Structured PhD

The UCD Structured PhD enables UCD PhD students 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.

A PhD typically takes 4 years full-time (12 trimesters) and 6 years part time (18 trimesters) to complete. The examination of 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).

All PhD students in UCD are on a structured PhD programme . The diagram below gives an overview of the some of the key aspects of the UCD Structured PhD. All aspects are covered in detail in the UCD Academic Regulations.

You will have a Principal Supervisor, and co-supervisor if appropriate, assigned to you who will provide quality supervision, mentoring, guidance and advice throughout your programme of study. They will also endeavour to make you aware of all regulations, policies and codes of practice relevant to you. A full list of the role and responsibilities of both you as the research student and your principal supervisor are outlined in the Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Degree Students:

Related links:

Policy for Split-Site PhD and other Graduate Research Degree Arrangements

Code of Practice for Conflict Resolution for Supervisors and Graduate Research Students

In addition to your Supervisor(s), your School will appoint a Research Studies Panel for you; early in your first year. The purpose of the Research Studies Panel is to support and enhance the supervisor-student relationship, to monitor your progress during the course of your doctoral studies and to provide advice and support both to you and your supervisor(s).

Terms of Reference for Research Masters / Doctoral Studies Panel

Doctoral studies comprise two stages: Stage 1 is a period when you define your research plan, develop your research skills and initiate original research work for your doctorate. Stage 2 is primarily dedicated to continuing your original doctoral research but may also include some advanced education and training. In order to progress from Stage 1 to Stage 2 of your doctoral programme you must undergo a Transfer Assessment to establish that you are making progress and have the competence and capacity to complete the proposed research.

Progression in Doctoral Programmes -Academic Policy

Leave of Absence -Academic Policy

Research and professional development planning is integral to the Structured PhD programme at UCD. The purpose of such planning is to ensure that your work is clearly focused on achieving your research and professional development goals. This will play a major part in informing the trajectory of your research and in your training and development as a researcher.

Transferable Skills Training 

As a PhD graduate, your skill-set will naturally include the advanced research and analytical techniques required to undertake high level research in your field.

You will also be expected to possess a range of transferable skills, relevant to the successful completion of your research project and to broader career development. IUA PhD Graduate Skills Statement

To ensure that PhD and research master’s student training is deep as well as broad, we have collated some relevant research and professional development modules and workshops in the Research Student Training and Development portal. Students may choose from the full range of workshops available throughout the University in consultation and agreement with their Principal Supervisor and Research Studies Panel.

Please visit this site for the list of UCD Graduate Studies workshops for this academic year

Useful resources for UCD Graduate Students can also be found on UCD Graduate Studies Intranet Site.

The majority of Schools and Colleges have a requirement for their students to gain 30 credits through core and optional modules in the course of their PhD programme. One credit corresponds to 20-25 hours student effort.

There is a large selection of modules available across the university, both discipline-specific modules to broaden and deepen your knowledge of your discipline and research skills modules to provide advanced training in relevant research methodologies.

All modules will be selected in consultation with your Principal Supervisor and Research Studies Panel. Please talk to your School or Graduate School about what the requirements are for you.

Students may review a complete list of modules in the Course Search.

The Research Integrity Training is an online course that covers every stage of the research process, highlighting the complex issues that can arise while planning, conducting and reporting your research. This programme is suitable for postgraduate research students and postdoctoral fellows. It is available in five discipline areas and features a range of interactive activities. The course provides researchers with a better understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as researchers. Research Integrity Training is a compulsory element of all Research Degree programmes from September 2019. 

Read more here

Doctoral Studies Brochure

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