Visit here for information on how to apply, entry requirements, career options and assessment.

The Structured PhD is a four-year, fulltime, student-centred programme organised around the primary goal of supporting scholarly research. It offers a broad template designed to achieve flexibility in student choice while respecting the wide range of disciplines and scholarly methodologies within the school.

Within the structured PhD programme, the PhD research project remains central; every PhD student is expected to make a distinctive, original and publishable contribution to knowledge. The student's research is supported and complemented through a range of taught modules and accredited activities aimed at ensuring the acquisition of high-level skills in research methods, analysis and communication. Each PhD student will be assigned a primary supervisor who they meet regularly and supervisory committee that they meet with from time to time.

Any PhD student who is working more than five hours per week in paid work unrelated to their research is not eligible to enrol in the fulltime PhD programme. Prospective students interested in pursuing a PhD on a part-time basis should consider the Traditional PhD Programme. 


For queries relating to the Structured PhD programme, please contact:

Dr. phil. Alexander I. Stingl
Director of Postgraduate Research
Room 312
School of Political Science & Sociology
Áras Moyola Building, Central Campus
NUI Galway
Telephone: + 353 91 492298
Email: alexander.stingl@nuigalway.ie

How to Apply

Step 1: Formulate Your Research Topic

It is expected that prospective PhD students will already have done a substantial amount of preliminary research (e.g. as part of a Masters course) in an area of particular interest to them before seeking admission to the School’s PhD programme. Having a good research idea or topic, therefore, is the first step in applying to the PhD programme.

Step 2: Find a Supervisor

The second step in being considered for admission to the PhD programme is to identify a member of academic staff who is available to supervise your work. Normally a supervisor is an academic with interest and expertise relevant to the student's topic.

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:

  • Children, Youth and Families (the Child and Youth Research Centre)
  • Gender, Empowerment and Globalisation
  • Governance and Sustainable Development
  • Power, Conflict and Ideologies

All prospective PhD students should visit the web pages for the Research Clusters and the IRIS web pages for members of academic staff in the School in order to gain an understanding of the kinds of research that take place in the School and the range of academics that are available to supervise PhD students.

Step 3: Create a PhD Project Proposal

Once you have identified a possible supervisor for your work, you should then create a proposal and statement of interest in pursuing a PhD under their supervision.

Your proposal should be no more than 2000 words long and should contain the following information:

  • The name(s) of your intended supervisor(s) in order of preference
  • A title for the project
  • The goals and objectives of the research project
  • A rationale for undertaking this research (Why this project? Why now? What will it contribute to knowledge in the relevant field?)
  • A clear statement of core research question(s) to be investigated
  • A short statement of your intended methodology (i.e., how you might go about answering your research questions)
  • A brief narrative review of the academic literature relevant to your topic (that is, discussing approximately 10 books, articles, chapters, or other authoritative sources that are relevant to your project)
  • An indicative properly and consistently formatted bibliography
  • An indicative 3 to 4 year schedule for the execution of your project
Step 4: Make contact with your potential supervisor

Once you have completed the proposal, you should email it to the person identified as a potential supervisor. It is useful to explain to your potential supervisor why you are approaching them, and why you feel that your work might be a good match with their research interests.

The proposal should be sent along with a recent CV. You should copy the Director of Postgraduate Research, Dr. phil. Alexander I. Stingl, on this email (alexander.stingl@nuigalway.ie).

If you do not receive a reply, or require some help, please contact Dr Stingl about this.

Note: in the event that you cannot identify a member of staff that might be suitable, please email your CV and proposal directly to Dr Henrike Rau. She will circulate your details to School members. However, you should note that it is usually best to contact a potential supervisor directly.

Step 5: Apply Online via the Postgraduate Application System

Once a member of academic staff has agreed provisionally to supervise your work, you should apply to this programme online via the Postgraduate Application System on the NUI Galway website.

Your formal acceptance into the PhD programme is subject to you meeting all established criteria for admission to PhD programmes in the College of Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. For more information about enrolling in this programme, please visit the Postgraduate Admissions Office. 

PhD Research Funding Opportunities

Career Development Centre (NUIG)

For information, please visit: the Career Development Centre.

Galway Doctoral Research Scholarship Scheme

The College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, NUI Galway, offers postgraduate scholarships to support full-time PhD research within the structured PhD programmes of the College.

NUIG Hardiman Fellowship Scheme

The Hardiman Research Scholarships are fully funded for four years, with a stipend of €16,000 p.a. plus fees. These scholarships offer opportunities for suitably qualified individuals to pursue a Structured PhD focused on the five key areas of research in which the University offers leading expertise. These are:

  • Biomedical Science and Engineering
  • Informatics, Physical, and Computational Sciences
  • Environment, Marine, and Energy
  • Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy
  • Humanities in Context

The primary strategic aim is to attract the best students to NUI Galway and to support their development as innovative individuals who will contribute globally to economic, cultural and social development.

While a majority of postgraduate awards supported by the Hardiman Scholarships will be awarded to European Union (EU) citizens, or to those who are ordinarily resident within a member state of the EU, a proportion of awards will also be offered to exceptional candidates who are ordinarily resident in non- EU member states. Scholarships will be awarded only to those who will engage full-time in research during the period of the award in NUI Galway.

Successful candidates must register for a Structured PhD in one of the five Colleges.

Irish Research Council (IRC)

The Irish Research Council makes a substantial number of postgraduate research awards each year. The deadline for applications is normally in December or January. As with the internal funding opportunities, candidates for an IRC doctoral fellowship must already have provisional acceptance into a PhD programme and the support of their supervisor. This scheme is open to international applicants.

Prospective applicants should check the IRC website regularly for updates and for information on any new schemes and funding opportunities that might be available.