Course Overview

In the School of Political Science and Sociology, PhD students pursue their research as part of the thematic Research Cluster in which their supervisor is located. The School's Research Clusters are:

Applications within these areas, and/or which combine a Sociological with Political Science/Theory approach, would be particularly welcome, although, others should not feel precluded from applying. In choosing a research topic, it is particularly important to identify a potential supervisor with appropriate research interests.

An MLitt is a route to a Master's qualification by dissertation only.  The thesis is shorter than a PhD, and is usually done over one or two years.  MLitt research is meant to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the area.  Admission to a research degree by MLitt is at the discretion of the research committee of the School, and is based on a proposal from the applicant following discussion with the member of staff whose academic area of interest is most appropriate.

Programmes Available

PhD full-time & part-time
MLitt full-time & part-time 

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System


Learning Outcomes

Entry Requirements

Admission to a research degree is at the discretion of the potential Supervisor and Head of School, and is based on a proposal from the applicant following discussion with a potential supervisor.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Current research projects

Current funded research opportunity

Work Placement

Related Student Organisations

Career Opportunities

Find a Supervisor / PhD Project

If you are still looking for a potential supervisor or PhD project or would like to identify the key research interests of our academic staff and researchers, you can use our online portal to help in that search

Research Areas

  • Processes and practices of social in/exclusion, gender, poverty, in equalities, and rural development.
  • Community and local development-theory, policy and practice; disputes and dispute settlements; family support-policy and evaluation.
  • Argumentation, wisdom and rhetoric; culture/interculturality; qualitative methods in the human sciences; sociology of ageing and the life course.
  • Theories of ethnicity and nationalism; theories of ideology; postcommunism; intellectuals and political elites; sociology of war and violence.
  • Sociology of religion; sociology of sexuality; civil society and the Catholic Church.
  • Political activism online; conflict in Northern Ireland; conflict and territory; territory and minority languages.
  • Power and exclusion, social practices relating to freedom and discipline, post-structuralist theory, government theory.
  • Normative international relations, human rights, global civil society, buddhism and politics, prostitution policy, sex trafficking and women and politics.
  • Gender and development; youth politicization; activism and citizenship; youth policy; children in difficult circumstances-street children, child solders, child labour, and sexual exploitation of children.
  • State theory; environmental politics; risk and public policy.
  • Mobility and sustainability, time (use) and temporality; culture/interculturality; cross-cultural comparative research and social research methods.
  • Political anthropology; political culture; political identities; Latin America; migration.
  • Family support; community based models for working with adolescents; social support and resiliency.
  • Processes of acculturation and cultural integration; approaches to cross-cultural comparative research; social research methods in general and time use research in particular.
  • Political conflict and social exclusion; postmodernity; discourse and semiotics.
  • Agrarian politics; populism; the collective action associated with social movements; ethnography.
  • Social exclusion; youth transitions; community development-theory and policy; rural change and development; heritage in community.
  • E.U. environmental policy; E.U. policy analysis (theory and case studies); Irish environmental policy; E.U. constitutional politics (subsidiarity, enhanced co-operation, open method, etc.); E.U. as a 'regulatory state'.
  • Social theory, power, social structure, modernity; the relationship between sociological theory and political theory; nationalism and liberalism.
  • Globalization, culture, theory and practice of alternative development-especially environmental; southern and feminist perspectives and movements.

Researcher Profiles

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€5,750 p.a. (€5,890 including levy) 2024/25

Fees: Non EU

€14,500 p.a. (€14,640 including levy) 2024/25

Extra Information

EU Part time: Year 1 
€4,250 p.a. (€4,390 including levy) 2024/25

All students, irrespective of funding, must pay the student levy €140.

Contact Us

Dr. phil. Alexander I. Stingl
Senior Lecturer,  School of Political Science and Sociology, University of Galway
Senior Fellow of the Global Research Network
Visiting Faculty at the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking

T: +353 91 492298

What Our Students Say


Aine Lorie |   Current Student

I chose my area of research as it is highly under-researched, especially in the Irish context. I had a great supervisor who was able to blend the practical aspects of academia with research excellence. She was supportive, encouraging, and inspiring.