Sean McGraw, C.S.C.

Contact Information

mcgrawsquare Sean McGraw, C.S.C.
Assistant Professor and Co-Founder of ACE
416 Decio Hall


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


Ph.D. Harvard University

M.Div. University of Notre Dame

M.Sc. London School of Economics and Political Science

B.A. University of Notre Dame

Ph.D. Thesis: “Managing Change: Party Competition in the New Ireland”

M.Div. Thesis: “20th Century Apostolic Lay Movements in the Catholic Tradition”

M.Sc. Thesis: “Rethinking Continuity and Change in the Irish Party System”

Research interests

Comparative Politics

European Politics

Political parties

Civil Society

Religion and Politics

Irish Studies


The Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies Visiting Faculty Fellow, Spring 2013

Representative of Harvard Government Department at the 2007 Max Planck Summer Conference on Economy and Society in Schloss Ringberg (Bavaria), Germany

Co-recipient of the National Catholic Education Association’s C. Albert Koob Merit Award Recipient for the Most Significant Contribution to Catholic Education, 1995

Inaugural National Demonstration Award - Corporation for National Service, 1994   

Select publications

How Parties Win: Shaping the Irish Political Arena (University of Michigan Press, 2015)    

“Managing Change: Party Competition in the New Ireland,” Irish Political Studies, Volume 23, Number 4, December 2008.

“Building ACE: Improvising on Providence,” in Teaching Service and Alternative Teacher Education, edited by Michael Pressley, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 2002


Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C., graduated from Notre Dame in 1992 with a B.A. in Political Science and was a member of the men’s tennis team. After completing a Masters in Western European Politics at the London School of Economics in 1993, McGraw returned to Notre Dame where he helped Fr. Tim Scully, C.S.C. found the ACE program and worked with the program for two years.

McGraw entered Holy Cross in 1995 and was ordained in 2001. He served three years at Notre Dame High School for Boys between 2000-2003 as a history teacher, tennis and basketball coach and interim president.  McGraw completed his doctorate in Comparative Politics from Harvard University in June 2009 and returned to Notre Dame where he is an assistant professor in the Political Science Department.  He currently serves as the chair of the ACE Advisory Board.

McGraw has recently published How Parties Win: Shaping the Irish Political Arena (Michigan University Press, 2015). How Parties Win uses 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 is conducting projects related to two parliamentary surveys he conducted in Ireland during the past four years. He is also undertaking a comparative study of the role of religion in civic life in the United States, England, Ireland, and Northern Ireland in collaboration with scholars from Notre Dame and Harvard. His work has appeared in Irish Political Studies and other journals.