Studying for a PhD in English at University of Galway enables you to undertake a major original research project within the field of literary studies. As you work together with a primary supervisor from the discipline, a Graduate Research Committee of complementary expertise supports your progress.

 Our four year Structured PhD programme represents a exceptional opportunity to allow researchers to enhance their work on a primary thesis by taking modules from across the university to enhance their research skills and professional development. Many hundreds of course modules are on offer from a huge variety of fields, with specialist courses in historical periods, research skills, languages old and new, and critical theories proving very popular. In exceptional circumstances some students may proceed with a purely research full-time or part-time PhD without access to these programmes.

 Over your years of study the chief focus is on preparing a doctoral thesis, typically consisting of an academic dissertation of up to 80,000 words. Researchers are encouraged to develop skills in presenting research papers at conferences, and preparing work for publication. Many researchers also grasp the excellent opportunities for undergraduate teaching,

 Choosing a practice-based PhD programme allows for the inclusion of non-traditional elements within the PhD thesis, such as a collection of short stories or creative non-fiction, alongside a reflective approach to writing practice. Our thriving Digital Humanities programme collaborates with four partner Irish universities and INSIGHT, University of Galway’s digital hub.

Why Study this Programme?
PhD study represents the chance to explore a range of ideas, texts, arguments, and cultural developments in great depth. If you are interested in reading, writing, and the detailed analysis of literature and culture, and keen to explore the intellectual and personal development PhDs can bring, you will find a home at University of Galway. The Discipline of English has an exemplary track record in guiding students to successful funding applications.

New researchers join a thriving community of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers. Stunning state-of-the-art research facilities at the Moore Institute and Hardiman Research Building (featuring research hubs and individual workstations for all researchers) provide a home for new ideas and make cross-disciplinary collaboration routine. Researchers participate in a programme of seminars, research days, performances, conferences, symposiums, and invited speakers on campus. Workshops prepare researchers for international conferences and give advice on writing, teaching, and publishing.

 The James Hardiman Library is host to exceptional archive collections providing the foundation for numerous innovative doctoral research projects. Rare books, scholarly journals, and microfilms are enhanced by subscriptions to global online journals and resources, so students have instant access to the latest and best research.

 Career Opportunities
Employers increasingly value creativity above all other qualities in the workforce. PhD researchers in English study at firsthand the processes of creativity, and evaluate how language performs in social and political contexts. PhD study develops high-level skills in critical thinking, research, data analysis, communication, and information/project management. Many PhD graduates proceed to third-level teaching and research, and many find success in publishing, media, advertising, and public service, as well as in the ICT, business, and financial sectors.

 Areas of Interest
Research activity in the Discipline of English extends from sexuality to technology, embracing many periods and methodologies from early manuscript studies and book history to new media landscapes and digital poetics. Keynotes of our approach are interdisciplinarity, textuality, and cultural exchange. Our researchers are very keen to discuss possibilities for doctoral study in their areas of interest

Visit University of Galway's Courses page for information on how to apply, entry requirements and assessment.

PhD Programme

We welcome prospective researchers in English at University of Galway, You will find outstanding research facilities and a great record of securing funding. We would be delighted to hear more about your research ideas, and we urge prospective applicants to discuss their plans with a member of staff with appropriate areas of interest before submitting their application.

 Studying for a PhD thesis is a challenging but rewarding choice for study. Your work is supported chiefly by a primary supervisor from the discipline of English. Alongside your supervisor, a Graduate Research Committee of complementary expertise drawn from across the university supports your studies and helps to assess and progress your work.

 A PhD thesis is expected to make a substantial and original contribution to its field of knowledge. The PhD degree is awarded for work that is 'worthy of publication, in whole or in part, as a work of serious scholarship' (University of Galway Calendar). The length of the thesis in English is normally up to 80,000 words. The duration of research is usually four years: in a Structured PhD programme this includes courses to support your primary research. At the close of your research you will defend your thesis in a viva voce examination.

 The minimum qualification necessary to be considered for admission to the PhD programme is a high honours primary degree, or 'other such evidence as will satisfy the Head of Department and the Faculty of his/her fitness' (University of Galway Calendar). It is more usual, however, for successful applicants to have already gained a Master's degree.

Applying to do research in English

 Download a pdf of our Application Guide to Research in English.

Applications to all postgraduate programmes in English are made online via Ellucian Recruit LoginYou will need an active email account to use the application website, and will be guided through the system, step by step, until you complete the online form. You will be asked to enter the course code for each programme you apply for.  Applicants should normally apply for a Structured PhD rather than a Full-time PhD or MLitt, unless permission is sought from the department. Structured PhDs allow you to take further courses to help your study.
Your application includes the following: the title of your proposal, curriculum vitae details (including your qualifications and personal information), copies of degree certificates (if not currently held by the university), and two independent academic references, which are submitted directly in confidence by the referees concerned.You must also submit a sample of academic writing. This might be a recent MA course essay or chapter from an MA thesis; it might be a published piece of work. Our practice-based PhDs are divided equally between academic and practice-based work, so for these courses in addition you should submit a sample of creative writing, whether a group of poems, short story, piece of creative non-fiction, or other representative work.

 All applicants must submit a 1500 word research proposal. The proposal should bestructured under the following headings.

1. Title
2. Description of proposed research (800 words)
3. Critical context (350 words)
4. Methodology (250 words)
5. Sources and archives (100 words)

Admission is at the discretion of the Postgraduate Research Committee in the discipline,which assesses all applications.
The success of your application depends on a number of factors: the quality and viability of your proposal, the standard of writing displayed, your qualifications and achievements to date, referees’ reports, and the availability of appropriate supervision. The postgraduate research committee in English considers the application at several opportunities throughout the year and its decision is final.

