Course Details

Course Code(s):
4 Yrs, 5 Yrs
Faculty: Education and Health Sciences
Course Type: Research
Fees: For Information on Fees, see section below.


Name: Education & Health Sciences PhD

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Brief Description

This a novel, Structured PhD. which will allow the student to complete a Ph.D. within 4 years (full-time). The research project will be sited within one of the Faculty's six Departments, but th etaught elements will be shared across the Faculty, maximising learning opportunities for the students. It will promote a sharing of expertise and experience, which will lead to high quality traslational research in accordance with the faculty mission to advance the wellbeing of people. Students may take modules in quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods research methodology, promoting a holistic view of the participants.

The course aims to:

  • provided a programme that is academically rigourous at a level appropriate to postgraduate research and consistent with standards nationally and internationally
  • educate students in all aspects fo research and critical evaluation, including research methodologies, cirtical review and ethics
  • provide skills appropriate for research in professional contexts.
  • provide education which will allow students to deliver translational research which has significance nationally and internationally.


Year 1 & 2 Year 3 & 4

In addition to beginning their supervised research project, students will take the following taught modules:

  1. Research methods modules (9 credits); these may be chosen from a range of research modules within the faculty
  2. Elective modules (9 credits); these are chosen from the range of post-graduate modules across the university.
  3. Core modules in Introduction to Doctoral Studies, Research Integrity, Entering the Academic Community and Post-graduate Skills Workshops & Professional Portfolio

1. Normally the three core modules which are taught modules are completed within the first two years i.e. stage (1) of the Structured Programme.

2. Research students can begin attending workshops and the portfolio at the onset of the programme.

3. Research students register for and submit the Postgraduate School Workshops & Professional Portfolio module in Year (4) i.e. Stage (2) of the Structured Programme.

 Core Modules

  1. The research project (270 credits) spans all four years, (there is an extended period of two years for part-time students) and is supervised by a Primary Supervisor from your home department.  The final thesis may be completed as a monograph or in an article based format
  2. Introduction to Postgraduate Research (6 credits) is designed to induct the student into good practice with respect to carrying out their PhD.  Lectures and workshops will include, for example, principles and regulations for a PhD at the University of Limerick, expectations of the student and supervisory committee and how to maximise supervisory guidance and information on seeking research funding.  Exercises in critical review will support the student's study of the literature.  In addition, the student will learn about ethics in theory and in practice and in terms of making an ethics application within the faculty.  This first module will encourage the intake of Postgraduate students across the faculty to meet and work together.
  3. Research Integrity (3 credits) builds on the previous strand looking more widely at ethics in research. These are workshop-based modules, with a small number of initial lectures on good research practice and on research misconduct. Workshops will review and debate examples of good and bad research practice, and examine how investigations into research misconduct should be undertaken using a scenario-based approach.
  4. Entering the academic community (3 credits) will equip the student with skills to network with respect to their research. A full-day workshop will allow the student to explore how to develop international contacts, get abstracts accepted at conferences, prepare good conference presentations and posters, run workshops, and review abstracts.
  5. Postgraduate School workshops & Professional Portfolio (12 credits) is a student-centered module, guided by the research supervisory team. Students will maintain a portfolio of activities such as attendance at invited speaker programmes and presentations at a conference. The portfolio will comprise documentation of the activities and reflective work reviewing the different experiences. As part of the portfolio module students are required to attend 60 hours of workshops throughout the first four years. The workshops attended are incorporated into the portfolio of learning.
  1. Applicants will normally be expected to hold an Honours degree (minimum 2.1) or equivalent in a discipline appropriate to their area of proposed research.
  2. Entry points may differ for applicants with postgraduate qualifications. Please contact the Course Director for further information.

Fees for all postgraduate programmes are revised on an annual basis.  Detailed information on fee schedules and fee regulations is available on the Fees Office website. 

Please click here for information on funding and scholarships.

Shane Knox (PhD Candidate) - Programme Development Officer, Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council

"I commenced my PhD studies with the GEMS just more than a year ago.  I am delighted with the assistance and guidance I have received thus far.  You might think this is only to be expected of such an Institution but what sets GEMS apart is the level of support, the personal interest, and the down-to-earth direction and commitment offered by experienced supervisors and faculty.  This brings a very welcomed human influence to the research experience."

Suzanne Dunne (PhD candidate) - Quality Management Executive, Irish Pharmaceutical Industry

"I found the GEMS to be welcoming with a very streamlined process for managing PhD applications.  My supervisors have an open-door policy, are always interested in hearing about my progress and their guidance is always extremely useful.  Also, UL provides regular and relevant training for postgraduate students which isn't always available elsewhere."