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Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of: Irish politics and history; the politics and history of nationalism; political violence and terrorism.

1994 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Statement

Richard English is Professor of Politics at Queen's University Belfast, where he is also Director of  the  Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.


Professor English's research focuses on the history of political violence, terrorism, and nationalism, with a particular focus on Ireland and Britain.  His books include: 

The Cambridge History of Terrorism (CUP, 2021, edited)

The Oxford Handbook of Terrorism (OUP, 2019, co-edited)

Does Terrorism Work? A History (OUP, 2016)

Modern War: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2013)

Terrorism: How to Respond (OUP, 2009)

Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland (Pan Macmillan, 2006)

Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (Pan Macmillan, 2003)

Ernie O'Malley: IRA Intellectual (OUP, 1998)

Radicals and the Republic: Socialist Republicanism in the Irish Free State 1925-1937 (OUP, 1994).   


He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Member of  Academia Europaea, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an Honorary Fellow of Keble College Oxford, a Faculty Affiliate at the University of Chicago, and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews.  Professor English has given invited Lectures on his research in more than twenty countries.  In 2018 he was awarded a CBE for services to the understanding of modern day terrorism and political history. In 2019 he was  awarded the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in the Social Sciences. His book Does Counter-Terrorism Work? will be published by Oxford University Press in 2024.


Research supervision areas (PhD) include: Irish politics and history; the politics and history of nationalism; political violence and terrorism.



Richard English, Does Terrorism Work? A History (Oxford University Press, 2016)




‘This book offers a reflective, astute, and deeply knowledgeable historian's answer to the critical question of "does terrorism work". As it brilliantly demonstrates the complexity and contingency of historical processes, the necessity of understanding different contexts, and the varieties of ways in which terrorism can be effective, it adds immense value to the debate’     Martha Crenshaw, Stanford University


‘English is a brilliant political historian, with a reputation for measured yet hard-hitting analyses. He possesses a formidable range and depth of knowledge about modern terrorism. … Unlike many commentators, his prose is calm; his conclusions sensible’     Joanna Bourke, Prospect


‘absorbing attempt to answer a difficult question: does terrorism work? … The author admits some people might struggle with daring even to ask whether terror works.  He carefully sets out his criteria … insisting there can be no simple answer given the overwhelming complexities involved.  Yet that does not make his work less valid’     Ian Birrell, Observer


‘his disinterested approach allows the author to avoid the polemicism that clouds many accounts of this question. Indeed, his clear-eyed treatment of a fraught subject is one of the book’s principal strengths. …he presents an admirably clear framework that allows for various possible achievements’

                           Ali Soufan, Wall Street Journal


 ‘a valuable resource for scholars … as English suggests, we need to ask for whom terrorism works, and why’            John Gray, New Statesman


‘thought-provoking, scholarly study’     Irish Times


'an admirable book, extremely well-written, fascinating to read, full of insights, challenging ... excellent and thoroughly documented'        Political Quarterly


'sensitive and detailed ... a very readable philosophical discussion'

                           Journal of Contemporary European Studies


‘fascinating…a marvellous piece of scholarship…masterfully-written…a nuanced account of terrorist practices over the course of numerous decades’           Security Dialogue

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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