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How to apply

These are the minimum requirements for applicants hoping to take our PhD:

  • A minimum 2.1 honours class undergraduate degree from an Irish university or its international equivalent. A master’s degree in a related subject is very strongly recommended, ideally with a distinction classification;
  • A demonstrable working knowledge of the languages you plan to work with, as well as any other technical aspects that underpin the project;
  • For candidates who are not native English speakers and have not completed a degree through the medium of English, a minimum IELTS score of at least 6.5 in each category or its equivalent.

In planning your application for a PhD, a long list of factors will come into play: academic reputation, research experts, location, quality of training and availability of funding. Applying for the PhD itself, and applying for funding are both competitive processes that depend on your qualifications, experience and research aspirations. The first stage in the process is to come up with an idea of what you would like to study. You should write out your idea in the form of a 300-word abstract, being sure to identify precisely and specifically:

  • What your overarching research question will be;
  • What books, poems, films, or other materials you will analyse in order to answer your research question;
  • What discreet steps your analysis will go through in order to use your materials to answer your research question;
  • What answering your research question will allow us to do which we cannot currently do;
  • Any contextual information that a reader will need to understand the other four points.

Avoid making general statements of any kind, and do not assume that your question has not been asked before. Research at the doctoral level almost always builds heavily on a wide range of existing research. Although the abstract is short, it should take a substantial amount of time and background research for you to write it.
Once you have an abstract you are happy with, you should next approach potential supervisors with this abstract and your current CV. These academics will help you identify whether your idea is feasible in the four years of the Trinity PhD programme, whether the question is sufficiently original, and especially, whether they would be interested in supervising it.

You should look at the staff profiles of the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultural Studies for potential supervisors. Don’t forget that you can have more than one supervisor, and this is particularly advisable in the case of inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research. Secondary supervisors can be drawn from within the school or from another school. It is recommended that you try to make a short list of possible supervisors and start reaching out to them with your abstract. You should do this early, as the process of creating the full proposal is long, and often requires many rounds of edits. The whole process of creating a full proposal with a supervisor’s help frequently takes several weeks at least.