Profile image of Dr Conor McGrath

Dr Conor McGrath

Lecturer in Public Relations

Profile image of Dr Conor McGrath


Centre for Media Research


Room BC-06-205B Shore Road Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT37 0QB



Life Before Ulster

Dr Conor McGrath re-joined the School of Communication & Media in 2015, having previously taught here from 1999 to 2004.

Conor’s degree was in politics and parliamentary studies at the University of Leeds, which included a year spent on placement in the US Congress and UK House of Commons. He has worked as a researcher for a Conservative MP, as a senior account executive at a political intelligence firm in Westminster, as a self-employed lobbyist, and as public affairs director at a PR agency in Northern Ireland.

His PhD was awarded in 2008 for a thesis titled ‘Lobbyists as Professional Political Communicators’.


Conor teaches public relations theory and practice, lobbying, public affairs and political communication at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

He is also placement co-ordinator for the CAM and CMPR degrees, helping 2nd years find year-long work placements.

At Ulster, Conor has been course director of:

  • BSc in Public Relations
  • MSc in Political Lobbying and Public Affairs
  • MA in Journalism Studies.

He undertook a Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching in 2003, and Conor became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2015.


A member of the Centre for Media Research, Conor’s research interests centre around lobbying, public affairs and public relations; he is currently working on topics in British politics and media coverage of politics.

His latest book is Rethinking Public Relations: Persuasion, Democracy & Society, Third Edition (co-authored with Kevin Moloney; Routledge, 2020).

Conor has also written one book and edited 5 others on lobbying, and co-edited 1 book on Irish politics.

He has written about 40 journal articles and book chapters.

A full listing of his publications can be found at:

Conor currently acts as Deputy Editor of the Journal of Public Affairs and is a member of the editorial board of Interest Groups and Advocacy. He has examined 4 doctoral theses and welcomes inquiries from potential PhD students in his areas of interest.

Civic Roles

Conor is currently a member of the NI committee of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

He has in the past served as: President of the Political Studies Association of Ireland; founding Chairman of the Northern Ireland Government Affairs Group; a member of the Management Board of the European Centre for Public Affairs; and Chair of Education at the Public Relations Institute of Ireland. Conor can be found on Twitter @ConorMcGrathPR, and edits our students' group blog at