Fully Funded PhD Opportunity at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in the field of Islamic Law and Gender

Jul 02 2024 Posted: 11:31 IST

The Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, University of Galway, is pleased to offer one doctoral scholarship in the field of Islamic Law and Gender (More information about the research area can be found below). The selected candidate will be supervised by Professor Roja Fazaeli and supported by a Graduate Research Committee, comprising staff members from the Irish Centre for Human Rights.


The scholarship is tenable for a maximum of four years, renewable each year, subject to satisfactory progress and recommendation by the Graduate Research Committee. It will cover full fees for the successful candidate, in addition to a stipend of €22,000 per annum.

Condition of Funding

It is anticipated that the successful candidate would be in a position to join the PhD Programme by September 2024.

The successful candidate must register on a full-time basis.

The Research Project

The candidate will work closely with the research team working on the European Research Council funded project ‘Building Conceptual and Methodological Expertise for the Study of Gender, Agency and Authority in Islam (BILQIS)’

BILQIS emerges from a critical concern around Muslim women’s access to justice in Europe and is driven by methodological advances in Islamic feminism and is primarily distinguished by its systematic and rigorous inquiries into questions of gender in relation to Islamic family laws (IFL) and IFL-related socio-religious and socio-legal power structures. The project will engage in a comparative study how Muslim women in Europe have navigated agency and authority over time from the long 19th century to the present day across diverse European peripheries, specifically the Ottoman Balkans, the post-Ottoman Balkans, and the territorial spaces that are currently governed by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden.

The doctoral fellow will work closely with the PI and the Postdoctoral fellow on Work Package 3 (WP3) “IFL (Islamic Family Laws), Gender Equality and Equal Access to Justice in the Nordic-Atlantic.” 

WP3 in parts engages in socio-religious and socio-legal analysis driven by the question on what sources are used to justify authoritative standing on Islamic Family Laws in Norway, Sweden and asks how such sources relate to ideas of women’s agentic equality against positions of gender complementarity in Islamic law. WP3 also seeks to understand how and why IFL-related court cases and informal community mediation structures in the Nordic-Atlantic offer different or similar outcomes for Muslim women with regards to access to justice.

WP3 will employ comparative textual and contextual methodologies, as well as sets of qualitative interviews. The initial portion of WP3 will conduct gender-based textual analysis of court judgements and socio-legal policy documents related to Islamic Family Laws in each national context. In the second potion of WP3, the doctoral fellow will work with the Post-Doctoral fellow to conduct interviews with muftis, women religious and civil activists, religious leaders, civil society actors, academics, as well as legal and state actors.

A successful candidate will be able to engage with Islamic legal discourses, in particular Islamic family laws and their application within Norway and Sweden.  They should also be able to employ textual and qualitative methodologies. A linguistic knowledge of Arabic and/or Norwegian or Swedish is desirable.

As part of the scholarship award, recipients are required to seek external scholarship funding from the Irish Research Council (IRC) or other funding bodies, as instructed by their PhD supervisor. In the event that an external scholarship is granted, the scholarship funding under this award will be terminated starting from the date of the external award’s commencement.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit the following:

  1. Curriculum vitae (maximum three pages)
  2. An academic writing sample (e.g., published article, policy report, NGO report, or graduate writing sample)

In addition to the above, you must submit the following documents:

  1. PhD proposal (setting out the project’s aims in relation to BILQIS, objectives, research questions, and a research schedule) (max three pages).
  2. An outline of the proposed research methodology (how the applicant intends to carry out the proposed research), max two pages.
  3. Two academic references: Please note that the applicant must contact his/her referees to ensure that references are received before the closing date/time for this scholarship.
  4. All academic transcripts.
  5. Applicants whose first language is not English must submit satisfactory evidence of competence in written and spoken English, i.e., overall IELTS 6.5 (including a minimum of 6.5 in the reading and writing parts and no part below 6.0) or 90 in the TOEFL iBT (with a minimum of 22 (reading) and 24 (writing) and no part below 20.)
  6. Fluency in Arabic and/or Norwegian or Swedish is highly desirable.


The required documentation, including letters of reference, should be emailed to bilqis@universityofgalway.ie no later than 5 pm July 26th 2024.