Understanding the Past, Imagining the Future

The School of Humanities is committed to generating original ideas and innovative approaches to the enduring questions of the human condition. We are dedicated to preparing citizens of the future to face new and complex challenges and opportunities. We equip them with the tools to respond to rapidly fluctuating social, economic and cultural realities, with values firmly rooted in an understanding of the successes and failures of human history, and with imaginations enriched by critical study of some of the greatest products of human creativity: in literature, the arts, and philosophy.  (‌Full Mission Statement)


Dr Enrico Dal Lago (History) has been awarded the DLitt (Doctor of Literature) degree on Published Work by the National University of Ireland – a higher doctorate awarded to scholars who have published a substantial body of ground-breaking and influential work in a research field and who have achieved outstanding distinction internationally. Dal Lago joined the History Department at NUI Galway in 1999, where he is currently Lecturer in American History. Over the past fifteen years, he has published four monographs: Agrarian Elites: American Slaveholders and Southern Italian Landowners, 1815-1861 (2005); American Slavery, Atlantic Slavery, and Beyond: The U.S. “Peculiar Institution” in International Perspective (2012); William Lloyd Garrison and Giuseppe Mazzini: Abolition, Democracy, and Radical Reform (2013); and The Age of Lincoln and Cavour: Comparative Perspectives on Nineteenth-Century American and Italian Nation-Building (2015). Dal Lago’s research focuses on the comparative history of the nineteenth-century Americas and Europe, and particularly the United States in the era of the American Civil War and Italy in the age of Italian national unification. He utilizes this particular angle to investigate the rise and fall of conservative elite ideologies and exploitative forms of labour, the spread of ideas of reform and progress, and the making and unmaking of nations in the midst of civil conflicts in the course of the nineteenth century. Since he joined NUI Galway, Dal Lago has supervised several PhD students on research projects that have developed from his own comparative and transnational interests. Two of his former students – Cathal Smith and Joe Regan – are currently organizing a major international conference on the nineteenth-century Euro-American agrarian world, which will take place in June 2016 in the Moore Institute.


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.

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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.

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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.

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