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Department of Psychology  

Funded Postgraduate Research Opportunities available 

An opportunity exists for funded postgraduate study by research (MA or PhD) in the Department of Psychology, MIC. The MIC Departmental Assistantship Award is offered to postgraduate students who are prepared to participate in departmental and college activities (tutorial / seminar / laboratory / field work / course work marking / invigilating, etc.) for a maximum of 108 hours in the academic year. An Assistantship entitles the student to a fee waiver of €4,403 and a subsistence bursary of €6,900 for the work done in the Department (total value of the assistantship is €11,303 per annum).

The successful applicant will register for postgraduate study from January 2019 and will be based in the Department of Psychology, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. Applicants must have or expect to receive at least a 2.1 undergraduate degree or postgraduate qualification in psychology.

The successful candidate will undertake one of the following projects:

Cardiovascular health benefits of aesthetic engagement
Supervisor: Dr Paul Mulcahy

This project aims to explore the potential cardiovascular health benefits of aesthetic engagement. The doctoral researcher will investigate the extent to which personality traits associated with interest in art and other aesthetic experiences are related to predictable cardiovascular responses to repeated stressors, and the project may therefore have positive implications for increasing our understanding of factors surrounding cardiovascular disease. The project involves taking a biologically-informed approach to the psychology of aesthetics, and the collection of cardiovascular reactivity data using a state-of-the art monitoring system. Aesthetics can be interpreted broadly to include aesthetic stimuli from many potential domains (music, film, art, natural scenes, etc.) - candidates are encouraged to consider their personal preferences when applying.

Applicants should ideally have a strong quantitative background in psychology, interest in the psychobiology of aesthetics, health, and personality, and a collaborative attitude.  A background in one or more of the following is desirable: visual perception, auditory perception, empirical aesthetics, health psychology.   

An exploration of contemporary understandings of Irish citizenship
Dr Marc Scully

This project aims to investigate discourses of citizenship in contemporary Ireland in the context of migration and diaspora. The past decade has seen a number of diaspora engagement initiatives undertaken by the Irish state and Irish civil society. More recently, the relatively generous citizenship rights afforded by the Irish state to those of Irish descent has been highlighted by those in the United Kingdom availing of this option in the aftermath of the ‘Brexit’ referendum. This has occasionally been contrasted by the greater restrictions on legal citizenship applied to those not of Irish descent who have migrated to Ireland from elsewhere. Within this context, the doctoral researcher will investigate ‘common-sense’ understandings of citizenship, identity and belonging within Ireland and how these are constructed.
Applicants should have a background in social and/or political psychology and a familiarity with social scientific literature on identity in the context of migration and diaspora. An interest in citizenship studies would also be desirable. Applicants should have prior experience of carrying out qualitative or mixed methods research.

Mental toughness and health indicators
Dr John Perry

Mental toughness refers to a personality trait that in part explains how people deal with challenges, stress, and pressure. It is an umbrella term that also relates to concepts of resilience, hardiness, and grit. From a health perspective, it has been associated with reduced levels of perceived stress (Gerber et al., 2013), fewer depressive symptoms (Mutz, Clough, & Pagageorgiou, 2017), lower levels of burnout (Gerber  et al., 2015), improved psychological wellbeing (Stamp et al., 2015), increased quality of life (Jin & Wang, 2016), and improved quality of sleep (Brand et al., 2013). Much of our current knowledge in this area however is through association and requires more rigorous scientific testing. The aim of this project is to determine key health indicators and determine possible change in these associated with developing mental toughness.

Applicants should have a background in personality and an interest in scientific rigour. Proficiency in quantitative methods is advantageous.

Additional information about the Department of Psychology can be found on the Department of Psychology website: www.mic.ul.ie/academicdepts/psychology.

To enquire about these opportunities please contact the relevant supervisor.


Postgraduate Students 

Clara Hoyne

Chloé Beatty

Nuala Walsh



Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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