Structure PhD and Structured Research Masters (MLitt) in Sociology

The School welcomes applications from prospective PhD and Research Masters students who wish to undertake research in sociology. We are very pleased to consider applications in any area of sociology in which we can provide appropriate supervision. For information on research areas of staff please click here .

The School has exciting and diverse PhD and MLitt programmes which have been extensively revised in recent years. There are new taught components that provide greater structure and professional training, but the emphasis remains on students completing a major, independent piece of research that makes a significant contribution to sociological knowledge.

The PhD in Sociology is awarded following the completion of 270 credits, comprising 240 credits for the thesis and a further 30 credits of taught modules.  This is normally a 3 year full-time or 5-6 year part-time programme.

The MLitt in Sociology is awarded following the completion of 180 credits, comprising 150 credit for the thesis and a further 30 credits of taught modules. This is normally a 2 year programme.

See Structured PhD  and Structured MLitt  below for more details. 

See below for information on the School’s Application Procedures for PhD and MLitt students.

For a list of our current PhD/MLitt students see here.

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Structured PhD & Structured Research Masters (MLitt)
Application Form and Deadlines

  • Application Form
  • Registration periods are at the beginning of: September, January or May.
  • The School strongly recommends entering the programme in September, which is the beginning of the academic year.
  • Applications should be made at least 4-5 months prior to the Registration deadline.
  • Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application following an assessment process which takes approximately 10 weeks.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

 

Structured PhD Programme – School of Sociology

The UCD Structured PhD aims to enable PhD students to 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 Structured PhD includes several innovative measures designed to support you in achieving your academic and professional objectives, which are outlined below.

Doctoral Studies Panel 
The School of Sociology will appoint a Doctoral Studies Panel for you at the beginning of your first year.  The purpose of the Doctoral 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).  See Link to Academic Regulations below for more information.

Research and Professional Development Plan (RPDP) 
Research and professional development planning is an integral part of 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 PhD research and in your training and development as a researcher.  For further information on the RPDP please click here.

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.  Taught modules, online modules and workshops covering a wide range of transferable skills and research skills topics are available to assist you. Please visit Research Student Training and Development for further information.

Credits and Modules 
The UCD Structured PhD operates within a credit-based framework (270 credits for 3-year full-time, or 5-6 year part-time PhD).  Of that 270 credits, you must earn 30 credits by attending taught modules that develop your academic and transferable skills. Please see Masters modules available under our "Masters Programmes" in the left hand column.

The School runs PhD/MLitt Roundtable  modules in research and theory (2.5 credits per semester) which students are encouraged to take. Students may also take modules from within the School’s taught Masters Programmes (10 credits per module) or from other programmes within the College of Social Sciences and Law, including a wide range of modules in research methods.

Progression 
Doctoral studies, which are normally completed by full-time students within three years, 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. For doctoral students progression from Stage 1 to Stage 2 normally occurs within the first 12-18 months (or 24-36 months for part-time students).

Stage 2 is primarily dedicated to continuing your original doctoral research but may also include some advanced education and training.

Further information can be found in Section 18 of the Academic Regulations (see link below)

Academic Regulations
The regulations governing the UCD Structured PhD Programme are available HERE

UCD Research Ethics
Regulations governing UCD Research Ethics are available HERE 

Further Information

For further information, please contact the School's Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Alice Feldman at alice.feldman@ucd.ie

Structured Research Masters (MLitt) Programme – School of Sociology

The core of the Research Masters degree is a coherent programme of supervised research which requires that the student completes a thesis based on independent research. The primary purpose of this programme is to help the student develop the skills and competencies required to conduct research.

The MLitt in the School of Sociology aims to enable Research students to achieve the best possible experience of graduate research and training. The School encourages MLitt students to given seminar and conference presentations based on their research and to have their work published. The programme includes several innovative measures designed to support you in achieving your academic and professional objectives, which are outlined below.

Research Masters Panel
The School of Sociology will appoint a Research Masters Panel for you at the beginning of your first year.  The purpose of the Research Masters 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).  It follows the same format as a Doctoral Studies Panel for a PhD student. See link to Academic Regulations below for more information.

