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Ph.D. Programmes

Dr Rachel McLoughlin
Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate).
Tel. +353-1-896-2526; Email: rachel.mcloughlin@tcd.ie


1. GETTING STARTED

Postgraduate opportunities in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology can be viewed on the School's Research Vacancies webpage. A full list of research activities undertaken in the School can be viewed on the Research Activities webpage. Please feel free to contact potential supervisors directly if you are interested in their research area.

2. APPLICATION PROCEDURE

After initial discussions with your selected supervisor, all intending students must submit their application online through the new e:Vision portal my.tcd.ie

It is essential that all applicants have made contact with and have the support of a supervisor at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology prior to application.

As part of the application process you will need to provide

  1. Certified copies of your degree results (in the case of TCD applicants your previous student number will allow access to your grades from student records)
  2. Proof of EU status if submitting an EU application.
  3. Proof of English competency for applicants whose mother tongue is not English. The graduate studies office require that you provide a certificate which states that your undergraduate degree was completed entirely through the medium of English or that you have passed a recognized English competency exam. Exams currently recognized include:
    - IELTS minimum standard score: 6.5
    - TOEFL minimum standard scores: 230 (computer based), 570 (paper based 0, 89 (internet based).
    - Cambridge certificate of advanced English or Cambridge certificate of proficiency in English: minimum level grade C.
  4. References from two referees on the official TCD graduate student reference form.

3. FINANCIAL SUPPORT

The major source of funding for postgraduates is research grants obtained by the supervisor. Conditions of employment vary greatly between individual positions.

IRCSET: The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology (IRCSET) recently announced details of the Embark Initiative Postgraduate Research Scholarship Scheme (2012).

Research Studentship Awards

New entrants to the Research Register wishing to apply for Postgraduate Research Studentships or Ussher Awards must apply, in the first instance, for these Awards through the School after consulting the proposed supervisor. Awards cover fees for three years plus a student stipend of €16,000 and €8,000 respectively for the 1252 (College award) Studentship award and Ussher award

Continuing students may now apply for the Postgraduate Studentship Award. These students should make their application directly to their School.

Please note that students receiving the 1252 Research studentship award will receive the award for 3 years unless Graduate Studies are notified by the School to the contrary at the time of nomination. Please also note that students nominated for an award cannot receive the Postgraduate studentship beyond the fourth year on the Ph.D. register. This may have implications for nominated continuing students and should be noted when making nominations. In such instances the Graduate Studies Office must be told for how many years the nominee is to receive the award. Under college regulations the total stipend that students in receipt of these awards may receive is €18,000, i.e. supervisors may supplement the stipend of the student up to but not beyond this amount.

A school committee consisting of the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning, Director of Research and Heads of Discipline will consider all of the applications for Ussher and 1252 Research studentship awards and rank them in terms of merit. The first candidate on the list will be the school nomination for an Ussher award. If the Ussher nomination is unsuccessful the selected candidate will be first on the 1252 Research studentship award list forwarded to the Graduate Studies Office. Currently the school has an allocation of two 1252 Research studentship awards.

School of Biochemistry and Immunology - Ph.D. enhancement scheme

Background
The school recognises that one of the difficulties associated with recruiting and retaining Ph.D students is that many funding agencies and awards do not cover the full costs of a Ph.D. project. The School, with the support of the faculty, intends to support Ph.D. students by setting up a scheme to provide supplementary funding to cover, where appropriate, items such as the student stipend, fees and consumable costs. The intention of the scheme is to encourage PIs to apply for external postgraduate awards and funding and to support talented students that can be recruited to postgraduate research positions in the School.

Eligibility
The intention of the scheme is not to provide stand alone support for a Ph.D. project but rather to support supervisors/students who have been awarded commensurate independent funding for a period of three years. Examples of such funding would include, but would not be limited to, Trinity College or IRCSET awards or an equivalent scholarship. The supplement is open only to students who will be registered as postgraduate students in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and is not transferable should the supervisor move to a different school or institution. The scheme is not retrospective and is open only to incoming students.

