PhD Research Programme

Course Features

  • Advanced training for research or clinical positions in academia or industry
  • Three years full time or six years part-time
  • Each student's educational, training, personal and professional development needs are supported by a panel of staff

Course Overview

The PhD research programme at UCD School of Psychology provides the highest level of specialisation in clinical psychology, disability and rehabilitation, cognitive and behavioural neuroscience, and social and developmental psychology. It is designed for students who wish to pursue teaching, research or clinical positions in academia or industry. To complete the PhD, you conduct a research programme, write it up as a doctoral thesis, and undertake 30 credits of postgraduate coursework on modules relevant to your thesis – Search UCD Graduate Modules It takes three years full-time to complete (or six years part-time). You may receive financial support through paid positions as a tutor or demonstrator in undergraduate tutorials or labs.

Am I eligible for this course?

You may apply for admission to the PhD research programme if you have obtained, or expect to obtain:

  • An upper second-class honours bachelor’s degree in Psychology or an upper second-class honours Higher Diploma in Psychology (conversion course). The award must be recognised by the Psychological Society of Ireland or by the psychology society of the country in which the qualification was awarded.
  • To enter the PhD programme directly, you should have completed a research masters degree in psychology, or you should have completed a taught masters degree in psychology and have three year's experience in a field relevant to your PhD topic.

If you do not fully meet the second requirement listed above, you may be eligible to apply for an MLitt Research Masters Degree after one year of which you can apply to transfer to the PhD programme.

If you have a masters degree in disability studies and wish to pursue doctoral study, please contact Dr Suzanne Guerin, Director of the UCD Centre for Disability Studies, at

Student Support

Each PhD student is supported by a three-person doctoral studies panel (DSP) which includes their thesis supervisor and two other academics.

Evaluation and Assessment

You develop a research and professional development plan (RPDP) that your doctoral studies panel use to monitor your progress annually. The RPDP describes your proposed programme of research and documents your educational, training, personal, and professional development needs. At the end of the first year, you write a transfer report to transfer from stage 1 to stage 2 of the PhD programme, and defend this in a meeting with your doctoral studies panel. The PhD is examined in an oral viva voce examination with internal and external examiners where you defend your PhD thesis. PhD theses describe research which makes an original, substantial, publishable contribution to knowledge and the degree is awarded to candidates who have demonstrated the capacity to pursue original research and scholarship.

Course Fees 2017-18

EU Students 2017-18

Per Year Full-Time €6,050
Per Year Part-Time €4,000

Non-EU Students 2017-18

Per Year Full-Time €11,650
Per Year Full-Time €7,800


  • For more information on course fees please visit the Fees & Grants Office website at
  • Fees are correct at the time of writing and subject to change

Financial Support

Paid tutor or demonstrator positions in the School of Psychology may be available. Tutors provide small group tutorials to undergraduates enrolled in psychology modules. Demonstrators provide small-group support to undergraduates completing laboratory practicals in psychology.

Application Details

Applicants in the first instance may contact the staff member who they would like to supervise their research. Details of individual academic staff members research interests, lists of their publications, and their contact details are available on the School of Psychology Teaching Staff Page. If you are interested in working with a specific staff member, contact them by email. If a staff member agrees to supervise your research then, you are invited to submit a research proposal to the School of Psychology Research Committee on the Research Graduate Application form. Contact Mary Boyle at or +353 1 716 8369 for procedures for proposal submission.

Contact us

For further information about the PhD research programme, please contact Mary Boyle in UCD School of Psychology at or +353 1 716 8369