The International Structured PhD (ISPhD) programme at the University of Limerick is an innovative, interdisciplinary programme which has been designed for international academics to enable them to undertake PhD study and at the same time gain valuable skills in English medium instruction (EMI) and professional development. The programme offers the following areas of content and skills development:

  • The guided development of a PhD topic and expert supervision  
  • Upskilling in English for academic purposes
  • Upskilling in English medium instruction (lecture design and pedagogical skills)
  • The development of research skills for PhD study and research publication
  • Professional development and networking for international academics
  • Intercultural skills development for international academics

Programme Structure 

This programme comprises a one year taught component worth a total 75 credits followed by a three year PhD research component worth a total of 270 credits, making an overall total of total 345 credits.

Programme Outcomes  

  • EMI Certificate  
  • Submission of 60-80,000 word dissertation and viva voce
  • PhD Award
Photographs of the project team

The programme team includes Course Director, Dr Angela Farrell, ISPhD Programme Administrator, Dr Niamh Lenahan, Academic Supports Coordinator, Dr Catherine Martin, and Teacher of English for Academic Purposes, Michelle Daly.

  • English language university
  • Highly expert and experienced supervision team
  • Competitive fees
  • Focus on campus safety
  • Beautiful campus environment
  • Direct connections to Shannon Airport
  • Limerick is well connected as Ireland’s third largest city but has a lower cost of living than larger cities
  • Dedicated supports for students including academic English support, intercultural support and social activities

We are very proud of the idyllic and safe campus which the University of Limerick offers. Situated close to the city of Limerick, Ireland's third largest city, the campus enjoys excellent transport links and is 30 minutes by car to Shannon International Airport. Students can travel locally and further afield with ease and safety. Find out more about our beautiful living campus here

Year 1 Core Modules 

Introduction to Doctoral Studies - Year 1 (6 credits)

Advanced Research Methodology - Year 1 (6 credits)

English Medium Instruction Spoken (1) and  Written (2):  Year 1 (6 credits each)

English for Academic Purposes:  


A discipline-specific module: Year 1  (9 credits)


An optional module: Year 1  (6-9 credits)

Culture and the market

Comparative literature: cultural construction of the past

Literary and cultural theory

Literary modernism

Gender and sexuality in Irish writing

Applied linguistics

Graduate seminar in Irish cultural history

Graduate seminar in International relations

Professional Language Use for English Teacher 1

SLA Theories and Classroom Applications


The programme has been designed to facilitate the successful academic, cultural and social transition of international students to the University Limerick and to the local community and Ireland and features the following supports:

  • English Language Classes
  • Academic English and General English as a foreign language development
  • Writing Retreats
  • International Buddies
  • Community & cultural Activities
  • Intercultural Summer School
  • Research Winter School

    We have a large team of internationally renowned academics and research supervisors with a wide range of expertise and high impact published research in areas including:

    • English language teaching and learning
    • Teacher education
    • Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
    • Intercultural Communication
    • Corpus linguistics
    • Journalism and Media
    • Digital communication
    • Online and blended teaching and learning
    • Foreign language and learning 
    • English and comparative literature
    • Film, cultural studies and performing arts
    • Discourse, power and society
    • International Politics
    • History

    Current ISPhD Student Mahmoud Kheir Eddine Adda Djeffal talks about the programme 

    Current ISPhD Student, Meriem Zine outlines her experience                                                                                                                




    A message from Dr. Angela Farrell, Course Director of the International Structured PhD Programme

    How to apply? 

    If you are interested in applying for a PhD and would like to discuss this further, please contact Dr. Angela Farrell, Course Director by email (Angela.Farrell@ul.ieto arrange an individual online meeting. 

    If you would like to make an application, please note the requirements below. 

    • Application Form
    • Original transcripts of all third-level degrees (except University of Limerick transcripts). 
    • Two signed references must be included (at least one must be an academic reference).
    • Where relevant, information on financial aid/scholarship must be included.

    Applicants who do not have English as their first language must include the following additional documents with their application form:

    • English translation of your qualification(s)/transcripts
    • English language competency certificate