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PhD Programme / Masters by Research

The School of Communications at DCU is home to almost 1,000 students at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD levels. With a tradition stretching back almost 40 years, the School is defined by excellence in both teaching and research in journalism, multimedia and communications studies. In the QS global subject rankings in 2019 DCU was in the top 200 of almost 4,500 universities worldwide in the area of communications. DCU is ranked number 1 nationally in Communications & Media Studies. 

The School offers highly dedicated supervision of research students, by expert, research-active members of staff. We welcome applications to our postgraduate research programmes: MA by Research and PhD. Students may register on either a full-time or part-time basis.

The school provides a supportive atmosphere for research postgraduates, with excellent supervision, and a structured suite of modules, focusing on research design, research methods and professional development. Students have dedicated work spaces and receive financial assistance for journal publications and conferences (allocated on a competitive basis). 

The School of Communications welcomes applications from postgraduates interested in research in the areas of expertise of our faculty.

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following:

  • research proposal (of approx. 2,000 words; guidelines below).
  • A complete curriculum vitae, including your full academic qualifications and details of any research projects, dissertations or thesis completed.
  • Name of School of Communications faculty member supporting your application.

You should only apply if a faculty member has agreed to support your application. If none have carried out, or are interested in, research related to your proposal, it is unlikely to be accepted. You should ensure your intended topic matches one or more of their interests. Applications are normally considered between April and September. You may self-fund or get funded for your PhD.

Writing a Research Proposal

When preparing your topic please ensure you:

  • Clearly outline your chosen research question.
  • Display evidence of your familiarity with relevant literature relating to your research question, including knowledge of published research from appropriate research journals.
  • Position your research question(s) in the relevant research literature.
  • Indicate the contribution your research will make to this body of knowledge.
  • Suggest a possible methodology that is suitable for your study.

Applicants who have the support of a proposed supervisor may be invited to interview.  If successful, you will be required to apply formally to DCU via the Postgraduate Applications Centre. Note that applications submitted to the PAC before faculty approval has been given, will not be considered.

Scholarship Opportunities

The School usually advertises scholarships on its website and social media channels around March every year. Funding may also be available from the Irish Higher Education Authority and the Irish Research Council

Further Information