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 via PAC (PAC code CKG81), 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 Programme Director Dr. Laurence Davis ( 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 via the Postgraduate Applications Centre web portal ( using PAC code CKG81. 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.


Further information about the application process, including a link to the PAC application portal, is available here: and and

Funding, Fees & Scholarships

Fees for the academic year as a full-time student in 2018-2019 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

Departmental Studentships

Application Deadline: Friday 20 April 2018, 5pm

The Department of Government and Politics at University College Cork is pleased to announce a call for applications for its 2018-2019 PhD Government Studentship. The aim of the Studentship is to attract PhD students with outstanding academic promise in any area of government and political science, and to provide them with supervised training and teaching opportunities that will contribute to their professional development. The Studentship is open to both EU and non-EU applicants. It will ordinarily cover PhD fees up to the EU fee level (currently set at €5770 per annum). The scholarship will take the form of fee waivers (which are tax free). Dependent on resources and applicants, the Department of Government will consider whether it can make additional funding available (including up to the non-EU fee level of €11,540 per annum for international students). This scholarship is only open to new applicants and not to existing PhD students of the Department of Government and Politics.

The Department of Government and Politics research and teaching encompasses the full breadth of the discipline of political science, including: Irish politics; comparative politics; political theory; public policy/public administration; the European Union; and international politics. Prospective applicants are therefore encouraged to consult the staff pages of the Government and Politics Department website, in which staff outline their research interests and indicate areas of research in which they would be happy to supervise PhD students:

The Studentship will normally be awarded for a period of one year in the first instance, and is renewable for up to three years, subject to annual review. All PhD students in receipt of a Studentship will be required to contribute to the Department’s teaching, through either tutorials, dissertation support for undergraduate or masters students, and/or lecturing. This will normally take the form of a maximum of 60 tutorial hours, a maximum of 48 lecture hours, or some combination of the two, to be agreed with the Head of Department. Prospective applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Department’s Book of taught Modules:

In order to be considered for a Studentship, applicants must submit a formal application to study for a PhD in Government and Politics via PAC, a central processing point for all applications to read for higher degrees at Irish universities. Further details about the PhD Government and Politics programme, including application procedures, may be found on the PhD page of the Government and Politics Department website: In addition to this material, PhD applicants who wish to be considered for a Studentship must also submit a 1-2 page formal application letter summarising their research and teaching interests and explaining why they believe they should be considered for a PhD Government and Politics Studentship. Applicants should outline any teaching, tutorial and dissertation support experience they have and subject areas in which they would be able to teach. Letters should be sent in the form of an email to the Director of the PhD in Government and Politics programme, Dr. Laurence Davis (, to be received no later than 5 pm on Friday 20 April 2018. Informal queries are also very welcome, and may be directed to Dr. Davis via email. Potential applicants are encouraged to discuss possible applications with staff members whose research is most relevant to their areas of interest.

Strategic Research Fund PhD Studentship
 - suspended until further notice

The Strategic Research Fund (SRF) has been established to support and develop research at UCC. Applications to the SRF are invited from all disciplines across the four Colleges, Research Centres and Research Institutes. For more information see the web pages of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation: strategic_research.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

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 he 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:

Postgraduate Handbook

Postgraduate Handbook 2018-2019

Current Students

Student Title Supervisor
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
Emmet Foley

British Counter-insurgency Operations in Iraq 2003-2009

Dr Andrew Cottey & Dr David Fitzgerald
Anne Gannon

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

Dr Aodh Quinlivan & Dr Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan
Rachel Gregory Gender Bias and Women in Executive Leadership: A Comparative Perspective Dr Fiona Buckley & Dr Liam Weeks
Yvonne Murphy Why Independent? Dr Liam Weeks & Dr Clodagh Harris
Maxwell Osonokwu Political participation and climate change Dr Andrew Cottey & Dr Clodagh Harris
Juan Restrepo Velez Obama’s Foreign Policy Towards Emerging Powers: Reluctance to Hegemony? Dr Niall Duggan & Dr David Fitzgerald
Matthew York Love and Alterglobalisation: Towards a New Development Ethic Dr Laurence Davis & Dr Orla O'Donovan




Title Supervisor Where are they now?
Dr Silja Bára Omarsdóttir Icelandic Security Discourses: A Grounded Theoretical Analysis Dr Andrew Cottey & Dr Niall Duggan  
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 Conrad Rein

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

Dr Andrew Cottey & Dr Clodagh Harris Conrad 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 Damien McSweeney

The protection and security of vulnerable populations in complex emergencies using the Dadaab Refugee Camps in the North Eastern Porvince 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 Philip Murphy An analysis of political efficacy socialisation among threshold voters in the Republic of Ireland Dr Clodagh Harris  
Dr Jim Swift Seeking an Irish solution to an Irish problem: strategic environmnetal assessments and county development plans Dr Seamus O'Tuama  
Dr Natasha Underhill Do failed states really promote terrorism? A case study analysis of the connecitons 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 investigatino 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 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  


Department of Government & Politics

Roinn Léann an Rialtais agus na Polaitíochta

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