UCD School of Sociology Ad Astra PhD Scholarships

The School of Sociology at University College Dublin is pleased to invite applications from outstanding candidates for four (4) Ad Astra PhD Scholarships.

First established in 1854, UCD is Ireland’s largest university with almost 30,000 students, including 10,000 graduate students. It is one of the major research-intensive universities in Europe and is ranked within the top 1 per cent of universities worldwide. Further details of the University’s profile and activities are available at www.ucd.ie

The Ad Astra scheme involves students working under the supervision of an Ad Astra Fellow, a major recruitment initiative launched by University College Dublin. The Ad Astra Scholarships comprise an annual stipend of €18,000, as well as a full fee-waiver. There is also an allowance of up to €4,000 per annum for research costs. Scholarships are available for a period of up to 4 years, and annual renewal is subject to satisfactory progress being made. Successful applicants must meet the University’s standard PhD admission requirements and be accepted into the School of Sociology’s PhD programme.


Applications are invited in the following broad areas:

  • Human Rights, Memory and conflict, under the supervision of Dr Lea David. [Closed for applications]

The project should address one or more of the following subjects: Memory and Commemorations; Memory Politics; Conflict (any geographic area); Human Rights; Activism; Solidarity; Nationalism; Holocaust/genocide; or Ideology. The successful candidate should be proficient in the language of the area s/he is proposing to study, and have a background in sociology, anthropology or a similar field.

  • Biography, identity and social inequality, under the supervision of Dr Marta Eichsteller. [Closed for applications]

The study should include the biography/life story research methodology, either as a single method or part of mixed method design (including either qualitative or quantitative methods). The topic is open but should link with the wider aspects of social inequalities, in either local, national or global perspective. The topic may relate to the intersections of nationality, gender, ethnicity, class and age.

  • Islam/Muslims in Europe from a sociological or anthropological perspective, under the supervision of Dr Elisabeth Becker-Topkara (sociology@ucd.ie). Start date: As soon as possible between September 2020 and January 2021. [Closed for applications]

The choice of country/countries of focus is open provided that the successful applicant is advanced in the necessary languages. S/he should have a background in sociology, anthropology and/or religious studies and be interested in undertaking qualitative or mixed methods research. Possible areas of focus include: Islamic revivalist/piety movements; Representation of Muslim minorities; Postcolonial legacies and diversity; Islamic institutions; Ethnic/racial/religious diversity present and past; Refugee migration and placemaking; and Muslim leadership.

  • Sociological Approaches to Law and Sexuality, under the supervision of Dr Alexander Kondakov. [Closed for applications]

The sphere of sexuality has been a highly regulated domain and has featured outdated criminal prohibitions of some sexual actions to more recent regulations of personal intimate relationship with the tools of marriage law. Sociological approaches at the intersection of legal and gender/sexuality studies aim at uncovering the power relations that inform, reinforce, and shape these normative enunciations. These approaches include queer criminology, law and society studies, feminist legal studies, and many others. The tools offered by these approaches make it possible to critically analyse such topics as hate crime against LGBT people, same-sex marriage arrangements, or violence in queer families, and applications are invited in these or related fields.


Application details are available on the main School of Sociology PhD page[Please note applications for all Ad Astra PhD Scholarships are now closed]

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the relevant Ad Astra Fellow in the first instance to ensure that the proposed project fits within the specified area of study.

For general queries about the application process, please email sociology@ucd.ie or telephone +353 (0)1 716-8674.

Closing date for applications: 31 March 2020.