PhD Law and European Governance
Duration: 3-4 Years Full Time; 5-7 Years Part-Time
Entry to the programme is in September only.
The PhD in European Law and Governance (ELG) is designed for students who want to develop multidisciplinary expertise on the structures and dynamics of European governance. This complex and increasingly important field of study encompasses relations between the member states and institutions of the European Union, Council of Europe and other European bodies, processes of treaty negotiation and supranational law-making, issues of political economy, citizenship and human rights, foreign policy, and environmental protection, and controversies related to sovereignty and democratic legitimacy, compliance and enforcement, and lobbying and social mobilisation, among many others.
This programme is jointly run by the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe) and the UCD Sutherland School of Law.
Please contact UCD Sutherland School of Law directly if you wish to enter via the Law route. The information below pertains only to students who wish to enter via the SPIRe route.
In order to be considered for admission via the SPIRe route, applicants should have completed and earned a minimum of a 2.1 (GPA: 3.6) grade in a taught or research Masters in the areas of law, politics and international relations, or a cognate field, and articulate a research interest that fits with the expertise of an academic staff member in either of the sponsoring schools. (Applicants with a very good primary degree in law will also be considered.)
In most cases, applicants to the ELG PhD with prior training in politics, international relations and other social sciences are considered for admission through SPIRe, whilst applicants with prior training in law are considered for admission through the UCD Sutherland School of Law.
A list of SPIRe academics and their research profiles can be found here
General Information for Incoming Students
A Welcome Note from the Dean of Graduate Studies, with information on registration, fees, support services and orientation, can be found here
When Can I Apply?
There are three application deadlines to the Law and Governance programme:
1) Applicants to the Iseult Honohan Doctoral Scholarship: 31 January 2022
2) All other funded applicants: 15th June 2022
3) IRC Government of Ireland Doctoral Scholarship 2023 applicants: 16th September 2022
Note: European Law and Governance applicants entering via the SPIRe route must have either a Honohan Doctoral scholarship or alternative external funding, to include a full fee remission and appropriate living expenses. Self-funded applicants are not eligible.
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The ELG programme is offered jointly by the UCD Sutherland School of Law and the UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe), both of which have large, internationally-renowned academic staffs in this area.
The programme includes (1) substantive coursework in both of the sponsoring schools, (2) training in research methods, (3) regular contact with a supervisor from either of the sponsoring schools and a Research Studies Panel of three staff including at least one from each sponsoring school, and (4) the writing of a doctoral thesis based on original research.
Students in the programme register to the school where their supervisor is located. They are also free to associate with the various research centers housed in SPIRe. For candidates in this programme, the UCD Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence focusing on the new political economy of Europe might be of particular interest.
In addition to writing a research thesis, ELG students must complete 40 credits of taught coursework. The content of this requirement differs slightly (see below) depending on whether they are registered through the UCD Sutherland School of Law or SPIRe. All ELG students also have the option of pursuing additional coursework in the UCD Sutherland School of Law, SPIRe or other Schools (such as Business, Economics, Sociology, etc.) to deepen their substantive knowledge and/or methodological skills.
The core seminars for students who enroll in the ELG programme through SPIRe are:
- LAW 41040 Law and Governance of the EU
- POL50200 Qualitative Research Methods
- POL50220 Social Science Methodology
And any one of the following:
- POL40970 Politics of European Governance
- POL41650 The Global Political Economy of Europe
- POL40540 Comparative European Politics
For more detail, please also consult the SPIRe ELG Handbook.
And to understand the overall PhD structure and cycle at UCD, you can click here for the PhD in a nutshell.
Applications will only be considered when the documentation below, including references, has been emailed to email@example.com
- Application Form (fillable word document)
- Cover letter, stating reasons for interest in the European Law and Governance programme.
- Thesis proposal (3-5 pages maximum)
- Copies of all Academic Transcripts (Undergraduate and Postgraduate)
- C.V. or Resume (2 pages maximum)
- 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. For students affected by testing centre closures due to COVID-19, UCD has approved the use of the Duolingo English Test (DET) as a temporary measure. The overall result should be at least 110 with a minimum score of 100 in subjections. Applicants must provide a cert that complies with UCD Minimum English Language Requirements
- Two academic references: These should be sent directly by the referees to firstname.lastname@example.org with the applicant's name in the Subject field. If sent by email, they must be from an institutional email address and ideally on institutional headed paper. SPIRe reserves the right to verify all references. Sending only the contact details of referees is not sufficient.
