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 UCD structured PhD programme:

  • recognises that the essential elements of the PhD remain research, generation and dissemination of new knowledge, and progression of the candidate towards academic autonomy
  • provides the context for a deep intellectual engagement with a topic, so that the student will develop the intellectual skills and related critical capacities for academic research and related scholarly activities
  • facilitates the submission of the final thesis in either monograph style or an article-based format (PhD by publication)

The UCD structured PhD degree may be completed on a full or a part-time basis. A full-time PhD will normally involve a registration period of not less than nine trimesters (three years) and not more than 12 trimesters (four years). For part-time students, the period of registration is not less than 15 trimesters (five years) and not more than 18 trimesters (six years).  Each student is assigned at least one academic supervisor, and his/her training programme is supported by a research studies panel.

Entrants to the PhD programme are required to undertake 30 credits of taught modules which are based on each student’s needs to support their research and from September 2019 all students commencing a research degree are required to complete a Research Integrity Training programme.

The UCD structured PhD programme is pursued in two stages. Stage 1 doctoral studies must be completed by a full-time student within five trimesters from the date of registration and by a part-time student within seven trimesters from the time of registration.

a) Stage 1 is an initial period of advanced education, training and research.
b) Stage 2 is dedicated to original doctoral research (but may also include advanced education and research and generic training) and submission of a final thesis in either monograph style or an article-based format (PhD by publication).

Applications for entry to the programme are welcome from those in nursing, midwifery or a health-related discipline.

If you are considering applying to the programme please contact the Director of Graduate Research for an informal chat (kathleen.frazer@ucd.ie).

 

Information on UCD structured PhD programme

The UCD structured PhD enables students to achieve the best possible experience of graduate research and training. Making a substantial and original contribution to knowledge, normally leading to peer-reviewed publications remains the core objective of doctoral studies. The UCD structured PhD includes several innovative measures designed to support you in achieving your academic and professional objectives.

Entrants to the PhD programme must undertake 30 credits of taught modules based on the student’s needs to support their research.  Recognition of prior learning (RPL) may be considered. Application for RPL credits should be discussed with your Supervisor after registration to the programme. Applications for RPL are submitted to Graduate Research Board for consideration, and approval is not guaranteed. 

UCD is committed to the promotion of an environment which maintains the highest standards in relation to its educational mission and research activity.  As part of this policy, all new entrants to a research degree programme from September 2019 are required to complete a programme of Research Integrity training. For more information on Research Integrity Training for students, please click here

The UCD structured PhD programme is pursued in two stages. Stage 1 doctoral studies must be completed by a full-time student within five trimesters from the date of registration and by a part-time student within seven trimesters from the date of registration.
a) Stage 1 is an initial period of advanced education, training and research.
b) Stage 2 is largely dedicated to original doctoral research (but may also include advanced education and research and generic training) leading to the submission of the final thesis in either monograph style or in an article-based format (PhD by publication)

Use the links below to access detailed information on the structured PhD programme from UCD Graduate Studies including: details on supervision, Research Studies Panels, Research Integrity Training,  Transferable Skills programme and Research and Professional Development planning:

Structured PhD support

Research and PhD support including the Graduate Research student Handbook

 

What to do before applying

If you are considering applying to the programme first contact the Director of Research Degrees  (kathleen.frazer@ucd.ie).

1. Check your eligibility for the programme -Open blue tab ' Eligibility requirements and English language requirements' for further guidance.  In addition consider and identify who will be funding your research degree.  Contact the administrator if any queries.

2. After confirming your eligibility and funding you must contact a potential supervisor before you apply.   Open blue tabs ' How to find a Supervisor'  and  'Contacting potential Supervisors' for further guidance.

 

How to find a Supervisor

After you have contacted the Director of the Programme:

The following links will guide you to information on research activity in the School, details for Faculty who are currently supervising and if you click on their names you can access details on their full research, profiles, interests and publications.   The final link provides access to information on all our Faculty members and access to their research interests and publications.

Alternatively, you may wish to contact our Director Graduate Research to assist you to identify a Supervisor:
Dr Kate Frazer
Tel: +353 1 7166479
Email: kathleen.frazer@ucd.ie

 

Contacting potential Supervisors

Once you've identified one or two potential supervisors, you should contact them by email.  Here are some items you may wish to include in your initial contact email.

  • Your name
  • Academic background
  • Academic awards or highlights
  • Research experience
  • Why the academic member of staff’s area of research will match with your research goals (cite the academic’s publications)
  • Make it clear that you are familiar with their work and how their research interests mesh with your own
  • A research proposal, if available
  • Ask them specifically if they are accepting new graduate students for the coming academic year.

 

You can apply once you have discussed and developed a research proposal with a member of Faculty. This should be completed over a period of time with face to face and/or virtual meetings. The member of Faculty must agree to nominate and to support your application.  They must complete a 'nomination form'.     See blue tab 'How to make an application, nomination form and fee information'.

