PhD Programmes

The UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe) is the oldest and largest school of its kind in the Republic of Ireland. According to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020, UCD School of Politics and International Relations is ranked in the top 100 in the world.

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 staff individually.

Details of SPIRe staff research interests can be found here. 

Application Procedure

The application procedure varies according to programme.  Click on the relevant link for further details:

PhD Politics and International Relations

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

Entry to the programme is in September only.

Please Note: The deadline for PhD applications (EU and non-EU), for Ad Astra scholarship applicants only, has been extended to 30th September 2020 for a January 2021 start.

PhD Global Human Development

PhD in European Law and Governance

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

UCD Iseult Honohan Doctoral Scholarship 2020/20 - Suspended

Due to unforeseen financial constraints, SPIRe has taken the decision to suspend the Iseult Honohan Scholarship for the 2020/21 round.

Instead, we encourage people to investigate our Ad Astra scholarships, which remain open for competition. Click here for more detail

We hope to resume our Iseult Honohan Scholarships in 2021. Details will be announced on our website closer to that time.

The School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe) at University College Dublin is pleased to offer two new fully-funded Ad Astra doctoral scholarships.

The successful candidates will undertake a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Däubler or Dr. Stefan Müller.

  • Thomas Däubler does quantitative empirical research on electoral systems, parliamentary behaviour and political parties.
  • Stefan Müller works on representation, party competition, public opinion, and computational social science, especially quantitative text analysis.

The candidate’s research focus should relate either to Thomas Däubler’s or Stefan Müller’s fields of interest.

The scholarship will provide:

  • Tuition fees at up to the non-EU rate
  • A yearly stipend of €18,000
  • An annual research budget of €4,000, which creates excellent opportunities for, e.g., conducting surveys, running experiments, or attending conferences.
  • There is no obligation to teach or do research assistance attached to the Ad Astra scholarship, but the successful candidates may engage in these activities if they wish to do so.

The scholarships are tenable for a maximum of four years, renewable each year subject to satisfactory progress. The scholarship is available to full time students commencing their doctoral studies in the School of Politics and International Relations in September 2020.

For more information and application procedure, click here.


UCD SPIRe operates a Graduate Scholarship scheme for PhD and Masters applicants.  The overall aim of the scheme is to attract applicants of the highest academic standards to participate in the UCD SPIRe graduate programme (PhD and Masters) and provide them with the training, experience and mentorship necessary to their professional development. These Graduate Scholarships comprise a fee remission plus a tax-free annual stipend.

Details on the 2020/21 round for PhD students can be found here

For information on other UCD and external graduate scholarships, please follow the link below

Additional information on UCD scholarships can be found via the link below

Information for international students planning to attend UCD can be found here

For the most recent information on the university's Covid-19 policies, please click here.

For a letter from the Head of School and SPIRe's plans for the Autumn trimester, click here