Michael Keating was born in 1950, graduated from the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1971, gained his PhD at Glasgow College of Technology (now Glasgow Caledonian University) in 1975,and received the qualification of Incorporated Linguist (Institute of Linguists) in 1981. He has a doctorate honoris causa from the Facultés Universitaires Catholiques de Mons (Belgium). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.
He has worked at the University of Essex (1975-6), North Staffordshire Polytechnic (1976-9) and the University of Strathclyde (1979-88). From 1988 until 1999 he was Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario. From 2000 until 2010 he was Professor of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute, Florence and was head of department between 2004 and 2007. He has held visiting positions at the Institut d'Etudes Politques de Paris; University of Santiago de Compostela; University of the Basque Country; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; the Norwegian Nobel Institute; Nuffield College, Oxford; University of Grenoble; Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is presently part-time professor at the University of Edinburgh. From 2010 until 2013 he was Professorial Fellow and in 2013-14 he is Senior Fellow on the Future of the UK and Scotland programme..
Michael Keating speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian.