Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 

in Social & Political Thought


GCAS awards our own degree

Duration: 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time

Tuition: 5,000 euros/ year


This is a scientific research degree program. By "scientific" we mean the application of analytical and empirical data with theoretical structures to produce original research that is relevant to addressing the most vexing issues confronting our world today. By contrast to PhD programs in the United States, which can take as long as ten years, our program is designed to engage and publish research findings with the highest rigor and quality in the world. Students in our program will have access to research materials and core and affiliate faculty at the Global Center for Advanced Studies.   


Prerequisites for acceptance: 

Our students come from some of the best academic institutions in the world, including UC Berkeley, Columbia University, London School of Economics, Tulane, Yale, and University of Chicago among many others. However, as a research institute that's challenging traditional academia, we attract applicants who bring diverse backgrounds, experiences, and fresh perspectives to the conversation. If you are passionate about learning new skills to join the intellectual tradition and to help to shape the future of learning, we welcome you to apply.

Our degree program is rigorous, and applicants must possess an accredited Masters degree to be considered for admission.  On occasion, applicants with a BA and extensive experience may be considered. Applicants with a BA who the admissions committee do not feel meet the requirements for the PhD will be considered for the MA. 


Tuition:  5,000/ year


General Summary of Program Requirements

To complete the PhD program in Social and Political Thought at GCAS Ireland you must:

1. Meet monthly with your advisor and Dissertation Small Group (DSG)

2. Formally present your research within GCAS University and at an academic conference not associated with GCAS University

3. Pass Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations 

4. Publish an article in a peer-reviewed Journal

5. There is a residential requirement for examinations during our residential seminars or annual Summer Institutes.

6. Pass language examinations (when required by your advisor)


Program Aim and Outcomes
Set up to provide students are broad and overarching set of skills and knowledges, the PhD in Social & Political Thought is designed for students from a variety of backgrounds to participate in. This program will give students the ability to look critically at the world around them and to engage with the issues of today. 

Each student will spend the majority of their degree doing a supervised Dissertation. They will work one-on-one with their advisor to write and defend a substantive and original piece of work on a topic chosen in consultation with their advisor. 


Program Structure
The program is set up on Traditional Doctoral Program format, which means that students do not need to take any courses. Some students may be required to take classes by their Supervisor. Throughout the program students will have to take 180 ECTS, all of which will come from their Dissertation. Students are also invited, though not mandated to join for the Summer Institute that is held in a different location each year. During this Institute three courses will be offered and students will have the chance to gain 15 ECTS. These classes will be taught by top tier scholars from around the globe. 

To discuss courses they are required to teach students should contact their Supervisor or the Dean of Academic Affairs. 


Placement Information
We anticipate graduates from GCAS’s PhD in Social & Political Thought program to go onto a variety of careers and positions post-degree. These include working on policy, for nonprofits and NGOs, as well as into academia. The degree’s emphasis on critical thinking makes it useful for entrance into almost any position. Data shows that more businesses are looking for people with degrees in Liberal Arts or Philosophy. We believe that graduates from this program will be similarly highly sought after. 

There are three terms or semesters per year at GCAS-RII. 

Term 1: September to December

Term 2:  January to March        

Term 3:  April to June

Annual Summer Institute