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Graduate Research Programmes

At the heart of UCD’s research strategy is the ambition to address the challenges that will shape Ireland’s future and its role in the wider world.

The UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science's research programmes address key national issues including environment, energy, forestry, agri-food, health, and the development of evidence based policy. These align with many of the current global challenges in areas such as energy, food shortage and the environment.

Students undertaking graduate research degrees within the School have an opportunity to contribute to these nationally and internationally important areas of research while developing their knowledge of their area of research and honing their research skills. As a school we harness the complementary energies of research and teaching to drive graduate education. Our goal is to produce confident, highly-skilled graduates with the potential to make major scientific contributions to the knowledge economy, both in Ireland and abroad.

Graduate research degrees are available at Masters and PhD level.

Research Masters Programme

A Research Masters typically takes 1-2 years full-time or 3-4 years part-time to complete.   The examination for the degree of Research Masters is based on the preparation of a research-based thesis under the supervision of an academic member of staff. 


PhD Research Programme

A PhD typically takes 3-4 years full-time or 5-6 years part-time to complete. The examination for the degree of PhD is based on a description of the candidate’s research written up as a thesis and defended in a viva voce (oral) examination. 

Check admission requirements:

  • Research Masters and PhD applicants should normally hold a primary degree equivalent to a Level 8 Second Class Honours Grade 1 or higher.

  • For non-native English speakers, an English language certificate is required: IELTS overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each section; TOEFL – In the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a minimum score from 600 paper based TOEFL (with a minimum score of 475 in the Test of Written English), aminimum score of 90 is required in the Internet based TOEFL (iBT) with a score of at least 20 in the each section. Further information can be found at UCD English Language Requirements

Funded Research Scholarship Opportunities:

Check for current funded research opportunities within the School of Agriculture and Food Science in the next section and follow the application procedure outlined.

Agribusiness and Rural Development

  • There are presently no funded research opportunities available. Please check again at a later date 

Animal and Crop Science 

Environment and Sustainable Resource Management 

  • There are presently no funded research opportunities available. Please check again at a later date 

Food Science and Nutrition 

  • There are presently no funded research opportunities available. Please check again at a later date

Students are expected to maintain a real presence within the School during the period of their studies and to attend supervisory sessions as defined by their supervisor and Research Studies Panel.

Supervision (Research Studies Panel)

Each student accepted onto a Research Masters or PhD programme will be allocated a supervisory panel - Research Studies Panel (RSP).  A Research and Professional Development Plan (RPDP) is required and the student’s Panel will assist in developing this plan. The role of the supervisor(s) is to direct and advise the student in developing a focused research question, conducting the research, and completing the thesis. In addition, an important role of supervisors is to provide detailed written feedback on draft chapters, and to ensure that the student is making satisfactory progress in terms of career development generally. Following each meeting of the Research Studies Panel, a formal record (on an RPDP form) should be completed and signed, outlining what has been discussed and detailing any relevant activities that the student or supervisor have undertaken in preparation for the next meeting. For further information on RPDP and the RDPD form, please see Research and Professional Development (RPDP) Plan.

Appeals Process

A student who wishes to appeal a decision of the Assessment Panel may do so through the procedures for a formal assessment appeal determined in the UCD Policy on Assessment Appeals. Information relating to Assessment Appeals can be found at:   http://www.ucd.ie/secca/assessmentappeals/

Conflict Resolution

For information on how to access conflict resolution support please refer to the document:

(opens in a new window)Policy for Conflict Resolution for Supervisors and Graduate Research Students

Useful Documents/Links

Graduate Research Student Handbook

Information on ethical standards in research can be found at the UCD Office of Research Ethics website.

Information on Research Integrity Training can be found at Research Integrity Training.

Information on the formal progression of doctoral students can be found in the University (opens in a new window)Policy on Progression in Doctoral Programmes

UCD Academic Regulations can be found here.

Further information on the full range of graduate studies programmes available at UCD can be found on the UCD Graduate Studies website.

For information on general postgraduate applications and related queries in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, please contact Catherine Byrne (Tel: +353 1 716 7192)

Information on current academic fees can be found on the Fees website. Further useful information on living expenses, scholarships and research funding institutes is available on the UCD Graduate Studies website.

International applicants will find useful information on UCD English language requirements, visas and immigration and scholarships on the UCD Global website.

Information on Careers and Career advice is available on the UCD Career Network website.

Information on postdoctoral vacancies at UCD can be found on the UCD Human Resources website.

UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science

Agriculture and Food Science Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7205 | Location Map(opens in a new window)