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Programme Structure

Academic Year and Enrolment

The PhD programme runs throughout the academic year which is organized around three terms: first term (September to December); second term (January to April); and third term (May to August).

New PhD students are enrolled at the beginning of September each year. While students may enrol on either a full-time (FT) or part-time (PT) basis, all students benefit from the same programme of doctoral formation. The obligatory enrolment periods for each option are:

  • FT enrolment: minimum of 2 years, maximum of 4 years.
  • PT enrolment: minimum of 3 years, maximum of 6 years.

Academic Supervision

Each student is assigned a principal supervisor with whom he or she is expected to maintain regular contact. If a student’s programme of research is of an inter-, trans-, or multi-disciplinary nature, a co-supervisor may also be appointed. All principal supervisors are appointed from within Trinity Business School while co-supervisors may be appointed from other Schools throughout the University. In certain circumstances, co-supervisors may be appointed from other Universities or industry partners depending on the nature of the research being undertaken.

A strong working relationship between a student and his or her supervisor(s) is an integral and vital element of any programme of research leading to the award of a PhD degree. Our faculty are committed to building such relationships with their students. Throughout the period of enrolment on the PhD register, faculty provide first-class instruction, teaching, counsel, and oversight on all matters relating to the pursuit of high-quality research.

Structured Elements of the PhD Programme

New entrants and continuing students are required to follow a set of structured components which are central to the effective formation of all doctoral candidates. These components have been designed to support the routine and ongoing work involved in pursuing a programme of research leading to the award of a PhD degree. They provide in-depth learning and development opportunities tailored to meet the needs of PhD students. The structured components include:

Year 1

In the first year of enrolment, all PhD students must complete the core modules BU8510: Pursuing Excellence in Doctoral Research and BU8530: Social Science Research Philosophy. These modules provide a comprehensive introduction to the PhD programme along with an introduction to the philosophy of research in the social sciences. In addition, students must complete the Additional Programme Requirements as set out below.

Year 2

Early in the second year of enrolment, each PhD student is required to design and deliver one Research Practice Seminar which is scheduled as an integral part of BU8520: Sustaining Excellence in Research Practice. Working closely with the Director of Doctoral Studies and academic supervisors, PhD students are required to focus their research practice seminars on preparing to meet the requirements of the formal Confirmation Process so that their continuation on the PhD register may be confirmed by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

To proceed through Confirmation, PhD students must:

  • Have satisfactorily completed BU8510: Pursuing Excellence in Doctoral Research & BU8530: Social Science Research Philosophy;
  • Have satisfactorily completed two modules from the Additional Programme Requirements as set out below;
  • Have designed and delivered one research practice seminar as part of BU8520: Sustaining Excellence in Research Practice; and
  • Have prepared and submitted a formal Confirmation Report, made a formal Confirmation Presentation, participated in a formal Confirmation Interview, and met all requirements emanating from the Confirmation Process.

Confirmation Panel Presentations and Interviews are normally scheduled on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

Year 3

In the third year of enrolment, each PhD student is required to design and deliver one Research Practice Seminar which is scheduled as an integral part of BU8520: Sustaining Excellence in Research Practice. Working closely with the Director of Doctoral Studies and academic supervisors, PhD students are expected to focus their research practice seminars on a Working Paper / Conference Paper / Book Chapter / Journal Article that addresses a critical element of their programme of research. Such papers / chapters / articles may focus on themes such as: (i) systematic literature reviews; (ii) research philosophy, methodology, and methods; (iii) data collection and analysis strategies; or (iv) analysis and discussion of research findings. These seminars are intended to display depth and leading-edge research practices in the execution of a PhD student’s programme of research. Open to all PhD students, this seminar series is normally scheduled on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

Year 4

In the fourth year of enrolment, each PhD student is required to design and deliver one Research Practice Seminar which is scheduled as an integral part of BU8520: Sustaining Excellence in Research Practice. Working closely with academic supervisors, PhD students make a preliminary defence of their programme of doctoral research. The seminar series has been designed to support PhD students in preparing the final draft of their PhD dissertation and planning for their VIVA VOCE examination. Open to all PhD students, this seminar series is normally scheduled on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

Years 1, 2, 3, 4 (Full-time) and 5, 6 (Part-time)

In the 11th month of each year of enrolment, PhD students are required to submit an Annual Progress Report (APR) to their Academic Supervisor. Supervisors subsequently complete the APR, make a formal recommendation to remain on the PhD register, and forward the finalised APR to the Director of Doctoral Studies.

Beyond the structured elements outlined above, all PhD students are required to: complete Additional Programme Requirements as specified; participate in the School’s Annual Doctoral Colloquium; and pursue a dynamic Academic and Social Engagement strategy.

Additional Programme Requirements

Beyond the compulsory requirements outlined above, PhD students are required to take two additional modules during the first year of registration on the PhD programme. They include:

  • BU8540: Applied Quantitative Research Methods; &
  • BU8550: Advanced Quantitative Research Methods; OR
  • BU8560: Qualitative Research Methods I; &
  • BU8570: Qualitative Research Methods II.

Students may also elect to register for the Postgraduate Certificate in Statistics offered by the School of Computer Science and Statistics ( https://www.scss.tcd.ie/postgraduate/pgcertstats/. )

By agreement with the Director of Doctoral Studies and the Academic Supervisor, a PhD student may be encouraged to participate in one or more additional modules to compensate for deficiencies in his or her knowledge deemed essential to the proposed programme of research. Such modules may be drawn from, but not limited to, the options outlined below:

  • Modules offered as part of the suite of taught postgraduate programmes within Trinity Business School (https://www.tcd.ie/business/masters/).
  • Modules offered by Business Schools in partner institutions as part of the Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance (TCD, UCD, DCU, NUIM, DIT, IADT, ITB, and ITT).
  • Modules offered in the area of research methodology offered by other Schools within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (http://ahss.tcd.ie/).

Enrolment in research modules offered by other Schools is subject to both the availability of places and permission to enrol.

Annual Doctoral Colloquium

All new entrants and continuing PhD students are required to actively participate in and contribute to the Annual Doctoral Colloquium.

Academic and Social Engagement

Throughout the period of enrolment on the PhD register, all students are required to immerse themselves in the academic and social life of Trinity Business School. At a minimum, this requires:

  • Full participation in all the structured elements of the PhD programme including the Annual Doctoral Colloquium.
  • Engaging in Career Planning and Development and the Graduate Teaching Practice Programme.
  • Commitment to producing high-quality research outputs that contribute directly to a student’s career development goals and objectives (e.g. Working Papers, Conference Papers, Book Chapters, and Journal Articles).
  • Active engagement with the School’s research seminar series led by the Director of Research.
  • Involvement in International Conferences and Doctoral Colloquia.
  • Leading and contributing to outreach initiatives that benefit the wider community in which the School and University are embedded (e.g. supporting local Schools, Charities, Churches, Clubs, and Voluntary Organizations).

Academic Calendar

The Academic Calendar for the PhD programme is normally published at the beginning of August each year.

Programme Policies and Procedures

If there is a discrepancy between PhD programme policies and procedures of Trinity Business School and those of the University, University policies and procedures will act as the principal source of authority and guidance.