Anthropology - Research

The PhD is an advanced research degree that requires considerable initiative on the part of the student to engage in independent, original scholarship. The objective of the PhD programme is to provide students with professional training in anthropological research and to produce scholars capable of contributing to international networks in the discipline in an original, ethical, and effective fashion. To this end, the programme provides students with the necessary research skills, along with any other specialist training, required for their research project. Above all, the department aims to provide students with the opportunity to pursue effectively their own specific research interests, working independently under the mentorship of members of staff, who will provide detailed feedback and advice on the work.

Although the purpose of PhD study is to focus on independent, original research, Maynooth University research degrees are 'structured' and require PhD students to register for a minimum of 30 credits in pass/fail modules. All Anthropology students register for AN801 (Theory and Practice for Anthropologists) in the first year. Additional modules are selected in close consultation with the student’s Advisor; most Anthropology modules are undertaken through mentored individual or group study, and are designed around the student’s primary need to carry out long-term field research and write a thesis of approx. 90,000 words.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.1 degree (BA or MA) or international equivalent, and a proposal for original research that is accepted by the Anthropology Department. Normally students being admitted to the PhD programme are expected to have previous study of anthropology. Students with a degree in a field other than anthropology would be required to sit modules in our taught MA programme before continuing on with their research. In exceptional circumstances, students may be accepted directly to the PhD with only an anthropology BA in hand, but such students would be required to complete a total of 60 credits of modules (see Course Structure).

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


4 years full-time, 6 years part-time


In general, there are two levels of fees payable. EU students from EU countries including Ireland pay a subsidised level of fees for both taught courses and research programmes. Tuition fees for students from outside the EU are not subsidised and are thus somewhat higher than for EU students.

Enrolment dates

PhD students adjust to the life of the department best when they begin in September, but starting dates are negotiable

Post Course Info

An anthropology degree provides an excellent preparation for a wide variety of fields in both public and private sectors, and is an especially good foundation for an international career. Anthropology has become increasingly important as a job skill in the context of globalisation, where a deeper understanding of cultural difference is crucial, both locally and internationally. Our graduates go on to employment in a wide variety of careers in community work, education, the health professions, product design, international aid and development projects, NGO work, business and administration, and more. The holder of a PhD is a professional anthropologist qualified to teach at university level and to carry out advanced research.


Students are free to take up research in any area that interests them, as long as they can secure the agreement of a member of staff to supervise the project. The Department has a very strong international profile in several sub-disciplines of Social-Cultural Anthropology. Please browse the staff pages and the research pages of the Department website for details on the specialities of academic staff and current research projects of both staff and postgraduate students.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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