 

How to make an application and fee information

You can apply once you have the agreement of a member of Faculty who has developed your research proposal with you and, is supporting your application

  • Applicants are required to meet either face-to-face or via telecommunication with their nominated supervisor prior to submitting an application as part of the development process
  • A further interview with the Director of the Programme may be required as part of the admission process
  • Applications are made online through UCD Applications..
  • Documents to include with your application- See requirements in blue tab 'Documents to include with your application'
  • Please note closing dates - apply as early as possible as all documents must be received prior to the closing date.
  • Please note application fee:  https://www.ucd.ie/registry/prospectivestudents/admissions/graduateappli...
  • Please note course fees (EU and Non-EU): https://www.ucd.ie/students/fees/

Major Codes:
Full time X239

Part-time X240

Documents to include with your application

You must upload the following documents with your online application:

  • A personal statement of 150 - 250 words outlining your reasons for applying: what attracts you to that subject area, how your studies and/or work experience have influenced you, your career plans, any publications to date.
  • A research proposal of 1500 - 2000 words. The proposal must be approved by the nominating Supervisor.
  • Official transcripts of your bachelor’s and master’s degrees as appropriate.
  • Evidence of meeting the English language requirements (if applicable).
  • You must download the Academic Reference Form and forward to TWO persons familiar with your academic work. Your referees will provide details about your academic abilities and motivation and they must return a completed form directly to researchdegrees.nmhs@ucd.ie
  • You must download the Supervisor Nomination Form. Ask your proposed Supervisor who is nominating you to the programme to complete and return the form to you to submit with your application.

UCD comes under the terms of the Freedom of Information Acts, 1997 and 2003. In the context of the Online Applications system, this means that an applicant can request any documentation presented as part of the applications process, including references sent directly by the referee to the institution.

Application queries should be directed to the Research Degrees Administrator: researchdegrees.nmhs@ucd.ie

Research proposal - what to include

Normally a proposal should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words and may include the following ( be guided by whoever is supporting you in the development:

  • A working title of the topic area:
  • General overview of the area: brief abstract of the general area of study and identify the discipline(s) within which it falls. You might also refer to the way in which your own background gives you competences in your chosen area.
  • Identification of the relevant literature: demonstrate that you are aware of the debates and issues raised in relevant bodies of literature and demonstrate that your proposed area has not been studied before, so you need to identify your niche which will lead on to the thesis preparation.
  • Key research questions: Since you need to demonstrate that the topic can be completed within the normal time period allowed, you need to demonstrate that it is manageable, and so focus on key questions within your niche area.
  • Aims and objectives: State objectives of the research to be undertaken.
  • Methodology: You need to demonstrate an awareness of methods available to you and show some understanding of which would be suitable for your research.
  • Timescale/research planning: You need to demonstrate an awareness of the need for planning and the timescale of the research. Please try to prepare a realistic timescale.
  • Reference List: You should include a shortlist of references to key articles and texts included in the application.

Your research proposal must be developed and approved by a nominating Supervisor in advance of submitting an online application. 

Applications will not be accepted if details for Faculty member or nomination form are omitted

 

Eligibility requirements and English language requirements

Eligibility requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants seeking admission to a course of study and research leading to a PhD or research master's degree must fulfil of the following criteria

a) The candidate has obtained a minimum of an upper second-class degree or equivalent in a relevant honours Bachelor’s degree;

b) The candidate has obtained a relevant master’s degree;
c) In certain circumstances, the candidate has demonstrated other evidence of academic standing and/or relevant professional experience as satisfies the Governing Board of their suitability for admission to the degree programme. These criteria are considered non-standard admission requirements.

If you are unsure if you are eligible you should contact the Programme Administrator.

English Language Requirements for entry to Graduate Programmes at UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems
Candidates whose first language is not English and whose primary degree was obtained in a country where English is not the official language of instruction must provide proof of proficiency in English such as IELTS or TOEFL.

The original certificate of completion of an English language test must be enclosed with the application. In all cases the test results must not be more than two years old. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Candidates whose existing degree was obtained in a country where the official language of instruction is English may, at the request of the School, still be subject to the same requirements where English is not the candidate’s first language. 

The following are the English language tests and scores accepted by this School:

IELTS [International English Language Testing System–Academic]
Minimum Overall Band Score of 7.0, with a result NOT LESS than 6.5 in EACH of the individual sections.

TOEFL [Test of English as a Foreign Language]
Internet Based Test: Minimum total score of 100 out of 120, with a score NOT LESS than 22 in Reading and Listening. NOT LESS than 26 in Speaking and NOT LESS than 24 in the test of written English.

Paper Based Test
Minimum total score of 600 with a score NOT LESS than 5.0 in the Test of Written English.

 

 

 

Closing dates for applications

These are the final dates for submission of applications. Is it advisable to submit your application as early as possible as it will be reviewed by separate School and College committees:

 

  • May 2021 registration: closing date for receipt of full application is 31st March 2021
  • September 2021 registration: closing date for receipt of full application 16th July 2021

 

For queries about required documentation or submission dates, please contact the Programme Administrator (researchdegrees.nmhs@ucd.ie)

Assessment of applications

Applicants may be required to undertake an interview with the Director of the Programme (either face-to-face or via telecommunication) as part of the admission process.

Your application and nomination form will be reviewed by the School's Research Degrees Committee to determine your suitability for registration on the PhD programme.

Only when you have been approved by the College Graduate School Board will you be eligible to register to the PhD programme.