuses on the impact of new media technologies on literary representations of landscape in Irish poetry and poetic culture. It addresses the relationship between new media and poetry both thematically, and through the aesthetic and cultural implications of new forms of dissemination. Works included have been published in print as well as in digital formats, and the project also covers poetry’s engagement with visual and audiovisual arts, music, and other forms of artistic production.
Staff Research Interests
For anyone considering applying for a PhD in English, please consult our 'How to Apply' page and take note of the funding application deadlines such as the Irish Research Council, Hardiman, and Galway Fellowships.
If you are interested in applying, try to identify two members of the English staff whose prior research experience is relevant to your proposed research. Please also consider making a 'pre-application' proposal along the lines indicated on the 'How to Apply' page.
Departmental meetings to assess PhD applications will be held each semester and, as demand requires, during the summer months.
If you have any further queries, please consult the Departmental Director of Graduate Research, Dr Cliodhna Carney, at email@example.com
Our broad range of research interests is reflected in a wide variety of current and recent projects.
Please click on staff names for further information.
Dr Dermot Burns
Medieval literature, chivalric and Arthurian literature, medieval aesthetics and poetic art, Renaissance drama, English Romanticism, fiction of adolescence, monsters and heroes in fiction, service learning: literacy acquisition and learning styles.
Professor 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.
Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan
Early modern literature especially women's writing, histories of reading, translation and transmission, Renaissance manuscript culture
Dr John Kenny
Twentieth-century literature; contemporary Irish and world fiction; history of criticism, especially literary journalism and reviewing of all periods; the works of John Banville; Creative Writing and Practice.
Dr Frances McCormack
Old and Middle English Literature; in particular the works of Chaucer, religious and devotional literature, and heresy
Mr Mike McCormack
Dr Andrew Ó Baoill
Political economy of the mass media, with a particular interest in the interplay of technological change, regulation and not-for-profit media
Dr Muireann O'Cinneide
19th-century literature; research specialisms in women's writing, politics and literature, and colonial & post-Colonial writing, particularly travel writing.
Dr Adrian Paterson
Modernism; fin de siècle and twentieth century literature; literature and the arts, especially music; orality, print, performance, technology, including radio broadcasting; the works of W.B.Yeats, Ezra Pound, James Joyce.
Professor Lionel Pilkington
Irish drama, theatre and Irish cultural history, postcolonialism and Irish studies, culture and politics in Northern Ireland..
Dr Lindsay Ann Reid
Early Modern Literature (especially Shakespeare and Spenser); Late Medieval Literature (especially Chaucer and Gower); Mythology and Folklore; Classical Latin Poetry (especially Ovid and Virgil); Adaptation and Reception Studies; Book History and Early English Print Culture
Professor Sean Ryder
19th-century Irish culture; the works 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
How to Apply to PhD Programme
Applications to the Structured PhD programme are made via our online system at https://nuigalway.elluciancrmrecruit.com/Apply/Account/Login Further information can be found here.
Applying to undertake PhD research at the Department of English at NUI Galway
This is a short guide to the application process. The first part describes the actions you should take before you make your formal application, and the second part describes briefly the formal application process itself. For fuller details please consult the University’s Guidelines for Research Degree programmes: Research Degree Guidelines
These are the types of PhD that you can do in English:
Structured PhD: Most of our PhD students are doing a Structured PhD. This is a four-year programme. The main focus is research and writing, culminating in the completion of a thesis, but students also take a number of taught modules that are designed to facilitate professional and scholarly development.
Pure-research PhD: You can also do a PhD, usually over four years, in which you focus exclusively on your research and writing, culminating in the completion of a thesis.
Practice-based PhD: You can do a practice-based PhD in either creative writing or digital arts and humanities. This kind of PhD has two components. The larger part of your project will be your creative or practical work (e.g. if you are doing a creative-writing PhD you might be writing a novel or a collection of poems; if you are doing a PhD in digital arts and humanities you might be creating a digital resource). The second but integrated part will be scholarly/critical/academic.
