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PhD Global Health

PhD Global Health

Course Title PhD Global Health
Qualification PhD
Next IntakePhD applications are being considered on an ad-hoc basis, as per the procedures outlined under the Admissions tab              

"The PhD in Global Health brings early stage researchers from a range of disciplines and nationalities together to discuss, debate, and collaborate on current issues in global health. While working towards their independent research projects, PhD students appreciate the unique opportunity to work, socialise, and learn alongside other doctoral candidates in the Centre"

Dr Frédérique Vallieres
Course Director
P: +353 1 896 2130

For information on the impact of Covid 19 for potential students, please view click here.

Programme Aims & Structure

The PhD in Global Health (INDIGO) programme aims to provide promising early-stage researchers with a world-class experience and scholarship. A four-year, full-time, programme with a flexible structure, INDIGO aims to produce leaders in global health research, policy, and practice. The majority of our current doctoral researchers spend at least half of their doctoral degree conducting research within existing global health programmes, in collaboration with one of our many national and international partners.

The following outlines the major milestones of the PhD process, which may vary depending on the individual candidate and their respective research requirements:












PhD Research Seminar          
Finalise Research Protocol          
Ethical Approval Obtained          
Continuation Viva          
Data Collection          
Data Analysis          
Thesis Write-up          
Thesis Submission          
Viva Voce          

In addition to their own research obligations, doctoral researchers are expected to attend and participate in the Centre's weekly research seminars, held every Tuesday during lunch time.

By the end of their doctoral training, students gain first-hand knowledge and experience of conducting practical research in one or more of the following principal research areas: (1) Global Mental Health; (2) Health Systems Strengthening; (3) Human Resources for Health, and (4) Equitable Access to Inclusive Health.

By working closely with their supervisors, mentor panels, CGH partners, and fellow doctoral researchers, our PhD students emerge from the programme confident in their ability to lead global health research. Students also gain valuable experience by contribute to the following Centre activities:

    • Research grant writing and submission to funding bodies
    • Academic writing and publication
    • Critical thinking and conceptual framing of international development work
    • Conducting research in resource-constrained settings and/or with vulnerable populations
    • Post-graduate teaching and supervision through engagement with the MSc Global Health programme


We are currently reviewing applications for doctoral theses that are related to the following research topics. Please note that there are currently no funding opportunities for PhD posts, so candidates must be self-funded or have secured their own bursaries:

  • Child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing; resilience; randomized controlled trials; parent-child relations; refugee youth and families (Supervisor: Dr. Kristin Hadfield)
  • Global mental health; social determinants of child and adolescent mental health; systemic, family and community-based mental health and psychosocial support programs; mechanisms of change; enhancing the scientist-practitioner link (Supervisor Dr Tania Bosqui)
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights; HIV and AIDS; global health and international development; National and international policy, particularly contested policy domains like the regulation of drugs and sexuality; Inclusion health and social protection (Supervisor: Dr. Ann Nolan)
  • Global mental health; global health and international development; psychological responses to trauma; human resources for health and task-sharing models of health service delivery; health system strengthening, (Supervisor: Dr. Frédérique Vallières)

Admission to the PhD Global Health programme at Trinity College Dublin is highly competitive. Applicants must possess a strong academic record, international research experience, and a keen interest in global health research. Admission to the programme takes place in three stages. 

Stage 1: To be considered for a position on the course, candidates must submit ALL of the following documents to relevant supervisor via email at least 3 months before September 1st or March 1st registration deadlines:.

  • Cover letter
  • Personal Statement
  • Updated Curriculum Vitae
  • Research Concept Note outlining the candidate’s Proposed Research
  • Copy of the candidate’s academic record(s)

Stage 2: If the above documents are in order, the candidacy will be forwarded to a selection committee, who will select students according to the following criteria:

  • Staff capacity to provide supervision to the applicant
  • Satisfactory CV, academic record, and the submission of a comprehensive concept note
  • The candidate’s performance during a scheduled interview
  • Available funding for the student’s PhD (either through self-funding or through existing research grants and/or bursaries)

Stage 3:  Should the candidate succeed beyond this first two phases of the selection process, they will then be asked to put through a formal application through the TCD online application system. As this is a cross-disciplinary programme, researchers will be formally registered in the same School as their primary supervisor.


The PhD Global Health is intended for individuals with a keen interest in global health research. This includes more academic, theory-based research as well as operational, systems, and services-orientated research with organisations involved in ongoing global health activities. Given the cross-disciplinary nature of the programme, applications are invited from individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who wish to advance their research skills and to answer questions that further our understanding of how to best address important challenges for global health.

Trinity College Dublin has high academic entry requirements for post-graduate courses. Applicants must* have:

  • A relevant Master’s degree from an Irish University or an equivalent degree from a university in another country
  • A fluent command of the English language (see below for English language requirements)
  • A strong understanding of research principles and methodologies (as assessed by the applicant’s research concept note)
  • Previous experience conducting research in resource-constrained settings is preferable, but not mandatory.

