Research Master's in a Nutshell

Research Master's at UCD

The primary purpose of Master’s level research is to develop in the student the skills and competencies required to conduct research and may, but does not necessarily, result in the creation of new knowledge.

Registration period

A Research Master’s degree is a research degree carried out over 3–6 trimesters (1 to 2 years) full time or 6–12 trimesters (2 to 4 years) part time. Research Master’s students who do not complete the requirements for the degree within these timelines must apply for permission to continue

Supervision and support

Schools will assign each Research Master’s student:

  1. 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 
  2. A Research Studies Panel (RSP) which provides advice, monitors your progress and supports the Student-Supervisor relationship. The RSP should normally be assigned to you within the first trimester of your 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 Research Master’s student must:

  1. Successfully complete master’s level research, the main outcome of which is a submitted thesis in an acceptable form and of a satisfactory standard.
  2. 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. 
  3. Document your educational, training and personal and professional development needs, in collaboration with your Research Studies Panel which, along with the proposed programme of research, will inform the development of a Research and Professional Development Plan (RPDP). 

Option: Research Master’s students, as required or recommended by their Principal Supervisor, may take taught modules relevant to their area of research or professional development 

Transfer to PhD

Research Master’s students may apply to transfer to a PhD programme.

  • To do so, you need to have been on the Research Master’s programme for a minimum of 1 year full time or 2 years part time.
  • To transfer you need to undertake a formal interview with a Transfer Assessment Panel made up of faculty members who are experts in your discipline. The panel will base their judgement on an interview where you make an oral presentation of your progress to date and your research plan for the future.
  • The panel will also review a written submission from you evidencing your progress, a review of your RPDP and a written statement of progress from your Principal Supervisor.

If you are successful, you will normally transfer to Stage 1 of the PhD programme

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.

  • A Research Master’s thesis must demonstrate the attainment of skills and competencies in research
  • Research Master’s Theses can only be submitted if fees are paid in full, student registration is current and you are compliant with the programme requirements, see 1–3 above
  • All Research Master’s theses are submitted as a PDF file to the University for examination via the eThesis Exam System. This system is accessed via your SISWeb account. Emails are sent to you at every decision point, allowing tracking of the progress of the thesis through the examination process
  • Research Master’s theses are normally examined without a viva voce examination

View other research programmes