Course Overview

Established in 1990, the Discipline of Health Promotion is the only one of its kind in the Republic of Ireland and is the national centre for professional training and education in health promotion. Attached to the Discipline is the Health Promotion Research Centre, which has an active multidisciplinary research programme in place. The Health Promotion Research Centre is World Health Organisation Collaboration Centre for Health Promotion, an indicator of the standing internationally of our Director and staff. The aim of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research at NUI Galway is to support the WHO work programme in developing health promotion capacity through the translation of health promotion research into policy and practice. 

Those undertaking a PhD within the Discipline work closely with researchers from the centre, as either supervisors or expert advisors, in order to ensure that the work is of high quality and has the potential to make a substantial contribution to the field of health promotion. 

The Discipline of Health Promotion has a very active and highly competitive PhD research programme. Graduates of the PhD programme have found employment nationally and internationally as post-doctoral researchers and lecturers with some graduates now in professorial posts. Graduates hold posts not only in dedicated academic health promotion centres but also in related disciplines including nursing, psychology and primary care. 

PhD students participate fully in the academic life of the University, including attending seminars, workshops, training opportunities, contributing to conference hosting, teaching and social events.

Programmes Available

Structured PhD (full-time, four years)
Structured PhD (part-time, six years)

MPhil, full-time
MPhil, part-time
Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Associated Research Centre

The Health Promotion Research Centre (HPRC) produces high quality research of national and international significance that supports the development of best practice and policy in the promotion of health. The Centre is a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research, has an active multidisciplinary research programme, and collaborates with agencies on the development and evaluation of health promotion interventions and strategies. HPRC has expertise in both qualitative and quantitative approaches and employs a wide range of research methods. There is a demonstrated commitment to the ongoing methodological and theoretical development of health promotion and population health. The centre has a track record of success in securing competitive funding demonstrated by our sustained levels of research.  Our research activity and findings are disseminated through reports, peer review publications and conference presentations

A key focus is developing translational research papers and resources on population mental health and wellbeing, and developing best practice in promoting health literacy, healthier cities and communities. The HPRC will also advance health promotion action in implementing the WHO Europe Child and Adolescent Health Strategy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Learning Outcomes

Entry Requirements

PhD candidates should normally have a high honours standard in a relevant academic discipline at primary degree level or equivalent together with the support of an academic staff member who is approved by the College to supervise the research in terms of its nature and scope.

Additional entry requirements
Candidates may be required to submit a research proposal for consideration by the School as part of their application.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Current research projects

For current research projects in the Health Promotion Research Centre, click here.

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

Researcher Profiles

Researcher Profiles


Professor Margaret Barry

T:  +353 91 493 348 

Mental health promotion; evidence-based practice and evaluation in health promotion; capacity development and health promotion competencies; public perceptions of mental health.

Dr Margaret Hodgins 

T: +353 91 493 349 

Workplace health promotion; ill treatment in the workplace, promoting healthy workplace culture

Dr Victoria Hogan

T: +353 91 493 465 

Work-life conflict; working time; occupational stress; workaholism; occupational health and safety; workplace health promotion.

Dr Colette Kelly

T: +353 91 493 186 

Food environments; nutrition; body image among adolescents; overweight and obesity; participative approaches to research for young people; Health Behaviours among school-aged Children (HBSC); social care and young people.

Dr. Mary Jo Lavelle

T: +353 91 495119

Environmental sustainability and health, quality of life and wellbeing, sustainable lifestyles, active transport, green spaces, pro-environmental behaviour, and segmentation analysis. 

Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

T  +353 91 493 093 

School health promotion; health inequalities among children and young people; sexual behaviour; substance use and risk taking and women’s health; Health Behaviour in School Children (HBSC).

Dr Jane Sixsmith


T: +353 91 493 466 


Health communications; community health; qualitative methodologies; health services research.


Dr Martin Power 

T: +353 91 492 157 

Social care theory and practice; care planning; risk; social policy; adult education; and workforce development.

Dr Lisa Pursell

T: +353 91 492 044 

Health inequalities, health impact assessment methodologies, evaluation and health policy.

Course Fees

Fees: EU

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

Fees: Non EU

€15,000 p.a. (€15,140 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.

What Our Students Say


Aleisha Clarke |   Graduate, PhD (Health Promotion)

After teaching in Dublin for four years and completing a Masters in Education I decided to further my research in the area of mental health promotion and children. I enrolled as a PhD student with the Health Promotion Research Centre in 2008. As part of my PhD I am evaluating the implementation of an emotional wellbeing programme in Irish Primary Schools. Being a part of the Health Promotion Research Centre, in my opinion has been instrumental in the progress I have made to date. The approachable nature of the staff in Health Promotion and the close network that has been established between fellow Health Promotion PhD students creates an environment of contribution and constant learning within which I work. Doing a PhD in Health Promotion has provided me with the opportunity to engage with international experts in my field and to showcase my work internationally. I have also gained a wealth of teaching experience over the past year-and-a-half.