Profile image of Dr Conor McGrath

Dr Conor McGrath

Lecturer in Public Relations

Profile image of Dr Conor McGrath


School of Communication and Media


Centre for Media Research


Room 17E03 Belfast BT15 1ED



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