Irish Studies

MPhil / PhD

The Institute of Irish Studies is an interdisciplinary centre of academic excellence with a global reputation for the study of Ireland. Our disciplinary base ranges from Irish history from medieval to modern times, literature, politics, conflict and peacebuilding, transformative justice, migration, cultural geography and gender studies.

World-leading centre for Irish Studies research

We are a world-leading centre for Irish Studies research. Established in 1988, the Institute of Irish Studies is the only one of its kind within Britain. Its mission is to be the UK’s main centre for multidisciplinary research into Ireland and its world-wide relations. The Irish government recognised our international standing in 2007 with a multi-million pound endowment to fund a Chair in Irish Studies. This funding has helped us to extend the scope of our teaching and research.

I picked Liverpool because of the commitment of the staff at the Institute. I felt like they wanted me, and wanted me to be part of the department and the research they are undertaking.

Anna Rowan - Irish Studies PhD student
  • 75%

    of our research activity as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally recognised’ REF (2014).

  • 2007

    the Irish government recognised our contribution to Anglo-Irish and inter-Irish understanding by funding an endowed chair in Irish Studies.

  • 1988

    the Institute of Irish Studies was established and is the only one of its kind within Britain.

Research at Liverpool

Our doctoral students pursue many original lines of research across the spectrum of Irish Studies, including literature, history, politics, conflict and its transformation as well as migration. Time frames span from the medieval to the present day and we have a superb Irish library housing many rare books, political papers and periodicals. There are also rich opportunities for expert dual supervision if you wish to pursue a cross-disciplinary topics.

Research themes

Our research themes are:

  • Rapallo: Yeats, Pound, and Late Modernism in Interwar Italy 
  • Religion, Identity and Conflict in Ireland
  • The Popularisation of Literature in and from the West of Ireland
  • Hagiography at the Frontiers
  • The Letters of John McGahern
  • A history of Irish divorce.

Research interests

We welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers, including:

  • Medieval Europe, especially Britain and Ireland AD 400-1350
  • Political Inclusion and Exclusion in Ireland
  • Religion and Identity in Ireland and its Diaspora
  • Political violence
  • Post-conflict transformation
  • Policing and community
  • The impact of ethno-sectarian reproduction
  • Women’s and gender history
  • Political activism
  • Legislative reform
  • Nineteenth and twentieth-century- literature and culture, particularly W.B. Yeats, modern drama, Modernism, modern poetry and Irish fiction including James Joyce, John McGahern and periodical cultures
  • Twentieth- and twenty-first century history and politics, especially Irish Republicanism, church history, women’s activism, grass-roots organisation, and good relations.


Based in Abercromby Square, on the main University campus, the Institute has a dedicated space for postgraduate researchers and it is close to the Sydney Jones Library and all other University services while being only about 10 minutes walk from the city centre.

Our superb MacLua library  supports our research and provides one of the best sources of Irish political papers, periodicals, books and other rare collections in the UK.

Research groups


Study options and fees


The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) can be thought of as a shorter version of the PhD. It requires the same research skills, training, planning, and project management. It can be a way to assess whether you wish to undertake doctoral research - or it can be taken for its own sake.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

A doctoral degree is awarded to students that have demonstrated the ability to conceptualise, design, and implement a substantial research project that results in new knowledge, applications, or understanding in their field of study. During your research, you can expect to draw on direct clinical and observational experience to produce an original thesis of 80,000-100,000 words. You'll be part of a research group which matches your research interests. Research groups offer opportunities for cross-disciplinary research collaboration, as well as support and expertise for your research.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a doctoral degree open to medical practitioners (technically, anyone holding a medical qualification registrable with the General Medical Council). It is equivalent in requirements and format to the PhD.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 2-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

Entry requirements

Eligibility and entry qualifications

For research degree programmes the typical minimum entry requirement is a Bachelors degree (with Honours) at 2:1 level or better in an appropriate field of study. Equivalent overseas degrees together with an acceptable English language qualification are also accepted.

English language requirements

To apply for this research degree, you must have reached a minimum standard of English. You need to be able to provide evidence of this.  See our English language requirements for international students for guidance on the different English language qualifications and evidence that you can provide. 

International qualifications

We welcome applications from within the EU and from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those which are required to study for this research degree.  See our guidance on international qualifications.

Additional requirements

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

Find a supervisor

Your supervisor is your main source of academic support and mentoring. You'll need to find a supervisor before you start your research degree. It's helpful to identify a supervisor and discuss your research proposal before you apply.

View supervisors in this area

Need help finding a supervisor? Contact us

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LDC module

Your training and development

Join us and you'll also join the Liverpool Doctoral College, our home for doctoral support, training and development. You'll join a vibrant and collaborative community of researchers, get tailored support for your development and have the opportunity to undertake a work placement.

More about Liverpool Doctoral College


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