PhD in Law

Coming to UCD Law School creates the possibility of expert supervision by leading researchers in a wide variety of fields. We have the largest group of academic lawyers in Ireland and leading researchers of high international standing across many of the main fields of law including European Union law, commercial law, criminology, criminal justice and criminal law, regulatory studies, constitutional law and governance, human rights, administrative law, employment law, environmental law, intellectual property law, WTO law, legal history, agricultural law and private law.

Duration 4 years full-time or 6 years part-time
Starting September & January
Fees 2018/19 FT €6,170 EU FT €11,885 Non-EU and PT €4,080 EU PT €7,955 Non-EU

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Individuals who wish to be considered for enrolment in one of UCD Law School’s PhD programmes are asked to prepare a research proposal. This should include:

  1. a statement of the research question the candidate proposes to examine;
  2. an outline of the proposed methodology (in other words, an outline of how the applicant proposes to go about their research); and
  3. a short literature review. (The idea of this is to place the research within the current state of knowledge in the field in question. It should include a short, indicative, bibliography of works in the field)

There is no maximum length for a research proposal. Normally, it would be at least three or four pages long.

Please note that students who wish to work with a particular academic are advised to state this in their communications.

Please note that you can make your formal application to enrol as a PhD student online through the online UCD application process, at  http://www.ucd.ie/apply/

However, in order to help and encourage prospective applicants, the School of Law offers you the option of sending us a draft of your research proposal, before you make your formal application.  The PhD management team will review your draft research proposal and provide you with feedback. Academic transcripts should be emailed along with the research proposal

You can then take that feedback into account in making your final application. Further, if a draft research proposal is sent to us, we can also tell you in advance whether there actually is supervisory capacity within the Law School for your proposed programme of research and we can also identify a prospective supervisor.

Once you receive your feedback, you can make any advised revisions to the proposed research proposal, gather all the relevant documentation, and make your formal application through the online UCD application process.

Draft proposals and academic transcripts  should be addressed to Niamh.McCabe@ucd.ie.

What are the admissions requirements?

Applications are invited from graduates with a degree (normally of a first class or very high 2.1 standard or equivalent). The degree should either (a)  in law or (b) in an inter-disciplinary degree in which law was a major component.  Holding a masters degree  in law will normally enhance considerably an applicant's chances of acceptance on one of our PhD programmes.

Exemption from these requirements may be given to those with significant, relevant, practical experience. Such applicants should state clearly in their application why they feel their qualifications/experiences are appropriate for admission to the programme.

English Language Requirements for the PhD in Law Programme

  • Applicants whose first language is not English must submit satisfactory evidence of competence in written and spoken English, i.e. overall IELTS 6.5 (including a minimum of 6.5 in the reading and writing parts and no part below 6.0) or 90 in the TOEFL iBT (with a minimum of 22 (reading) and 24 (writing) and no part below 20.) The test results must be less than 2 years old.
  • International applicants should visit the UCD International Office website (www.ucd.ie/international) for information regarding our campus, location of UCD, visa information, registration and orientation.

Please note that admission to the programme is at the discretion of the Graduate Admissions Committee

To obtain further information please contact

Niamh McCabe
Graduate Programme Manager
UCD Sutherland School of Law
UCD
Belfield
Dublin 4

Phone: +353-1-716 4111 
niamh.mccabe@ucd.ie

The aims of the PhD programmes offered by the School of Law in UCD are:

  • that candidates will conceive, design and give effect to a substantial and innovative piece of research which will expand the frontiers of knowledge. This is done by developing of a substantial body of work (leading to publication of a monograph or a series of academic articles);
  • that candidates will be able to evaluate and synthesise new and complex ideas;
  • that candidates will become effective communicators orally and through writing;
  • that candidates will demonstrate knowledge and understanding in their chosen field of legal study. They will develop advanced conceptual frameworks and provide systemic understanding of the problems they identify; and
  • that candidates will be able to promote intellectual, social and cultural advancement in a knowledge-based society.

The doctoral programme in law is a structured programme. The core element in the programme is of course the carrying out of research leading to the completion of a thesis.  Students are also required to complete a minimum number of taught modules (30 credits).

These modules include one compulsory course - Introduction to Advanced Research in Law - Optional courses which a student might choose to take include a course in qualitative and quantitative research methods, in substantive areas of law or in other areas where the student feels skills might  be required to advance his or her PhD studies, for example languages or economics.

Students are assigned to a main supervisor before arrival at the Law School. The supervisor, in turn, is supported by a team of two other members of academic staff with expertise in the field of research. The supervisor plus the other staff members constitute your 'doctoral panel'.

At the end of the first year of the PhD programme each candidate is required to complete a transfer process in order to move from the first to the second stage of the PhD programme. This process provides an opportunity for students to review the progress they have made in the first year. It also enables the School of Law to ensure that all candidates are making sufficient progressing towards completion and accruing the transferable skills which PhD studies are designed to foster in a student - independence of research, originality of thought and competence in advanced research methodologies and skills.

For information on Sutherland School of Law scholarships and other scholarships click here

Apart from being the highest level of academic achievement, obtaining a PhD is now regarded as an essential feature in the curriculum vitae of anyone aspiring to a career in academia. Many graduates of UCD Law School's PhD Programme are now themselves academics either in or outside Ireland. Graduates in recent years from UCD Law School's PhD programme have been appointed to academic positions in HEC Paris, the Queen's University Belfast, the University of Portsmouth, the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, University College Dublin, the University of Maynooth, Dublin City University and NUI Galway, among other institutions and universities.

Of course, PhD graduates don't just end up in academia. For those who decide that they would prefer a career in legal practice, we have an excellent Careers Development Centre here at UCD, designed to help you with information regarding future employment or studies. UCD hold a number of graduate events throughout the year including a dedicated law fair at which  at which many of the big law firms are in attendance. The School of Law has a dedicated careers advisor on its academic staff and a staff member from the careers office is in attendance at the School of Law on a number of occasions throughout the academic year.  To see the full range of services offered by the careers office go to http://www.ucd.ie/careers/

All PhD students receive a desk in the Matheson Doctoral Studies Suite in the Law School and the School provides a PhD common room and a kitchen shared with staff.

All PhD students receive research support of €250 a year and are eligible to apply for competitive research support funds at School, College and University level in particular to present their work at conferences.

Those who receive a Sutherland School of Law scholarship are required to undertake some teaching and support responsibilities (e.g. to assist in conference organisation or to assist in mooting competitions) of not more than 6 hours per week.

All other PhDs can also avail of paid teaching opportunities in the School mainly related to undergraduate tutorials.

Please click the following hyperlinks for information regarding some relevant regulations and policies, including theses, progression in doctoral programmes, UCD Academic Regulations, conflict resolution, appeals, and PhDs by papers (law school).