What will be covered?
The scheme will consider requests under three headings:

  1. Student stipend: funds to supplement a student stipend up to a maximum of value of €16,000 per annum, i.e. to a level which matches the College Ussher awards.
  2. Fees: a maximum contribution towards the cost of fees of €6000 per annum.
  3. Consumables: a variable supplement to the running costs of the Ph.D. project up to a maximum of €16,000 per annum.

The amounts awarded may not be the maximum available and may vary depending on individual circumstances and resources available. There is no allowance for inflation and the amount of the award will be fixed for three years.

How to apply
Prospective supervisors should apply on behalf of their Ph.D. student for supplementary funding under the three headings as they feel appropriate. Details should be given as to what funding is currently available for the student stipend, fees and project, the level of funding requested and the why. In the case of requests for running costs, supervisors should give some indication of the current funding situation for their group. Applications should be submitted to the Ph.D. enhancement scheme award committee (c/o Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning).

The award committee will consist of the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning, Director of Research and Heads of Discipline. Decisions will be made in time for student registration this October. The awards will be made for three years, with the final year of the award conditional on successful completion of the progress report by the student.

4. OTHERS SOURCES OF FINANCE

Local Authority Awards: Students who received maintenance grants from their local authorities as undergraduates may be eligible for a continuation of the award as a postgraduate.

Demonstrating and Invigilating: Postgraduate students are encouraged to act as demonstrators in undergraduate practicals. Demonstrators get paid €21.02 per hour. Postgraduate students may also act as invigilators during examinations. Invigilators get paid €38.91 per 3 hour session.

5. MONITORING PROGRESS: REGULATIONS FOR HIGHER DEGREES BY RESEARCH

All documentation and information relevant to new and progressing postgraduate students is centralised through the School Executive Officer.

All registered postgraduate students are required complete a progress report form at the end of each academic year i.e. the end of October for students who registered in October and the end of April for those who registered in April. See: https://www.tcd.ie/Graduate_Studies/education-policy/academic-standing/progress-reports/. Both student and supervisor must sign off on the form.

Confirmation of continuation on the Ph.D. register (see Section 2.14 in part II of the university calendar)
A formal process of academic assessment for all Ph.D. students to confirm their continuation on the Ph.D. register shall normally be arranged within the first eighteen months of registration extended by a further year for Ph.D. students on the part-time register from year 1. The process is to be approached positively and constructively by all parties as an essential part in the student‘s learning experience. The Ph.D. confirmation process requires the student to prepare a Ph.D. confirmation report; the confirmation report should be written according to the guidelines issued by the appropriate Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate). The student must ensure that a draft of the confirmation report is made available to the Supervisor with sufficient time for the Supervisor to read it and provide comments. The student shall be invited to attend a Ph.D. confirmation interview. The Ph.D. confirmation panel for each student is appointed by the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) and shall consist of three members of staff as follows: the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) or his or her nominee, and a second member who should have acknowledged expertise in the subject area of the student‘s research (or in a cognate field). Members of the Ph.D. confirmation panel may be drawn only from academic staff eligible to supervise (see Section 2, Paragraph 2.9). Although the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) makes the final decision about membership of the Ph.D. confirmation panel, he or she will consult with the Supervisor before deciding and will endeavour to take into account the student‘s opinion.
Guidelines to preparation of PhD confirmation report (pdf, 13KB)

No Ph.D. thesis should take longer than 4 years to complete (6 years in the case of a part-time Ph.D. student from October 2008). No M.Sc. thesis should take longer than 2 years (3 years in the case of a part-time M.Sc. student from October 2008) and no student should spend longer than 2 years on the M.Sc. register. Failure to fulfil these time frames results in financial penalities to the School.

6. THESIS SUBMISSION

Details regarding Thesis Submission and Dean’s Grace can be found on the Graduate Studies website http://www.tcd.ie/Graduate_Studies/education-policy/academic-standing/thesis-submission-regulations/

7. POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES

Postdoctoral research opportunities in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology are available on the School's Research Vacancies webpage.

8. THE GRADUATE STUDENTS UNION

Situated on the second floor of House Six, the Graduate Students' Union is an independent body within College that represents Postgraduate students throughout College. Upon registration, all postgraduates are automatically members. It is run by two full-time sabbatical officers, the President and the Vice-President.
Graduate Student Union website: www.tcdgsu.ie


Last updated 3 July 2017 bbutler@tcd.ie (Email).