Course Overview

The Structured PhD in Celtic Studies is a four-year, full-time or six-year, part-time programme of study and research and applicants must have a high honours standard in their primary degree or present such other evidence of fitness as will satisfy the Head of Discipline and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. 

As part of the doctoral training available on the Structured PhD programme, students may avail themselves of a range of interdisciplinary taught modules. The wide menu of available options include modules that

  • are discipline-specific in that they augment the students' existing knowledge in their specialist area (e.g. in Celtic, Classical or Modern European languages or literatures);    
  • are dissertation-specific in that they supply core skills which are essential to completion of the research project (e.g. in writing);
  • support students' professional development (e.g. through presentation of a paper at an international conference);
  • enhance students' employability through generic training (e.g. in computer-based skills).

Students are assigned a primary Supervisor or Co-Supervisors, and a Graduate Research Committee made up of experienced researchers, to help plan their programme of study and to provide on-going support to their research.

Graduates have been very successful in finding employment, in teaching and academic research, publishing, television and radio, print and electronic media, and the management and interpretation of culture and heritage.

Associated Research Centres

The Centre for Antique, Medieval, and Pre-modern Studies at the University of Galway was created by colleagues in ArchaeologyClassicsEnglishFrenchGermanHistoryOld and Middle Irish and Welsh as an initiative operating under the aegis of the Moore Institute

Its primary goals are to help promote, support, and disseminate the research of its members in both individual and collaborative projects to the wider national and international academic community; to create an academic community committed to the highest standards of collegiality and research; and to encourage and serve as a forum for outreach to the non-academic community. 

CAMPS Research Labs provide a forum for staff and graduate students from all disciplines involved to come together in order to present work-in-progress and debate research issues. CAMPS Labs to date have taken a two-hour format, typically initiated with a presentation of specific research themes, questions and challenges, leading into informal and often very wide-ranging discussions.

An Ghaeilge

Gné ar leith de ról OÉ Gaillimh is ea a gealltanas straitéiseach maidir le hardoideachas trí mheán na Gaeilge a sholáthar, agus maidir le freastal a dhéanamh ar phobal Gaeilge na hOllscoile i gcoitinne. Chuige seo, cuireann an Ollscoil réimse leathan de chúrsaí, acmhainní agus áiseanna ar fáil, ar an gcampas féin agus sna hionaid Ghaeltachta atá faoina stiúir, agus tá neart tionscnamh agus scéimeanna ar bun a chuireann go mór le beocht na teanga, agus a spreagann mic léinn atá i mbun taighde ar an nGaeilge, cuma cén tréimhse atá i gceist.

Ionad tábhachtach don Ghaeilge san Ollscoil is ea Áras na Gaeilge, a bunaíodh i 1992. Is ann atá Roinn na Gaeilge lonnaithe, agus is ann a reáchtáiltear cúrsaí Gaeilge do mhic léinn agus d’fhoireann na hOllscoile. Tá seirbhísí eile ar fáil ann chomh maith dóibh siúd ar mian leo an teanga a labhairt nó a chleachtadh, ina measc Caifé na Gaeilge, Seomra na gCumann, agus Téatar Uí Chearbhalláin.


Programmes Available

Structured PhD (Celtic Studies/Léann Ceilteach)—full-time
Structured PhD (Celtic Studies/Léann Ceilteach)—part-time
Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System


Learning Outcomes

Entry Requirements

Candidates must have a high honours standard in a primary degree in Irish, Welsh, Celtic Studies, Classics, Medieval Studies, or similar, or present such other evidence of suitability as will satisfy the Head of Discipline and the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies. Many successful applicants will already hold a Master's degree also.

Admission to the PhD is at the discretion of the potential supervisor and the Head of Discipline. Initial enquiries should be made to the Head of Discipline.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Current research projects

Staff are keen to provide supervision in any area of studies relevant to their specialist interests.  These include:

  • Comparative and general linguistics of the Celtic languages.
  • Ancient Continental Celtic languages.
  • Early Welsh language and literature, especially the transmission of early Welsh poetry.
  • Medieval Irish language and lexicography.
  • Old and Middle Irish poetry and metrics.
  • Dindshenchas and the study of landscape, place and identity.
  • Editing and close reading of medieval Irish prose and verse texts.
  • Early Irish law and legal texts.
  • Medieval Gaelic literary tradition, including issues of genre, gender, hybridisation, patronage and provenance.

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

The PhD in Celtic Studies usually involves close study of Celtic languages and literatures (e.g., Irish, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic), but may encompass religion, history, archaeology, and the interface with the Latin and Germanic traditions of the Celtic-speaking regions. Doctoral research usually entails some degree of comparative work.  The sources utilised tend to be medieval, but some topics may require the use of written sources of earlier or later date. For certain topics, knowledge of research methodologies other than those associated with Celtic Studies may have to be attained. The Structured PhD programme provides students with opportunities to acquire such training, and to learn non-Celtic languages (medieval and modern) that may be relevant to their research.

PhD students of Celtic Studies are usually supervised or co-supervised by scholars of Irish, Welsh, or Celtic (languages and literatures), but for some theses, supervisory expertise in archaeology, history, classical languages and literatures, or other disciplines may also be essential.  The list of researcher profiles below is drawn from the disciplines of Archaeology, Classics, History, Old and Middle Irish, and Welsh.

Researcher Profiles

Dr Jacopo Bisagni                            

Prof. Michael Clarke                        

Dr Clodagh Downey                         

Dr Elizabeth Fitzpatrick                  

Dr Graham Isaac                                   

Dr Pádraic Moran                            

Dr Conor Newman                            

Prof. Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha              

Dr Kieran O'Conor                             

Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín                                

Dr Mark Stansbury                              

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 of €140.

Contact Us

Prof. Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha
T +353 91 493 010

What Our Students Say


Exequiel Monge Allen |   PhD in Celtic Studies/Léann Ceilteach

I came from Chile to Galway in 2013 for my MA in Old and Middle Irish, and I decided to stay for the Structured PhD in Celtic Studies. My research focuses in the religious discourse of early-medieval Irish monks and their reconstruction of Christian theology: the multidisciplinary perspective of the PhD allows me to approach this complex issue from different methodologies. At the same time, Celtic medieval literature being so rich and complex in itself, my first concern has been to acquire and enhance my knowledge of Old Irish language, and in this aspect NUIG has met my highest expectations. Lecturers and colleagues have been both challenging and supportive, as they form a lively community that provides numerous opportunities for academic exchange and discussion (such as conferences and seminars).