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PhD Global Health

PhD Global Health

Course Title PhD Global Health
Qualification PhD
Next IntakeCurrently not accepting any unsolicited PhD applications          
The PhD in Global Health (INDIGO) brings doctoral researchers from a range of disciplines and nationalities together to discuss, debate, and collaborate on key issues in Global Health. While working towards their independent theses, INDIGO researchers appreciate the unique opportunity to work, socialise, and learn alongside other PhD candidates in the Centre

The International Doctorate in Global Health (INDIGO) was established in 2009 as the first international doctoral programme in global health. The programme is specifically aimed at those with a keen interest in improving health and wellbeing through research, education, and service, in collaboration with communities, other academic institutions, civil-society, and governments throughout the world. INDIGO offers a unique opportunity for doctoral researchers from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds to study at Ireland’s leading university, under the tutelage of an international panel of supervisors.

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

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 highly flexible structure, INDIGO aims to produce leaders in global health research, policy, and practice. Candidates are strongly encouraged to conduct their research outside of an academic setting. The majority of our current doctoral researchers spend a minimum of 50% of their doctoral degree conducting research within existing global health programmes, in collaboration with one of CGH’s many international partners. In addition to their own research obligations, doctoral researchers are expected to attend and participate in the Centre’s weekly PhD research seminars, held every Thursday during lunchtime.

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, in fulfilment of School requirement                  
Finalise Research Protocol                  
Ethical Approval Obtained                  
Continuation Viva                  
Data Collection                  
Data Analysis                  
Thesis Write-up                  
Thesis Submission                  
Viva Voce                  

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.

Through 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. While enrolled in the PhD Global Health, students will also gain valuable experience, and are expected to contribute to, the following CGH 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 groups
    • Post-graduate teaching and supervision through engagement with the MSc Global Health programme


Please note that we are currently not accepting any unsolicited PhD applications to the International Doctorate in Global Health Programme. Any upcoming opportunities to register for the PhD will be advertised here and on CGH social media pages.

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 two stages.

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

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

A selection committee will then 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 2:  Should the candidate succeed beyond this first phase of the selection process, she or he 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.

Fees and Bursaries

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

We understand that pursuing doctoral studies implies a massive financial commitment and we strongly encourage students to seek out bursaries and scholarships that might be available to them. Below are some of the scholarships past PhD Students have been able to avail of:

  • 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 tax-free stipend of EUR 6,500.00. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:


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 through incorporating action research into 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 further 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 and applicants need*:

  • To hold 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

Current PhD Researchers

CGH doctoral researchers are considered integral members of the CGH team and are absorbed into various ongoing research projects in the Centre. With a current intake of 15 international and Irish students, our doctoral researchers join the Centre for Global Health from all over the world including: Canada, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, India, Ireland, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland, Sudan, Syria, the United States of America and Zimbabwe.



Name Country of Study Title of Research Supervisors Video
Dr Bonnix Kayabu Global Evidence Aid: The use of systematic reviews in complex humanitarian emergencies Prof. Mac MacLachlan Video
Charity Kapanga Zimbabwe Nutrient adequacy of the diet of women of reproductive age in rural Zimbabwe

Dr. Ros Tamming
Dr. Frédérique Vallières

Tessy Huss Timor Leste The role of civil society participation in social policies specifically in relation to health and social inclusion Prof. Mac MacLachlan
Dr. Hasheem Mannan
Jennifer Trainor Malawi Meaning of preterm birth for childbearing women in Malawi Dr. Fintan Sheerin
Dr. Vivienne Brady
Chapal Khasnabis Global GATE: Improving access to assistive health products Prof. Mac MacLachlan


PJ Wall Sierra Leone A critical realist perspective on mobile health (mHealth): A case study in Sierra Leone

Dr. Dave Lewis
Dr. Lucy Hederman


Jessica Power Ireland Scaling up healthcare interventions: How adaptations are made for local fit across contexts. A Realist Review.

Dr. Frédérique Vallières
Prof. Eilish McAuliffe (UCD)
Dr. Hasheem Mannan (UCD)

Dr. Ayat Abu-Agla Sudan Assessing the performance of community midwives in Sudan Dr. Frédérique Vallières
Ciara Smyth Kenya Change and Continuity in Traditional Medicine Practice in a community in West Pokot, Kenya

Dr. Helen Sheridan
Dr Catherine Conlon

Ida Haahr Pedersen Denmark Investigating poly-victimization in child abuse case

Dr. Frédérique Vallières
Dr. Philip Hyland
Dr. Rikke Holm Bramsen (SDU)
Dr. Maj Hansen (SDU)
Ms. Pernille Spitz (Danish Children Centres)

Camila Perera Latin America Effectiveness of the who’s low-intensity psychosocial interventions for refugees

Dr. Frédérique Vallières
Dr. Rikke Holm Bramsen (SDU)
Dr. Maj Hansen (SDU)
Ms. Nana Wiedemann (Danish Red Cross)

Dr Kinan Aldamman Syria & Lebanon Managerial practices to ensure the wellbeing of humanitarian volunteers in post-conflict situations

