Course Overview

This course is not on offer for entry in September 2023. Please contact the The Centre for Irish Studies for further information.

This is an interdisciplinary programme, drawing on the disciplines of English, History, Irish, Sociology and Political Science, and is run within the Centre for Irish Studies. The programme focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries and provides a critical examination of key issues in the historical, cultural and social development of modern Ireland. The approach is interdisciplinary throughout, aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of the Irish experience from the early 19th century to the present day.

There are some scholarship opportunities available for this programme. Please visit the MA (Humanities) Scholarships website for more information.

The Centre for Irish Studies

The Centre for Irish Studies, which offers this MA, has established itself as one of the premier locations worldwide for interdisciplinary research and advanced teaching on the cultural, social and political endeavours of Irish people, in Ireland and beyond.  As the only centre dedicated to Irish Studies in Ireland, its integrated, interdisciplinary programme of learning explores key aspects of the Irish experience in its historical and contemporary settings.

As well as the Irish-language module on campus, students will receive further instruction in the Connemara Gaeltacht, attending two intensive Irish language weekend courses in the Connemara Gaeltacht. Field trips, guest seminars and workshops are also scheduled throughout the academic year.

Graduate Research Training is provided to support and direct MA dissertation research.

Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

Module convenors:

  • History: Dr Mary Harris
  • Gaeilge: Dr Louis de Paor
Prof Marie-Louise Coolahan
Personal Professor
Dept. of English
Tower 1, Arts/Science Building
NUI Galway
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Prof Niall Ó Dochartaigh
M.A., Ph.D.
Personal Professor
School of Political Science & So
Room 333, Aras Moyola
NUI Galway
University Rd
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Requirements and Assessment

Continuous assessment; and a dissertation is also submitted at year-end. Essays, dissertations and oral presentations may be in either English or Irish, at the students’ own discretion.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

NQAI Level 8 degree at H2.2, GPA 3.0 or equivalent international qualification. IELTS score of 6.5, or equivalent if applicable.

(Please visit this website for detail of any supporting documents that may be required when applying to this course.)

Additional Requirements

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


1 year, full-time

Next start date

NOT ON OFFER for entry 2023

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date
NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




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Course Outline

Modules include:

  • Ideology, Politics and Society in Ireland 1800–1921 (10 ECTS)
  • Young Ireland to the Free State: Writing in English 1849–1922 (10 ECTS)
  • Decline and Revival: Language, Literature and Society 1800–1939 (10 ECTS)
  • Divided Ireland: Politics and Society since 1921 (10 ECTS)
  • The Politics of Modernity: Writing in English 1922 to the present (10 ECTS)
  • Gaelic and Free: Cultural Politics and Writing in Irish since 1939 (10 ECTS)
  • Dissertation (30 ECTS) Irish language classes at levels appropriate to students’ needs run in both semesters. Continuous assessment is employed and all students must be deemed Satisfactory in Irish in order to graduate.

Irish language classes at levels appropriate to student's needs run in both semesters. Continuous assessment is employed and all students must be deemed satisfactory in Irish in order to graduate. The teaching language of the MA programme is English.

Modules detail


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Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Recent graduates have found employment in teaching (primary and secondary), the arts, heritage and tourism sectors, journalism, publishing, and the public service. A large proportion of graduates of the MA in Irish Studies have proceeded to doctoral research programmes in Ireland, Britain and North America.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€Not on offer 2023/24

Fees: Tuition


Fees: Student levy


Fees: Non EU

€Not on offer 2023/24

What Our Graduates Say


Erick Boustead |   Graduate

I would absolutely recommend the MA in Irish Studies program, even if virtually. My intention with taking the course was to become immersed in Irish history, politics, and literature in order to become more acquainted with the place my great-grandparents emigrated from, and participating in the program was incredibly fulfilling. Nessa Cronin and the other advisors and instructors created a supportive environment to engage with the content, and it was fascinating to learn about contemporary topics and debates as well as gain an introduction to Irish language translation. The dissertation process, while challenging and rigorous, was also very fulfilling and helped clarify my relationship to Ireland as part of a diaspora. The MA cohort was a really fun and engaging group, and the advisors made it a point to connect us with PhD candidates and other scholars in the field outside NUI Galway. I'm excited to continue collaborating with the friends I made through the program and can't wait to make it back to Galway soon!

What Our Students Say


Marteen Lane |   Student

I’m completing my masters in Irish Studies (Literature and History) with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway. There’s an interdisciplinary approach to this course, covering history, politics, sociology, and literature in English and Irish. Class sizes are small, allowing for individual attention and more nuanced group discussions. Dr Nessa Cronin and Professor Louis de Paor have been so generous with their time, and they’ve gone above and beyond to help each student on the course. I have to commend the lecturers for their patience in adapting to online learning during the pandemic. It’s a wonderfully encouraging environment, and I’ve enjoyed the course immensely. As a tour guide, I hope to use what I’ve learned to give a deeper understanding of Irish culture to my clients. If you love Irish culture, then this course is for you.