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Department of Government and Politics PhD programme

Department of Government and Politics PhD programme


The Department of Government and Politics offers a three year PhD, involving in-depth research under the supervision of a member of academic staff. This may be taken full-time over three years or part-time over six years.

Our staff have a wide range of research interests, from political parties and elections, to the European Union and Northern Ireland, to political philosophy and deliberative democracy, to political economy and international conflict, and to gender politics and local government. More information is available on staff members’ individual webpages, available here.

Candidates for the PhD must usually have obtained at least Second Class Honours, Grade I, at a relevant primary degree examination.

The progress of PhD students is monitored by a Graduate Studies Committee, chaired by the PhD Director. Over the course of the academic year, PhD students attend the Department of Government and Politics seminar series, and are required to make at least one presentation of their research to this forum. Methodology seminars are also provided during the year to support the research process. PhD students are treated as members of the Department’s research community and are assigned to one of the Department’s two core research clusters (Irish Politics; International Relations/EU/Political Theory). These clusters meet regularly to discuss research, collaborative projects and funding applications.

From October 2013 all incoming PhD/PhD track students register for a structured PhD. The UCC model of structured PhD education comprises a programme of supportive and developmental elements, with a stated minimum level of 15 credits of coursework and training. In addition, all students are supervised by a supervisory team, or have a sole supervisor and a PhD advisor. In the Team Model there are two or more staff members with responsibility for the direction of the student’s research. In the Advisor Model there is a sole supervisor and an Advisor who provides non-academic support and pastoral care to the student.

For a 3 year PhD, the maximum number of credits that can be undertaken is 30 credits. For a 4 year PhD, the maximum number of credits that can be undertaken is 90 credits.


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, but there are four start dates: October, January, April and July.

If you are interested in applying to undertake a PhD in the Department of Government and Politics, you need to submit an application, a central processing point for all applications to read for higher degrees at Irish universities. This application will include a research proposal of approximately 1,500-2,000 words. This document should indicate an area of research interest and a research question/issue to be addressed. In terms of identifying a research interest, applicants are encouraged to consult the web pages of Departmental academic staff and should feel free to contact individual members of the Department for assistance/advice. Applicants are also invited to contact the PhD Programme Director Dr Mary C. Murphy ( who will likewise be happy to advise on the drafting of research proposals. Please note that the proposal is a starting point and is likely to evolve and change during the course of the PhD programme.

Applicants should consider the following framework or structure when drafting the proposal:

▪   Title

▪   Research question/issue/hypothesis

▪   Research context/background

▪   Previous relevant research and/or literatures

▪   Proposed methodology e.g. desk-based research / interviews / participant-observation / focus groups / surveys, etc

▪   Research plan and timelines

▪   Draft bibliography


Steps in the Application Process:


(1) Contact PhD Director and potential supervisors to discuss draft research proposal/prospective application and inquire about any scholarship opportunities.

(2) Once a member of staff has agreed in principle to supervise your research, apply online through UCC's application system. Applications should be submitted at least three months before the desired start date (October, January, April, or July).

(3) Await decision. Decisions may take up to two months. Once a decision has been reached you will receive an email alert from the Postgraduate Application Centre to check your application status on the ‘My Account’ section of the online application system. It is important that you check your email regularly.

Application for our postgraduate programmes is online at Please check out the closing dates and entry requirements at Courses | University College Cork ( before making your application. The application fee is €50 (for up to two postgraduate programmes). You will be asked to upload documents to support your application as part of the application process. You can upload documents to the application portal once you have submitted your application. If you have any questions on the application process, please contact the Graduate Studies Office/ International Education Office through their web enquiry form.

Further information about the application process can be found at, Study Research | University College Cork ( and

Funding, Fees & Scholarships

Fees for the academic year as a full-time student are €5,770 (Home/EU) or €11,540 (International). PhD students are liable for the full fee for four years. Students registering for a fourth year of study, whose fees are not supported by external funding (e.g. through a government or research grant, or industry contract), may apply for a partial fee waiver.

There are a number of postgraduate scholarships available through UCC. Details of these are provided in the College Calendar: html

PhD Scholarship: Fee Waiver for Non-EU Nationals

This scholarship consists of a waiver of a portion of the normal fee. Non-EU students can apply for a scholarship on the same application form as for their PhD programme. This can be downloaded from the International Education Office webpage:

Irish Research Council

The Irish Research Council ( operates a suite of interlinked Research Schemes, such as the IRC Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarships and Government of Ireland Post-Doctoral Fellowships which fund research at pre- and post-doctoral levels.

