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European Law and Governance, Ph.D.

  • Anytime
    Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #185 (QS) Dublin, Ireland
The PhD in European Law and Governance from University College Dublin is designed for students who want to develop multidisciplinary expertise on the structures and dynamics of European governance.
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This complex and increasingly important field of study encompasses relations between the member states and institutions of the European Union, Council of Europe and other European bodies, processes of treaty negotiation and supranational law-making, issues of political economy, citizenship and human rights, foreign policy, and environmental protection, and controversies related to sovereignty and democratic legitimacy, compliance and enforcement, and lobbying and social mobilisation, among many others.

The European Law and Governance programme from the University College Dublin is offered jointly by the UCD School of Law and the UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe), both of which have large, internationally-renowned academic staffs in this area. The programme includes (1) substantive coursework in both of the sponsoring schools, (2) training in research methods, (3) regular contact with a supervisor from either of the sponsoring schools and a Doctoral Studies Panel of three staff including at least one from each sponsoring school, and (4) the writing of a doctoral thesis based on original research. Students in the programme register to the school where their supervisor is located. They are also associated during their studies with the UCD Dublin European Institute, Ireland’s largest and oldest university research centre on European integration and governance. 

In addition to writing a research thesis, ELG students must complete 40 credits of taught coursework. The content of this requirement differ slightly (see below) depending on whether they are registered through Law or SPIRe. All ELG students also have the option of pursuing additional coursework in Law, SPIRe or other Schools (such as Business, Economics, Sociology, etc.) to deepen their substantive knowledge and/or methodological skills.


With their sophisticated multidisciplinary understanding of European law and governance, expertise in a particular substantive area, and excellent research skills, graduates of this programme will be well-positioned to pursue careers in law, policy analysis and academia.

We have an excellent Careers Development Centre here at UCD, designed to help you with information regarding future employment or studies. Individual supervisors and the Programme Director work closely with Doctoral students on their career plans. In addition, UCD hold a number of graduate events throughout the year including a dedicated law fair at which at which many big law firms will be in attendance. The School of Law has a dedicated careers advisor on its Academic staff and a staff member from the careers office is in attendance at the School of Law on a number of occasions throughout the academic year.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Full-time duration 36 months
    • Average part-time duration 60 months
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Part-time variant
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Core seminars:
  • European and International Governance
  • Law and Governance of the EU
  • Research Design
  • Methods for Qualitative Research 
  • The Global Political Economy of Europe
  • Advanced Research in Law

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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General Requirements

Applications cannot be considered until we have received the following documentation:

  • Thesis proposal (3-5 pages maximum) which indicates a research question and intended methodology and explains how the proposed project relates to existing scholarship in the proposed area of study (with an indicative bibliography)
  • Copies of all academic transcripts (undergraduate and postgraduate)
  • C.V. or resume (two pages maximum)
  • Two academic references: Actual letters required. If sending by email they should be on headed institutional paper.
  • Evidence of English language competence, where non-native English speaking applicants have NOT obtained previous university degrees from an English-speaking country. 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    11885 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 11885 EUR per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • EU/EEA

    6170 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 6170 EUR per year and a duration of 36 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Part-time fees: 

  • €4,080 EU
  •  €7,955 Non-EU

Living costs for Dublin

  • 1100 - 1800 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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