Award Type and NFQ level : RESEARCH PH.D. (10)

CAO/PAC code : MH02J (FT), MH03J (PT)

CAO Points :

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.

Closing date
Research applications are generally accepted at any time

September (or other agreed time)


Potential candidates should:

a) Identify a member of staff as a potential supervisor, and discuss their area of interest.

b) Submit a research proposal and CV to the proposed supervisor. After receiving provisional approval, a formal application may be made (see How to Apply).

Candidates should ordinarily have a master’s degree in law. Candidates with a 1st class undergraduate degree will be considered in exceptional cases.

Applicants must have a recognised primary degree which is considered equivalent to Irish university primary degree level.

Minimum English language requirements:

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. For information about English language tests accepted and required scores, please see here. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and International applicants.

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850

Staff members’ research is broadly in the areas of employment law and policy,  EU law, human rights law, constitutional law, property law, criminal law, international law, and legal theory. Detailed information about research interest is available at the following link:

Course structure

In addition to developing their own research topic with their supervisor(s), students will be required to take 30 credits worth of modules over the duration of their programme of doctoral research. 15 of these will be generic/transferable modules offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences, and 15 in subject/specialist modules which are being developed by the School.


Code Module Credits Semester Compulsory
SO802A The Craft And Logics Of Social Research I 10 1 No
CTL1 Professional Certificate In Postgraduate Teaching &
Learning: Tutors & Demonstrators
5 1 and 2 No
GST1 Personal Development And Employability Module 5 1 and 2 No
GST2 Finding Information For Your Thesis 5 1 and 2 No
GST3 Academic Writing Module 5 1 and 2 No
LW855 Advanced Communication Skills (Conference Presentation) 5 1 and 2 No
LW856 Advanced Communication Skills (Publication) 5 1 and 2 No
LW857 Seminar Series 5 1 and 2 No
LW860 Legal Research Methodology 5 1 and 2 No
FSS1 Quantitative Methods In The Social Sciences 5 2 No


Course Duration: 4 years full-time, 6 years part-time

The skills acquired during the programme of doctoral study will prepare students for a wide range of careers including academia, private industry and public service.

Online application only

PAC Code
MH02J Full-time
MH03J Part-time

The following information should be forwarded to PAC, 1 Courthouse Square, Galway or uploaded to your online application form:

Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for all non-Maynooth University qualifications listed MUST accompany the application. Failure to do so will delay your application being processed. Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide two academic references and a copy of their birth certificate or valid passport.

Prior to submitting a formal application through PAC, potential candidates should:

a) Identify a member of staff as a potential supervisor, and discuss their area of interest.

b) Submit a research proposal and CV to the proposed supervisor. After receiving provisional approval, a formal application through PAC may be made.

The research proposal should be in the following format:

  • Project Title
  • Abstract (200 words max)
  • Description of topic to include, for example, aims, objectives and central research questions (1,000 words max)
  • Methodology, to include, for example, investigative and analytic methods and theoretical frameworks (500 words max)
  • Research plan to include, for example, a schedule for the completion of tasks/phases of the project, draft table of contents (300 words max)
  • Description of the relationship of the project to existing research. Suggest how the project will make a new contribution to knowledge (300 words max)
  • Description of how the applicant proposes to fund his/her doctoral studies

Applicants wishing to undertake doctoral studies in the Department of Law should familiarise themselves with the general structures and policies of the University (see  Enrolment for doctoral studies normally takes place at the beginning of the academic year.

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