A considerable number of students and staff have been successful in their applications to the IRC. The Graduate Studies Office provides grant preparation sessions on ‘Writing an IRC Postgraduate Scholarship Application’. Drop-in sessions are also provided for students prior to the submission date of the application where they can receive expert advice from academics. Attendance at these workshops and the one-on-one drop-in sessions is highly recommended.

NUI Travelling Studentships

These grants are available to NUI graduates in the Humanities and Social Sciences. For further information see NUI Awards - Travelling Doctoral Studentships | National University of Ireland

Local Authority Grants

Applying to your local authority for a grant is another means of acquiring funding for your postgraduate study, although recent changes in the scheme have meant a reduction in the number of eligible applicants. Please visit the website of your local authority for more information or the Citizens Information Board which provides advice in terms of eligibility for these grants:

Further information about fees and funding is available here: Fees and Funding | University College Cork (

Postgraduate Handbook

PhD Handbook 2020-2021

Current Students

Student Title Supervisor
Katelyn Dooley  The Prominence of an Islamic Extremist Focus of the European Union’s Counter Terrorism Security Policy: Fabricates the Rise of European Far-Right Groups.  Dr Andrew Cottey & Dr Yasmine Ahmed 
Rojin Mukriyan Kurdish Democracy Dr Laurence Davis & Dr Clodagh Harris
Michał Biedowicz

Can radical democracy be measured?

Dr Laurence Davis & Dr Jason Dockstader
Olajumoke Igun

Societal and Political Restrictions Affecting the Participation of Women in Nigerian Politics

Dr Fiona Buckley & Dr Aodh Quinlivan 
Nathan Board

Automatic Voter Registration.

Dr Theresa Reidy & Dr Liam Weeks
Aoife Deane

Evaluating and assessing the impact of engaged research in climate action.

Dr Clodagh Harris & Prof Brian Ó Gallachóir
Emmet Foley

British Counter-insurgency Operations in Iraq 2003-2009.

Dr Andrew Cottey & Dr David Fitzgerald
Rachel Gregory Gender Bias and Women in Executive Leadership: A Comparative Perspective. Dr Fiona Buckley & Dr Liam Weeks & Prof Yvonne Galligan
Guy Gerba Populist Radical Right European Parties Foreign Policy at the National level and EU level. Can theories of Neofunctionalism or Liberal Intergovernmentalism Foresight behavior on the International Level. Dr Mary C Murphy & Dr Theresa Reidy
Claudia Atsufui Hihetah Developing effective policy responses to address energy poverty and increase energy justice. Dr Clodagh Harris & Niall Dunphy & Prof Brian Ó Gallachóir
Yvonne Murphy Why Independent? Dr Liam Weeks & Dr Clodagh Harris
Juan Carlos Ladines Azalia Emerging Powers: a critical analysis in the potential role, capabilities and impact of emerging actors on the international monetary system. Dr Niall Duggan & Dr Theresa Reidy
Patrick Patterson Humanitarian Intervention by the United States and its western allies in the post-Cold War era and its implementations for security council legitimacy.  Dr Andrew Cottey & Dr Niall Duggan
Ricardo Jorge Guedes de Freitas Rodrigues Unravelling the Mysteries of the Europe Direct Centres. Dr Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan & Dr Mary C Murphy
Michael Rose (PhD Sociology & Criminology) Peoples Most Affected by Deterritorialising Forces. Dr Tracey Skillington & Dr Laurence Davis 




Title Supervisor Where are they now?
Dr Matt York Imagining New Worlds:  (R)evolutionary Love and Radical Social Transformation in the 21st Century. Dr Laurence Davis & Dr Orla O'Donovan  
Dr Anne Gannon

An exploration as to the impact of Irish Government policy on institutional logics within the Irish university between 2008 and 2014.

