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School of Law & Government

PhD/Masters by Research 

The School of Law and Government offers highly dedicated supervision of research students, by expert, research-active members of staff. We welcome applications to our three postgraduate research programmes: MA by Research, LLM by Research and PhD. Students may register on either a full-time or part-time basis. When preparing your topic, please ensure you read the detailed information on the PhD Programme in Politics and International Relations, and Research Degrees in Law. The school provides a supportive atmosphere for research postgraduates, with excellent supervision, PhD level modules in research design and methods and a focus on professional development. Students have dedicated work spaces and receive financial assistance for fieldwork and conferences (allocated on a competitive basis). 

The School of Law and Government welcomes applications from postgraduates interested in research in the areas of expertise of our faculty. These are outlined below for ease of reference.


Information for Future Research Students

Application Procedure

Application Procedure

Applicants must submit the following:

  • research proposal (of approx. 5,000 words) (guidelines below).
  • A complete curriculum vitae, including results for undergraduate and postgraduate awards (for each year of study) and for any research projects, dissertations or thesis completed.
  • Name of School of Law and Government faculty member supporting your application.

You should only apply if a faculty member is supporting your application. If none have carried out, or are interested in, research related to your proposal, it is unlikely to be accepted. You should ensure your intended topic matches one or more of their interests. Applications are normally considered between April and September. You may self-fund or get funded for your PhD.

 Writing a Research Proposal

Writing a Research Proposal

When preparing your topic please ensure you:

  • Clearly outline your chosen research question.
  • Display evidence of your familiarity with relevant literature relating to your research question, including knowledge of published research from appropriate research journals.
  • Position your research question(s) in the relevant research literature.
  • Indicate the contribution your research will make to this body of knowledge.
  • Suggest a possible methodology that is suitable for your study.

Applicants who have the support of a proposed supervisor may be invited to interview.  If successful, you will be required to apply formally to DCU via the Postgraduate Applications Centre. Note that applications submitted to the PAC before faculty approval has been given, will not be considered.

Further Information

Further Information

 Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarship Opportunities



Research Interests of Faculty

Research Interests of Faculty

Alex Baturo: Comparative democratization; political leadership; political rhetoric; methodology; post-Soviet and Russian politics.

Michael Breen: International relations; international political economy; politics of global finance; IMF programmes; political economy of international organisations.

Eileen Connolly: Gender and politics; politics of development and the relationship between States and Civil Society.

Maura Conway: Cyberterrorism; violent online political extremism, including violent jihadis’ online strategies and the online activity of the extreme right); role of women/gender in violent extremism and terrorism.  

Stephen Coutts: EU law and national implementation; theoretical dimensions of citizenship; European criminal law; European human rights law.

Brenda Daly: dispute resolution; healthcare law; accountability in the medical profession.

Yvonne Daly: Criminal justice; criminal procedure; criminal law or the law of evidence.

Aisling de Paor: Genetic discrimination and the law; disability law in European and international settings.

Karen Devine: Public opinion and foreign policy; neutrality; European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy/European Common Defence Policy; epistimethodological pluralism; combining ‘positivist’ and ‘post-positivist’ methodologies; critical constructivist IR theory.

Robert Elgie: Presidents; Prime Ministers; political leadership; comparative politics; European politics; French politics; political institutions; presidentialism; parliamentarism; semi-presidentialism.

James Gallen:  Public international law; human rights law; comparative law; jurisprudence.

Niamh Gaynor: Development studies and politics and development in Africa.

Tom Hickey: Constitutional law and theory; law and political philosophy; law, religion and public education; role of judges in democratic societies.

Walt Kilroy: Development, conflict and post-war reconstruction (and their interactions); international media and reporting.

Adam McAuley: medical law; child law, human trafficking; judicial politics.

Ken McDonagh: US Foreign Policy and EU Common Security and Defence Policy, particularly approaches which focus on the discursive legitimation of foreign policy practices and the relationship between national identity narratives and foreign policy.

Iain McMenamin: Comparative politics including comparative political economy (especially sovereign debt); comparative European politics (especially Poland); business and politics (especially political party funding); Australian and Irish politics.

Gary Murphy: Irish politics; interest group behaviour; lobbying regulation.

Donnacha Ó Beacháin: Post-Soviet politics; Unrecognised / de facto states; Irish foreign policy.

Roderic O’Gorman: EU law; EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; social and environmental law; citizenship and the EU project.

Eoin O’Malley: Irish politics; executive government; public policy.

Paola Rivetti: Politics of the Middle East and North Africa; democracy and democratization; theories of authoritarianism and political regimes; reformism; international relations of the Middle East and North Africa; mobilisation and social movements in the Middle East and North Africa.

Diarmuid Torney: Global politics of climate change and energy, especially in the EU, China, India and US.