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Politics & International Relations - Research

We offer a structured PhD programme that includes (1) training in research methods, (2) coursework in two subject-areas of politics and international relations, (3) regular contact with a Doctoral Studies Panel composed of academic staff with expertise related to the students interests, and (4) the writing of a doctoral thesis based on original research.

All students must designate primary and secondary subjects of specialization within politics and international relations and complete PhD seminars covering each subject's core scholarly literature.

Conditional upon approval by the Doctoral Studies Panel, a student's second subject seminar may be taken in a cognate discipline beyond the School. Students will also take courses in research design, and qualitative and quantitative methods. In addition, students have the option of auditing additional postgraduate modules (in SPIRe, the College of Human Sciences, and in neighbouring institutions) in order to deepen their substantive knowledge and/or methodological skills.

Entry requirements

Applicants to our research degree programmes must have completed and earned high grades in a taught Masters (MA, MSc, MLitt, etc.) programme in the area of politics and international relations or a cognate field and articulate a research interest that fits with the expertise of SPIRe's academic staff. If you are interested in exploring your research plans further with a member of staff, please feel free to contact us individually.


3 years full-time / 6 years part-time

Careers or further progression

The programme is designed for all those whose career plans require a capacity for independent and rigorous research, a broad understanding of political structures and processes, and expertise in a particular area of political analysis.

Further enquiries

Subjects taught

SPIRe PhD students in Politics and International Relations must complete 60 credits of coursework, at least 40 of which should be completed by the time of the transfer to Stage II, which takes place within 12-18 months on the program.

Of these 60 credits, 30 will be devoted to required methodologically oriented courses, one on research design, one on quantitative methods, and one on qualitative methods; 10 will be reserved for a third year PhD Thesis Workshop. The remaining 20 required credits (and any additional credits beyond 60) can be filled with modules/courses selected in consultation with your supervisor

Application date

Application Deadline for EU applicants: 7th August 2020
Application Deadline for Non-EU applicants: 29th May 2020

Please note: If you plan to apply for the UCD Iseult Honohan Doctoral Scholarship, the deadline for both EU and non-EU applications is 31st March 2020.

If applying for the Honohan Scholarship, this should be noted in your cover letter.

For futher application details go to the application weblink below.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry to the programme is in September

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!