Irish History Degree Program and Course Information

Oct 14, 2019

While bachelor's degrees in Irish history are not available in the U.S., there are a few schools that offer doctoral programs, or programs that confer both a master's degree and a Ph.D. Graduates often pursue careers in education and academia.

Essential Information

There are a few U.S. schools offering a doctorate in Irish history, with departments and faculty having depth in Ireland and Irish history and culture.

Prospective students are expected to have a minimum 3.0 GPA in baccalaureate studies when applying to most schools. Some doctoral programs may require applicants to hold a master's degree, and others may confer the master's degree while the student works toward the doctorate. Depending on the graduate school, students will also need to submit a paper indicating specific scholarship interests, reasons for applying to that particular school and career intentions.

A doctorate in Irish history usually takes between 3 to 6 years to complete. Courses might center on Irish ancestry, for example, or Irish politics or belief systems. While it is possible to take courses online, an entire online program is not available.

Ph.D. in Irish History

Most doctoral programs require students to have a base knowledge in general history, and courses cover a broad spectrum of history along with the specific focus studies.

Students interested in pursuing an advanced degree in this field may need to select a European history track and supplement it with an Irish history concentration. In some schools, an Irish history program may be interdisciplinary, combining Irish and Irish-American history classes with literature, cinema studies and other topics.

Many programs require students to study Irish language as part of their curriculum. At least one school offers opportunities to study in Ireland as part of a language immersion program.

Some of the courses directly related to Irish history include:

  • Viking history and its effects on Ireland
  • Effects of the anti-Catholic Cromwell campaign
  • Irish history from 1470-1660
  • Irish folk beliefs and customs
  • Perspectives on Irish ancestry
  • Irish history from 1600-1800

Employment Outlook

Two of the primary career directions for those with an Irish history-based doctorate are college professor and historian. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reports favorable predictions for those entering the post-secondary teaching field, with an employment growth projection of 11% between 2018 and 2028 and a median salary of $78,470 as of May 2018.

Historians are mainly employed in research capacities. The federal government hires historians not only as researchers of ancient history, but also to document current events. Other options for historians include museums and historic preservation societies. The field options for historians are broad enough to preclude accurate salary projections.

There are several schools offering doctoral programs in Irish history. Students who complete these degrees generally go on to become either college professors or historians.

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