PhD Lifecycle

The complete PhD journey at UCD


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.

Stage 1: define your plan, develop your research skills and initiate research

Getting started

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

First steps

Tip: the Student Desk can help with many initial queries.

Key elements

Research project

Other elements

Preparing for the Stage Transfer Assessment

  • Continue to progress your research and meet regularly with your supervisor
  • Prepare your research plan and statement of progress
  • Prepare your RPDP
  • Ensure an RSP meeting is held at least two months prior to your Stage Transfer Assessment (STA)

Tip: Your Career and 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 of your PhD. The STA must be completed within 5 trimesters for a full-time student or 7 for a part-time student.

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

Stage 2: complete your research project and submit your thesis

Continuing your research

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 an 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 and submission

Thesis examination

  • Prepare your thesis for submission
  • Your School will appoint an Examination Committee
  • Undergo a viva voce thesis examination
  • Familiarise yourself with the possible outcomes of the viva voce

Submission of final thesis

Outcomes of the PhD programme

Final steps

  • If the Examination Committee recommendation is to approve, UCD Academic Council Committee on Examinations will consider the degree award at their next scheduled meeting.
  • If the degree is awarded, all degrees are conferred at the next available UCD Conferring Ceremony.

Celebrate your achievement!

Supports available throughout your PhD journey

Career and Skills Consultant

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

Student Adviser

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


Student Supports

UCD offers a wide range of Services and Supports for graduate research students.