Philosophy of Art & Culture - Structured

The programme
This is an interdisciplinary, cross institutional PhD programme between NUI, Galway and Mary Immaculate College in the University of Limerick. This full-time or part-time programme provides students with a PhD following four or six years of thesis-orientated research and taught modules. Students are registered at one of the host institutions but attend classes provided by both. Over the four or six years, the programme provides students with access to the expertise of a range of scholars within each institution, as they develop their research ideas and enhance their research skills.

The programme draws on two main contemporary approaches to philosophical aesthetics and culture—the Anglo-American analytic tradition, and that of Continental Philosophy. These two approaches rarely intersect. In consequence, their respective strengths are exercised in isolation, and often in contexts that fail to engage directly with theory and practice in the arts, and the broader cultural issues in which they are embedded.

This new research programme overcomes these divisions at all levels. Indeed, by blending expertise from the two institutions, the programme explores the philosophy of art and culture in an intellectually enriched setting. The programme is also able to give equal emphasis to visual art and literature, and to offer special strength in phenomenological and hermeneutical approaches.

There is an additional vital element. It is based on direct interaction with contemporary artistic/cultural practices through the Arts Community Internship core module at NUI, Galway. This module involves students working for a semester with some institution concerned with the practice, discussion, display, or conservation of art and culture (or, indeed, all these things).

General Information

As part of the doctoral training available on the Structured PhD programme, students select from a range of interdisciplinary taught modules. The wide menu of available options include modules that:

are discipline-specific in that they augment the student's existing knowledge in their specialist area
are dissertation-specific in that they supply core skills which are essential to completion of the research project, e.g., additional language skills
acknowledge a student's professional development, e.g., presentation of a paper at an international conference
enhance a student's employability through generic training, e.g., careers workshops, computer literacy.

Each student is assigned a primary Supervisor(s) and a Graduate Research Committee made up of experienced researchers to plan their programme of study and to provide on-going support to their research.

The Discipline has general research strengths in aesthetics, philosophy of art and culture, applied ethics, phenomenology, and the history of Irish thought.

Entry requirements

For the Structured PhD in Philosophy of Art and Culture we are looking for students with some background in philosophy (or cognate areas) who have, or expect to be awarded, a degree of at least upper-second class standard, or equivalent international qualification.

Subjects taught

The programme has the great advantage of allowing students to combine subject-specific philosophy courses, related academic studies, and generic skills modules, from those on offer at both institutions. Students take a number of core and optional modules from the following:

Phenomenology of Art and Culture (NUI, Galway)
Arts Community Internship (NUI, Galway)
History and Philosophy of Pictorial Space (NUI, Galway)
Knowledge and Modernity (NUI, Galway)
Philosophy and the Subject (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick)
Literary Aesthetics (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick)
Introduction to Hermeneutics (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick)
Arts and Cultures of Display: Museums, Galleries, Curating (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick)
Cultural Philosophy of Globalization (NUI Galway)
Environmental Aesthetics (NUI Galway)


Areas of interest
All aspects of aesthetics, philosophy of art, philosophy of culture – considered both historically and conceptually. We have special interests in philosophy of visual art, Kantian, Hegelian, and phenomenological approaches to aesthetics, and Nietzsche.

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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

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