Course Overview

The School of Psychology has recognised research strengths in four main research clusters:

  • Clinical, behavioural and biological psychology
  • Lifespan development
  • Perception, cognition and action
  • Psychology and health

Admission to a research degree is at the discretion of the potential Supervisor and Director of Research, and is based on a proposal from the applicant following discussion with the member of staff whose academic area of interest is most appropriate. Candidates should have obtained a degree in psychology (either single- or joint-honours) to at least upper second-class honours level (or equivalent).

As part of the doctoral training available on the Structured PhD programme, students 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 student’s existing knowledge in their specialist area , e.g., Skill Theory and Skill Development
  • are dissertation-specific in that they supply core skills which are essential to completion of the research project , e.g., Specialist Methodologies in Psychology: Research
  • acknowledge a student’s professional development , e.g., presentation of a paper at an international conference
  • enhance a student’s employability through generic training , e.g., careers workshops, computer literacy.

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 (Psychology)—full-time
Structured PhD (Psychology)—part-time
Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System


Learning Outcomes

Entry Requirements

Candidates should have obtained a degree qualification in psychology to at least Upper Second Class Honours level (or equivalent international qualification). Admission to a research degree is at the discretion of the potential Supervisor and Director of Research, and is based on a proposal from the applicant following discussion with the member of staff whose academic area of interest is most appropriate.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Current research projects

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

Dr. AnnMarie Groarke
The design and role of psychological interventions for patients with cancer; illness cognitions and health outcomes, coping and adjustment in chronic illness.

Prof. Jack James 
Cardiovascular behavioural health, and the psychophysiological correlates of stress; the implications of dietary caffeine for human health and well-being (cognitive performance and mood); applied behaviour analysis.

Prof. Ruth Curtis
Psychophysiological explanations of stress and coping; cognitive behavioural interventions with cancer patients; personal dispositions and health.

Dr. Mark Elliott
Time and more specifically the timing of psychological processes (or temporal dynamics) at the level of cognitive microstructure. His investigations concern perception, memory and to a lesser extent decision-making.

Dr. Brian Hughes
Psychological stress (particularly its impact on cardiovascular psychophysiology, immunity, and health) and on psychosocial moderators of stress processes, such as social support and personality. 

Dr. Brian McGuire
Pain management, diabetes care and adjustment to chronic physical illness.
Dr. John Bogue
Forensic clinical psychology, risk assessment, and investigative psychology.

Dr. Molly Byrne
Health promotion, coronary heart disease, primary care, health behaviour change and communication in health care settings, blood donation, sexual health and relationships among people with chronic illnesses.

Dr. Olive Healy
Evidence-based treatments and non-scientific practices in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder; Behavioural procedures to increase socially significant behaviour and to decrease and eliminate challenging behaviour; Longitudinal investigations of the effectiveness of applied behaviour analysis in the education and treatment of children with developmental disorders;

Dr. Caroline Heary
Child health psychology, mental health stigma and methodological issues relevant to conducting research with children.

Dr. Mike Hogan
Lifespan development grounded in the philosophical framework of pragmatic systems science

Ms. Anne Marie Keane
Pain management, rehabilitation and implementation of change in health-care systems.

Dr. Geraldine Leader
Applied Behaviour Analysis.

Dr. Padraig MacNeela
Clinical judgement and decision making, health services and nursing research, and volunteering.

Dr. Denis O’Hora
Experimental analysis of behaviour;  relational frame theory, coordination dynamics and continuity of mind. 

Dr. Kiran Sarma
Forensic social and abnormal psychology

Dr. Ian Stewart
The Experimental Analysis of Language and Cognition; Applications of Relational Frame Theory; Philosophical Issues in Psychology

Dr. Jane Walsh
Preventative health behaviour and the use of theory-based interventions in both community and hospital settings.

Researcher Profiles

See for information on research interests/profiles of staff in the School of Psychology

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

School of Psychology
T +353 91 493 101

What Our Students Say


Jenny Groarke |   PhD Psychology

My PhD research, within the Discipline of Psychology, is looking at why people listen to music, and whether music has any benefits for our emotions, cognition and wellbeing. Of particular interest to me is how music might promote well-being into advanced age. The aspect of research I’ve found most engaging has been designing a large four-year project from a very simple idea. It’s been really rewarding designing the study and searching for a gap in the literature, and coming up with interesting hypotheses, and experiments to test those hypotheses. I would recommend NUI Galway to other prospective research students. Galway is an exciting, vibrant city to live in and the University is at the centre of that. The campus is beautiful and historical, the research infrastructure is excellent, and the staff are knowledgeable and supportive.