Education - Research

The MLitt in Education is a research degree, aiming to support students in engaging in an educational project of the highest academic standard, aligned with their own research interests. Students work with a lead supervisor and the support of the departmental advisory team, to undertake research activity and write a masters thesis. This research work is supported by a customised series of taught modules (agreed annually with the department and the supervisor) which is completed with a cohort of fellow research students.

Students will normally enter the programme following completion of a Master's level degree in Education or a related discipline, and with substantial (normally at least 5 years) of professional experience. Recognising the experience and prior educational experiences of students, an individual programme of study will be developed for each student in conjunction with his/her supervisor and approved by the student's advisory team and/or the head of department. This individual work programme will seek to provide a balance of inputs including (i) insights into a range of thinkers and ideas in education, (ii) research skills, (iii) academic skills including critical reading and academic writing, and (iv) opportunities to engage critically with the material with a group of interested peers. Students will normally take taught modules to the value of 30 credits over the course of their structured PhD. Students may apply for a transfer to the PhD programme.

The Structured PhD in Education is a research degree that supports students in engaging in research at the highest academic standard. Students work with a lead supervisor and a co-supervisor to develop a substantive piece of research that makes an original contribution to knowledge in the field and tradition of educational research. This requires significant initiative and self-determination on the part of the student. We understand that students have a range of motivations for undertaking PhD research in Education and work with the student to best meet their interests.

Students will be provided with detailed critical feedback on their work and will be supported with ongoing advice on developing their projects. Students also have the opportunity to choose from a range of modules that offer flexibility in designing a pathway that best supports their research project.

Students who are interested in practitioner research and in developing their research as part of a community of practice may wish to learn more about our proposed Doctorate in Education programme (with specialisms in Teacher Education and Educational Leadership). Please feel free to consult with course coordinators if you would like further advice on which one would be most suitable for you.

The purpose of PhD study is to focus on independent, original research. To support this, and ensure that students are part of a wider community of knowledge exchange, research, scholarship and dialogue, Maynooth University research degrees are Structured. PhD students must register for a minimum of 30 credits in pass/fail modules. Modules are selected in close consultation with the student's supervisor. Students will write a thesis of approximately 90,000-100,000 words.

Entry requirements

To be eligible a candidate must have reached a high honours standard at the Examination for the Primary Degree (normally an overall 2.1 honours award at bachelors or masters level), or presented such other evidence as will satisfy the Head of Department and Faculty of his/her suitability.

Minimum English language requirements:
•IELTS: 6.5 minimum overall score
•TOEFL (Paper based test): 585
•TOEFL (Internet based test): 95
•PTE (Pearson): 62

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850

Minimum 2.1 degree (BA or MA) or international equivalent in Education or a cognate area, and a proposal for original research that is accepted by the Department. Students undertake 30 credits of modules that support their research, developing in so doing comprehensive content and methodological knowledge, and supporting them in developing transferable skills. Students without a Masters undertake 60 credits of modules. Such students will first be registered for a Master's degree such as MLitt or MEd, from which application may be made to transfer to the PhD. Studies can be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, and credit requirements are the same for both pathways. You can learn more about courses on offer here

• IELTS: 6.5 minimum overall score
• TOEFL (Paper based test): 585
• TOEFL (Internet based test): 95
• PTE (Pearson): 62


MH02G PhD 4 years Full-time
MH03G PhD 6 years Part-time
MH04G MLitt by Research 2 years Full-time
MH05G MLitt by Research 3 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 annually (or other agreed time)

Post Course Info

Postgraduate students in education come from a range of backgrounds and have a wide range of interests. Some students wish to develop their professional practice and take on leadership roles, others wish to take on other professional responsibilities or engage in policy formation in the national or international context. Holding a PhD qualifies one to teach at university level and to carry out advanced research.


Students are free to take up research in any area of educational research that interests them. However, a member of staff with relevant expertise must be available to supervise the project. Students may find it helpful to reflect on a research question and locate a provisional area for research prior to contacting the Course Coordinator. Inter-disciplinary PhDs are also welcomed and cross-departmental co-supervisory arrangements can be negotiated.

The Department of Education at Maynooth University is an exciting place in which to do postgraduate research. We have an excellent international profile and we are part of a wider research community that engages in research right across the educational continuum. Our staff and students also engage in inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional research. We have a large postgraduate research community, and the diversity of approaches and interests and our pluralistic and collaborative ethos makes it a welcoming and dynamic space for students. The atmosphere is one of intellectual vibrancy and creativity, grounded in excellent research. You can learn more about staff's interests here and about our postgraduate community here

More details
  • Qualification letters

    MLitt & PhD

  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type


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