PhD Lifecycle

The complete PhD journey at UCD


Determine your area of interest

Identify a Supervisor

English language requirements

Formal Application

Application Process

Once you have the agreement of an academic member of staff to support your PhD application, the School will be able to advise you on the required application process. More details here

Stage One: define your plan, develop your research skills & initiate research

Getting Started

Stage 1 is a period when you define your research plan, develop your research skills and initiate original research work for your doctorate. 

First Steps:

  • Follow the first steps to settle in and get started
  • Orientation: participate in Graduate Studies and School induction activities
  • Enjoy all UCD has to offer! 

Tip: the Student Desk can help with many initial queries

Key Elements

Research Project

Other Elements:

STA Preparation

  • Continue to progress your research & meet regularly with your supervisor
  • Prepare research plan & statement of progress
  • Prepare your RPDP
  • Ensure an RSP meeting is held at least 2 months prior to your STA

Tip: Your Career & Skills Consultant can assist with interview preparation

Stage Transfer Assessment

Stage Transfer Process

  • The STA is a formal assessment step and is mandatory in order to proceed from Stage 1 to Stage 2. The STA must be completed within five trimesters for a full-time student or seven for a part-time student.

Tip: Refer to the Research Student Handbook and work with your Supervisor on STA preparation.

Stage Two: complete research project & submit thesis

Stage Two

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, you must have undergone a STA 

Key Elements

Research Project

  • Complete your Research Project
  • Meet your Supervisor regularly 
  • Ensure at least one annual RSP meeting is held

Other Elements

Thesis Examination & Submission

Thesis Examination

Submission of Final Thesis

Outcomes of PhD Programme

Final Steps

Celebrate your achievement!

Supports available throughout your PhD journey

Career & Skills Consultant

Graduate research students at UCD benefit from a dedicated Career & Skills Consultant

Student Adviser

UCD's dedicated Student Adviser for graduate research students is available to support you throughout your studies


Student Supports

UCD has a wide range of Services & Supports for research students: view them all

A Note on Timings

  • A PhD typically takes 4 years full-time (12 Trimesters) & 6 years part-time (18 Trimesters)

This timeline may be different if you attend part-time or are granted an Extension/Leave of Absence

 Note: all details are for informational purposes only. In case of discrepancy with any UCD policy or regulation, the official document will take precedence.


Further Resources