Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Students contact the Postgraduate Advisory Service about a wide range of issues. The answers to the 'frequently asked questions' summarised below give general advice and links to other services both within and outside the University, which we have previously referred students to. Please do contact us (Email) to let us know whether or not you find these links useful and/or if you have found other sources of help within the University, not given here, which you would recommend to other students. There are also many other staff and services within the University who can offer one-to-one advice on a range of issues. You will find links to relevant contact details throughout the FAQs or in the Student Support page of this website.
How do I contact the Advisory Service?
Monday to Friday
Tel: (01) 896 1417
Email: email@example.com (Email)
The postgraduate student support office is located on the second floor of House 27. We are open from 9.00 – 5.00, Monday to Friday. If you require specific advice or would like a confidential meeting with the Student Support Officer, you can make an appointment by telephoning (01) 896 1417, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (Email). Appointments are available 10.00am – 4.00pm.
Why should I contact the Advisory Service?
The Postgraduate Advisory Service exists to assist you with any queries you may have in respect of College procedures, regulations and services. From simple requests for information to more confidential and serious matters we will give you the time and space to talk things through. You can make an appointment either by phoning +353 1 896 1417, or by e-mailing email@example.com (Email). Remember, we are here to support you throughout your time at Trinity College.
I want to leave College. What do I do?
You should contact the Postgraduate Student Support Officer (Email) to discuss this option. While it is not our job to convince you to stay, we are here to ensure that you have fully explored all the possible implications and dimensions of such an important decision.
Should you still wish to withdraw from College you must notify the Dean of Graduate Studies, and your Supervisor/Course Coordinator in writing.
I need to take time off college. What do I do?
You cannot just leave or stop attending College. You must get permission to go ‘off-books’ from the Dean of Graduate Studies. Any request to go ‘off-books’, whether for medical, financial or personal reasons must be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies by your Supervisor, Course Coordinator, or the relevant Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate). While you are not required to pay fees during this period, neither are you entitled to access the College library and/or other College facilities.
If permission to go ‘of-books’ for a defined period has been granted for medical reasons you are obliged to submit a re-admission request to the Dean of Graduate Studies prior to re-registration.
Am I entitled to maternity/paternity/adoptive leave as a Postgraduate Student?
Yes. Full-time female graduate students undertaking a thesis/dissertation may seek and be granted 26 consecutive weeks maternity leave subject to the following conditions:
- the maternity leave must commence not later than 2 weeks before the expected date of birth and end not earlier than 4 weeks after the expected date of birth.
- the graduate student must notify her Supervisor/Course Co-ordinator in writing as soon as reasonably practicable, but not later than 4 weeks before the commencement of maternity leave, of her intention to take maternity leave. Additionally, not later than the time of the above notification, she is obliged to supply the Supervisor/Course Co-ordinator with a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy and specifying the expected date of birth. The Supervisor/Course Co-ordinator must then immediately forward her request for leave to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
A graduate student undertaking a thesis/dissertation may, if she chooses, take up to 4 consecutive weeks additional maternity leave immediately after her maternity leave subject to the following condition: she should give reasonable notice to her Supervisor/Course Co-ordinator of her intention to do so at the same time as she gives notification of her intention to take maternity leave. The Supervisor/Course Co-ordinator must inform the Dean of Graduate Studies of the graduate student's intention.
Graduate students on maternity leave will be considered to be 'off-books' and appropriate adjustments will be made in relation to their submission dates and completion times.
Paternity leave for male graduate students on the postgraduate register is available by application to the Dean of Graduate Studies on ad misericordiam grounds relating to the pregnancy of their partner for a maximum of 4 weeks only. Students requiring more extended periods must apply to go 'off-books'.
