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

CAO/PAC code : MHA02 (FT), MHA03 (PT)

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 01 January 2999

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The overall aim of the Structured PhD Programme is to facilitate the students in making an original contribution to the knowledge base in the field of adult and community education through research. It meets the needs of practitioners in the field of adult and community education.

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 the leading centre for research on adult education in Ireland, and have built an excellent international reputation for our work on further education, higher education, adult guidance, community development and transformative learning. Our research interests and projects concern critical pedagogy, access and equality in adult and higher education, adult guidance and counselling, community education, critical policy studies, transformative learning and active citizenship.  We actively support innovative and creative methodological approaches to research with a strong focus on participatory approaches.

See staff research interests at

The Structured PhD is part of a University-wide programme, which provides modules that students can undertake in the course of their studies, including modules developing graduate competences, transferable skills and research capacities. This programme is designed to support students to conduct research at the highest level in a reflexive and critical way.  The Structured PhD takes four years full-time or six years part-time to complete.

Closing date: research applications are accepted at any time. Interviews with candidates are typically held in the spring so it is recommended that you contact the co-ordinators well in advance of this during the autumn/winter term with your initial proposal.

Commences: September or January

PhD entry requirements:

- Primary degree (or equivalent) and a Masters degree in Adult and Community Education or a relevant discipline,

- Experience 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

The Department is particularly interested in working on research projects concerning radical perspectives on adult learning theory, social and gender analyses of adult, community and further education, theoretical and practical studies of community education, women’s education, adult basic education, human development programmes, adult guidance and counselling, interventions with marginalised adults and their communities as well as a wide range of topics in higher education.

See staff research interests at



This is a 4-year full-time or 6-year part-time programme.  Students complete 30 credits of modules over the course of the programme, including compulsory and elective modules. Students complete an individual planning review at the outset and annual reviews which include selection of relevant modules.  Students attend monthly half-day group supervision sessions as well as individual supervision and the broader support of the Department’s research centre.

Duration: 4 years full-time/6 years part-time

Course duration: 4 years full-time, 6 years part-time

More detail in Course Finder... (per ADB)

Course Duration: 4 years full-time, 6 years part-time

While the participants on the Structured PhD programme will be skilled professionals on entry to the programme, experience over the four years will prepare them to further advance their professional and academic careers in the areas of research, policy development, teaching and engagement.

In the first instance, please contact the academic co-ordinators Fergal Finnegan ( and Bernie Grummell ( to discuss your application. Once the academic co-ordinators and the Structured PhD Team have approved your proposal then apply through PAC.

Online application only

PAC Code  MHA02 PhD full-time / MHA03 PhD part-time

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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