Sean McGraw


On Leave Fall 2018 and Spring 2019


Regular Faculty - Assistant Professor


Fellow of Kellogg Institute, Nanovic Institute for European Studies and Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies


Comparative Politics


M.Div. Notre Dame (2000)
Ph.D. Harvard University (2009)

Research and Teaching Interests

Comparative politics, European politics, political parties, civil society, religion and politics, and the study of Ireland.


Sean McGraw graduated from Notre Dame with a B.A. degree in Government and International Relations in 1992 and was a four-year member of the Men's Tennis Team. After graduation, McGraw completed a Master's in Western European Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He returned to Notre Dame in the fall of 1993 where he worked with Fr. Tim Scully, CSC, in founding the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) teacher training program. Since then, ACE has grown from a small service organization to a large-scale contributor to Catholic education in the United States, training more than 1,200 teachers and 125 administrators.

McGraw entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in the fall of 1995 and earned his Master's of Divinity from Notre Dame in 2000. McGraw was ordained a priest in April 2001 at Sacred Heart Basilica and served his deacon year and first two years as a priest at Notre Dame High School for Boys in Chicago where he taught history, coached basketball and tennis, served as an interim president during his second year there and also assisted at a local parish. McGraw received his PhD from Harvard University in 2009. He returned to Notre Dame in the fall of 2009 as an Assistant Professor of Political Science teaching Comparative and European politics.

His research focuses on the Irish political system, especially party competition and the changes in the political landscape at a time of unprecedented social and economic change.

McGraw has recently finished his first book, How Parties Win: Shaping the Irish Political Arena (Michigan University Press, forthcoming 2014). How Parties Win takes advantage of the Irish case to help explain how major parties seek to preserve their long-term electoral predominance in the face of dramatic social and economic change by shaping the choices available to voters during elections. McGraw has a couple of projects related to two parliamentary surveys he personally conducted in Ireland within the last 4 years. One of his next projects is a comparative study of the role of religion in civic life in the United States, England, Northern Ireland and Ireland in collaboration with scholars from Notre Dame and Harvard. His work has appeared in Irish Political Studies, among other journals.

Contact Information

Office: 2051 Jenkins Nanovic Halls
Phone: 574-631-7655
Fax: 574-631-4405

Mailing Address

Department of Political Science
2060 Jenkins Nanovic Halls
Notre Dame, IN 46556


McGraw CV