Adoptive leave of 16 weeks duration is available to adoptive mothers from the time the child is placed with the parents. Adoptive fathers may also apply for adoptive leave of 4 weeks duration. The graduate student must notify her/his Supervisor/Course Co-ordinator in writing as soon as reasonably practicable, but normally not later than 4 weeks before the commencement of adoptive leave, of her/his intention to take adoptive leave. The Supervisor/Course Co-ordinator must then immediately forward her/his request for leave to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
I am currently in receipt of a Postgraduate Research Studentship. Am I entitled to Maternity Benefit?
No. Maternity Benefit is paid by the Department of Social Protection to women who have a certain number of paid PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions on their social insurance record and who are in insurable employment up to the first day of their maternity leave. Postgraduate Research Studentships do not include a PRSI component. For further information on Maternity Benefits, please visit the Citizens Information website.
I have been called for interview by the Junior Dean. What happens now?
The Junior Dean is responsible for discipline and good order in College. If you have breached the College regulations (PDF, 2.59MB) as laid down by the Board, the Junior Dean will ask you to meet him/her to discuss the suspected offence. In such circumstances it is important that you contact the Postgraduate Student Support Officer (Email) immediately to discuss the alleged offence.
If it is appropriate, the Postgraduate Student Support Officer, or a member of the Postgraduate Advisory Panel, will act as your advocate during the disciplinary process.
What if I am ill at the time of my exam?
Postgraduate students who consider that illness may prevent them from attending an examination (or any part thereof) should consult their medical advisor and request a medical certificate for an appropriate period. If a certificate is granted, it must be presented to the student’s Course Coordinator/Director within three days of the beginning of the period of absence from the examination. Such medical certificates must state that the student is unfit to sit examinations. Medical certificates will not be accepted in explanation for poor performance; where an examination has been completed, subsequent withdrawal is not permitted. Further details of procedures subsequent to the submission of medical certificates are available in relevant course handbooks and/or from Course Coordinators/Directors.
Postgraduate students who consider that other grave cause beyond their control may prevent them from attending an examination (or any part thereof) must consult and inform their Course Coordinator/Director who must immediately make representations to the Dean of Graduate Studies that permission be granted for absence from the examination.
The acceptance of medical disability is entirely at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies, who may ask for a report from the medical officers in charge of the Student Health Service. The report will be strictly confidential to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
What do I do if I arrive late for an examination?
If you arrive late, or anticipate arriving late for an examination you should contact your Course Coordinator/Director immediately.
If they are unavailable, contact the relevant Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) or the secretary in the department to whom you are attached.
Failing any of these options you should contact the Postgraduate Student Support Officer (Email) in the Senior Tutor’s Office.
What happens if I miss an exam completely (forgot, dates mixed up, was ill)?
In such circumstances you should contact your Course Coordinator/Director immediately. If it is the case that you were ill make sure to get a medical certificate from your medical advisor. This certificate must state clearly that you were unfit to attend the examination and must be presented to your Course Coordinator/Director within 3 days of the date of the relevant examination.
What if I feel ill during an examination?
If you are feeling unwell during an examination, do not leave without speaking to the invigilator. If appropriate, you will be taken to the Health Centre and your situation will be assessed. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, you may be allowed to continue with the examination.
What if I cannot write at the time of may examination due to an injury?
Should you require assistance in examinations you must discuss your personal needs with your Course Coordinator/Director in advance of the examination period so that special arrangements can be made for you. Such arrangements may include provision of a smaller, more private venue, dictation to an amanuensis, or use of a computer to type. All such arrangements are made locally by your Course Coordinator/Director with the appropriate office(s) in College.
I am not feeling well. How do I make an appointment with a doctor?
Phone the College Health Centre on (01) 896 1556/1591.
The Health Centre is open during normal office hours in, and out, of term time. The hours of attendance for students are as follows; 10.30am – 1.30pm, and 2.00pm – 4.40pm. Consultations are normally by prior appointment only. Emergency appointments however are available at 9.30am and 2.00pm and are accommodated through a system of ‘nurse triage’. The College Health Service is currently free to all registered students at Trinity College Dublin. Small fees however are in place for some procedures.
