Course Overview

NOTE: College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies is NOT recruiting onto these research programmes for entry 2023. Instead, please consider the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences' Health Promotion research options, here:

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

Research 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

Through College of Medicine
MPhil, full-time (1 year) and part-time (2 year)

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Duration of programmes: 4 years, or 6 years.

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

To be eligible to enter a programme of study and research for the degree of PhD in Health Promotion, it is expected that applicants would have a Masters level qualification in Health Promotion or a relevant discipline or such other evidence as would satisfy the Head of Discipline AND evidence of an IELTS qualification minimum level 7 overall, and in each component.

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

Course Outline

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Research Areas

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

€Not on offer 2023/24

Fees: Non EU

€Not on offer 2023/24

What Our Students Say


Aleisha Clarke |   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.