Award Type and NFQ level : RESEARCH PH.D. (10)

CAO/PAC code : MH02G (FT), MH03G (PT)

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 17 June 2020

View FETAC details

The Structured PhD in Education is a research degree that supports students in engaging in research at the highest academic standard. Students work with a lead supervisor and a co-supervisor to develop a substantive piece of research that makes an original contribution to knowledge in the field and tradition of educational research. This requires significant initiative and self-determination on the part of the student. We understand that students have a range of motivations for undertaking PhD research in Education and work with the student to best meet their interests.

Students will be provided with detailed critical feedback on their work and will be supported with ongoing advice on developing their projects. Students also have the opportunity to choose from a range of modules that offer flexibility in designing a pathway that best supports their research project.

Students who are interested in practitioner research and in developing their research as part of a community of practice may wish to learn more about our proposed Doctorate in Education programme (with specialisms in Teacher Education and Educational Leadership). Please feel free to consult with course coordinators if you would like further advice on which one would be most suitable for you.


Closing date

Closing date Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, reviewed and interviews will take place on a quarterly basis. However please note that applicants should ensure that PhD applications are submitted before mid August for a start date in September. For applications received in the last quarter (May and June), interviews will take place in the June before the programme commences the following September.

Please note application deadlines if you are applying for university funding awards. In such cases, students may be interviewed in April.

International students should contact the International Office to ascertain eligibility and learn about application procedures for international students.



PhD students generally tend to adjust to best PhD life when beginning as part of a new community in September, but this can be negotiated on a case by case basis. 

Minimum 2.1 degree (BA or MA) or international equivalent in Education or a cognate area, and a proposal for original research that is accepted by the Department. Students undertake 30 credits of modules that support their research, developing in so doing comprehensive content and methodological knowledge, and supporting them in developing transferable skills. Students without a Masters undertake 60 credits of modules. Such students will first be registered for a Master’s degree such as MLitt or MEd, from which application may be made to transfer to the PhD. Studies can be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, and credit requirements are the same for both pathways. You can learn more about courses on offer here

•                      • 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

Course Duration: 3-4 years Full-time, 5-6 years Part-time 

Students are free to take up research in any area of educational research that interests them. However, a member of staff with relevant expertise must be available to supervise the project. Students may find it helpful to reflect on a research question and locate a provisional area for research prior to contacting the Course Coordinator. Inter-disciplinary PhDs are also welcomed and cross-departmental co-supervisory arrangements can be negotiated.

The Department of Education at Maynooth University is an exciting place in which to do postgraduate research. We have an excellent international profile and we are part of a wider research community that engages in research right across the educational continuum. Our staff and students also engage in inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional research. We have a large postgraduate research community, and the diversity of approaches and interests and our pluralistic and collaborative ethos makes it a welcoming and dynamic space for students. The atmosphere is one of intellectual vibrancy and creativity, grounded in excellent research. You can learn more about staff's interests here and about our postgraduate community here

The purpose of PhD study is to focus on independent, original research. To support this, and ensure that students are part of a wider community of knowledge exchange, research, scholarship and dialogue, Maynooth University research degrees are Structured. PhD students must register for a minimum of 30 credits in pass/fail modules. Modules are selected in close consultation with the student’s supervisor. Students will write a thesis of approximately 90,000-100,000 words. 


Course Duration: 3-4 years Full-time, 5-6 years Part-time

Postgraduate students in education come from a range of backgrounds and have a wide range of interests. Some students wish to develop their professional practice and take on leadership roles, others wish to take on other professional responsibilities or engage in policy formation in the national or international context. Holding a PhD qualifies one to teach at university level and to carry out advanced research. 

Before making a formal application, students are advised to make contact directly with the Course Coordinator, Professor Aislinn O'Donnell, to discuss the suitability of their interests and qualifications. Students should try to develop a provisional research question and to locate a provisional topic for research prior to making contact. Students will find it helpful to review staff profiles and identify staff with areas of interest relating to their proposed research question.

Students will be asked to submit a piece of prior work of approximately 3000 words, a comprehensive research proposal, and a cv. Subject to meeting university requirements and to providing a research proposal that is at an appropriate level and aligned with staff expertise, students will be called to interview. 

Whilst late applications will be considered, it is advisable to plan in advance. Funding awards such as the IRC and Maynooth University's John and Pat Hume awards have deadlines in November and May respectively. 

Online application only

PAC Code
MH02G PhD Full-time
MH03G PhD Part-time

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

(a) Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for non-Maynooth University primary degree and post-graduate qualifications.
(b) Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide a copy of birth certificate or valid passport.
(c) A research proposal giving an outline of the rationale for your research, its proposed contribution to education and a provisional research plan
(d) The names and contact details of a minimum of 2 academic referees who are familiar with the applicant’s academic work and can comment on their ability to work  independently.
(e) A full Curriculum Vitae.
(f) A 3000 word writing sample.




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