PhD in Child & Youth Research

The programme is delivered as part of a joint initiative between the School of Psychology and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway.

This is a full-time, four year or six year part-time programme, combining a thesis and taught modules.

How to apply: For further details on the programme, entry requirements, and guidelines on how to apply see: or contact: Ms. Joanne O'Connor

The next intake for the programme will be September 2019

Programme information:

The PhD programme aims:

• To prepare programme participants to conduct high quality policy and practice-relevant research and programme evaluation with children and young people.

• To develop programme participants’ knowledge and skills in key theoretical, methodological, policy and practice areas relating to children.

• To provide graduates with a set of generic work-skills to facilitate their successful entry into the full range of employment settings

Child & Youth Research End of Year Event, 2013


Programme Executive: 

  • Dr John Canavan, UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre (CFRC) at the School of Political Science and Sociology)
  • Dr Caroline Heary School of Psychology
  • Dr Allyn Fives, UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre (CFRC) at the School of Political Science and Sociology
  • Dr Padraig MacNeela, School of Psychology
  • Ms Nuala Donohue, School of Psychology  & the School of Political Science and Sociology


  • The Social World of the Child 
  • Research Ethics and Pragmatics 
  • Qualitative Research Methods 
  • Quantitative Research Methods 
  • Global Policy and Research
  • Youth and Society 

Previous International Visiting Speakers include the following :

  • Prof. David Archard, School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queen’s University, Belfast, (2016)
    • Respecting Age: Discriminating against the young and the old
  • Dr. Tally Moses, School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2015)
    • Carrying out qualitative research with vulnerable youth.
    • Dr. Richard de Visser, School of Psychology, University of Sussex (2015)
      • ‘Developing and Evaluating Video Resources for Schools-Based Alcohol Education’
  • Dr. Barbara Dooley & Dr. Amanda Fitzgerald, School of Psychology, University College Dublin (Dec. 2013).
    • Public lecture: ‘What we have learnt from the My World Survey on Youth Mental Health’
    • Workshop: Methodology – My World Survey: What helps - What hurts’
  • Prof. Jennifer Greene, University of Illinois (2012).
    • Workshop with students on ‘Policy-Relevant Qualitative and Democratic Evaluation’
    • Workshop with students ‘A Mixed Methods Approach to Evaluation and Social Research’
    • Public Lecture ‘Evaluation for the Public Good’
  • Prof. Richard Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and the Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University (2011)
    • Workshop: Studying Youth Development: Methodological Issues and Options
    • Workshop: The Positive Youth Development Perspective: Implications for Programmes & Policies
    • Public lecture: 'The Positive Youth Development Perspective: Implications for Programmes & Policies'.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Skowron, Visiting Fullbright Scholar, School of Psychology, NUI Galway & Associate Professor Counseling Psychology, Penn State University (May, 2010).
    • Lecture: ‘Enhancing the development of emotion regulation in early childhood’

Current PhD projects:

For information on current student PhD projects, click here > CYR Current Students.


CYR Sheila Garrity“One aspect of this programme that stood out for me was the diversity of the programme. The range of expertise from the academics, visiting speakers as well as the diversity of backgrounds and experiences in the student group truly added to my experience of doctoral studies. The regular group meetings contributed to a very supportive atmosphere among the students, which I particularly valued. Obtaining a doctoral degree was crucial to my career pathway. I am currently employed at a university, coordinating a BA degree and participating in current research”.

- Sheila Garrity PhD, Academic Coordinator, BA Early Childhood Studies & Practice


CYR Lisa Kennedy‘Taking part in the Structured PhD in Child and Youth Research was an invaluable experience. The course afforded me the opportunity to meet a range of world-class experts, to partake in workshops headed by leaders in the field of youth research, and to connect with other early-career researchers with similar interests. I found the dedicated core staff to be approachable and helpful. Being part of this course was challenging, rewarding and enriching. I gained a range of specific and transferable skills which has led to me embarking on an exciting career path that I had not considered prior to commencing the course.’

- Dr. Lisa Ann Kennedy, Project Specialist, Centre for Effective Services.