*In exceptional cases, individuals who demonstrate that they have exceeded the above standards through other professional and academic routes may also be considered for the PhD Global Health programme.

English Language Requirements:

All applicants whose first language is not English, must provide supporting documentary evidence of their competence in English. The following test results are recognized by Trinity College Dublin:

  • IELTS: Grade 6.5 with no individual band below 6
  • TOEFL: 88 – internet based, 230 computer-based, 570 paper-based
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English: Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: Grade C

Additional information for international students is available from the Graduate Studies Office.

Fees and Bursaries


Fees are payable on an annual basis and vary depending on which School the PhD student is registered to.

Up-to-date information about course fees can be found at the Academic Registry.



We understand that pursuing doctoral studies implies a significant financial commitment and we strongly encourage students to seek out bursaries and scholarships that might be available to them. Listed below are current opportunities for funding as well as some of the scholarships past PhD Students have avail of:

  • PhD Provost Award under Dr Frédérique Vallieres. (Provost's PhD Project Awards). Closing Date: June 30th
  • Irish Aid Fellowships (Irish Aid)
  • Health Research Board Fellowship Grants (
  • Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme (
  • 1252 PhD Scholarship (Trinity College Dublin): Funds students on a full time basis for three years and covers applicable university fees in addition to a stipend of EUR 6,500.00 per annum. Candidates can apply during the formal online application process. Please tick the appropriate box when asked whether you would like to be considered for this scholarship.  (Graduate Studies)
  • Postgraduate Ussher Fellowship (Trinity College Dublin): Fully covers EU and non-EU fees and provides an annual maintenance of EUR 13,000.00 for three years. As with the 1252 PhD Scholarship, application for the Ussher award is made at the time of the formal PhD application online. (Postgraduate Ussher Fellowships)
  • The National Commission for Science and Technology, Malawi
  • Tempere Tuberculosis Foundation, Finland
  • Robert S. McNamara Fellowship: Every year, the RSM programme provides grants of up to $25,000 to PhD candidates from developing countries to conduct innovative, development-related, PhD research under the supervision of a research advisor at a host institution abroad. The online application form is available on the World Bank website For further application details please consult the Application Guidelines:


Current PhD Researchers

CGH doctoral researchers are considered integral members of the CGH team and are often part of one of more of the various ongoing research projects in the Centre. With a current intake of 13 international and Irish students, our doctoral researchers join the Centre from Canada, India, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sudan, United States of America and Zimbabwe.



Name Country of Study Title of Research With thanks to: Supervisors
Qusai Khraisha Jordan The impacts of war and displacement on refugee mother-child relationships Trinity College Dublin's Provost’s PhD Project Award

Dr Kristin Hadfield

Aisling Hearns
Ireland Improving the Psychological Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers who have experienced torture and other forms of extreme trauma Trinity College Dublin & the Provost’s PhD Project Awards Dr Frédérique Vallières
Chapal Khasnabis Global GATE: Improving access to assistive health products  

Prof Mac MacLachlan (Maynooth)
Dr David Hevey

David Murphy Ireland Institutional psychosis: An investigation of psychotic experiences amoung former residents of institutional facilities Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship (Project ID GOIPG/2018/319)

Dr Philip Hyland (Maynooth)
Dr Frédérique Vallières

Thomasena O'Byrne Malawi

The scale up of an action-research based management strengthening intervention across 9 districts in Malawi

European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, (Grant No 733360)

Dr Frédérique Vallières

Jessica Power Ireland Scaling up healthcare interventions: How adaptations are made for local fit across contexts. A Realist Review. The Health Research Board - Trial Methodology Research Network

Dr Frédérique Vallières

Dr Catherine Darker
Prof Eilish McAuliffe (UCD)

Azza Warraitch Pakistan & Ireland Exploring the involvement of young people in health research, followed by adaptation and feasibility evaluation of WHO life skills program for adolescents Trinity College Dublin Ussher Fellowship

Dr Kristin Hadfield

Ciara Smyth Kenya Change and Continuity in Traditional Medicine Practice in a community in West Pokot, Kenya   Dr Helen Sheridan
Dr Catherine Conlon
Jennifer Trainor Malawi Meaning of preterm birth for childbearing women in Malawi Trinity College Dublin's 1252 Scholarship and the School of Nusing and Midwifery Dr Fintan Sheerin
Dr Vivienne Brady

Visiting Doctoral Researchers




Recent publications arising from the PhD Global Health:

