Doctoral Program

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 around 30 doctoral candidates enrolled on the programme. 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.

In addition to their individual research projects, doctoral candidates participate at seminars and conferences at the centre and regularly meet to discuss recent developments and case-law in international human rights law. The Centre holds an annual Doctoral Seminar week where doctoral students present on their ongoing research projects and engage with visiting experts, faculty and fellow students. Doctoral students may also audit seminars that are offered by the Centre as part of the post-graduate teaching programme and contribute to research projects carried out at the Centre. Opportunities exist for doctoral candidates to deliver seminars and gain valuable teaching experience both on and off campus.

The Irish Centre for Human Rights offers a Structured PhD programme, whereby various additional courses are undertaken in addition to the completion of the written thesis. Such courses may include research, teaching and learning modules as well as courses offered on the Centre's LLM programme or across other disciplines.  Students may also gain the required credits from participating in international conferences, seminars, the Centre's Doctoral Seminar or by publication. Part time students or those not based in Galway can undertake a research PhD program.

For information on doctoral funding opportunities, please visit here

Entry requirements

To be eligible to enter on a course of study and research for the degree of Ph.D., a candidate must have obtained a high honours standard at the masters degree level, or presented such other evidence as will satisfy the Head of Department and the Faculty of his/her suitability.The University requires a minimum IELTS (Internet English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 for its Law programmes, with not less than 5.5 in any of the four components (reading, writing, listening and speaking). This equates to a score of 580 in TOEFL (paper-based); 240 in TOEFL (computer-based); 92 in TOEFL (internet-based) and 750 in TOEIC.

Applicants should prepare a proposal describing in some detail the area of their research as well as a brief literature survey on the area pertinent to their dissertation. This material should then be sent directly to the applicant’s potential supervisor selected from within the Centre’s teaching faculty. Once the proposal has been provisionally approved by a potential supervisor, a formal application should be made to enter the doctoral programme through the Postgraduate Admissions Office. Please note that formal applications should not be sent directly to the Irish Centre for Human Rights.

For funding information, please visit here

Research Areas

•Human Rights

• Conflict and Post-Conflict

• International Humanitarian Law

• International Criminal Law

• Counter-terrorism

• Transitional Justice

• Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

• International Peace Support

• International Criminal Justice

• Transitional Justice

• Business and Human Rights

Find Out More

For further information, please contact Dr Shane Darcy, Director of the PhD Programme.

Doctoral Candidates and Postdoctoral Researchers


The Irish Centre for Human Rights has numerous ‌doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers, working on an array of areas.

For a full list of candidates, please click visit here 

Annual Doctoral Seminar

The Irish Centre for Human Rights runs a Doctoral Seminar every year. For more information, please click here