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Public Policy - Research

PhD in Public Policy
This programme provides an interdisciplinary graduate learning and research environment for doctoral studies in the field of public policy. Pooling the resources of the UCD College of Human Sciences and the College of Business and Law, the programme provides doctoral training with considerable flexibility and breadth of interest.

The PhD programme in Public Policy is a research degree that is normally undertaken full-time over 3-4 years (with a part-time option over a longer period).

As set out by the requirements of the UCD Structured PhD Programme, candidates are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits of course-work, that is, three 10-credit modules. One of these should be the Research Design module provided jointly by the College of Human Sciences and the College of Business and Law. The other two modules should normally be chosen from among the core modules provided by the Master of Public Policy programme (unless the candidate has already completed this or an analogous degree programme, in which case the required modules will be decided in consultation with the student’s Doctoral Studies Panel).

It is also possible to take additional modules, depending on the training needs identified in consultation with the candidate's principal supervisor and the other two members of the Doctoral Studies Panel (DSP).

The PhD may take the form of a traditional thesis, or a collection of papers (including published papers or papers submitted or prepared for submission) describing a coherent programme of research which has been published or prepared for publication in peer-reviewed journals of international standing, accompanied by a critical and theoretical overview of the work presented in the papers.

A formal transfer assessment takes place after about 15 months (longer if part-time), in order to progress from Stage 1 to Stage 2 of the PhD. Students must submit a body of written work to a review panel, who will conduct an interview on the work submitted; students must have attained an average of B- in all modules, and must also complete a Research and Professional Development Programme (RPDP).

All students will submit their final dissertation to UCD and upon successful completion of their examination, will be awarded a UCD PhD.


W151 / W152: 3 years full-time / 6 years part-time

Further enquiries

Professor Niamh Hardiman
Director of the Programme
UCD School of Politics & International Relations
Newman Building
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 716 8230

Bernadette Fox
Programme Administrator
Newman Building (Room D110)
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 716 8643


You will develop an understanding of the political, ethical, social and economic factors which influence policy-making along with the challenges associated with effective policy implementation and regulation. You will also learn to systematically analyse public policies, and acquire skills in policy research and evaluation. In addition, you will have the opportunity to examine a number of policy fields in depth.

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