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How to apply for an LLM or PhD by Research

  1. Identify a potential supervisor. You can find a list of staff and their research interests below. Alternatively, if you have not identified a potential supervisor, complete an Expression of Interest Form and return it with your research proposal and an up-to-date CV (including details of your academic record and any research completed) to Dr Laura Cahillane, Director of Postgraduate Studies ( This information will be circulated to the Law School with a view to identifying an appropriate supervisor.

  2. Following a discussion with your potential supervisor about the prospective topic, you should develop a research proposal.  A three to four page research proposal should suffice. This should comprise the following:
    • A description of the topic (with suggested title), indicating the general aims of the research and how these differ from previously published work in the field (at least 500 words).
    • an explanation of the main concepts and theories relevant to the research and of the proposal methods of investigation;
    • an indication of any practical applications that the research might have;
    • a research plan, indicating a clear timeframe;
    • your reasons for wishing to undertake the research at the University of Limerick;
    • a short bibliography, mentioning chief works of reference.
  3.  Once your supervisor has approved your research proposal, you must submit your application to the Research Applications Panel (RAP) of the School of Law. RAP meets approximately once a month during semester time. Completed applications must be emailed to the Director of Postgraduate Studies and chair of the panel ( by the supervisor in order to be considered.

A completed application must include: 

  • An application form (available at:                                       

    This form must be digitally signed by both candidate and supervisor in advance of submission. 

  • Research proposal (as an appendix to the application form) 
  • Two written references 
  • Copies of most recent academic qualification 
  • Academic IELTS if required 

The primary supervisor should also include in the email some of the following information: 

  • the connection of the applicant’s proposed research to the work/research programme of the supervisor/supervisory team 
  • whether an interview or other personal communication with the applicant has been carried out by the supervisor/supervisory team 
  • a brief overview of the applicant’s past educational and research experience 
  • an indication of the student’s anticipated funding sources 
  • any particular supports that the applicant may require 
  • any other relevant information 

Candidates with completed, submitted applications may be invited to meet with RAP, accompanied by their proposed supervisor(s) and may be asked to share a brief (5min) presentation of their work.

Candidates will receive feedback from RAP via their supervisors. This feedback may recommend:

  1. immediate progression to the next stage of the review process (UL Postgraduate Review Committee);
  2. revision of the proposal with proposed supervisor(s) and progression to the next stage of the review process;
  3. full resubmission of application and re-interview with RAP; or
  4. RAP may give the view that the proposal is not appropriate for doctoral study.

Potential candidates are advised to start the application process at least six months in advance of their planned commencement dates. 

  1. Following approval by RAP candidates must then submit a formal application to GPS. You must send your final completed application form, Research Proposal, two references (at least one academic), and transcripts to Dr. Niamh Lenahan (, cc’ing .  If English is not your first language please indicate the score you achieved if you have completed an English language proficiency test. For more information see the Graduate School English Language Requirements.                    


These documents will then be forwarded to the Postgraduate Admissions Graduate Office and your application will be considered at the next Postgraduate Research Committee meeting (First Tuesday of every month). If your application is approved, you will receive a letter from the Graduate School inviting you to register. Research students may register at any time of the year although, typically, students register in September/October or January. 



Research Areas

Dr Lydia Bracken

  • Child & Family law
  • European human rights
  • Reproductive law

Dr Laura Cahillane

  • Constitutional law
  • Legal history
  • Judicial politics
  • Comparative law

Dr Gerard Coffey

  • Criminal law, justice & procedure
  • Codification of the criminal law
  • History & development of criminal law
  • The sentencing process
  • International criminal law
  • Judicial review
  • The criminal process

Dr Alan Cusack



  • Criminal process
  • Victimology
  • Disability law
  • Jurisprudence
  • Penology
  • Access to justice

Dr Laura Donnellan

  • Sport and the Law
  • Animals and Sport
  • Animal Welfare
  • EU Law
Dr Sinead Eaton
  • Commercial Law
  • Company Law
  • Corporate Finance
  • Competition Law

Dr Margaret Fitzgerald O’Reilly

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Penology
  • The treatment & management of offenders
  • Social & legal exclusion
  • Techniques of punishment
  • Sentencing
  • Crime control policies

Prof. Raymond Friel

  • Commercial law
  • Contract law
  • Antitrust/competition law
  • EU Law
  • Legal education

Eddie Keane

  • Employment law
  • Commercial law
  • Tort law

Dr Susan Leahy

  • Criminal justice with an emphasis on sexual violence & victims of crime
  • Family law with a particular emphasis on domestic abuse & marriage

Dr John Lombard

  • Medical law
  • Bioethics
  • Intellectual property law

Prof. Paul McCutcheon

  • Criminal law, in particular principles of the general part, theories of criminal responsibility, & interdisciplinary approaches
  • Legal theory, approaches to adjudication
  • Sports Law

Dr Kathryn O’Sullivan

  • Family law
  • Property law
  • Succession law

Eoin Quill

  • Tort focusing on the methodology & structure in the analysis of the legal principles governing compensation claims.
  • Civil obligations encompassing contract torts and restitution.

Prof. Sean Redmond

  • Youth crime & youth justice (with emphasis on serious crime and criminal networks)
  • “Wicked” and complex policy problems
  • Programme evaluation
  • Research & evaluation methodologies
  • Governance in public services
  • Practical theory
  • Evidence informed policy-making

Jennifer Schweppe

  • Hate crime
  • Reproductive justice
  • Hate studies
  • Hate crime
  • Minoritised communities and the law
  • Abortion and the law
  • Medical consent
  • Criminal procedure

Dr Eimear Spain

  • Health law
  • Criminal law
  • Constitutional law
  • Intellectual property law
  • Law & emotions
  • Administrative law

Dr Una Woods

  • Property law
  • The law of trusts
  • Conveyancing law
  • Succession law
  • Matrimonial property law