Research and Professional Development Plan (RPDP) 
Research and professional development planning is an integral part of the MLitt 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.  For further information on the RPDP please click here.

Transferable Skills Training 
As a Research 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.  Taught modules, online modules and workshops covering a wide range of transferable skills and research skills topics are available to assist you. Please visit  Research Student Training and Development for further information.

Credits and Modules 
The UCD Structured PhD & Research Masters (MLitt) operate within a credit-based framework (270 credits for 3-year full-time, or 5-6 year part-time PhD and 180 credits for 2-year full-time MLitt). Of the 180 credits for the MLitt you must earn 30 credits by attending taught modules that develop your academic and transferable skills. Please see Masters modules available under our "Masters Programmes" in left hand column.

The School runs PhD/MLitt Roundtable  modules in research and theory (2.5 credits per semester) which students are encouraged to take. Students may also take modules from within the School’s taught Masters Programmes (10 credits per module) or from other programmes within the College of Social Sciences and Law, including a wide range of modules in research methods.

Transfer from Research Masters to PhD Degree

Research Masters students may transfer to Stage Two of a doctoral programme on successful completion of a transfer assessment following a minimum one calendar year period of registration to the Research masters degree programme and subject to any policy the University may establish.  Further information and guidelines regarding doctoral programmes may be found in Sections 11 – 22 of the University Academic Regulations (Please see link to Academic Regulations below.)

Note on PhD Progress from Stage 1 to Stage 2
Doctoral studies, which are normally completed by full-time students within three years, 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. For doctoral students progression from Stage 1 to Stage 2 normally occurs within the first 12-18 months (or 24-36 months for part-time student).

Stage 2 is primarily dedicated to continuing your original doctoral research but may also include some advanced education and training.

Academic Regulations:
The regulations governing the UCD Structured PhD Programme and Research Masters are available HERE

UCD Research Ethics:
Regulations governing UCD Research Ethics are available HERE

Further Information

For further information, please contact the School’s Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Alice Feldman: alice.feldman@ucd.ie

 

Application Procedures for PhD & MLitt in Sociology

Applications will be accepted from suitably qualified applicants regardless of nationality or residence. Applicants, however, must make their own visa/consular arrangements to ensure that they are eligible to reside in Ireland for the duration of their studies.

Applicants must complete the application form and include the relevant supporting documentation and original transcripts of their full academic record.

Entry requirements and relevant supporting documentation

  • Applicants must normally have a first or upper second-class honours primary degree or masters degree, or the equivalent. In circumstances where examination results are not known at the time of application, the School of Sociology may make a Conditional Offer subject to receiving a complete and final transcript confirming that the applicant has met the above requirements. Notarised English translations, as well as the original transcript, should be provided where relevant giving details of all courses taken and examination marks obtained.  

    Transcripts can usually be obtained from one of the following offices, or their equivalent: the Registrar, faculty, or department/school of the applicant’s institution. All transcripts must be appropriately stamped or endorsed. Please see Application Form for fuller details.
  • 2 academic references. From referees acquainted with the candidate's academic work and who are prepared to write on their behalf.  These references MUST be provided in a sealed envelope.  The envelope should be signed across the seal by the referee and sent to the School of Sociology along with all other original documentation, in one  application package. A reference sent independently of the application will not be accepted.  One exception, a member of the UCD School of Sociology may submit directly to the School.

  • Candidate's curriculum vitae / resumé.

  • Covering letter outlining the candidate's reasons for choosing to apply to UCD School of Sociology and our research programme.

  • Writing Sample. Comprising one of the following: the candidate's completed Masters thesis,  2-3 draft chapters if thesis is not yet submitted,  samples of published work or other relevant written work.

  • English Language Proficiency.  Candidates whose primary language is not English, must provide a certificate of proficiency in the English language (such as TOEFL, Cambridge or IELTS). Results must be less than 2 years old.  Please see the university's International Office link for full details.

