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.

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