Law - Research

School Description:
Trinity College Law School, founded in 1740, is Ireland's oldest and most internationally renowned Law School. It has a distinguished team of professors and lecturers and, with the most academically demanding undergraduate admission requirements of any law school in the Republic of Ireland, a student population of over 510 undergraduates and approximately 200 postgraduates of the highest calibre.

The Law School is strongly committed to maintaining and further developing its reputation for rigorous legal scholarship and research, both in a national and international context. In summary it seeks to serve society through education, research and public service and to promote standards of excellence in all its activities. Many staff and student members are heavily involved with the governmental, commercial and voluntary sectors both nationally and internationally, in areas such as children's rights, constitutional law reform, environmental policy, legal aid, law reform, minority rights, public interest and pro bono litigation, social welfare policy and women's rights.

The School also values research that contributes to public policy debate and reform. This is an essential part of the Law School's engagement with the wider community. Staff at the Law School have research-based expertise in a wide range of areas, including: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Commercial Law, Corporate Law, Environmental Law, Financial Services Law, Intellectual Property Law, Equity, Torts, Contract Law, European Union Law, International Law and Human Rights. The Law School is responsible for the Dublin University Law Journal (DULJ), one of Ireland's leading peer-reviewed legal journals.

Students accepted for research degrees at the School of Law will have an excellent academic background and a strong research proposal. The first step in the MLitt or Ph.D application process is to submit a complete research proposal and CV so that your proposal can be informally reviewed and it can be ascertained if a suitable supervisor is available. Please submit your research proposal and CV to for review. If a supervisor is available, you can then submit an official application to Trinity College via
Please note that the Law School's preference is for research students to begin in September so that they can undertake the compulsory Postgraduate Legal Research module offered in the first semester. Permission for entry other than in September is only permitted in exceptional circumstances. Advice on this should be sought by prospective applicants by emailing before a formal application is submitted.

It is required that students should complete an M.Litt. in two years and a Ph.D. in four years. Students intending to complete a Ph.D. thesis may apply for admission directly to the Ph.D. register, but must be confirmed on the register following a confirmation hearing and submission of a confirmation report typically in their second year on the register. Alternatively a student who is admitted onto the M.Litt. register may apply (typically in the second year of study) to be transferred to the Ph.D. register and may be transferred on foot of such application following a transfer hearing and submission of a transfer report.

Students commencing the M. Litt or Ph.D. programme undertake a 10 ECTS taught module on Postgraduate Legal Research provided by the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning of the School in the first semester of their studies, This, in addition to direct supervision helps to provide a solid foundation and to introduce new students to one another. A series of seminars for postgraduate research students is organised each semester to enhance students academic and social experience at the Law School. The seminars cover a range of topics relating to research and scholarship and also provide a forum for students to present and discuss their work.

Applications may also be made by graduates of the University of not less than eight years standing for the degree of Doctor in Laws (LL.D.). This degree may be awarded to candidates who are judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge as evidenced by the publication of their work of high academic distinction. The level of attainment required for such a higher doctorate is substantially higher than that required for the degree of Ph.D.

In exceptional circumstances it may be possible to register retrospectively. Applicants wishing to be considered for retrospective admission should contact the Graduate Studies Office by emailing

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements
Postgraduate work in Trinity College Dublin is very academically challenging and as a result the University has high academic entry requirements.

Applicants will need to hold:
• at least a 2.1 honors degree from an Irish university or equivalent result from a university in another country
• a fluent command of the English language

Some courses may require higher standards or require you to take further tests or attend an interview.

Postgraduate Research Degrees
All students undertaking a research degree are assigned to a single principal supervisor. The supervisor's role is essentially that of an academic guide and mentor.

If you plan to carry out your degree by research, you are advised to contact the appropriate School with your research proposal and arrange a suitable supervisor before submitting your application. You should initially consult the School website for further information.

Research students are placed either directly on the Ph.D. register or on the Masters register. Research students on the Masters register may then transfer to the Ph.D. register if their progress has been satisfactory. Such transfers usually occur during the second year of full-time study.

Further enquiries

School of Law
• Head of School: Dr Oran Doyle
• Director of Teaching & Learning (Postgraduate): Professor Deirdre Ahern

• Telephone: + 353-1-679 2392
• Fax: +353-1-677 0449
• Email:
• Url:

Application date

Research Applications
No closing dates apply for application for higher degrees by research but there are only two registration periods (September and March). Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible prior to their chosen registration period as supervisory capacity may be limited.

Prior To Submitting An Electronic Application, All Applicants Should Ensure That They Have Met The Specific Programme Requirements Laid Down By Trinity Business School.

In exceptional circumstances it may be possible to register retrospectively. Applicants wishing to be considered for retrospective admission should contact the Graduate Studies Office by emailing

Research areas

Research Programmes
The Law School offers two postgraduate research degrees, the Master in Letters (M. Litt.) and the Doctor in Philosophy (Ph.D). It has a vibrant population of postgraduate research students and currently has around 70 students registered for M.Litt./Ph.D. degrees who are engaged in research across a wide range of law subjects. Each student is guided in his or her research by an academic supervisor who has expertise in the relevant research area. A central dedicated shared workspace is exclusively available for a limited full-time postgraduate research students which is adjoined by a seminar room.

Enrolment and start dates

March 2019 Entry
Doctor in Philosophy, Law (Part-Time)
Doctor in Philosophy, Law (Full-Time)
Master in Letters in School of Law (Part-Time)
Master in Letters in School of Law (Full-Time)

September 2019 Entry
Doctor in Philosophy, Law (Part-Time)
Doctor in Philosophy, Law (Full-Time)
Master in Letters in School of Law (Part-Time)
Master in Letters in School of Law (Full-Time)

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