PhD Programmes

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.

Applications from EU applicants should be submitted to the school by 9th August 2019. 
Applications from non-EU applicants must be submitted to the school by 31st May 2019.
Entry to the programme is in September.  

Application Procedure

Applications cannot be considered until we have received the following documentation, which should be emailed to

  • Cover letter stating the reasons for your interest in the SPIRe programme
  • Thesis proposal (3-5 pages maximum)
  • Copies of all academic transcripts (undergraduate and postgraduate)
  • C.V. or Resume (2 pages maximum)
  • Two academic references (actual letters, on headed institutional paper, required). If sent by email, they should be from an institutional email address. SPIRe reserves the right to verify all references.
  • Evidence of english language competence, where non-native english speaking applicants have NOT obtained previous university degrees from a university in an english-speaking country. Click on the link below for further details-
    English Language Requirements

For your information- a list of SPIRe academics and their research proposals

This documentation should be emailed to Ms Cathrina Gaffney ( 

The submission of original academic transcripts and other documentation will be required as a condition of the final award of a place on the programme.

You may also be requested to conduct a Skype interview as part of the application process.

One of our PhD research areas (above)

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Iseult Honohan Scholarship 2019 - Now closed for applications

The UCD School of Politics and International Relations PhD scholarships are named after a former PhD student and colleague, Dr Iseult Honohan, who retired from teaching in 2015 after over 25 years of service to the School, University and wider academic community. Dr Honohan is warmly remembered by her former colleagues as a strong supporter of younger scholars. Her PhD on Hannah Arendt, supervised by Fergal O’Connor in the (then) Department of Ethics and Politics, was awarded by the National University of Ireland in 1987. Her research in normative political theory focuses on civic republican political thought – notably in her book, Civic Republicanism (Routledge, 2002) – and its application to issues of justice and moral obligations; ethics and public affairs; and citizenship, immigration and diversity – including in her contribution to the development of the GLOBALCIT citizenship observatory.

The scholarship is open to proposals in all areas of political science.

This scholarship covers full fees and a living stipend of 14,000 euro per year for up to four years. It is open to EU and non-EU applicants.  

Awards will be primarily based on the academic track record of the applicants and the academic merits of the proposal, but social relevance and fit with the school will also be taken into account.

Applicants need to proceed through the standard application process for the PhD programme before they can be considered for the scholarships. Application to the PhD requires submission of:

•    Full proposal (3 to 5 pages maximum)
•    Copies of all academic transcripts
•    CV or resume (1 to 2 pages)
•    Two academic references (Actual references required. If sent by email, they should be from an institutional address. If not sent by email, they should be on headed institutional paper)
•    Evidence of English language competence (where non-native English speaking applicants have NOT obtained previous university degrees from a university in an English-speaking country)
To be eligible for consideration under the scholarship, the application form below should be included as part of the application process.

Iseult Honohan PhD Scholarship Application Form
Applications are to be submitted by email to Ms Cathrina Gaffney (

For those interested in the scholarship, applications to the PhD programme and the application form should be submitted by March 22nd 2019.

Click here for Terms and Conditions

Enrolment for all PhD students is in September 2019 only.

UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe) is the oldest and the largest school of its kind in the Republic of Ireland. 

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 2019/20 round can be found here

For information on UCD scholarships for prospective students, please follow the link below

Additional information can be found here

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