Award Type and NFQ level : RESEARCH MASTERS (9)

CAO/PAC code : MHW04 (FT), MHW05 (PT)

CAO Points :

Postgraduate students are integral to the academic life of the Department of Psychology; we aim to deliver high quality supervision and to contribute research of international quality.  The goal of the structured MSc by research programme is to provide a high quality research experience with integrated taught support. Structured support is offered through transferable skills modules and specialist modules to provide students with academic and professional skills needed for employment, career progression or continuing education through PhD study. Our Department makes an internationally distinctive and vibrant contribution to research and practice through four intersecting themes:

Rehabilitation, Disability & Health Psychology –  researching the well-being of individuals and communities and their service provision, in terms of impairments/disability, assistive technologies, coping and empowerment; using quantitative and qualitative methods.
Mental Health, Community & Positive Psychology – focusing on the psychology of mental health and well-being of individuals, families and communities, as well as service provision and evaluation, with emphasis on vulnerability, marginalisation, resilience, and personal growth (using mixed methods approaches).
Neuroscience, Behaviour & Cognition – employing experimental methods to understand and address fundamental challenges in intelligence, thought processes, neuronal functioning and human and animal behaviour.
Organisations, Systems and Policy – researching complex systems problems, of inter-relatedness and change; using qualitative, quantitative and policy techniques, working with a broad range of businesses, service providers and international agencies.

Our MSc students gain training and experience in conducting high-quality empirical research, in an environment characterised by a warm welcoming atmosphere. 

Closing date
Research applications are accepted at any time. Commencement dates are restricted.

September (or other agreed time)

Normally, candidates for research degrees must possess a first class or upper second class honours degree in psychology that qualifies the student for eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society or for Graduate Membership of the Psychological Society of Ireland. Graduates of cognate disciplines with first class or upper second class honours degrees may be considered for postgraduate study; such students should be aware that they will require additional qualifications in order to be eligible for GBC or Graduate Membership of the Psychological Society of Ireland.Applicants must have a recognised primary degree which is considered equivalent to Irish university primary degree level.

Minimum English language requirements:
• IELTS: 6.5 minimum overall score
• TOEFL (Paper based test): 585
• TOEFL (Internet based test): 95
• PTE (Pearson): 62

Maynooth University’s TOEFL code is 8850

The following research interests and specialisms are within the Department of Psychology:

Dr Laura Coffey

The experience and psychosocial impacts of illness and disability. Self-regulation of normative (e.g., ageing) and non-normative (e.g., amputation, cancer) developmental challenges. Personal meanings and perspectives on assistive technology use. Self-management of long-term conditions. The development and evaluation of complex interventions.


Dr Seán Commins
The neurobiology of spatial navigation, learning and memory. Consolidation of long-term memories. Neural substrates of hippocampal-cortical interactions. Investigation of cognitive deficits following stroke and other disorders. The role of cognition in driver behaviour.


Professor Andrew Coogan
We are interested in circadian rhythms and sleep, and their importance for health and wellbeing. Current research interests include assessing how circadian clocks may be involved in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, looking at circadian rhythm involvement in other important conditions, such as diabetes and depression, asking how the immune system influences circadian rhythms and assessing how cognition and behaviour may be changed following sepsis.


Dr Michael Cooke

Living and working with technology. Human factors and human-computer interaction. Understanding people in complex systems (such as aviation, security, emergency management, health, manufacturing, energy production, critical infrastructures, etc.), the psychology of lived experience (phenomenological perspectives), activity theory, and sociocultural psychology.


 Dr Michael Daly

Impact of individual differences in self-control; mental health and employment; health inequalities; weight discrimination; biosocial surveys; longitudinal data 


Dr Deirdre Desmond
Psychosocial adjustment to illness, injury and disability; Coping; Outcomes measurement; rehabilitation; assistive technology.


Dr Unai Diaz-Orueta

Neuropsychological assessment using a process-based approach. Virtual and augmented reality applications in (neuro)psychological assessment and intervention. Cognitive rehabilitation procedures (both traditional and technology/game-based approaches). Serious games for health.


Dr Philip Hyland

Psychological responses to stressful and traumatic life events. General mental health issues including the structure of general psychopathology. Identification of risk and resilience factors associated with mental health responses to traumatic life events. Identification of the outcomes of exposure to traumatic life events.


Professor Fiona Lyddy
Cognitive psychology. Language and communication. Psycholinguistics. Reading and writing. Bilingualism. Computer- and electronic-mediated communication. Technology and privacy.


Professor Mac MacLachlan

Disability, impairment, ageing and chronic illness; service design, implementation and evaluation; social inclusion; assistive and connected technologies; human rights and global health; policy development and implementation; macropsychology; maritime psychology.


Dr Rebecca Maguire

Quality of life and well-being in patients with chronic illness, especially in cancer or multiple sclerosis. Caregiver well-being and burden of care. Health-related decision making. Coping with uncertainty. Psychological appraisals. Cognitive basis of expectation and surprise.


Professor Sinéad McGilloway
Broadly: The psychological aspects and community context of health care and social problems. Specifically: Child and adult mental health and well-being in the community. Health services research. Intervention design, development and evaluation. The health and social care needs (including employment and social integration) of vulnerable and socially excluded groups.  Mental health and well-being aspects of palliative/end-of-life care. Systematic reviews.


Dr Joanna McHugh Power
 Later life social functioning, focusing on the experience of loneliness in later life, using both advanced statistical modelling and epidemiological techniques, and qualitative methods. The relationship between loneliness and social isolation, and the impacts that these have on physical and mental health.


Dr Brenda O’Connell

Positive psychology, health, and wellbeing.  Emphasis on if, how, and when positive psychological constructs (gratitude, resilience, optimism etc.) influence mental and physical health (somatic and biomarkers). Stress buffering effects of gratitude and compassion. Design, delivery and evaluation of wellbeing- promoting interventions.


Dr Bryan Roche
The experimental analysis of complex human behaviour, language and cognition (EAB). Experimental social psychology and implicit attitude measurement. Fear and avoidance conditioning models of human anxiety. Intelligence and the development of behaviourally oriented educational interventions.


Dr Richard Roche

Memory in healthy and pathological ageing. Reminiscence Therapy. Dementia. Neurorehabilitation. Synaesthesia. Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury. Human Electrophysiology.


For further details on the research specialisms within the Department please visit:

Master’s students must take a minimum of 10 credits in taught modules (5 in generic/ transferable modules and 5 in specialist modules). Selection of specific modules within the programme will be tailored to the needs and experiences of individual students.

Course Duration: 1-2 years Full-time, 3 years Part-time

The MSc by Research is a research oriented programme associated with a wide range of career options, depending on subject area. Your prospective supervisor will be able to offer advice on specific career options.

Online application only

PAC Code
MHW05 Part-time

The following information should be forwarded to PAC, 1 Courthouse Square, Galway or uploaded to your online application form:

Students who have not completed their undergraduate studies at Maynooth University need to provide certified copies of all official transcripts of results for their qualifications, two academic references, and a copy of their birth certificate or valid passport.  (Please note that failure to do so will delay application processing.)

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