Award Type and NFQ level : PROFESSIONAL DOCTORATE (10)

CAO/PAC code : MHA07

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 17 April 2023

View FETAC details

The Doctorate in Higher and Adult Education (DHAE) brings together practitioners with substantial experience in the design, implementation and delivery across a wide range of higher and adult education contexts.

The programme supports educational practitioners to develop research capacities to the highest level.  It fosters research on professional practice in support of transformative learning, critical thinking and democratic education.  Successful applicants will have an interest in exploring innovative and critical education research that can inform practice across a range of disciplines.

The course is structured and supervised in a way that allows practitioners to position their research in education research and academic fields, and to develop their doctoral research project incrementally.  Department staff have extensive experience in supporting doctoral research through individual and group supervision, where peer learning and support is also is a central element.  By working together, exchanging ideas and supporting each other, students form learning communities which are collaborative and creative.

The Department of Adult and Community Education is firmly committed to equality and social justice.  We believe that education is a fundamental human right and collaborative, critical adult education has the power to transform individuals and change society for the better.  We have an outstanding track record in supporting postgraduate research programmes and have established the leading centre for research on adult education in Ireland, building an excellent international reputation for our work on higher and adult education.


Applicants should have:

- successfully completed a Masters programme in adult, community or higher education or an equivalent programme at level 9,

- current and significant experience in teaching in higher or adult education,

- proven ability in academic writing.  

Minimum English language requirements:

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. For information about English language tests accepted and required scores, please see here. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and International applicants.

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850


Additional Information

Please Note:  Applications for this programme are bi-annual, the next intake will be Sept 2025

The programme supports research on key educational issues and challenges in higher, further, adult and community in Ireland and globally.  To date there has been a strong focus on reflection on practitioner knowledge and experience, research which seeks to enhance pedagogy, supporting access and widening participation, leadership, continuous professional development and critical analysis of policy.  This work has been grounded in a range of research methodologies, including qualitative research methods, narrative inquiry, biographical and arts-based research methodologies, critical quantitative research, case studies, action research and documentary analysis.  A list of previous research projects by doctoral students in the Department of Adult and Community Education is available at:


This is a 4-year programme, comprising of required modules.  Typically, modules are offered one day per week on 12 dates annually during years 1 and 2.  Students attend 6 - 7 workshops in year during the reminder of the programme and are supported in the research through individual and group supervision and the department’s research centre.

Duration: 4 years


The modules below are indicative of the content associated with this course of study.

The modules are subject to change as the curriculum is revised and reviewed annually.  Please check periodically for updates.

Course Duration: 4 years










Course Duration: 4 years

While the participants on the Doctorate in Higher and Adult Education programme will be skilled professionals on entry to the programme, experience over the four years will prepare them to further advance in their professional and academic careers in the areas of research, policy development, teaching and engagement across a range of disciplines.

If you wish to have an informal discussion about the course before applying, please contact the directors, Dr. Bernie Grummell, Dr. Fergal Finnegan.

Please note:  Applications for this programme are bi-annual, the next intake will be Sept 2025   -  Online application only    

PAC code: MHA07

The following information should be uploaded to your online application form:

Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for all non-Maynooth University qualifications listed MUST accompany the application.  Failure to do so will delay your application being processed.  Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide two academic references and a copy of their birth certificate or valid passport.

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