For more details contact the Director of Graduate Research in English:

Dr Cliodhna Carney
Discipline of English
School of English & Creative Arts
University of Galway

NUI Regulations on Submission and Formatting of PhD Theses
You should become familiar with the National University of Ireland regulations for PhD theses. You will find these in the University of Galway General Calendar, or you may obtain them directly from the Registrar, National University of Ireland, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.


University of Galway English has an excellent track-record of securing scholarships and receiving funding awards. Funding for PhD study is provided by many sources, including Hardiman Research Fellowships, Galway Doctoral Scholarships from the College of Arts, and externally from funding bodies like the Irish Research Council and the National University of Ireland. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential supervisors and the Director of Graduate Research as early as possible in the process. Once you are a registered PhD student at University of Galway there are also excellent opportunities available for travel bursaries and study abroad opportunities.

 The outstanding record of English in securing funding for postgraduate research transpires because full discussions are had with prospective candidates. If you are thinking of applying to funding bodies you must contact the Director of Graduate Research and your potential supervisor in the discipline to discuss and formulate the application. Clinching funding for study at University of Galway often depends upon a good fit between the project proposed and the university. For further information regarding collections and archives at the James Hardiman Library see http://www.library.nuigalway.ie


Funding opportunities for PhD study

The following provides a few common options for funding PhD research in English. For more information about funding opportunities and scholarships you should consult the university funding page and consider signing up to research professional.

Irish Research Council
The Irish Research Council (IRC) is funded by the Government of Ireland and provides generous but competitive funding awards for PhD and postdoctoral research in all subjects. English at University of Galway has an outstanding record of successful funding through the scheme, but it should be stressed that the application process is intensive, and you should seek discussions with the discipline as early as possible. Calls and deadlines occur early in the academic year, usually by November of the year before study commences.
Click here for details

Hardiman Scholarships
These prestigious and generous scholarships provided by University of Galway match IRC funding and are named in honour of literary scholar, poet, and librarian James Hardiman. They apply to all fields of study and are very competitive, with applications followed by interviews. The application deadline is early in the academic year, with funding calls open in September and closing in November.  

Galway Doctoral Research Scholarships
Funded through the College of Arts and the School of Humanities, Galway Doctoral Research Scholarships provide excellent opportunities for prospective scholars. The funding is competitive and applications usually close in early June.

National University of Ireland
The National University of Ireland offers a range of doctoral scholarships, travelling studentships, and postdoctoral fellowships for study at universities in Ireland and abroad. These awards are competitive and deadlines vary.

Student Support
Especially if you have been in receipt of a student support grant during your BA degree, in some cases you may be eligible for grants towards a postgraduate degree. More information and eligibility criteria can be found at Student Universal Support Ireland https://susi.ie . For policies consult the Higher Education Authority http://www.hea.ie

University of Galway Further Education
University of Galway is committed to supporting those that work for the university to undertake educational programmes to enhance their professional or personal development. In some cases this includes PhD study. To find out more consult the University of Galway Further Education Policy http://universityofgalway.ie/media/stafftraining/FEP-Scheme.pdf


Funding for current PhD students

Travel Bursaries
All registered postgraduate students in the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies are eligible to apply for a travel bursary to assist them in their research. These bursaries are awarded annually; application forms are normally available in the early spring. Details and dates are available from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies.

Study Abroad Opportunities
There are many study abroad opportunities available for students at University of Galway. There are also opportunities for students abroad to study here. For more contact the International Office.

Ireland Canada University Foundation
If you are a PhD student or post-doctoral academic in the early stages of your research career, you may be eligible for the Flaherty Research Scholarship. This award supports a short research visit of four to six weeks, and is designed to help scholars make contacts with researchers working in related research topics, with a view to widening and deepening the scholar’s research horizons, ideally leading to continued collaboration in future research. The James M. Flaherty Program is provided with the assistance of the Government of Canada, via the International Education Division of Global Affairs Canada, and with the assistance of the Irish Government, via the Emigrant Support Programme, administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Study Abroad at University of CaliforniaUniversity of Galway is a partner with the University of California for study abroad. Reciprocal exchange students can attend the University of California for up to one academic year on a no-fee-exchange, non-degree basis. UC is the major public research university in the state of California serving both undergraduate and graduate students. There are ten campus locations: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Diego and San Francisco. http://eap.ucop.edu/ReciprocalExchanges/Pages/default.aspx

If you are thinking of applying for funding, or for more details on the university or funding opportunities please contact the Director of Graduate Research in English:

Dr Cliodhna Carney
Discipline of English
School of English & Creative Arts
University of Galway


PhD Scholarship in Digital Arts and Humanities – Call for Applications

University of Galway invites applications for a four-year structured PhD scholarship in Digital Arts & Humanities to commence in September 2017.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 14 April 2017. Applications are made via Ellucian Recruit Login (see below).

The Structured PhD in Digital Arts & Humanities at University of Galway is a full-time four-year interdisciplinary programme from which seven students have graduated since its inception in 2011. This PhD programme provides fourth-level researchers with the platform, structures, partnerships, and innovation models to engage and collaborate with a wide range of academics and practitioners. Our ambition is for students to contribute to the developing digital arts and humanities community world-wide. The programme welcomes proposals on the use of digital tools and methodologies in the scholarly analysis of cultural texts and phenomena, and on practice-based research in digital art and media. Students will gain exposure to transferable skills in digital content creation and analysis that are academically and professionally beneficial.

See http://mooreinstitute.ie/2017/02/01/phd-scholarship-digital-arts-humanities-call-applications/ for further details