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You are here Programmes > Doctoral > Structured Ph.D.

Structured Ph.D.

The School's Structured Ph.D programme is a development of the traditional Ph.D where students select an area of enquiry and complete their doctoral thesis under the supervision of a designated supervisor. In this new programme, students, in consultation with their supervisor, may identify specific areas where they would benefit from attending taught modules, where such modules are running in any given year.

Application Information

Ph.D. Applications for 2021/2022

For further information about the programme for the academic year 2021/22 please contact: Dr Joanne Banks (PhD Co-ordinator) BANKSJO@tcd.ie or Fiona McKibben/Caroline Morgan (programme administrators) PHDRSRCH@tcd.ie.


Deadlines for application for admission to the Ph.D. register in September 2021:

30th April 2021 for candidates who wish to be considered for the award of a School or Faculty scholarship. The School has one postgraduate scholarship to allocate annually (the 1252 scholarship) and may also submit a candidate for consideration for the Ussher scholarship which is open to competition within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

30th June 2021 for standard admission in September 2021.

A full application including all necessary supplementary documentation is required by the deadline date for the application to be considered by the applications committee. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The School of Education strongly advises applicants to discuss their research proposal with a relevant member of the Schools academic staff, in advance of a formal application via the TCD applications portal.

Applicants for a research degree should normally have obtained a minimum of a 2.1 honors degree.

FAQs for Structured Ph.D. and D.Ed. Programme applicants

Q: I'm an applicant interested in pursuing a Ph.D. with the School of Education. What are the entry requirements?

A: Prospective students are normally expected to hold a good honors degree (preferably an upper second class) or above and be fluent in the English language. All applicants whose first language is not English and have not been educated through the medium of English must provide evidence of English language proficiency: IELTS Grade 6.5. For more details including application forms, closing dates and registration process can be viewed here.

Q: I'm thinking of undertaking one of the programmes in your School. Could you explain the difference between a structured Ph.D. and the D.Ed. Programme?

A: The Ph.D. structured programme has a full time and part time option with two mandatory modules (1. Ph.D. Research Methods (10 ECTS credits) and Research Integrity and Impact in an Open Scholarship (5 ECTS)). A Ph.D. thesis is not to exceed 100,000 words of text. The D. Ed. is a part time programme designed primarily to meet the needs of professionals within the Irish education system. The most structurally visible part of the D.Ed. programme are the taught modules/seminar sessions. The D.Ed. thesis is typically between 60,000 and 80,000 words of text. The Ph.D. and D.Ed. are both level 10 programmes. Handbooks are available for each programme and more details on entry requirements, fees, etc. can be viewed here. View below the YouTube link to learn more on the difference of the Ph.D. and D.Ed.programme.

Q: Could you advise at what times of year and how often there is an intake of students to the Ph.D. and D.Ed. Programmes?

A: The Ph.D. structured programme has two registration periods (September and March) and full details are available here.

Q: What are the key aspects of my application?

A: In addition to all necessary supplementary documentation by the application deadline, a key aspect is to produce a viable research proposal. It is equally important to assess if an academic staff member within the School of Education is in a position to supervise your Ph.D.. In order to determine if a potential supervisor is available, we recommend that you consult the School of Education staff webpage.

Q: I'm interested in pursuing a programme in the School of Education. Do I need to select and communicate with a potential supervisor prior to applying?

A: Yes. This is an important aspect of your application. It is recommended that you consult the staff page on the School of Education website with a view to identifying a potential supervisor who may have a background in the area of research of interest to you. Once you identify a potential supervisor you may make informal contact with them to enquire if they would be open to being your supervisor.

Q: I'm interested in pursuing a Ph.D. programme with the School of Education. However, upon review of your staff webpage, I've not been able to identify a potential supervisor. Can I still process an application?

A: Yes, even if you have not been successful in identifying a potential supervisor, you can still apply through the online system and your application will be considered by the admissions committee. At its discretion, the committee may direct your proposal to an appropriate staff member within the School of Education. However, it is preferable to identify a supervisor in advance of making an application. In the case that a supervisor is not secured, the application will still incur a small fee.

Q: Once a potential supervisor has been identified, what is the next step?

A: The next step is to contact the potential supervisor and find out if they might have capacity to supervise you. It is advisable to send a short email with pertinent information to enable a response: including your draft research proposal, your suitability to undertake this work, note any scholarships/fellowships or funding in place, and any other important information.

Q: At what stage can the application process be completed?

A: A full application must be completed approximately three months prior to the registration period.

Q: How is an application assessed for the doctoral programmes?

A: All submitted application s are considered by a review committee in the School of Education. The role of this committee is to determine whether or not you will be extended an offer to take up a place on the Ph.D. programme. The research proposal is a key consideration in this process. A review committee is also in place with respect to applicants to the D.Ed. programme.

Q: Is it possible to attend the taught modules online?

A: Yes, the Ph.D. Research Integrity and Impact in an Open Scholarship module is available online. Other modules are currently taught in a face to face format.

Q: I would like to find out more information …. who do I contact?

A: Please contact the Ph.D. and D.Ed. administrators via email at phdrsrch@tcd.ie or via phone at 01-8963583 and they would be delighted to help you further.