  • Murphy, D., Vallières, F., Murphy, J., McElroy, E. and Hyland, P. (2020). Risk factors associated with general and specific dimensions of psychosis in a nationally representative sample of adults from the United States. Psychosis: Psychological, Social, and Integrative Approaches.
  • Perera, C., Salamanca-Sanabria, A., Caballero-Bernal, J., Feldman, L., Hansen, M., Bird, M., Hansen, P., Dinesen, C., Wiedemann, N. and Vallières, F. (2020). No implementation without cultural adaptation: A process for culturally adapting low-intensity psychological interventions in humanitarian settings. Conflict and Health, 14, 46.
  • Haahr-Pedersen, I., Ershadi, A., Hyland, P., Hansen, M., Perera, C., Sheaf, G., Holm Bramsen, R., Spitz, P. and Vallières, F. (2020). Polyvictimization and psychopathology among children and adolescents: A systematic review of studies using the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire. Child Abuse and Neglect, 107.
  • Haahr-Pedersen, I., Perera, C., Hyland, P., Vallières, F., Murphy, D., Hansen, M., Spitz, P., Hansen, P., & Cloitre, M. (2020). Females have more complex patterns of childhood adversity: Implications for mental, social, and emotional outcomes in adulthood. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 11:1.
  • Aldamman, K., Tamrakar, T., Dinesen, C., Wiedemann, N., Murphy, J., Hansen, M., Badr, E.E., Reid, T., & Vallières, F. (2019). Caring for the mental health of humanitarian volunteers in traumatic contexts: the importance of organisational support. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10:1.
  • Sherwood, L., Hegarty, S., Vallières, F., Hyland, P., Murphy, J., Fitzgerld, G., & Reid, T. (2019). Identifying the Key Risk Factors for Adverse Psychological Outcomes Among Police Populations: A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 32, 688-700.
  • Gilmore, B., Power, J., McAuliffe, E., & Vallières, F. (2019). Data analysis and synthesis within a realist evaluation: Towards more transparent methodological approaches. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 18, 1–11.
  • Power, J., Gilmore, B., Vallières, F., Toomey, E., Mannan, H., & McAuliffe, E. (2019). Adapting Health Interventions for Local Fit when Scaling-up:  A Realist Review Protocol. BMJ Open, 9(1).



Do I get to select my supervisor or will I be assigned one?
Potential students are encouraged to apply to INDIGO having identified a member of staff within Trinity College Dublin that has agreed to supervise their work. Supervisors should have expertise in the area of research of interest to the candidate, as well as the availability to take on additional PhD students.

Do I have to teach or supervise other students while enrolled in the PhD Global Health?
There are a number of opportunities for doctoral researchers to both teach and co-supervise students enrolled in the MSc Global Health programme. This allows researchers to gain valuable teaching and supervision skills as part of their doctoral training. Supervision of Masters theses is generally shared with a full-time academic staff member.

How many courses must I take for credit in order to fulfill the requirements of a PhD?
The number of compulsory modules varies across Schools. Therefore, the number of ECTS credits required to fulfill the requirements of a PhD is entirely dependent on the School in which you are enrolled. Should you be invited to submit a formal application, you would enroll in the School where your primary supervisor is based. Attending and presenting at the INDIGO Seminars is mandatory for all PhD candidates in the Trinity Centre for Global Health.

What are the deadlines for submitting an application to the PhD Global Health?
Trinity has two enrollment periods: September and March intakes. If candidates wish to be considered for the March intake, it is strongly advised that they submit their application by December 1st. For a September start, it is strongly advised that candidates submit their application by June 1st.

Am I permitted to have a co-supervisor from another institution?
A second, or even third, co-supervisor is strongly encouraged. Typically, co-supervisors are located within organizations in the country where the student’s research is taking place. In 2014, TCD introduced an internal PhD advisory system whereby all PhD students are assigned two advisors in addition to their appointed supervisor. These mentors will be chosen by your supervisor and approved by the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning. Your supervisor will arrange a meeting with you and your two mentors at least once a year to review the your progress and annual report. Students are responsible for preparing an annual report based on the research study they have been undertaking.

Will I have the opportunity to study or work in other institutions outside of Trinity College Dublin during the course of my PhD?
Many of our PhD students spend time with one of our numerous international collaborating partners. This includes, but is not limited to, spending time in partner academic institutions in both low and middle-income countries, UN agencies, the private sector, and non-governmental organisations. As most of our students’ research takes places in resource-poor contexts, it follows that many of our students spend a considerable amount of their time outside of the Trinity Centre for Global Health.

What funding options are available to PhD students?
Unfortunately, there is very little funding available for PhD students. For current openings for funded PhD positions as well as a number of relevant PhD funding bodies please see Fees and Bursaries.

What if I do not have a background in Global Health, can I still apply?
As an interdisciplinary Centre, applications are welcome from individuals with diverse educational and academic backgrounds as long as the research conducted as part of their PhD is clearly related to the area of Global Health. Preference is given to applicants whose research falls under one of the Centre’s principal research themes. Individuals should also clearly demonstrate a deep understanding of the principles and theories of Global Health research.


For further information about past graduates and their research projects please click on the link below.