Dr Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan & Dr Aodh Quinlivan Dr Gannon currently works in the Department of Human Resources in University College Cork.
Dr Silja Bára Omarsdóttir Icelandic Security Discourses: A Grounded Theoretical Analysis. Dr Andrew Cottey & Dr Niall Duggan Silja Bara Omarsdottir holds a PhD in Government from University College Cork. Dr Omarsdottir is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Iceland's Faculty of Political Science.  
Dr Long Pham Resident engagement in development and growth of smart cities: following and enabling people energy in shared goals Dr Aodh Quinlivan & Professor Tony Day 

Dr Anthony Costello  ''Exploring Irelands Approach to Negotiating the 2012 Fiscal Stability Treaty: A Qualitative Study'' Dr Mary Murphy Dr Costello was a part-time member of staff in the Department of Government and Politics for many years. He is a lecturer in the Department of History and Politics at Liverpool Hope University since September 2020.
Dr Conrad Rein

The Emerging Strategic Partnership between the European Union and the African Union

Dr Andrew Cottey & Dr Clodagh Harris Dr Rein holds a PhD in Government from University College Cork and received both his BA and MA in African Studies from Leipzig University. Dr. Rein has previously worked for the United Nations, the Hudson Institute, and the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
Dr Laura Sexton

Ireland’s Knowledge Economy Policy: Beliefs, Drivers and Prospects 

Dr Seamus O'Tuama

Dr Barry Healy

The quality of deliberation within Northern Ireland's district policing partnerships

Dr Clodagh Harris

Dr Julie Connelly

The ways in which New Public Management ideas impact upon the administrative culture of street-level bureaucrats and professionals working within Irish social policy

Doctoral Thesis, available at

Dr Aodh Quinlivan & Dr Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan  
Dr Niall Duggan Competition and compromise among Chinese actors in Africa: a bureaucratic politics study of Chineses foreign policy actors Dr Andrew Cottey & Professor Jörn- Carsten Gottwald Dr Duggan is currently a full-time member of staff in the Department of Government and Politics at University Colege Cork. His full profile can be found here. 
Dr Damien McSweeney

The protection and security of vulnerable populations in complex emergencies using the Dadaab Refugee Camps in the North Eastern Province of Kenya as a case study

Doctoral Thesis available at

Dr Andrew Cottey  
Dr Niall Mulchinock NATO's involvement in the stabilisation of the Western Balkans since the 1990s Dr Andrew Cottey Dr Mulchinock was a part-time staff member of the Department of Government and Politics for many years. 
Dr Philip Murphy An analysis of political efficacy socialisation among threshold voters in the Republic of Ireland Dr Clodagh Harris Dr Murphy was a part-time member of staff in the Department of Government and Politics for many years. 
Dr Jim Swift Seeking an Irish solution to an Irish problem: strategic environmental assessments and county development plans Dr Seamus O'Tuama  
Dr Natasha Underhill Do failed states really promote terrorism? A case study analysis of the connections between state failure and terrorism Dr Andrew Cottey

Dr Sardar Aziz Why did occidental modernity fail in the Arab Middle East: the failed modern  Dr Andrew Cottey
Dr Fergal MacDonald

The influence of neoliberal thought and contemporary politics: an examination of the interrelationships between ideological hegemony, neoliberal thought and contemporary politics

Doctoral Thesis available at

Dr Seamus O'Tuama  
Dr Eimear O'Leary "Political gatekeeper" An analysis of the brokerage activities of TDs & MLAs Dr Theresa Reidy
Dr Tim McCarthy

The transformation of Ireland 1958-93: the role of ideas in punctuating institutional path dependency at critical junctures

Doctoral Thesis available at

Dr Mary C. Murphy  
Dr Itai Beeri Turnaround management strategies and recovery in local authorities  Dr Aodh Quinlivan & Dr Carol Linehan  
Dr Monica O'Mullane

An investigation of the utilisation of health impact assessments (HIAs) in Irish public policy making

Doctoral Thesis available at

Dr Aodh Quinlivan

Dr Anthony O'Halloran  Dáil Eireann in an era of parliamentary governance and a hyper-pluralistic public sphere Dr Seamus O'Tuama   
Dr Mark Callanan Organising or Waiting for Europe? Dr Aodh Quinlivan  
Dr Theresa Reidy The case for political budget cycles Professor Neil Collins Dr Reidy is currently a full-time member of staff in the Department of Government and Politics at University Colege Cork. Her full profile can be found here.  
Dr John Kennedy An examination of the changes facing the Irish local government system Dr Aodh Quinlivan  
Dr Elizabeth O'Leary Local governance in action: a case study of the Cork City Development Board Dr Aodh Quinlivan   
Dr Aodh Quinlivan

The impact of new public management on the roles of elected councillors, management and the community sector in Irish local government: a case study of Cork City Council

Professor Neil Collins Dr Quinlivan is currently a full-time member of staff in the Department of Government and Politics at University Colege Cork. His full profile can be found here.  


Department of Government & Politics

Roinn Léann an Rialtais agus na Polaitíochta

2nd Floor, Block B, O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork, Republic of Ireland,