Professor Mary O'Sullivan

Qualifications: BEd (UL, Ireland); MA (University of Victoria, Canada); PhD (Ohio State University, USA)

Email address
Phone number  +353 21 2949


Emeritus Lecturer

Teaching and Research Interests:

A primary focus of Professor O'Sullivan's research has been researching aspects of teaching and teacher education and it relationship with quality physical education and improving students' attitudes toward and participation in physical activity and healthy lifestyles. A second emphasis has been life history research of teachers and children's narratives on sport and physical education and drawing implications for the design and delivery of school and community physical activity programmes. Professor O'Sullivan has published extensively in peer reviewed journals and has published a book and monographs in the area of Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy.

Current Research Postgraduate Students:


  • Richard Bowles: Extracurricular Sport and its relationship with the primary physical education games curriculum
  • Michael Carey: Investigation of Physical Education Teacher Induction in Irish Post-Primary Schools
  • Marie Clonan: Impact of a Community of Practice on Teachers and their Students
  • Aoife Neary: An Exploration of Post Primary Teachers Experiences of Civil Partnership (with Dr. Breda Gray)
  • Leanne Coll: Understanding and Challenging Heteronormative Discourses in the Irish post primary curriculum


Research Funding
2007: Irish Sports Council (€5,000 funded for PE PAYS Research Forum Proceedings)
2007: Member of PRTLI Grant: (€2.5 m funded)
2005: Health Service Executive (Evaluation of Effectiveness of Brief Intervention €12,000; funded)
2001-2003: Physical Education for Progress Grant (PEP). Co Principal Investigator with Columbus Public Schools (Diane Barnes) ,000 funded



Personal Profile:

Professor Mary O'Sullivan joined the PESS department in 2005.   Prior to joining the PESS department, Mary was an Associate Dean for the College of Education at Ohio State University. Since joining the University of Limerick, Professor O'Sullivan has founded the Physical Education, Physical Activity and Youth Sport (PEPAYS) Research Centre at the University of Limerick which has a growing group of postgraduate students and researchers conducting research related to physical education, youth sport, and physical activity. Mary graduated from the University of Limerick (then Thomond College of Education) with a BA in 1976, and subsequently was awarded a Master of Arts degree from the University of Victoria, Canada in 1980 and a PhD from Ohio State University in 1983.

Selected Publications:

Click here to view selected publications.

Click here to view Keynotes and Invited International Presentations (since 2005).

Click here to view Honors and Awards (since 2005).