Where can I get advice and/or information on sexual health?
A sexual health clinic is run every Wednesday during term time between 9.30am – 1pm,and from 2.30-4pm at the College Health Centre. Absolute confidentiality is maintained, and no record of attendance at this clinic is recorded in the general notes at the Health Service. The clinic is run by Dr. Niamh Murphy, Dr. Mary Sheridan and two practice nurses.
The student is first counselled, then swabs and blood tests are obtained for all S.T.I's. Some results are available in twenty-four hours, the remaining ones in two weeks. The routine waiting time maybe up to three to four weeks, however symptomatic patients will always be seen immediately. Appointments may be made at reception in the Health Centre or by telephoning (01) 896 1556/1591. Other than a €10 charge for the transport of samples to St. James’ Hospital, the service is free.
What financial assistance is available to postgraduate students in Trinity?
While the University offers a number of postgraduate awards (Gradaute Studies site) for students on the research register, the Graduate Studies Office also administers a Student Assistance Fund. Provided for under the National Development Plan and the European Social Fund, the Student Assistance Fund is intended to tackle disadvantage by providing financial support to students who require additional financial support to enable them to fully benefit from their third-level studies.
*The Student Assistance Fund 2010/11is now closed.
Details of the next round of funding from this source will be posted on our News & Events page. Information regarding all available funding for postgraduate students on the research register can be accessed on the Graduate Studies website. While there is no College funding available for students pursuing a taught course, substantial external funding is available from a variety of sources.
Detailed information on all available financial supports for further and higher education, such as the Millennium Partnership Fund, the Fund for Students with Disabilities, and the Lifelong Learning Programme: Erasmus, can be obtained from the Higher Education Authority website www.studentfinance.ie.
Can I register as a postgraduate student on a part-time basis?
This depends on whether you are pursuing, or intend to pursue, a Research or a Taught degree.
At the Research level, permission for part-time registration is only permitted, in special circumstances, to highly qualified graduates who are engaged full-time in an occupation which is related to their proposed research and which provides adequate opportunity to them to pursue their research. Special application for permission for such part-time registration must be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies and will need the written support of supervisor.
Part-time registration is available for certain taught courses. See the relevant entries in the University of Dublin Calendar Part 2 (PDF, 2.59MB) for details.
I am unable to study full-time at the moment due to work/family commitments, illness etc. Can I study part-time?
If you are already on the full-time research register but have obtained full-time employment you must apply in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies for permission to transfer to the part-time register for the remainder of your registration. This application must have the written support of your research supervisor and be endorsed by the Director of Teaching and Learning (postgraduate).
If you are on the full-time research register you cannot transfer to the part-time register during, or for the final year of your registration.
For other circumstances such as family commitments and/or illness, you may need to seek permission to go ‘off books’ for a defined period of time.
I am struggling to complete my research within the prescribed time limit. Can I get an extension?
An extension of the period within which a thesis/dissertation can be presented must be obtained by application to the Dean of Graduate Studies by your Supervisor and must have a strong recommendation from the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate).
If you are incapacitated by illness, or other grave cause and unable to undertake your agreed research programme you must inform your Supervisor as soon as is practicable. If, following consultation with your supervisor, the illness is deemed to be of significant severity or duration to impede your progress, medical certificates must be supplied by your Supervisor to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
Requests for extensions of this type must be made before the period on the higher degrees register has expired.
In special circumstances, such as prolonged illness or absence from the country for particular reasons, a student may be allowed ‘off-books’ for one year. Applications must be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies by your Supervisor and must be have a strong recommendation from the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate).
Can the Postgraduate Advisory Service organize an extension on my behalf?
No. You must contact the appropriate individual (either your Supervisor, Course Coordinator/Director) who will make an application to the Dean of Graduate Studies on your behalf.
What is Dean’s Grace?
‘Dean’s Grace’ is an extension period of one month only (free of fees) to submit a thesis/dissertation. Applications must be submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies by your Supervisor and/or Course Coordinator. This must be done prior to the deadline of your annual registration.