Part I: Before you apply
Finding a supervisor:
If you are thinking about doing a PhD in English you should try to find a suitable prospective supervisor. Read about the interests and research specialisms of our academic staff on the departmental website and follow up if you wish by reading articles/books/chapters by individual lecturers in your areas of interest. To get a broad sense of the supervisory potential in the university you can also use this resource:http://www.nuigalway.ie/findasupervisor/
Academic staff in English
If you are a former student you may already have someone in mind or at least someone to talk to about your plans. If you are unsure, and/or cannot find a member of staff who shares your research interest, you can write to the director of graduate studies in English (in 2020-21 this is Clíodhna Carney; you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information on the question of suitable supervision for your proposed project.
Drafting your proposal:
You should develop your idea for the PhD into a coherent proposal. You should be able to explain your idea clearly and to differentiate between your research question and your research topic. Here are the headings under which you should organize your proposal. You need to attach a current CV and the names and contact details of two academic referees. You should also consult the university library (https://library.nuigalway.ie) to familiarize yourself with its holdings, including any special collections and/or archives that may be relevant to your research so that you can address the question of the suitability of NUIG as a host institution for your research project.
1.Title of project (be succinct)
2. Name/s of prospective supervisor/s
3. Description of proposed research (500 words)
4. Critical context (500 words)
5. Methodology (300 words)
6. Sources and archives (300 words)
7. Explanation of your reason for wanting to do your PhD in NUIG
You can either pay for your PhD yourself or you can apply for funding. Funding is very competitive and many excellent applicants do not get awarded funding. Sometimes perseverance is rewarded and applicants receive funding on their second attempt. Here are the main sources of potential funding within Ireland:
- Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarships (this national scheme pays fees and a stipend; the deadline is in the autumn) (http://research.ie/funding/goipg/)
- Hardiman Research Scholarships(this NUIG scheme pays fees and a stipend; deadline in February) (https://www.nuigalway.ie/hardiman-scholarships/)
- Galway Scholarships (NUIG funding scheme; deadline in the spring) (http://www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/phd-research-degrees/scholarships/)
Information about fees is available online at: https://www.nuigalway.ie/student-fees/how-much/postgraduate-fees/#art
Informal feedback on draft proposals:
Prior to your formal application you should send in a draft of your proposal to the department for feedback. We encourage you to send in these drafts at specific times of the year so that we can give feedback in good time for you to prepare an application for funding.
Deadlines for informal feedback:
Round 1: 11th September 2020 (if you wish to apply for the IRC* or Hardiman)—*Please note that the IRC has an eligibility quiz on its website which you should complete before proceeding to prepare your application. You can only complete this quiz once and therefore should make sure that all information you put in is accurate and complete.
Round 2: 12th February 2021 (if you wish to apply for the Galway Doctoral Scholarship)
Round 3: 11th June 2021 (if you are paying for the PhD yourself)
In all cases you may send your draft proposal (please use a .doc or .docx format) to the director of graduate studies in English, Dr. Clíodhna Carney, at email@example.com
Consideration of your draft proposal:
The research committee in the English department will convene to consider your draft proposal. We will consider it under the following headings:
- The quality of the research project itself
- The strengths and potential of the applicant
- The availability of suitable supervision
- The feasibility of the project and the suitability of NUIG as a location for the research
If the committee decides that the project does meet the criteria for acceptance we will recommend that you make a formal application to the university and in most cases (except where a student has indicated a preference for a self-funded degree) we will encourage you to apply for funding. Your prospective supervisor (or suitable deputy if your supervisor is on leave) will give you feedback and guidance in relation to both the revision of the proposal itself and the funding application process. The Moore Institute at NUIG will also give feedback on draft funding applications.
Please note that the English department’s informal response to your draft proposal is not an official offer of a place on the university’s PhD programme. It is merely an indication that your proposal is feasible and eligible and that you are a credible applicant. You still must apply formally to the university and you may or may not be offered a place after a formal review of your application.
