The PhD in Law is the highest degree offered by the School of Law and Criminology. By definition, it is intended to be a qualification obtained after rigorous and original research that contributes to the state of legal scholarship. Towards that end, the structured PhD programme offers a framework which facilitates independent research, whilst providing milestones for measuring progress. 
Students will be equipped with methodological and analytical tools for advanced research in law through a number of taught modules across the Faculty. These will be supplemented by periodic one-on-one supervision meetings. Students will also have opportunities to actively engage in other aspects of academic writing and publishing during the course of their education. In addition, the School of Law and Criminology’s research seminar series offers a constructive forum for presenting and debating research. 

Prior to submitting a formal application, potential candidates should:  
- Identify a member of staff as a potential supervisor, and discuss their area of interest with him/her.  
- Submit their research proposal and CV to the proposed supervisor.  
- A formal application through PAC should only be made after the potential candidate has received provisional approval from the proposed supervisor. 


Scholarship Information

Information on additional funding opportunities can be found here  

Information about the John and Pat Hume Scholarship are available here


Completed PhD Students include: 

Gene Carolan; Bruno Obialo Igwe; Emma McEvoy; Charles O’ Sullivan; Deirdre McGowan; Liam Sunner; Kieran Timmons  

Quotations from Recently Completed PhD Students:

Dr. Liam Sunner 
I chose to do my Ph.d in Maynooth University for a number of reasons. Having been a Maynooth University student for a few years, I have witnessed the exponential growth of academic staff. Maynooth draws together a critical mass of researchers from across various areas of Law which my thesis touched upon. This allows me to draw on the expertise of many world leading scholars in areas such EU Law (Prof. Lock, Dr. Ferri) international human rights (Dr. Noelle Higgins), IP and Health (Dr. Aisling McMahon and Dr. Ollie Bartlett), WTO and international economic law (Dr. Oisin Suttle). Maynooth University has developed an extensive network only many leading academics within fields of research of the proposed project, but to many of the policy development institutions which have the current position of this research, both within the EU and further afield.  Another important reason to choose Maynooth University relates to its outstanding facilities, and its vibrant and innovative School of Law and Criminology. As a result, the School of Law and Criminology offers a challenging yet supportive structure with dedicated and amazing staff that will help bring out the best of you and your potential research. I could not recommend it more.  

Dr. Emma McEvoy
My name is Emma McEvoy and I completed my Ph.D. in 2019. My thesis was supervised by Prof. Michael Doherty. Maynooth University is an ideal University to undertake a Ph.D. in law. The School of Law and Criminology is committed to the study of law in a global context and encourages an interdisciplinary approach to research. The Department encourages postgraduate students to develop a bespoke postgraduate journey suited to your individual study and career aspirations. My research examined the relationship between public procurement law and the participation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in public contracts. Prof. Doherty supported the policy-orientated research and encouraged me to develop links with the legal profession, business, and the public sector. I was encouraged to engage with society and translate my findings into relevant research-led teaching case studies. The School of Law and Criminology offers a supportive, collaborative and innovative learning environment for postgraduate students.  To hear more about Emma's experience click here


Staff welcome PhD proposals in the following areas: 

Dr Amina Adanan

  • Domestic prosecution of international crimes: Extraterritorial jurisdiction; universal jurisdiction; the interaction between national courts and the International Criminal Court; Complementarity. 
  • History of international criminal law: History of universal jurisdiction; UN War Crimes Commission, history of the prosecution of serious crimes under international crimes (piracy, the slave trade, war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, torture, enforced disappearances). 
  • Fundamental Rights in Ireland. 
  • Irish Land Law. 

Dr Lynsey Black 

  • Gender, crime and criminal justice 
  • Historical criminology/histories of crime and punishment 
  • Media and crime 
  • Death penalty 
  • Post-colonial perspectives 

Dr Donal Coffey 

  • Legal History 
  • Constitutional Law 

Professor Michael Doherty 

  • Labour/Employment law and policy (free movement, digitialisation of work, decent work) 
  • Collective Labour Relations (collective bargaining, industrial action, trade union law and strategy) 
  • European Union Labour/ Employment law and policy 

Dr. David Doyle 

  • Contract
  • Tort 
  • Employment 
  • Information Technology 

Professor Claire Hamilton 

  • Penology/populism/politicisation of crime 
  • Counter-terrorism/security 
  • Comparative criminal justice 

Dr. Noelle Higgins 

  • International human rights law, particularly the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples; self-determination and cultural rights 
  • International humanitarian law and international criminal law, particularly in relation to non-state armed groups 

Dr Karen Lynch Shally 

  • Financial Markets and Services 
  • Banking Law 
  • Regulation 
  • Consumer Law and Policy 
  • EU Single Market Law 
  • Commercial Law 

Prof Tobias Lock 

  • EU Law, especially EU constitutional law, EU external relations and EU fundamental rights law 
  • Relationship between the EU and other legal orders (domestic/international)
  • European Convention on Human Rights 
  • Comparative public law 

Dr. Ian Marder 

  • Restorative justice and restorative practices 
  • Policing 
  • Sentencing 
  • Discretion and culture 
  • Criminal justice innovation 
  • Penal policy 

Dr. Aisling McMahon 

  • Medical law  
  • Patent law 

Dr Cliodhna Murphy 

  • Migration Law 
  • Human Rights 

Dr. John Reynolds 

  • International law 
  • Imperialism 
  • Race 
  • Rights 

Dr. Edana Richardson 

  • Islamic finance law 
  • Capital markets law 
  • Banking and finance law 
  • Company law 

Dr Sinead Ring 

  • Law and Sexual Violence, especially from feminist or critical legal perspectives 
  • Law and Intimate Partner Violence, especially from feminist or critical legal perspectives 
  • Political and legal responses to historical abuse of women and children 

Dr Fergus Ryan

  • Family and Child Law 
  • Cohabitation 
  • Human Rights and Civil Liberties 
  • LGBTQ+ people and the Law, and/or Gender and Law

Seth Tillman 

  • Structure and efficiency of the Irish courts 
  • U.S. public/constitutional law--separation of powers and constitutional structure 
  • Parliamentary law and U.S. congressional procedure 
  • Habeas corpus 
  • Equity 
  • History & law