Dr. Frédérique Vallières

Larissa Sherwood Northern Ireland Identifying context-specific risk for discrete trauma-exposed PSNI officer populations

Dr. Frédérique Vallières
Dr. Jamie Murphy (Ulster University)
Dr. Philip Hyland
Dr. Tracey Reid (PSNI)

David Murphy Ireland A Mixed-Method Investigation of the Structure and Development of Psychosis: Towards a Dimensional model Dr. Philip Hyland
Thomasena O’Byrne
Malawi The scale up of an action-research based management strengthening intervention across 9 districts in Malawi Dr. Frédérique Vallières


Recent INDIGO fellow publications:


  • Gilmore, B. & McAuliffe, E. (2013) Effectiveness of community health workers delivering preventive interventions for maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review. BMC Public Health 2013, 13:847
  • Gilmore, B., Vallières, F., McAuliffe, E., Tumwesigye, N.M. & Muyambi, G. (2014). The last ones heard: the importance of an early stage formative evaluation for programme implementation. Implementation Science, 9:137
  • Gilmore, B., McAuliffe, E. Larkan, F, Conteh, M., Dunne, N., GMollel, H. (2016). Tumwesigye, N.M. & Vallières, F. (2016). How do community health committees build capacity for maternal and child health? A realist evaluation protocol. BMJ Open 6(11), p.e011885.
  • Gilmore, B., Adams, B.J., Bartoloni, A., Alhaydar, B., McAuliffe, E., Raven, J., Taegtmeyer, M. & Vallieres, F. (2016). Improving the performance of community health workers in humanitarian emergencies: A realist evaluation protocol for the PIECES programme. BMJ Open 6(8), p.e011753.
  • Gilmore, B., MacLachlan, M., McVeigh, J., McClean, C., Mannan, H., Carr, S., Duttine, A., Eide, A.H., McAuliffe, E. & Mji, G. (in press). A study on recommendations for guidelines for the rehabilitation workforce: A realist synthesis. Human Resources for Health.
  • Hand K., & MacLachlan, M. (2012). An unequal balance? The effects of unequal pay systems on societal motivation in Ireland. Special Edition of the Irish Journal of Psychology, 33(2-3), 129-136
  • MacLachlan M., Hand K. (2013). Happy Nation? Prospects for Psychological Prosperity in Ireland. Liffey Press. Ireland.
  • Hand, K., Carr, S.C., & Maclachlan, M. (2015). Stepping up, by stepping out: Sustaining humanitarian work psychology.In   Maynard, D., Mc Wha, I., & O’Neill-Berry, M. Contribution of Humanitarian Work Psychology to the Sustainable Development Goals. Palgrave McMillan.
  • Hevey, D., Hand, K., & Maclachlan, M.  (2015)Happiness in texting times. Frontiers in psychology6.
  • Vallières, F., McAuliffe, E., Galligan, M., Hyland, P. & Ghee, A. (2017). Measuring Work Engagement Among Community Health Workers in Sierra Leone: Validating the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale. Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 33, 41-46.
  • Vallières, F., McAuliffe, E., van Bavel, B., Wall, P.J. & Trye, A. (2016). There’s no app for that: Assessing the impact of mHealth on the supervision, motivation, engagement and satisfaction of community health workers in Sierra Leone. Annals of Global Health, 82(5), 936-949.
  • Vallières, F., Hyland, P., McAuliffe, E., Mahmud, I., Tulloch, O., Walker, P. & Taegtmeyer, M. (under review). The development of a new tool for measuring approaches to supervision from the perspective of community health workers: A prospective, validation, longitudinal study in seven countries. BMC Human Resources for Health.
  • Vallières, F., Cassidy, E.L., McAuliffe, E., Gilmore, B., Bangura, A.S. & Musa, J. (2016). Can Sierra Leone maintain the equitable delivery of their Free Health Care Initiative? The case for more contextualised interventions: results of a cross-sectional survey. BMC Health Services Research 16:258. DOI: 10.1186/s12913-016-1496-1
  • Vallières, F., Hansen, A., McAuliffe, E., Cassidy, E.L., Owora, P., Kappler, S., & Gathuru, E. (2013). Head of Household Education Level as a Factor Influencing Whether Delivery Takes Place in the Presence of a Skilled Birth Attendant in Busia, Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Household Study.  BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 13(48). DOI: 10.1186/1471-2393-13-48.
  • Vallières, F., Cassidy, E.L., McAuliffe, E., Isselmou, S.O., Hamahoullah, M.S. & Lang, J. (2013) Where are the gaps in improving maternal and child health in Mauritania?  The case for contextualised interventions: A cross-sectional study.  Pan African Medical Journal 14(97). DOI: 10.11604/pamj.2013.14.97.2292.
  • Vallières, F., McAuliffe, E., Palmer, I., Magbity, E., & Bangura, A. (2013). Supporting & Strengthening maternal, neonatal, and child health services using mobile phones in Sierra Leone: A Research Protocol.  Harvard Africa Policy Journal, 8, 46.



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 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 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.