Education - Adult & Community Education - Research

The overall aim of the Structured PhD Programme is to facilitate the students in making an original contribution to the knowledge base in the field of adult and community education through research. It meets the needs of practitioners in the field of adult and community education.

The Department of Adult and Community Education is firmly committed to equality and social justice. We believe that education is a fundamental human right and collaborative, critical adult education has the power to transform individuals and change society for the better. We have the leading centre for research on adult education in Ireland, and have built an excellent international reputation for our work on further education, higher education, adult guidance, community development and transformative learning. Our research interests and projects concern critical pedagogy, access and equality in adult and higher education, adult guidance and counselling, community education, critical policy studies, transformative learning and active citizenship. We actively support innovative and creative methodological approaches to research with a strong focus on participatory approaches.

See staff research interests at

The Structured PhD is part of a University-wide programme, which provides modules that students can undertake in the course of their studies, including modules developing graduate competences, transferable skills and research capacities. This programme is designed to support students to conduct research at the highest level in a reflexive and critical way. The Structured PhD takes four years full-time or six years part-time to complete.

Entry requirements

PhD entry requirements:

- Primary degree (or equivalent) and a Masters degree in Adult and Community Education or a relevant discipline,
- Experience in higher or adult education,
- Proven ability in academic writing.

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

Commences: September or January.

Post Course Info

While the participants on the Structured PhD programme will be skilled professionals on entry to the programme, experience over the four years will prepare them to further advance their professional and academic careers in the areas of research, policy development, teaching and engagement.


The Department is particularly interested in working on research projects concerning radical perspectives on adult learning theory, theoretical and practical studies of community education, women's education, adult basic education, human development programmes, adult guidance and counselling, interventions with marginalised adults and their communities as well as topics in higher education.

See staff research interests at

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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