Structured PhD (Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences) (Political Science and Sociology)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies,
School of Political Science and Sociology

Course overview

Download Structured PhD guidelines (PDF file) here  .


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:

Children, Youth and Families (the Child and Family Research Centre)


Gender, Empowerment and Globalisation


Governance and Sustainable Development


Power, Conflict and Ideologies


As part of the doctoral training available on the Structured PhD programme, students avail themselves of 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

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.

Areas of interest

Prof. Chris Curtin
Agrarian Politics; Community Development; Mexican Politics; Governance and Natural Resource Development and Social Networks and Family and Neighbourhood Resilience.

 

Dr. Henrike Rau
The socio-cultural and environmental consequences of increased physical mobility, alternative modes of transport (including virtual mobility tools) and sustainable transport in urban and rural areas.

 

Dr. Brendan Flynn
Environmental policy, with a focus on EU and Irish developments; Interactions between agriculture, fisheries and environmental policies.

 

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. Tony Varley
Populism and local development in Ireland, the smallholder question in Ireland, the community movement, Muintir na Tire.

 

Dr. Sinisa Malesevic
Theoretical and comparative study of ethnicity and nationalism; the sociology of war and violence, theories of ideology; sociological theory, historical sociology, and the political sociology of post-communism.

 

Dr. Ricca Edmondson
The history and sociology of wisdom; ageing, the life course and intergenerational relations; and links between ethnography, rhetoric and interculturality.

 

Dr. Paul Michael Garrett
Theory of social work; modernisation of social work and social care.

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

 

Mr. Donal Igoe
Change in Irish Family Patterns, government budgetary policy.

 

Dr. Kate Kenny
Issues of identity and power in contemporary workplaces, and the use of poststructuralist feminist theory to explore these phenomena; Issues of gender and ethnicity, and how these relate to capitalist flows of power.

 

Dr. Pete Morriss
The concept of power from within the tradition of analytic political theory; Liberalism and liberal political philosophy, particularly in relation to the nature of law within a liberal polity; The application of political philosophy to contemporary issues, such as public transport, abortion and (more recently) marriage.

 

Dr. Niall O’Dochartaigh
The politics of conflict in Northern Ireland, on the use of new technologies in conflict situations and on the politics of nationalism and territoriality.

 

Dr. Kathy Powell
Socio-economic change, political culture and political practices in rural Mexico. Interests also include political ideology, identity and ’informality’ in Cuba.

 

Dr. Kevin Ryan
How the ordering of society (past and present) institutes specific modes of inclusion and exclusion, and in particular the ways in which contemporary discourses of ’social exclusion’—a relatively new category of social thought and political action—have recoded long-standing problems relating to inequality, poverty and domination.

 

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

 

Dr. Eilis Ward
Cosmopolitanism and Buddhist social theory as applied in the context of normative international relations theory and prostitution and sex trafficking from a policy and human rights perspective.

 

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
Effective engagement of clients who deny that there is a problem leading to the involvement of social work or allied services or who deny that he/she has any role in changing the circumstances that led to a referral to services. Direct work with young people who use violence at home and with young people who have been sexually abused.

 

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

 

Prof. Brid Featherstone
Changing families, gender relations and family support; Feminist theory; Developing safe non-stigmatising support services for children and families; Fathers and service engagement; Parental advocacy in child protection.

Researcher profiles

See http://www.nuigalway.ie/soc/staff.html for information on research interests of staff in the School of Political Science & Sociology.

Find out more

Dr. George Taylor
School of Political Science and Sociology
T +353 91 493 076
E george.taylor@nuigalway.ie
www.nuigalway.ie/soc

PAC code

GYG26

Fees for this course

EU: €4,275 p.a. 2014/15 inclusive of levy

Non-EU: €13,250 p.a. 2014/15

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