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PhD Programme

PhD Programme







Political Science offers the opportunity for research students to enter our PhD programme. This is a creative departure from the traditional PhD offered elsewhere in much of Europe and is designed to produce rigorously trained, widely-read and well-rounded political scientists, able to take their place in the forefront of the profession.

The Department of Political Science at Trinity ranks among the very best Political Science Departments in the world according to independent evaluations of its research and teaching (e.g. in the global ranking of political science departments conducted by Professor Simon Hix at the London School of Economics). Ph.D. researchers also benefit from the Department’s strong links with Trinity Social Science Research at Trinity College Dublin. This brings together researchers from different disciplines. In addition, the Department is involved in the Dublin School of Social Sciences, which provides graduate training in collaboration with University College Dublin.

Old Library

Student Profile

Since the first cohort completed the PhD programme in 2000, Trinity College Dublin has awarded doctorates to over 50 Political Science students. Graduates of the programme are eagerly sought after and most have gone on to secure full-time positions in prestigious universities. A significant number of entrants to the programme are graduates from Irish universities, yet the programme has also attracted students from all over the world. Graduates, or current students, have come from Ireland, Sweden, Italy, the USA, Poland, Germany, the UK, Belarus, Canada, Australia, Belgium and Moldova, to name just a few. This international mix adds a positive and exciting dimension to the life of the Department. Our four-year doctoral programme is designed to give students the highest level of training to become scholars at the forefront of the discipline. Most of our PhD graduates have gone on to careers in research and teaching at established universities, while others have gone on to careers in government and business. The page on graduates from the programme shows the theses completed, with onward links to the graduates' current positions.


Programme Structure

The programme combines an intensive set of courses on the substance and methodology of research along with a traditional emphasis on conducting original research. In the first year students follow a number of courses in the qualitative and quantitative aspects of research, a course in political behaviour and comparative politics, which reflects the expertise and interests of most members of the Department, and develop a research proposal for the final thesis. In the second year of the PhD programme, there are further optional courses and students start work on their thesis.

A significant element of the programme is the weekly “Friday Seminar” at which students take turns to present their work in progress to an audience of the entire teaching staff and other PhD students. This is a constructive forum which serves to hone the skills of presentation and where the audience provide feedback to assist students in fine-tuning their approach and thesis content. Participation in these seminars prepares students on the programme for their own conference presentations and, ultimately, job presentations. Visiting lecturers and members of the department are also present at this forum, bringing an extra dimension to the professional development of graduate students.

PhD Handbook


Reading Course Approval Form


PhD Progress Report Form


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Last updated 22 January 2018