UCD Ad Astra Doctoral Scholarship 2021

Deadline: Wednesday, 30th September 2020 

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

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.

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

It is essential that the candidate’s research focus relates either to Thomas Däubler’s or Stefan Müller’s fields of interest. If unsure about the fit, please email them a summary of your research idea(s), which should not be longer than 200 words. A good working knowledge of research design and (basic) quantitative methods is a strong plus. Candidates lacking such skills will be expected to acquire them.

‌SPIRe is a dynamic, growing, multi-faceted and highly-international school offering an exciting and professionally-valuable environment for academic development. Our staff are engaged in cutting-edge research across the whole spectrum of political science.  

The successful candidates can also benefit from joining the Connected_Politics Lab, an interdisciplinary hub for researchers using computational methods to study politics and society. The Connected_Politics Lab is hosted by the College of Social Sciences and Law at UCD.

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 January 2021.


  • Applications are open to anyone who intends to apply to the PhD programme in Politics and International Relations;
  • EU and non-EU students are equally eligible for studentships under this award;
  • Continuing students, or students transferring only part of their PhD studies to UCD, cannot apply.

Application Procedure

Applicants need to proceed through the standard application process for the SPIRe PhD programme before they can be considered for the scholarships.

Please note that, due to the volume of applications, they will not be checked in advance of the closing date for any inaccuracies or missing components. It is up to the applicant to ensure that all required documents, including references and English competency test results, have been submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application to the PhD requires submission of:

  • One-page cover letter stating the reasons for your interest in the SPIRe programme.
    Please note in both your cover letter and email that you are applying for the Ad Astra Scholarship
  • Research proposal (3 to 5 pages maximum) which should include:
    • a statement of the research question;
    • a brief literature review that points to research gaps the PhD project could address;
    • an outline of theoretical approaches considered;
    • a brief discussion of the proposed methodology.
  • Copies of all academic transcripts
    • If you are currently in a Master's programme and do not have your final result, all transcripts to date need to be included
  • CV or resume
  • Two academic references
    • Actual letters, on headed institutional paper, are required.
    • Sending the names of referees only is not acceptable.
    • If sent by email, references should be from an institutional email address. SPIRe reserves the right to verify all references.
    • Please note: Given remote working arrangements due to Covid19, all references should be sent via email. Do not send by post.
  • 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
    Please note: 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 for the 2020/21 intake. The minimum requirement will be a DET score of 110. An interview may be required in conjunction with this.

All documentation should be emailed to Ms Dara Gannon (dara.gannon@ucd.ie).

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 personal or Skype interview as part of the application process.

For those interested in the scholarship, applications to the PhD programme should be submitted by 30th September 2020.

Specific questions can be addressed to Dr. Thomas Däubler (thomas.daubler@ucd.ie) or Dr. Stefan Müller (stefan.mueller@ucd.ie). 

UCD Ad Astra Doctoral Scholarship 2020-21 Terms and ConditionsPDF|200KB