PhD Scholarships Call 2024

The School now has an opening for three funded PhD scholarships (across a four-year duration). As well as a tax-free stipend of €22,000 plus fees, we also support our students with funding for conference travel and offer PhD candidates opportunities to gain paid teaching experience.

Funding amount: €22,000 pa plus fee waiver
Duration: 4 years, full-time
Deadline: 31 May 2024
Start date: September 2024

The School of Communications at DCU is home to almost 1,000 students at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD levels. With a tradition stretching back more than 40 years, the School is defined by excellence in both teaching and research in communication, journalism and multimedia studies.

The School’s academics undertake research that contributes to national and international debates and public policy formation. They also lead research projects supported by national and international funders. This cutting-edge research is across a range of (inter)disciplinary fields including (new) media studies, media history, journalism studies, science communication, political communication, social media studies, film and television studies, music industry studies, advertising, and cultural studies. In the past five years, the School has supported approximately 40 doctoral students to achieve PhD awards through this scheme.

The School now has an opening for three funded PhD scholarships (across a four-year duration).


Thematic Areas

In this call, we invite applications in the following thematic areas:

Media power in the age of online influencers.  Fellowships in this area will engage with questions of media pluralism and diversity. They will describe how long-established metrics for legacy media influence (circulation and audience data) developed and ask how appropriate they are for understanding media influence. Proposals should discuss how media influence might be conceptualized in the abstract and consider how we might devise concrete metrics for influence which a) capture how influence is exercised in the online space (by, for example, social media influencers) and b) permits some comparison of the impact of legacy and online media influence. For more information contact Dr Roddy Flynn ( and Dr Neil O’Boyle (

Contemporary Urban Living and Citizen Wellbeing: Fellowship(s) in this area will ideally adopt an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on exposing and addressing issues related to contemporary urban living and citizen wellbeing, such as (but not limited to) the increasing influence of digital media technologies and AI on urban living, mobility and environmental issues. Particularly relevant are proposals that involve the practical application or analysis of the role of participatory and performance art, interactive installations, UI, UX, film, AR, VR, adversarial design and/or citizen participation towards addressing these issues. In addition to traditional (monograph) PhD formats, projects with practice-based elements will be considered. For further information, please contact Dr Marcos Dias (

Media, Culture, and Women: Fellowship(s) in this area should be focused on the general topic of the media industries (news and journalism; or social media; or the creative and cultural industries) and women. This focus could include topics which look at women in contemporary news media and/or media industries in general, or take a historic look at this subject. Alternatively, the proposal could investigate how particular issues that impact on women and girls are covered and framed by the media such as women in sport, fertility issues (e.g., surrogacy), women’s health, or contemporary debates around gender identity and women’s rights. Research proposals could also centre questions of social media, practices of news reporting or the changing media landscape, and its impact on the lives, experiences, and inclusion of women and girls in Ireland or internationally. For further information, please contact Dr Aileen O’Driscoll ( and  Dr Dawn Wheatley (


How to apply

Candidates can apply to only one of the three thematic areas listed above and should clearly indicate which area their application addresses. If candidates have applied (or are going to apply) for other scholarships at DCU, this must be clearly stated in their emails to the potential supervisors. 

Applicants are invited to submit:

  • 2,000-word research proposal 

  • A brief CV detailing academic qualifications and professional experience to date.

Indicative components of the research proposal are: 

  1. a preliminary literature review, locating the work in the appropriate field(s); 

  2. clearly defined research questions; 

  3. proposed methodology; 

  4. indicative contribution of the research to disciplinary knowledge; 

  5. a bibliography (not included in the word count).


NB. Applicants must contact the relevant supervisor prior to submitting an application. Applications submitted without prior contact with listed supervisors may be disqualified. 


NB. All applications should be submitted to Ms. Eileen Myers, Secretary, School of Communications, DCU (, clearly indicating the thematic area under which they are applying.

Closing date for applications:  31 May 2024. 



Applicants must: 

  • Hold a relevant undergraduate degree at 2.1 or first-class honours level (or equivalent). Ideally, they should also hold a relevant Masters qualification. Candidates who are currently completing a Masters qualification are welcome to apply.

  • Meet, where relevant, the English language requirements for non-native speakers of English.


DCU Entry Requirements applies, which are detailed here


Criteria for assessment and next steps

The initial assessment of the proposal is based on the criteria below: 

  1. Quality of the research proposal (strong research question, relevant literature / theoretical frameworks, etc.) 

  2. Merit of the proposed research methodology

  3. Compatibility of proposed topic/field of scholarship with three thematic areas defined above

  4. Suitability for research student teaching and related professional development

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to conduct an interview (either in person or online) to discuss their research proposal, academic and professional background and achievements, and their motivations to undertake PhD level research at DCU. The interviews will take place in June 2024. 

Criteria to assess the interviews include: 
  1. Knowledge of topic / ability to speak competently to proposal 

  2. Communication skills 

  3. Prior publications / conference contributions and commitment to publish during 


  1. Suitability for research student teaching and related professional; development 

  2. Professional experience / ability to complete projects / meet deadlines; 

  3. Motivation for taking on the challenge of a PhD project and awareness of what is involved. 

Successful candidates then will be required to apply formally to be admitted as PhD scholars, and may also need to show proficiency in the English language. Successful candidates will begin their studies in September 2024 and are required to be normally resident in Dublin for the duration of their studies.


Further information

For the scholarship details and fees please consult the FHSS scholarship policy, which is linked here.

General information on making a Postgraduate Research application is available from the Graduate Studies Office.