The school is now accepting applications for its PhD programmes across its three constituent subject areas - Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. Our Programmes form part of the UCD Structured PhD programme. Our expert faculty all conduct research in their own fields and welcome expressions of interest from prospective students wishing to study in areas including, but not limited to, those in the list below. Applicants should contact a member of faculty whose research interests match their own. General expressions of interest should go to either Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Director of Graduate Studies, or the School Manager, Elizabeth Hassel. UCD’s PhD programme has been designed to not only provide first class supervision in relation to a student’s own research, but also to support that research through access to a broad range of taught modules covering both general research methods training and specific subjects. We very much look forward to considering your research proposal and application soon.

Admissions Requirements:

The programme has commencement dates in January, May and September annually. Applications for entry in September are now open and can be made online

Students who want to undertake a PhD in the school should have achieved a minimum 2.1 honours or international equivalent in a Masters degree cognate to their proposed thesis topic. Students are also required to complete a research proposal of between 4000-5000 words in length. Guidelines for the research proposal can be found here.

General enquiries can be directed to the School Manager  Elizabeth Hassell (elizabeth.hassell@ucd.ie)or the Graduate Studies Director, Dr. Muireann NiRaghallaigh (muireann.niraghallaigh@ucd.ie). Students who have specific research topics in mind may email individual members of staff whose research is in a complementary area of interest. Faculty members who are currently recruiting PhD students are listed below with their research interests.

Faculty MemberPrimary Research Area Other research areas of interest
Dr Michael Byrne     Urban Political Economy Housing
Dr Ernesto Vasquez Del Aguila Masculinities, Sexualities, Migration Ageing; Global health
Dr Matthew Donoghue   Social Citizenship, Social Rights and social Cohesion Critical Policy studies, inc. ideology and discursive approaches
Dr Naonori Kodate    

Health and Social Care in Europe and Asia Risk and Safety Regulation; Gender Equality in STEM education
Dr Stephan Koppe Welfare Markets; Private Welfare Nonprofits; Third Sector; Comparative Social Policy
Dr Mary McAuliffe Gender, Women’s and Trauma Histories Sexualities; LGBT History; Memory Studies; Feminism and Feminist Studies
Dr Joseph Mooney Child Protection and Welfare Disclosure of Childhood Sexual Abuse/Trauma; Child Protection Systems, policy law and practice
Dr Marie Moran Critical Social Theory, including Equality Studies Ideology and discourse in capitalist societies; Elite Studies
Dr Sarah Morton Drug Policy Domestic and Sexual Violence
Dr Muireann NiRaghallaigh Refugees; Asylum Seekers, unaccompanied minors Cross-cultural Social Work practice
Dr Aisling Swaine gender, peace and security Conflict-related violence against women; Gender and Transitional Justice
Dr Elaine Wilson Psycho-oncology and palliative care Professional Practice and Education in Social Work
Dr Nessa Winston Poverty and Social Inclusion; Social Policy and the Environment Sustainable Communities; Housing and Resilience; eco-social and welfare policies; alternative approaches to housing provision.


For information on fees for PhD Degrees, please refer to: http://www.ucd.ie/graduatestudies/prospectivestudents/fees-funding/

Language Requirements:

Students whose education prior to university level has not been carried out through the medium of English must satisfy English language requirements of a minimum score of 6.5 IELTS (minimum of 6.0 in each band). Other English as a foreign language qualifications may be considered, please contact the School for details. Please also note that in all cases the test results must be less than 2 years old.

Research and Professional Development Plan:


The ongoing maintainance of a Research and Professional Development Plan (RPDP) is the responsibility of every PhD student in the School. You can find more information about this here.

Funding Opportunities

The School has one Ad Astra scholarship available for students researching in the area of Social Policy. Full details can be found here.

The School has one scholarship available for students researching in the field of The Intersection of Masculinities, Sexualities and Migration. Full details can be found here.

Current PhD student research topics