This documentation should be emailed to Ms Dara Gannon (School Manager) at email@example.com
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.
How does the application process work?
- Once all documents, including references, have been received, the application will undergo an initial evaluation by the review committee to assess that it satisfies the minimal requirements in terms of academic achievement and language skills
- Once it has been confirmed that the applicant is, in principle, eligible to join the European Law and Governance PhD programme, the application gets circulated among the SPIRe academic staff to determine if a potential supervisor is available and interested in taking on the applicant.
- If someone is potentially interested in supervising / co-supervising, a Zoom/Skype call is usually arranged between the potential supervisor(s) and the applicant so that further questions on the project can be asked. The PhD Director will often sit in on the call to ask general questions and/or provide more information on the programme.
- Following the call, if the potential supervisor(s) is willing to take on the applicant as a student, the registration process is initiated by the PhD administrator.
- If an application is not deemed suitable, a letter will be sent to the applicant informing them of the decision. SPIRe does not provide individual feedback.
Please note that the application review process does not take place until after the relevant application deadline. For Honohan Scholarship applicants the application deadline is 31 Jan 2022, for other externally-funded students the deadline is 15th June 2022 and for 2023 IRC candidates the deadline is 16th September 2022.
The Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme, funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) covers EU fees plus a stipend. Typically, this scheme has an application deadline early in the academic year (October) for a start the following September. The application process is highly competitive so collaboration with a local supervisor to develop the application is recommended.
Please note: If you wish to work with a SPIRe supervisor and use that supervisor's name on your IRC application, you must go through the school application process first, even if the SPIRe academic has indicated his/her willingness to work with you. The deadline for 2023 IRC applicants to the SPIRe PhD Programme is 16th September 2022.
Note: Applicants entering via the SPIRe route to the European Law and Governance programme must have either a Honohan Doctoral scholarship or alternative external funding to include a full fee remission and appropriate living expenses. Self-funded applicants are not eligible.
Fees published are inclusive of a Student Centre Levy (€254) which must be paid by all students.
Note: The Honohan scholarship does not cover the Student Levy.
SPIRe operates an Iseult Honohan Doctoral Scholarship, which provides a fee remission of the scheduled EU or non-EU fee plus a tax-free annual stipend of €17k. The 2022 application round is now open, with a closing date of 31st January 2022.
To be eligible, the candidate must have a SPIRe supervisor.
There are also UCD Graduate Scholarships available.
IRC Scholarships: 2022 Call Now Closed
The Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme, funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) covers EU fees plus a stipend (non-EU scholars need to cover the fee differential). The current round is now closed. The application process is highly competitive so collaboration with a local supervisor to develop the application is recommended.
Please note: If you wish to work with a SPIRe supervisor and use that supervisor's name on your IRC application, you must also go through the school application process, even if the SPIRe academic has indicated his/her willingness to work with you. The SPIRe application deadline for the 2023 IRC round is 16th September 2022.
Information on a selection of the top institutions currently funding graduate students at UCD can be found here
Universities of Ireland offers a North/South Postgraduate Scholarship to encourage graduate study across the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
- Specific information for international students planning to attend UCD can be found at UCD Global
- Supports for students and general information about the campus and the student experience can be found here
- Further information on estimated living costs and grants can be found here. Please visit the Irish Dept of Justice website for information on obtaining a visa
- Further information can be found on the Citizen's Information website
- And information regarding working in Ireland can be accessed here
For the most recent information on the university's Covid-19 policies, please click here.
With their sophisticated multidisciplinary understanding of European law and governance, expertise in a particular substantive area, and excellent research skills, graduates of this programme will be well-positioned to pursue careers in law, policy analysis and academia.
We have an excellent Careers Development Centre here at UCD, designed to help you with information regarding future employment or studies. Individual supervisors and the Programme Director work closely with Doctoral students on their career plans. In addition, UCD hold a number of graduate events throughout the year including a dedicated law fair at which many big law firms will be in attendance. To see the full range of services offered by the Careers office go to http://www.ucd.ie/careers/
Current and recently graduated, UCD Graduate Researchers (PhDs and Research Masters students), can book a 60 minute appointment with a dedicated Career & Skills Consultant to discuss:
- Individual Career Planning
- Academic and non-Academic Career Options
- Job Applications
- Interviews and Presentations
More detail can be found here