My postgraduate experience is not what I expected, is this normal?
All postgraduate experiences are different, mainly because the dynamic between each student and their supervisor will not be the same. Many students take a little time to adjust to the independent learning demanded by postgraduate research. Postgraduate students also tend to be a little unsure of their role, and that of their supervisor. Clarification on such matters can be found in the Board approved literature regarding Graduate Supervision.
These documents, Best Practice Guidleines on Research Supervision (PDF, 40K) and Good Research Practice (PDF, 116K) deal with issue of Graduate Supervision under a number of different headings such as Regulations, Academic Standards, and the General Relationship of Supervisor to Student.
I have read the Best Practice Guidelines on Research Supervision and feel that I am not getting proper supervision. Is there anything I can do?
Yes. If you feel that you can, then you should first discuss any issue directly with your supervisor. Don’t raise the issue with your supervisor as s/he is hurrying past in the corridor: make an appointment to see your supervisor so that you have an allocated time to talk privately. Try to stay cool and calm and raise the issue in a professional manner. You will get a lot further by being firm rather than aggressive. Assume that s/he will respond in a professional and sensitive manner. Give your supervisor the opportunity to work with you to find a solution. You may be surprised to discover that what seems to be an enormous and obvious problem for you is something of which your supervisor is not even aware. The solution may be as simple as telling your supervisor what’s bothering you. If, for whatever reason, you feel this option is not open to you, the University of Dublin Calendar Part 2 (PDF, 2.59MB)(Paragraph 2.10, pp. 39-40) outlines in detail the procedures in place for making a complaint about the adequacy of supervision. It is advised however that you discuss the nature of your particular difficulty with the Postgraduate Student Support Officer(Email) prior to making any formal complaint. The Postgraduate Support Officer can provide you with an objective opinion, useful advice and strategies, and guaranteed confidentiality. Remember that the University, along with you, want you to complete your degree successfully; although the reasons for wanting that success may differ, the goal is the same.
I am finding it difficult to settle into researching/writing my thesis/dissertation. Is there any one that can help me?
Yes. There are a number of avenues of support open to you within College. The Centre for Student Learning Development, as well as the Centre for Academic Practice and Student Learning (CAPSL) run a variety of workshops and events throughout the calendar year which cover study and organizational strategies, academic writing skills, managing examinations, presentation skills and other topics related to academic study. They also offer a range of centrally delivered workshops to support postgraduates and part-time tutors in their diverse teaching roles across the College.
I am finding it difficult to settle in at Trinity. What should I do?
Coming to University for the first time is for most people an exciting experience. Whether you are leaving home for the first time or coming back into education after several years away, starting University offers a total change of circumstance and the prospect of meeting new people and experiencing new challenges. However, as with any change of lifestyle, there are sometimes unexpected difficulties to be faced and adjustments to be made. The Postgraduate Advisory Service is here to help you deal with those situations. We will be happy to help you if you have any questions or concerns about settling into life at Trinity College. If we cannot help you, we will put you in contact with someone who can.
Are there childcare facilities, such as nursery, which my child can attend?
Trinity College Dublin does have an on-site Day Nursery. Established in 1969, it was the first on-site workplace nursery in Ireland. Places are at a premium and, at present, postgraduates who intend placing their child in day care are advised to explore all available options.
How do I find out more about using the Library?
Trinity College Library provides a variety of Support and Training Modules which provide all of the information you may need to use the Library's rich resources. If however you have a specific query or request, you should ask either one of the helpful staff at the issue desks, or the subject librarian in your specific field of study.
I am feeling bullied or sexually harassed. What can I do about it?
Feeling bullied, threatened, or harassed can be a frightening, stressful and isolating experience. The commitment of Trinity College to supporting the right of all members of the College community to work and study in an environment which is free from all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment and bullying is clearly outlined in its policy on Dignity and Respect (PDF, 157K). If you feel that you are being bullied or harassed, you should contact any of the following people who have been nominated as contact persons. They will advise and support you.
