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Structure of the PhD Programme

The PhD typically takes four years to complete and culminates in the production of a high quality research dissertation.

The First Year

The first year of the PhD is taught jointly by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD). Students who are registered at TCD are required to take four courses in their first year. The choice of courses should be in accordance with the student's research interests. To avoid duplication both institutions will endeavour to provide modules that do not significantly overlap in content. Students are free to audit classes at either institution. Courses are each worth 7.5 ECTS units.

Students must ensure that they have completed the course registration form (PDF, 58KB) for all courses taken at TCD by the end of the third week of the semester. The registration form, which must be signed by the student's supervisor, should be submitted to the departmental office (room 5009, Arts Building).

For each course students are required to write one substantial essay (3,000-4,000 words). Courses are held during the first two terms and consist of one two-hour seminar each week. The academic year at TCD is divided into two 12-week terms with week seven of each term designated as a reading week. It is recognised that both institutions operate under different academic calendars: there is no requirement of harmonisation. Students must educate themselves on these differences.

A hardcopy of each essay should be submitted to the departmental office (room 5009, Arts Building) and an additional electronic version should be sent to Ms. Una Campbell (email). An essay that is not submitted to the Departmental Office by the deadline may be accepted up to one week late with the loss of ten marks. Essays will not be accepted after the lapse of one week.

Students who perform well in their first year, subject to the discretion of the Departmental Graduate Committee, achieving a sufficient average mark in their course work (65% or above), are invited to stay in the PhD programme. Both institutions operate their own grading system but have put in place a table of equivalencies between the two.

Once the course work has been completed each student works closely with his or her supervisor at the institution at which he or she is registered in order to prepare the materials required for the Confirmation Interview. These materials must be submitted by the end of September of the second year.

The Second Year

Students must prepare for the Confirmation Interview which will take place in the first semester (usually in November) of the second year. Students passing the Confirmation Interview will have only the Ph.D. dissertation to complete. Students who are unsuccessful in the Confirmation Interview, or who wish to withdraw from the programme may do so at this time but will not be awarded a degree. Alternatively students who are unsuccessful in the Confirmation Interview may revise their work and retake the oral exam at the beginning of the second semester of their second year.

It is expected that students will be in a position to submit their PhD dissertations within three years of successful completion of the Confirmation Interview. Specific guidelines for submission can be found in the College Calendar.