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Ph.D. and Masters Degrees by Research

The School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences offers a variety of research degrees leading to the award of a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) or a Master's degree (M.Litt. or M.Sc., depending on the subject area). Our School has a reputation for international excellence in terms of our research supervision. We currently have some 50 students registered for M.Litt./Ph.D. degrees across a broad range of research areas.

A Ph.D. normally takes between 3-4 years of full-time research and writing to complete, subject to satisfactory progress being demonstrated at each stage of the process, through annual reports, the confirmation process and final viva voce examination, as well as completion of the structured Ph.D. component (10 credit module). The M.Litt. degree generally takes between 1-2 years of full-time research.

If you plan to apply for a postgraduate degree by research, you are advised to contact our Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning, Dr Kathleen McTiernan, with your research proposal and an up-to-date CV in order to arrange a suitable supervisor before submitting your application. You should initially consult the academic staff pages for further information regarding possible areas of supervision. Please contact the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning by email, attaching a research proposal (no more than 7-10 pages), which outlines your area of interest and the focus of your proposed research project before making a formal application online. The research proposal should include theoretical background, rationale for the project, proposed methodology and a timeline. For further information please see attached School Research Student Handbook 2023-2024 and College Postgraduate Research Student Handbook.

Please note the following:

There are two possible start dates for doctoral students, 1 March and 1 September of each year.

Applications are made online:

Students commencing the M.Litt. or Ph.D. programme must complete a 10 ECTS taught module from a menu of choices in our School and elsewhere in the university. These modules run in the first and second terms each year, and full-time research postgraduates students are expected to complete at least one module within the first 18 months of registration. Students should discuss their choice of module with their research supervisor, and email the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning in order to confirm availability and register.

Ph.D. students must also undergo a confirmation process, typically during the second year. This involves the submission of a confirmation report and a Confirmation Report Form for consideration by a panel of School staff, followed by an interview. Students must be confirmed before they can submit a Ph.D. thesis for examination.

Normally, graduate students should be resident in or near Dublin. In exceptional circumstances the Dean of Graduate Studies, after consultation with the graduate student’s supervisor and Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning, may permit a graduate student to undertake a significant portion of the work for their degree outside Dublin. A ‘Remote Supervision’ policy is in place to address this: Permission for such remote supervision is only granted by the university on an exceptional basis and for academic reasons which would require a student to spend time away from the university for data collection purposes. This also involves a local, co-supervision arrangement in place when away from the university, which must be fully approved and agreed in advance.

The current handbook for Masters and Ph.D. Students in the School contains information which will be useful for prospective students:

All registered postgraduate students are required an annual progress report with their supervisor before the end of the academic year. The annual reporting process must be fully completed by May 1st for students who registered in September and by November 1st for those who registered in March. Annual progress reports should be completed by students and research supervisors, and submitted in soft copy to the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning.

Further information on supervision of research are found in the Supervision of Research Students Best Practice Guide

Further information on research degrees and the regulations which pertain to each are found in the University Calendar, Part 3.

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