PhD in a Nutshell

PhD at UCD

Registration period

  • A PhD degree is a research degree carried out in two stages over 9-12 trimesters (3-4 years) full time or 15-18 trimesters (5-6 years) part time. Students who do not complete the requirements for the PhD degree within these timelines must apply for permission to continue.

Supervision & Support

Schools will assign each PhD student:

  • A Principal Supervisor, who has primary responsibility for your academic supervision There may also be a Co-supervisor, if appropriate who supports the Principal Supervisor 
  • A Research Studies Panel (RSP) which provides advice, monitors your progress and supports the Student-supervisor relationship. The RSP should be assigned to you within the first trimester of the student’s registration and meet at least twice in the first year and at least once a year thereafter

Programme Requirements

Each School may have specific programme requirements which every student should make themselves aware of. However, every PhD student must:

  1. Carry out doctoral level research which is written up in a thesis that contain materials of a standard and form appropriate for peer-reviewed publication. This thesis forms the basis for the examination for the award of the degree of PhD and is examined through a viva voce examination by a PhD Examination Committee
  2. Progress from Stage 1 to Stage 2 of the PhD Programme by successfully undergoing a formal Stage Transfer Assessment within within 5 trimesters of date of registration for a full-time student and 7 trimesters for a part-time student
  3. Complete a minimum of 30 ECTS taught credits in the course of the PhD programme
  4. Successfully complete Research Integrity training while registered to the programme. There is an online course that you can take which will meet this requirement. Students of STEM subjects can take a 5 credit module that also meets the requirement
  5. Document your educational, training and personal and professional development needs, in collaboration with your the Research Studies Panel, which, along with the proposed programme of research, will inform the development of a Research and Professional Development Plan (RPDP). The completed RPDP forms part of the Stage 1 to Stage 2 assessment

 See PhD Lifecycle Diagram as a useful step-by-step reference point

Final Examination

  • The final examination is based on a description of your research in a thesis describing the context, nature, methodology and outcomes of the research.

  • PhD theses can only be submitted if fees are paid in full, student registration is current and you are compliant with the programme requirements, see 1-5 above

  • All PhD Student must be examined through a viva voce/oral examination by a PhD Examination Committee
  • All PhD theses are submitted to the University for examination as a pdf file via the eThesis Exam System. This system is access via your SISWeb account. You will be sent an email at every decision point, allowing tracking of the progress of the thesis through the examination process

Short Guide: Applying for a Doctoral Programme at UCD