Part 2: Making a formal application
If you have received a positive response to your draft proposal and been provisionally assigned a supervisor or supervisors, you can then start the formal application process. Remember that the application for funding (which you will work on with your prospective supervisor/s, is a separate process). The application process itself is online. This is the website that will lead you to the online application form: https://nuigalway.elluciancrmrecruit.com/Apply/Account/Login
Further information about the application process is available here: http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/how-to-apply/
Once your application is complete and uploaded it will be formally reviewed by the English department’s research committee under the same criteria that applied at the draft application stage. Once a decision has been made you will be notified. If you are successful you will be made a formal offer of a place on the PhD programme. When you accept the offer (on the assumption that you are self-funded or have been successful in your funding application) you will then be informed of the steps (e.g. fees, registration, etc.) that you need to take. Once you are fully registered you will have an orientation session and will meet with your supervisor/s to plan a schedule of work and further meetings for the first year.
Current PhD projects in English at NUIG: Current PhDs in English
Guides to writing a research proposal: There are numerous books and also websites that provide advice on the process of planning, designing and conducting research. It is a good idea to consult a sample of these before you organize your own proposal.
James Hardiman Library website: Library
Research in English at NUIG: http://www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and- schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/humanities/disciplines-centres/english/
PhDs in English and Creative Arts
Rules and guidelines for research degrees at NUIG: Research Degree Guidelines
1. Illustrative example from the first paragraph of a successful research proposal
“This thesis aims to expand our understanding of the Irish harp as a key cultural signifier in 18th- and 19th-century Ireland. Using a combination of sociological and literary analysis, it will contextualise the position of the harp in relation to the ideological, political and economic structures of the period. More specifically, it will trace the various visual, literary and musical representations of the harp alongside an examination of the harp as an actual object of musical performance and as an economic commodity. A particular focus will be given to the harp’s evolving role within Irish nationalist discourse from the period of the United Irishmen (and the crucially important Belfast Harper’s festival of 1792), to the Sinn Féin movement of the early twentieth century.”
Note the power of the short declarative verbal expressions:This thesis aims to expand our understanding of the Irish harp as a key cultural signifier in 18th- and 19th-century Ireland. Using a combination of sociological and literary analysis, it will contextualise the position of the harp in relation to the ideological, political and economic structures of the period. More specifically, it will trace the various visual, literary and musical representations of the harp alongside an examination of the harp as an actual object of musical performance and as an economic commodity. A particular focus will be given to the harp’s evolving role within Irish nationalist discourse from the period of the United Irishmen (and the crucially important Belfast Harper’s festival of 1792), to the Sinn Féin movement of the early twentieth century.”
2. Illustration of research questions
“The thesis will pose the following specific questions:
· What are the specific ways that the figure of the Irish harp been mobilised in Irish discourse, and with what purpose and effect? Were there variations in the cultural meanings of the harp among different socio-economic and political groups? What factors might explain these variations or evolutions?
· What is the relationship between literary/iconographic representations of the harp, and the manufacture, performance and reception of the harp as a musical instrument? How did economic and sociological factors affect the role of the harp as popular performance instrument? How do these material factors relate to the literary, scholarly and iconographic representations of the harp?
· To what extent does the position and meaning of the Irish harp enable us to understand the general evolution of Irish nationalism in the period?”
3. Description of the relationship of the proposed thesis to existing research
· Describe briefly what you know of the existing field already, showing that you know what the major works in the field are at present, and what you need to read
· Do not give bibliographical lists or footnotes – discuss and briefly evaluate the scholarship in plain prose, perhaps categorising by theme or chronology
Suggest how your work will EXTEND and/or CHALLENGE this work (what are the gaps and problems in the existing field that you will address?)
“The iconographic and ideological significance of the Irish harp has not been explored in a comprehensive interdisciplinary context to date. Some excellent musicological examinations exist, such as Colette Moloney’s recent synthesization of Bunting’s collections which deals authoritatively with one specific area, but is therefore limited in range. While Joep Leerssen has expertly examined the creation of a ‘self-image’ of Ireland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the prominence of the harp as an agent in the formation of culture, ideology and society is not a central concern of his. Barra Boydell’s research into the iconography of the harp offers interesting overviews; however much of his information on the subject comes from the visual or historical. In no case are the theoretical perspectives of semiotics and feminist theory deployed.”
Dr Cliodhna Carney
Director of Graduate Research (English)