Research Masters Degree

The Research Masters degree provides students with rigorous research training and an opportunity to complete an independent research study, presented as a major thesis. This is a 90 credit major research thesis degree, however, you may be required to attend modules which will support and complement your research.   The programme enables students to develop their research knowledge and skills whilist completing a major research study under the guidance of an academic supervisor and a research studies panel.  You will develop your knowledge of a research topic, research methods, literature searching, presentation and publishing skills.  Succesful completion of this programme (following examination) includes submission of a final bound thesis that will be retained in the UCD library.

UCD is commited 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.

The period of registration for the Research Masters degree will be not less than 3 trimesters (one year)  and not more than 6 trimesters (two years) for a full-time student. For a part-time student the period of registration is not less than 6 trimesters and not more than 12 trimesters. Applicants can select to register for either a September, January or May commencement date.

Applications for entry to the programme are welcome from those in nursing, midwifery or a health-related discipline. Please note closing date for receipt of full applications in the blue tab below.

Download Research Degree Programme Brochure to read more.

If you are considering applying to the programme please contact the Director of Graduate Research for an informal chat (



What to do before applying

If you are considering applying to the programme first contact the Director of Research Degrees  (

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

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 their research interests and publications.

Alternatively contact our Director Graduate Research:
Dr Deirdre O'Donnell


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 apply and fee information

You can apply once you have the agreement of a member of Faculty approving your research proposal and supporting your application.

Major Codes:
Research Masters Degree full-time X219
Research Masters Degree part-time X290

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 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
  • 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:






Research proposal

Normally a proposal should be around 1,500 words and may include the following (but be guided by the member of Faculty supporting your application) :

  • A working title of the topic area:
  • A 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

Applicants 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:

UCD Minimum English Language Requirements


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:

  • January 2022 registration: closing date for receipt of full application is 1st November 2021
  • May registration: closing date for receipt of full application is 31st March 2022
  • September registration: closing date for receipt of full application 25th June 2022


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 and then the College Graduate School Board to determine your suitability to take a place on the programme.

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

Following registration you can access our MSc Research degree programme handbook for additional information