Structured PhD (Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences) (Celtic Studies/Léann Ceilteach)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies,
School of Humanities

Course overview

Download Structured PhD guidelines (PDF file) here.

The Structured PhD in Celtic Studies is a four-year, full-time or six-year, part-time programme of study and research and applicants must have a high honours standard in their primary degree or present such other evidence of fitness as will satisfy the Head of Discipline and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. 


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 students' existing knowledge in their specialist area (e.g. in languages or literatures);    

  •         are dissertation-specific in that they supply core skills which are essential to completion of the research project (e.g. in writing);   

  •         support students' professional development (e.g. through presentation of a paper at an international conference);

  •         enhance students' employability through generic training (e.g. in computer-based skills).

Students will be assigned a primary Supervisor or Co-Supervisors, and a Graduate Research Committee made up of experienced researchers, to help plan their programme of study and to provide on-going support to their research.

Programmes available

Structured PhD (Celtic Studies/Léann Ceilteach)—full-time

Entry requirements

The minimum qualification is a primary degree in Irish, Celtic Studies, or similar, with a Second Class Honours, Grade 2 (or an equivalent international qualification).  Many successful applicants will already hold a Master's degree.

Admission to the PhD is at the discretion of the potential supervisor and the Head of Discipline.  Initial enquiries should be made to the Head of Discipline.

Areas of interest

The PhD in Celtic Studies usually involves close study of Celtic languages and literatures (e.g., Irish, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic), but may encompass religion, history, archaeology, and the interface with the Latin and Germanic traditions of the Celtic-speaking regions. Doctoral research usually entails some degree of comparative work.  The sources utilised tend to be medieval, but some topics may require the use of written sources of earlier or later date. For certain topics, knowledge of research methodologies other than those associated with Celtic Studies may have to be attained. The Structured PhD programme provides students with opportunities to acquire such training, and to learn non-Celtic languages (medieval and modern) that may be relevant to their research.

PhD students of Celtic Studies are usually supervised or co-supervised by scholars of Irish, Welsh, or Celtic (languages and literatures), but for some theses, supervisory expertise in archaeology, history, classical languages and literatures, or other disciplines may also be essential.  The list of researcher profiles below is drawn from the disciplines of Archaeology, Classics, History, Old and Middle Irish, and Welsh.

Researcher profiles

Dr Jacopo Bisagni                            

Prof. Michael Clarke                        

Dr Clodagh Downey                         

Dr Elizabeth Fitzpatrick                  

Dr Graham Isaac                                   

Dr Pádraic Moran                            

Dr Conor Newman                            

Prof. Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha              

Dr Kieran O'Conor                             

Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín                                

Dr Mark Stansbury                              

Find out more

Prof. Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha
T +353 91 493 010

PAC code

GYG11 (full-time)

Current project

Fees for this course

EU: €4,275 p.a. 2014/15 inclusive of levy

Non-EU: €13,250 p.a. 2014/15

Current Students

Mona Jakob

PhD in Celtic Studies/Léann Ceilteach.

"I first came to Galway for my ERASMUS year in 2004/05 and during my time at NUIG I realised that I wanted to stay in the field of Celtic Studies. I decided, after I had finished my MA in Celtic Studies in Bonn, Germany, to come back to further my knowledge of Irish and Irish literature. For my MA thesis back in Germany, I wrote about the motif of the ’mad poet’ in medieval Irish literature, focusing on the story of Suibhne, the mad king/poet. I had always been fascinated by the intricacy of Irish and Welsh poetry and its metrics, so that I was delighted to be able to work on the ’Saltair na Rann’, a long Middle Irish poem of over 8,000 lines, telling the story of the Old Testament. I am currently working on the rhyming patterns of this poem and will be mainly concerned with the metrics and any patterns of meaning or concepts related to certain words and names that might arise from the actual rhyming words. The support I got and am still getting is great and it is wonderful that, through the connection of Roinn na Gaeilge with the Moore Institute, the students have the opportunity to do interdisciplinary work, to meet students and scholars with different backgrounds (History, Archaeology, Classics) and to receive support that is additional to what they receive from their ’home department’”

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