Course Overview

In the School of Political Science and Sociology, PhD students pursue their research as part of the thematic Research Cluster in which their supervisor is located. The School's Research Clusters are:

As part of the doctoral training available on the Structured PhD programme, students select from a range of interdisciplinary taught modules.  The wide menu of available options include modules that:

  • are discipline-specific in that they augment the student’s existing knowledge in their specialist area, e.g., Social and Political Theory
  • are dissertation-specific in that they supply core skills which are essential to completion of the research project e.g. Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods 
  • acknowledge a student’s professional development, e.g., presentation of a paper at an international conference
  • enhance a student’s employability through generic training, e.g., careers workshops, computer literacy.

Each student will be assigned a primary Supervisor(s) and a Graduate Research Committee made up of experienced researchers to plan their programme of study and to provide on-going support to their research.

Programmes Available

Structured PhD (Political Science and Sociology)—full-time 
Structured PhD (Political Science and Sociology)—part-time 
Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System


Learning Outcomes

Entry Requirements

The minimum qualification necessary to be considered for a PhD is a high honours primary degree, or equivalent international qualification. Admission to a research degree is at the discretion of the potential Supervisor and Head of School, and is based on a proposal from the applicant following discussion with a potential supervisor.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Current research projects

Current funded research opportunity

Work Placement

Related Student Organisations

Career Opportunities

Find a Supervisor / PhD Project

If you are still looking for a potential supervisor or PhD project or would like to identify the key research interests of our academic staff and researchers, you can use our online portal to help in that search

Research Areas

Dr. John Canavan
Family Support as a paradigm for policy and services for children and families and its theoretical underpinnings. A second core area of interest is evaluation theory and methodology.

Mr. Declan Coogan
Declan’s research interests include child to parent violence and abuse, domestic violence, mental health, action research and grounded theory research methods. He is a registered social worker and psychotherapist with practice experience and continuing interest in community-based child and adolescent mental health and child protection and welfare services.

Prof. Pat Dolan
Family Support; Social Support; Resilience; Reflective Practice and Service Development; Youth Mentoring Models.

Dr. Brendan Flynn
Environmental Policy, Ireland and the EU; Policy and politics of Marine Renewables; Maritime Security.

Dr. Paul Michael Garrett
Critical social theory and social work; discourses of marginality; neoliberal-inspired ‘reform’.

Dr. Mark Haugaard
Social and political power, modernity, the problem of social order, and the relationship between nationalism and liberalism.

Dr. Su-Ming Khoo
Contested meanings of development and globalization; development alternatives from the perspectives of sustainability, rights and citizenship; the right to development and right to health; global citizenship, public advocacy and public goods; development education and the globalization(s) of higher education.

Dr Brian McGrath
Cultural traditions and development; Migration; Rural Society and Change; Children/Young people and Social Support; Intergenerational Relationships; and Community Governance.

Dr. Niall O’Dochartaigh
The politics of conflict in Northern Ireland; negotiation, mediation and peace processes; new technologies in conflict situations; territory and conflict.

Dr. Kathy Powell

Political anthropology, Mexican politics, Central American and Mexican – US migration and border issues.

Dr. Kevin Ryan

Power and (un)freedom, i.e. freedom as an agonistic practice which is conditioned and constrained by historically constituted relations of power.

Prof. Niamh Reilly

Feminist political and social theory; religion and the public sphere; transnational advocacy and the UN; gender in international politics and policy; gender and human rights; gender, peace and conflict.


Dr. George Taylor
Risk and politics; environmental politics; and state theory.

Dr. Eilis Ward

Neoliberal subjectivities; buddhist thought as social and political theory and the politics of prostitution and sex trafficking

Researcher Profiles

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€5,750 p.a. (€5,890 including levy) 2024/25

Fees: Non EU

€14,500 p.a. (€14,640 including levy) 2024/25

Extra Information

EU Part time: Year 1 €4,250 p.a. (€4,390 including levy) 2024/25

All students, irrespective of funding, must pay the student levy of €140.

Contact Us

Dr. phil. Alexander I. Stingl
Senior Lecturer,  School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland Galway
Senior Fellow of the Global Research Network
Visiting Faculty at the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking

T: +353 91 492298