Irish Studies PhD / MPhil

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.

Why study with us?

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
  • 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.


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.

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.

If you would like to find out more about funding opportunities for MRes or PhD in the Humanities or Social Science programmes or to discuss applying for them the Institute of Irish Studies would be happy to hear from you. We would like to hear from any student wishing to apply to any major funding body who would like to study with us. We are part of the AHRC's Northwest Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership and the ESRC's Northwest Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership and we support applications to both. Further details can be found at:

If you would like to discuss research in the department or require more information please contact Niall Carson, Departmental Lead for Post Graduate Studies:

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.

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.


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

MPhil / PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,712
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £27,800 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £27,800 (Band A)^ or £21,850 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £21,850 (Band B)
Part time 4-6 years £2,356
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £13,900 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £13,900 (Band A)^ or £10,925 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £10,925 (Band B)

The fees stated in the table above exclude potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees’. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

* Please note that if you are undertaking a PhD within the Faculty of Science and Engineering the fee you pay, Band A or Band B, will reflect the nature of your research project. Some research projects incur a higher fee than others e.g. if you are required to undertake laboratory work. You will be informed of the fee for your programme in your offer letter.

^ Self-funded, full-time international students studying a PhD programme classified as Band A will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcome from suitably qualified candidates who wish to undertake research leading to a PhD on either a full- or part-time basis. We ordinarily expect candidates for entry to our PhD programme to hold a first degree in the First or 2:1 class and a Master’s degree (preferably pass of 65% or higher) in a relevant subject area from a UK university, or EU/overseas qualifications of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT Overall 6.5 no band below 6.0
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 88 overall with L 19 W 19 R 19 and S 20
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 176 with no less than 169 in any paper
Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with merit in components
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 176 with 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 in components

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

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Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal

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