Course Overview

The Irish Centre for Human Rights is at the forefront of doctoral research on international human rights law in Europe. The doctoral programme is unique not only because of the exceptional standard of research and level of publication but also because of the environment in which doctoral students work. A thriving research community exists at the Centre with in excess of 40 doctoral candidates enrolled on the programme each year. Students from a range of academic backgrounds are engaged in research on a broad spectrum of issues related to international human rights law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international relations.

Programmes Available

PhD (Human Rights), full-time
PhD (Human Rights), part-time


Learning Outcomes

In addition to researching and writing for your doctoral dissertation, students are encouraged to participate in the various activities of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, including conferences, lectures and Summer Schools. Doctoral candidates are invited to audit seminars that are offered by the Centre as part of the post-graduate teaching programmes and also to contribute to research projects carried out at the Centre. Opportunities exist for doctoral candidates to deliver lunchtime seminars on their specific topics and to gain valuable teaching experience both on and off campus.

For the benefit of doctoral candidates, the Centre organises a week-long doctoral seminar <> each year which features a distinguished panel of visiting academics in the field of human rights. During the seminar, candidates are invited to present and defend the findings of their research. Throughout the academic year, doctoral candidates also meet with the Centre’s director on a monthly basis to discuss recent developments and case-law of mutual interest as part of their regular study programme.

Entry Requirements

To be eligible to enrol for the PhD, a candidate must have obtained a high honours standard at primary degree level, normally Second Class Honours, Grade 1 or equivalent international qualification.

Who’s Suited to This Course

The Irish Centre for Human Rights is home to a committed and enthusiastic group of doctoral students engaged in research on a wide variety of topics pertaining to human rights, humanitarian law and international criminal law. This course would be suited to those individuals keen to undertake further learning and willing to dedicate themselves to a significant research project in the field of human rights.

Current research projects

Our PhD students are undertaking work in the areas of International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law and socio-legal studies.  Amongst the current areas of research are:

•    The Transitional Nature of Universal Jurisdiction in International Law
•    Ahmad Owies, Wesam: The Role of Corporations in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Colonization, Nationalization, Occupation and Privatization
•    Perceptions of Freedom among Saudi Citizens
The Influence of the Ideological Misuses of Moral Convictions on Transitional Justice in the Middle East
•    Sri Lanka, the United Nations and human rights: A case study
•    The Human Right to Health of Undocumented Migrants: Between Universality and Sovereignty
•    Transnational Criminal Law: National, Regional and International Prosecutorial Strategies
•    Remaking Universal Human Rights Gender Equality Commitments Into Vernacular: The Case of Domestic Violence
•    The implications of honour for women’s agency, and the paradox of operationalizing international human rights law in patriarchal societies: the case of Kurdish Women
•    The Impact of Women on the Protection of Human Rights in Peacekeeping.
•     Prosecuting High Level Offenders for the Crime of Rape under International Criminal Law: Are contemporary modes of liability suitable?
•     Traditional and Modern Approaches to Post-Conflict Transitional Justice in Africa

Current funded research opportunity

Work Placement

Related Student Organisations

Career Opportunities

Over the years, the achievements of the Centre’s doctoral graduates <>  have paid great tribute to quality of the Ph.D. programme.  Most of our graduates have taken up permanent teaching positions at prestigious institutions and the vast majority have published, or are in the course of publishing, their doctoral theses with leading international publishers. A small number are also working at a high level for various inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, such as the International Criminal Court.

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

Staff supervise PhD research in many areas of Public International Law and in the field of Socio-Legal studies, on varies themes including:  Conflict and Post-Conflict; International Humanitarian Law; Islamic Law; International Criminal Law; Counter-terrorism; Transitional Justice; Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; International Peace Support; International Criminal Justice; and Transitional Justice.

Researcher Profiles

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€5,250 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2018/19

Extra Information

Ph.D. EU Full time programme:  €5,250 p.a.   EU Part time programme:  €3,575 p.a.

Contact Us

Dr. Kathleen Cavanaugh

Director, PhD programme

T +353 91 493799  


  • Postgraduate Prospectus 2019

    Postgraduate Prospectus 2019 PDF (12.6MB)