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You are here Courses > Postgraduate > PhD in Philosophy > Course Structure

Course Structure

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

The First Year

In the first year of the programme, students are required to take four taught modules (two in each semester), worth 40 ECTS, with at least one but no more than two at UCD. The taught modules consist of one two-hour seminar per week and supplement independent work with the supervisor. Students will be required to write one substantial essay (3,000-4,000 words) or the equivalent, in each of the four taught modules.

Students who perform well, achieving a sufficient average mark in their course work (typically 65% or above, subject to the discretion of the departmental Graduate Committee), are invited to continue in the PhD programme; those who do not wish to stay on the PhD programme may still be eligible to leave the programme with an MLitt degree, on satisfactory completion of an MLitt thesis (maximum length of 60,000 words).

The Second Year

The second year is designed to prepare students for writing their PhD thesis. Each student works closely with his or her supervisor and is required to:

  • Write a detailed thesis proposal (approximately 3,000 words) and bibliography. Write a sample chapter or extended piece of work connected to their research (approximately 10,000 words).
  • Prepare for the PhD confirmation interview which will take place in the first 6 months of their second year based on the above materials.

Third & Fourth Year

It is expected that students who have successfully completed the PhD confirmation interview will be in a position to submit the PhD thesis (maximum 100,000 words) within two years.