(From outside, dial 896 in front of the following numbers)
School of English;
Director of Buildings Office;
School of Nursing;
School of English;
School of Natural Sciences;
Electronic & Electrical Engineering;
Information System Services;
Further information on Trinity College Dublin's Dignity and Respect policy is availble here.
What kinds of supports are available for student parents?
The Student Parent Group (SPG) is a self-supporting group for any student (male or female) who is already a parent or may be about to become one. The group meets once a week in lecture term for an hour at lunch time, normally on a Tuesday. It is very informal and friendly and is intended to bring student parents together in order that they may share their experiences and lend support to one another. A light lunch consisting of sandwiches, tea or coffee and biscuits is provided by the Senior Tutor's Office in House 27.
Can I get legal advice from College?
No. Legal advice is not available to students from the University. However, should you ever need to consult a barrister or solicitor, you might want to start by attending one of the free legal advice clinics which meets fortnightly in the Arts Block.
The clinic is staffed by a VOLUNTEER solicitor or barrister who is available to discuss legal queries you might have. The service consists only of free consultation, thus allowing you to get accurate advice on the legal difficulty involved. Common areas concerned are employment and tenancy/landlord problems. The clinic also provides books for you to consult with common problems.
You may also like to discuss your particular query with a representative of any of the following;
Are there any supports in College for students with learning difficulties?
Yes. Academic Support Tutors are available to help with the areas of study skills and essay writing through the Disability Service. Your Disability Officer will advise you if you are eligible for Academic Support. This service offers individual tuition in generic study skills; it is not subject specific. Academic Support can provide assistance in time management, research skills, essay-writing skills, referencing and exam preparation.
Essay Support is not an editing service which can make corrections and return ‘perfect’ essays to a student. Rather, clear indications of mistakes or rule violations are given, and the actual corrections made by the student (in the case of on-paper proofreading) or at the request of the student (if working together on a computer). Students are required to be actively involved in Academic Support appointments. The student must be present with the Academic Support tutor to discuss the essay and to decide on any changes to be made. The student must create all written work and content, take responsibility for research, and provide own departmental guidelines (handbook) for referencing and style.
For practical advice refer to the following Information Sheets:
How do I register with the Disability Service?
If you require assistance for a disability or specific learning difficulty, you should register with Disability Service. The service is located in the Arts Building (Maps), Room 2054 on the entrance level, past the Lecky Library. You will then be assigned a Disability Officer who will work with you to assess the level of support required.
What proof of my disability do I need to provide to the Disability Service?
You will need to provide medical evidence of your disability, or an educational psychological report if you have a specific learning difficulty, such as Dyslexia. This report needs to detail the IQ/Index score, percentile and range when reporting scores, and the standard score, percentile and range when reporting attainment scores. Confidence intervals of 95% are also recommended. If you are unsure of what information to provide, or how to secure it, you can contact the Academic Liaison Officer (ALO) in your Department. An Academic Liaison Officer acts as a communication route in each department for issues related to students with disabilities. They circulate Learning and Education Needs Summary (LENS) reports which are produced for students registered with the Disability Service (DS). Academic Liaison officers have also have responsibility for:
- Being a first point of information on disability issues within the ALOs School/department.
- Making course directors, course coordinators, year coordinators etc aware of students and the dissemination of information through LENS.
I want to appeal the decision of the examiners of my thesis/dissertation. What do I do?
If you wish to appeal the decision of the examiners of your thesis/dissertation, this must be done in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies. You must indicate clearly the precise grounds on which your appeal is being made. The grounds permitted for appeal are provided under Paragraph 1.24.7 of the University of Dublin Calendar Part 2.
There must also be a clear statement of what this appeal is attempting to achieve, e.g. the appointment of an alternative supervisor for the period of revision, referral of the thesis etc.
