PhD in Child and Youth Research

“One aspect of this programme that stood out for me was the diversity of the programme. The range of expertise from the academics, visiting speakers as well as the diversity of backgrounds and experiences in the student group truly added to my experience of doctoral studies. The regular group meetings contributed to a very supportive atmosphere among the students, which I particularly valued. Obtaining a doctoral degree was crucial to my career pathway. I am currently employed at a university, coordinating a BA degree and participating in current research”.
- Sheila Garrity PhD, Academic Coordinator, BA Early Childhood Studies & Practice


The Structured PhD in Child and Youth Research is a joint initiave between the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, the School of Political Science and Sociology & the school of Psychology.

The structured PhD in Child and Youth Research aims to:

  1. Prepare graduates to conduct advanced policy and practice-relevant research and programme evaluation with children and young people.
  2. Develop participants’ knowledge and skills in key theoretical, methodological, policy and practice areas relating to children.
  3. Provide graduates with the set of generic work-skills to facilitate their successful entry into a range of employment settings. 

This interdisciplinary programme responds to an identified need for researchers with the requisite, high-level and wide-ranging experience and skills to undertake the kind of work that is needed in an evidence-informed policy environment.

As with the traditional PhD route the major component of the Programme is the thesis. By the end of the programme all students will have completed a major thesis approximately 80,000 words in length. Theses will be examined by External Examiners.

Taught Modules: Additionally, the programme incorporates a suite of taught modules in key areas of child and youth research. These modules will provide course participants with the opportunity to widen their knowledge and skill base as well as feeding into the development of their core thesis work.

Duration: 4 years full-time (6 years part-time)

Entrants will be expected to have an upper second class honours degree in a social science. Students without this basic qualification must have demonstrated high ability by some other means, for example through publications or achievement in a higher degree. Applications are welcome from individuals with strong policy and practice experience in relation to children and young people.

PAC Course Code: GYG00 full-time/ GYG42 part-time
Applications must also include the following
A personal statement (300 words)
A curriculum vitae
Two letters of reference from academic referees. Referees are asked to place their reference into a sealed envelope and to sign the seal of the envelope.
A research proposal (1000 words)
All candidates must identify what staff member(s) they have consulted (if any) during the development of their proposal. Candidates are encouraged to consult with a potential supervisor before applying.

Please consult

Our first cohort of graduates has gained employment as postdoctoral researchers, academic co-ordinators in the third level sector and employment in research & consultancy organisations.

Nuala Donohue, Programme Administrator
School of Psychology / School of Political Science & Sociology, NUI Galway
T: 091 493678

The next intake of students: September 2019.