  • Copy of birth certificate or relevant pages from the candidate's passport to confirm their official name and date of birth (non UCD applicants only).

Applications will be evaluated by a School Selection Board on the basis of their excellence, originality and potential.  Applications will also be evaluated and ranked by the Board according to the following criteria and must not exceed the stated word limits below.

  • Comprehensive research proposal (a) - (d) below

(a) Description of the PhD/MLitt proposal (no more than 500 words). This should include a brief outline of how the candidate sees his/her project developing from year to year.
(b) Location of the proposed project within the current state of research and bibliography in the area (no more than 500 words)
(c) Relative significance of the contribution that the proposed project will make to the area (no more than 500 words)
(d) Methodology (no more than 400 words)
(e) The candidate's record and academic achievements (no more than 250 words)

Submission

  1. Complete the Application Form
  2. Email the completed application form and supporting documentation (except references) to: 
    Veronica Barker at veronica.barker@ucd.ie
  3. Post all original documentation (including references) to: 

Veronica Barker,
PhD/MLitt Programme Manager,
UCD School of Sociology,
University College Dublin,
Belfield,
Dublin 4.
Ireland.

The School of Sociology reserves the right to revise these application procedures at any time.

General Information for Sociology Graduate Students

Students are expected to maintain a real presence within the School during the period of their studies, to attend supervisory sessions as defined by their supervisor and Doctoral Studies Panel or Research Masters Panel, to participate in the PhD/MLitt Roundtable discussions organised by the School of Sociology, to take graduate modules offered by the School of Sociology and by the College of Social Sciences and Law Graduate School and to reside within a reasonable travelling distance of UCD.

1.   Ethical Standards

UCD is committed to the maintenance of the highest ethical standards in its research. All research that involves either human or animal subjects carried out by UCD researchers requires full ethical review or an exemption from full ethical review.  This process is under the jurisdiction of the UCD Research Ethics Committee.  Full information is available HERE.

2.   Study/research outside UCD

The School of Sociology acknowledges that students may benefit from travel/research elsewhere. This might entail:

(i) taking courses which are relevant to the student’s training and providing that the case for taking such courses has been made to the student’s Supervisor/Supervisory Panel and with the agreement of her/his Head of School. 
(ii) spending part of the academic year resident at archives or other appropriate research sites. Where such research trips are conducted during the regular teaching term of the student’s institution, students must have the prior approval of their Supervisor/Supervisory Panel and Head of School.

3.   Conferences and Presentations 

One of the core features of doing a PhD or MLitt is sharing your ideas with others. Presenting papers at the Sociology PhD/MLitt Roundtable, School seminars and sociology conferences provides valuable experience in structuring these ideas to communicate them effectively with colleagues in the field, while also offering an opportunity for feedback that may improve, develop or refine your research. Students are expected to attend the Roundtable and School Seminars regularly and should give at least one seminar presentation each year.  Papers based on ideas developed from the literature review, or empirical findings from the research, are very suitable topics for conference presentations, which often, in turn, form the basis of individual chapters of the thesis and/or academic publications.

During the course of the PhD or MLitt, students are expected to be active members of the Sociological Association of Ireland (or an equivalent organisation) and presenting a paper on aspects of their research at the annual SAI conference (or its equivalent) is considered the norm. In addition, as research students progress through the programme, they are expected to attend major international sociology conferences and present their research there. The School provides limited funding to assist with the costs of attending and presenting at conferences, and the College's Graduate School also provides funding for conference presentations.

4.   Publications 

One of the goals of doing a PhD or MLitt is to publish the thesis - whether as a book or a series of journal articles, etc. - and thus contribute to public debate about important sociological issues. Therefore, in addition to completing the thesis, the school expects students to become progressively more involved in preparing material for publication. This is viewed as significant both for career development issues and in terms of developing writing and analytical skills that will be of assistance in writing the actual thesis. Throughout the publication process, the student's supervisors are likely to be involved in reading drafts of the submission and suggesting any appropriate changes. In addition, the supervisors may help identify suitable outlets to which the student's work could be submitted. Typically publications are based on conference presentations, which in turn are based on the thesis material itself. In this way there is considerable overlap between these various activities.

