Course Overview

The Discipline of Health Promotion 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 Discipline offers supervision of postgraduate research in a wide range of areas, including Health Promotion, Population Health, Health Services Research, Social Care and Occupational Health. Admission to a research degree is at the discretion of the potential Supervisor and the Head of Discipline, and is based on a proposal from the applicant following discussion with the member of staff whose academic area of interest is most appropriate. Application is competitive and the number of places offered will be based on staff resources.  Candidates should have obtained an honours primary degree (Second Class Honours, Grade 1 minimum), and for the PhD, would usually already hold a Master's degree in Health Promotion or a related area.

PhDs in Health Promotion are offered on a full time and part time basis and either through the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences or the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies. Both Colleges encourage full-time students to participate in a structured PhD programme, where students avail of a range of interdisciplinary taught modules. The wide menu of available options include modules that:

  • are discipline-specific in that they augment the student’s existing knowledge in their specialist area,
  • are dissertation-specific in that they supply core skills which are essential to completion of the research project,
  • contribute to a student’s professional development, and
  • enhance a student’s employability through generic training.

Each student will be assigned a primary Supervisor(s) and a Graduate Research Committee made up of experienced researchers to plan their programme of study and to provide on-going support to their research.

Programmes Available

Structured PhD (Health Promotion), full-time 
Structured PhD (Health Promotion), part-time
Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System


Learning Outcomes

Entry Requirements

Candidates should have obtained an honours primary degree (Second Class Honours, Grade 1
minimum [or equivalent international qualification]), and for a PhD, would usually already hold a Master’s degree in Health Promotion or a related area.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Current research projects

  • Developing Competencies and Professional Standards for Health Promotion Capacity Building in Europe (CompHP)
  • The World Health Organisation Collaborative Study—Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC)
  • Exploring the feasibility of developing internet based health promotion materials for third level students

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

  • Breastfeeding 
  • Child and adolescent health 
  • Communicable disease control and environmental health 
  • Community health 
  • Evaluation research 
  • Evidence-based practice 
  • Food poverty 
  • Global and international health and development 
  • Health and human rights 
  • Health and the media 
  • Health impact assessment 
  • Health inequalities and inequities 
  • Health policy 
  • Health promotion competencies 
  • Health services research 
  • Healthy ageing 
  • Migrant health 
  • Violence and injury prevention 
  • Mental health promotion 
  • Participative research processes 
  • Research dissemination, translating research into practice 
  • Settings for health promotion: workplace and schools 
  • Sexual and reproductive health 
  • Social capital and social connectedness

Researcher Profiles

See for information on research interests/profiles of staff in the Discipline of Health Promotion.

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

Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn
T 353 91 493 092

What Our Students Say



Aleisha Clarke |   PhD Graduate

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.
Dr. Katherine

Dr. Katherine Dowling PhD Graduate |   Engagement and Learning Manager

Completing my PhD in Health Promotion at the University of Galway was an invaluable experience that equipped me with a range of transferrable research and practice skills and significant training opportunities that have prepared me for a successful career in this field. Through this programme, I had the privilege to collaborate with esteemed researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, broadening my knowledge and understanding of mental health promotion work, particularly in relation to children and youth. These connections also helped me in expanding my professional network and facilitated additional collaborations post-PhD. This programme enabled me to grow as an independent researcher, gain valuable teaching experience, and contribute meaningfully to the mental health promotion landscape in Ireland. It has served as a catalyst, in opening doors to several exciting opportunities both within Ireland and abroad. I am truly grateful for the support and mentorship I received throughout my PhD journey, and I am looking forward to applying my newfound knowledge and skills in my future practice.