PhD in Contemporary Irish Studies

Mary Immaculate College
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Phd programs

  • Programme Overview

Programme Overview

The Structured PhD in Contemporary Irish Studies at Mary Immaculate College aims to provide a suite of modules that are focused on contemporary issues in Irish society, politics and culture. The focus will be on contemporary Irish studies, and how, specifically, the study of a series of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary areas of the Irish experience can lead to a clearer understanding of the Ireland of today, which will be a baseline for the study of the Ireland of the future. The modules will be delivered by experts, all of whom have a track record in publishing in their respective fields.

Key Features

Assessments are by research essay and thesis. The essay ranges from 4,500 to 5,000 words and each module is assessed by a single essay. The titles and topics of these essays are negotiated between the student and the course lecturer, with the parameters of choice being set by the lecturer.

A number of generic research and methodology modules are also undertaken, which provide preparation for the work of the thesis. The other element of assessment is an 85,000 to 100,000-word research thesis.

There are two pathways to the degree:

  • Students spend Year 1 in MIC, where they study three modules of their choice per semester.
  • The students will then progress to the thesis. There is no residential requirement beyond the initial year so students will be able to work from home on their thesis, with supervision being undertaken by Skype, Moodle and email.


  • Students attend a two-week winter school in January and a three-week summer school in June, where the six academic modules, and research and referencing modules are taught through a mixture of intensive lectures and masterclasses.
  • Essays can be completed in the months following the summer and winter schools. The students will then progress to the thesis.

The Structured PhD in Contemporary Irish Studies at MIC aims to:

  • Enhance the students’ knowledge of Irish history, literature, culture, society and languages through a theoretically-aware matrix of teaching methodologies and seminars;
  • Develop students’ ability to understand and use a variety of theoretical approaches to different areas of Contemporary Irish Studies and to encourage an anamorphic perspective on issues which have hitherto been seen as normative and given;
  • Stimulate interest and research expertise in core areas of contemporary Irish society and culture through a variety of methods and approaches;
  • Cultivate research skills across a number of subject areas and disciplines in order to achieve a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspective on areas of Irish culture, politics, society and ideology.

Career opportunities include: Irish cultural sector; areas involving aspects of Irish culture, literature and society; advocacy; lobbying; teaching; entry to PhD programmes; technical writing; media work; civil service; web editing; academic administration, magazine publishing (hard copies and online editions), advertising and marketing, arts administration, library administration, teaching English language and literature in other countries, Human Resources, digital copywriter, lexicographer, online editor and webmaster.  

T: + 353 61 204989

Programme Content

The people engaged in the delivery of this programme will all be experts in the field with significant academic publications.

The following is the range of modules available*:

  • Irish Communities in Early Modern Europe
  • Image-Based Research in history
  • Poetics and Politics of Irish Identity
  • Researching Irish Media Audiences
  • Radio: The Invisible Medium
  • The Irish Revolution 1912-1927
  • An Introduction to the Irish Language
  • Process of Change: The Transmission of Irish Traditional Music
  • Irish Women’s Writing in the Long Nineteenth Century
  • Yeats, Joyce and the Language of Irish Identity
  • Contemporary Irish Poetry
  • Irish Politics and Society
  • Irish Clans, Surnames and Genetic DNA

* A selection of these modules will be offered each year.

Entry Requirements

1. Qualifications and Experience

  • An appropriate Masters or equivalent qualification, at 2.2 honours level bachelor’s degree, or higher, that has been obtained from a university or other institution recognised by the University of Limerick following a period of study similar to that required in the University of Limerick.


  • Applicants who do not hold a relevant master’s degree may be considered if they have a 2.1 bachelor’s degree, or higher, in a relevant area and extensive relevant experience.

2. English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not a first language must provide evidence of their proficiency level English in the form of an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 6.5 – 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in any one component, or IELTS equivalent accepted by UL. Such applicants will also be required to undergo an interview through English.

3. Performance at interview.

An interview may form part of the selection process for all applicants. This will be done in person if possible or alternatively via video conferencing where the candidate is unavailable to attend in person.


4. Research Proposal and Application Form

  • Submission of a PhD research proposal and application form by all candidates in line with the requirements set out by the Research and Graduate School, MIC.

Places on the programme will be offered based on all the above, viz. qualifications, performance at interview, language proficiency level (if applicable), PhD proposal, as well as candidates’ references given in the application form.

How to Apply

  • The application form must also include your university transcripts.
  • In the case of non-native English speakers, a copy of IETLS is also required, or equivalent.

Return the application form plus evidence of application fee* by email to: or by post to: Research & Graduate School Office, Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Ireland.

*Pay your application fee (EU: €33; non-EU: €55) using Realex here and put the reference number on your application/attach a screenshot or printed copy along with your application.

Contact Dr Eugene O’Brien

More Information

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Phd programs


Luimneach , Ireland