During the first year of the PhD, students should seek to publish a short book review or review essay on material relevant to their research. During the second year of the PhD, when significant progress should have already been made on various sections/chapters of the thesis, students should write and submit a paper for publication. This paper may be submitted to publications such as the peer-reviewed Irish Journal of Sociology or any other suitable outlet. In the third year of the PhD, a further paper should be submitted to an international peer-reviewed journal.

5.   Teaching
 
For students wishing to pursue an academic career, gaining experience in teaching is often essential for securing an academic position. Research students are normally expected to become progressively more involved in the teaching of the School. As such, students typically are involved in teaching undergraduates through tutorial presentation, correcting assignments or lecturing. As they progress through their programme students are also expected to develop a teaching portfolio that reflects their broad sociological knowledge as well as their specific research interests. This can involve contributing to lectures for undergraduate modules under the supervision of a module coordinator. These activities are considered essential for the career development and are strongly supported within the School. In UCD, the Centre for Teaching and Learning provides a range of courses oriented towards the development of effective teaching skills, and students are expected to attend appropriate courses.

6.   Supervision (Doctoral Studies Panel or Research Masters Panel)

Each student accepted onto the PhD or MLitt programme will be allocated a supervisory panel - Doctoral Studies Panel or Research Masters Panel. That normally comprises your principal supervisor and two additional advisors. In special circumstances, two members of the panel may be appointed 'main supervisors', although one of these will retain overall administrative responsibility for the student. A Research and Profession Development Plan (RPDP) is required and the student’s Panel will work with them on developing this. The role of the supervisors is to direct and advise the student in developing a focused research question, conducting the research, and completing the thesis. In addition to advice provided throughout the PhD  or MLitt process, 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. The main supervisor, in particular, can be expected to provide appropriate advice on preparing conference presentations and submitting material for publication in academic outlets.

Panel meetings should be held regularly and they may be held more often at different stages of the research, particularly as the research programme is being focused and refined. In advance of every meeting, the student should submit written work to their Panel. Following each meeting, a formal record (on an RPDP form) should be  completed and signed, outlining what has been discussed and detailing any relevant activities that student or supervisor have undertaken to do for the next meeting.

 

Funding

Scholarships

Please note that our Scholarship scheme is under review and updated information wil be provided shortly.  Please check back again.

Last year the School of Sociology offered up to two PhD scholarships under the College of Social Sciences and Law Research Scholarship scheme.  The awards were intended to underline both the College and University’s commitment to the pursuit of excellence in research and graduate education. The overall aim was to attract applicants of the highest academic standards to participate in and expand School-based structured PhD programmes in the College of Social Sciences and Law (CSSL).  The value of the Scholarship was equivalent to the EU fee rate and may be awarded for a period of up to four years.

Tutoring

  • Students who are assigned tutoring responsibilities and complete at least six hours a week over the academic year are entitled to a fee concession of approx. €3,025 (approx half the EU fee rate).  

Bursary

  • The School runs the Mary Kelly Bursary which is offered to new PhD & MLitt students and Taught Masters students. The Bursary is worth €2,000.

Other Sources of Funding

  • Many of our students have been successful in obtaining scholarships and other financial awards from outside funding agencies. Please see link above for further information.

 

Fees

PhD and Research Masters (MLitt) for 2018/19:

EU: fee per year - €6,170 (full-time)
fee per year - €4,080 (part-time)
non-EU: fee per year - €11,885 (full-time)

Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website.
Please note that the School of Sociology is under the College of Social Sciences and Law.

Inquiries

  • For further academic inquiries please contact: Dr Alice Feldman at alice.feldman@ucd.ie 
  • Other enquiries about the PhD/MLitt programmes please contact our PhD/MLitt Programme Manager: Veronica Barker at Veronica.Barker@ucd.ie or Phone: +353 (0)1 716 8510.