Should you intend pursuing this course of action you are strongly advised to contact the Postgraduate Student Support Officer (Email) who will advise you in respect of the permitted grounds under which a decision can be appealed. The Postgraduate Student Support Officer, or an appointed member of the Advisory Panel will then accompany you to the any meeting with the Dean of Graduate Studies.
* Remember, the Dean of Graduate Studies or any Academic Appeals Committee (PDF, 2 .59MB) who will consider your appeal cannot overturn the examiners’ academic verdict on the thesis/dissertation. It can only recommend changes of a procedural nature.
I want to appeal the decision of my PhD transfer/confirmation panel. What do I do?
If following a transfer/confirmation panel interview, you have been informed that you may not transfer to or continue on the PhD register, you may appeal in the first instance to the relevant School appeals committee. The Director of Teaching & Learning appointed to your School will advise you on how this process should be conducted. The grounds for your appeal must be clearly stated and suported where necessary by documentary evidence. If you are granted another transfer/confirmation interview, the decision of that panel will be final.
If the Schools Appeal Committee refuses to grant your appeal, or, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of the appeals process, you are entitled to appeal the decision of the School to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Again, you must state clearly under what grounds as outlined under Paragraph 1.24.7 of the University of Dublin Calendar Part 2 you are appealing and also what remedy you are seeking. Should the Dean of Graduate Studies deny your appeal you may appeal this decision to the Academic Appeals Committee for Gradaute Students.
I want to appeal the results of my examination. What should I do?
All graduate students have the right to discuss their examination and/or assessment performances with the appropriate members of staff as arranged by the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) in their School. This right is basic to the educational process.
Having received information about your results, and, having discussed these, and your performance with the appropriate member of staff, and, if required, the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) you may ask that your results be reconsidered. This must be done within two weeks of the publication of your results.
However, this ‘appeal’ will only be entertained if you have reason to believe;
- that the grade is incorrect because of an error in the calculation of the results.
- that the examination paper specific to your course contained questions on subjects which were not part of the course prescribed for the examination.
- That bias was shown by an examiner in the marking of the script.
- In the case of (1) above;
- Your request for an appeal must be made to the appropriate Course Coordinator/Director.
- In the case of (2) or (3) above;
- Your request should again be made in the first instance to the Course Coordinator/Director who will seek permission to have the case referred to the Appeals Sub-Committee of the Course Committee. You must clearly state the grounds on which you are seeking the appeal and, where possible, produce documentary evidence to support your case. If the Course Committee refuses to grant an appeal, or if you are unsatisfied with the outcome of the appeals process, you may make a request to the Dean of Graduate Studies who may refer the case to the Academic Appeals Committee (PDF, 2.59MB) for graduate students.
Should you intend pursuing this course of action you should contact the Postgraduate Student Support Officer (Email) who will advise you and/or accompany you throughout any Appeals process.
* Remember, the Academic Appeals Committee (PDF, 2.59MB) who will consider your appeal cannot overturn the examiners’ academic verdict on the thesis/dissertation. It can only recommend changes of a procedural nature.
I passed the coursework component of my course but failed on my thesis/dissertation. What can I do?
If you are dissatisfied with the manner in which the dissertation was examined, for example if you have reason to believe that bias was shown by an examiner, you can request the Course Coordinator/Director to arrange a viva voce examination at which you may defend your thesis/dissertation. This request will be granted automatically. If you feel that this viva voce examination was itself unfair, you may appeal in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
Should you intend to pursue this course of action you should contact the Postgraduate Student Support Officer (Email) who will advise you on the process.
*Remember, the Dean of Graduate Studies or any Academic Appeals Committee (PDF, 2.59MB) who will consider your appeal cannot overturn the examiners’ academic verdict on the thesis/dissertation. It can only recommend changes of a procedural nature.
My question has not been answered here. What do I do ?
You can make an appointment to meet with the Postgraduate Student Support Officer, or, you can simply submit your query via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org (Email).