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

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

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 30 June 2021

View FETAC details

The Structured PhD in Education is a research degree that supports students in engaging in research at the highest academic level. Students work with their supervisors to develop a substantive piece of research that makes an original contribution to knowledge in the field and tradition of educational research. 


Minimum 2.1 degree (BA or MA/M.Ed ) 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. ¿Generally, students without a Masters undertake 60 credits of modules. 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 

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.

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 purpose of PhD study is to develop a work of independent and 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. 15 Credits will be in subject specific modules (2 of which are mandatory in the first year) and 15 credits will be in generic/transferable skills modules. These 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
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 Sharon Todd, 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. The research proposal should provide the following information:
- Introduction to the central research topic that the student proposes to investigate
- Reference to the key debates and issues relevant to the research
- An indication the body of literature that the research will analyse; the main data that will be collected and/or analysed and the methods that will be used
- An outline of the potential significance of the proposed research for the field under investigation
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 October/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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