PhD Degree

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is offered through a structured programme of rigorous training in research and offers students an opportunity to undertake a focused and critical examination of a particular topic with the aim of contributing to the development of knowledge in their field. The PhD degree normally requires a registration period of not less than three years and not more than four years for full-time students. For part-time students the period of registration is usually not more than six years. Each student is assigned an academic supervisor and his/her training programme is overseen by a doctoral studies panel. Applications for entry to the programme are welcome from those in nursing, midwifery or a health-related discipline. 


Entrants to the PhD programme from September 2014 are required to undertake 30 credits of taught modules which are based on the student’s needs to support the thesis work. Recognition of prior learning (RPL) may be considered for up to two-thirds of these 30 credits. Application for RPL credits should be considered in discussion with the supervisor after registration to the programme. Such credits must be approved by the School’s Research Degrees Committee and the College of Sciences Graduate School Board.

Overseas students registered to the PhD programme at the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems may, subject to approval, remain in their home country for all or most of their PhD studies and receive supervision remotely. For these students, up to 20 credits may be gained though the RPL process. The additional mandatory 10 credits may be undertaken at an institution in the home country during the time they are registered for the PhD at UCD.  Gaining credits in this way is subject to the approval of the student’s doctoral studies panel and other governance mechanisms of the university. Students applying to the PhD programme with the intention of remaining in their home country for the duration of their studies should submit a clear plan at the time of their application as to how they envisage meeting the requirement of having completed 30 mandatory taught credits.

Programme Brochure

How to apply

Applications are made online through UCD Applications. ​Applicants may be required to undertake an interview (either face-to-face or via telecommunication) as part of the admission process.

There are three possible start dates of any year, namely May, September or January. Please ensure that your application is submitted 6 weeks in advance of the start date.

When you enter the online application process (link below)

  1. Select Create a new Account or Use an existing Account if you previously attended UCD.
  2. If you were a previous UCD student and have forgotten your ID number / password click here
  3. Select Course Finder
  4. Enter your course Major Code (X___) and press Search.

Major Codes:
PHD Degree full-time X239
PHD Degree part-time X240

Documents to upload with your application

Please follow the steps of the online process and attach the following documents when prompted (please insert your full name into the header of each file you attach): A personal statement of not more than 150 words outlining your reasons for applying for the programme.

  1. A 3000-word report, preceded by a title page clearly indicating your name, and the programme for which you are applying. The report should be based on a contemporary issue in your field of practice or in your discipline of inquiry. Your report should outline the background to the issue and highlight current published literature on the issue. The report may concern an issue of particular concern to you and may become the subject of your research thesis.
  2. Articles that you have had published if applicable.

Additional documents to forward with your application

In addition, you will need to forward the following documents to the address below. Note that an offer of a place cannot be made until all documents have been received.

  • Official transcripts of your bachelor’s and master’s degrees as appropriate.
  • An Academic Reference Form in a sealed envelope from a person familiar with your academic work.
  • Evidence of meeting the English language requirements (if applicable).

Please clearly label all documentation and forward to:
The Research Degrees Administrator,
UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
Health Sciences Centre
Belfield, Dublin 4

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