Graduate Training

The DCU research degree is based exclusively on research work and associated thesis and most of the students’ learning is gained through undertaking such work. Research graduates are also expected to have gathered a range of skills which may require some formal or specific training to develop.

Advanced training, in the form of accredited modules, known as ‘Graduate Training Elements’ or GTEs, are an important aspect of DCU's graduate research experience. In addition to the information provided below, DCU's Graduate Research Guide contains detailed information on graduate training at DCU.

Graduate Studies organise a range of non-accredited workshops and events to help develop your skills. The schedule of Workshops and Events is available here

Overview of Graduate Training

In DCU, ‘Graduate Training’ refers to credit-bearing, discipline-specific and generic modules, as well as shorter one-off events and training classes. The aim is to give students the right skills to optimise their performance in research and to augment their research qualification with skills transferable beyond academia.

The full range of graduate training options is reviewed and updated on an annual basis and many elements will be on offer from year to year. Students may therefore have an opportunity to undertake an element in a subsequent year if it is not possible or appropriate for them to take it in the current academic year. 

Training requirements differ depending on the research programme the student is undertaking:

  • Professional doctorate programmes: students will have an agreed list of elements to undertake as part of their programme. DCU has two professional doctorate programmes at present, the Doctorate in Education and the Doctorate in Psychotherapy.
  • Cohort-based thematic PhD programmes: students following structured programmes are required to take the GTEs for that programme, as agreed with their school/supervisor.
  • Other research degrees: it is not compulsory for DCU research students to take GTEs but they are strongly encouraged to do so, with the approval of their supervisor. Some funders, research centres and schools require students to complete a set number of credits. Check details locally to ensure you meet these requirements.   
 Graduate Training Elements (GTEs) 

Faculty GTE Programmes

Each faculty has its own list or ‘programme’ of GTEs that students of that faculty can register for In August-September or in January-February. Faculty GTE programmes consist of a selection of the Faculty’s own discipline-specific modules and in some cases discipline-specific elements from other DCU faculties. Further information on GTE registration is available from the Graduate Research Guide.

The Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences and the Faculty of Science & Health have developed webpages for their research students on graduate training and other areas. You can visit the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences page here and the Faculty of Science & Health page here.

There are two or three steps (depending on your faculty) to follow to register for accredited modules. They are:

1. Ensure that the module is suitable for you. Agree your GTE module choices with your supervisor - this is mandatory. This is to ensure that the training chosen fully supports the completion of your research project, and that time available to the core research is not compromised. The options available to you are on your Student Pathway (detailed below). Make sure that you are available when the classes are being held. Timetables for most modules can be searched using this link. DCU Business School modules are are delivered on a monthly basis over the full academic year and are not detailed on the Registry timetable. The timetable for DCU Business School modules for 2019-20 is available here

2. Where applicable, complete the Expression of Interest form indicating your module choices. Students from the DCU Business School and the DCU Institute of Education do not need to express interest in modules. Students of the Faculties of Engineering & Computing; Humanities & Social Sciences; and Science & Health need to complete the Google form. After completing the form you need to wait two business days to ensure your changes have been recorded. If not, your modules may not appear on the registration system and you will not be able to register for your chosen modules. Links to Faculty Expression of Interest forms are given below:

Faculty of Engineering & Computing GTE Expression of Interest Form

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences GTE Expression of Interest Form

Faculty of Science & Health GTE Expression of Interest Form

3. Register for your chosen GTE modules during the DCU registration process (with Registry) through the 'My Module' option on Student Apps. If you do not complete this step then you have not registered for your module. 

Checking your registration status 

Students can check their registration status, and what modules they have registered for, by reviewing by accessing the following:

Student Apps > My Info > My Details

Online Registration (September)

Students taking graduate training at DCU must register for both their core research project and their associated GTEs at the time of registration:  


CORE Research Module Code: e.g. RSPD01 Research Thesis (NOTE: this code will differ from student to student, depending on the level of research programme and their year of study).

OPTIONAL Faculty Graduate Training Programme Code - students registered for Graduate Training Elements will see their faculty’s graduate training programme code displayed, e.g. GTEBS/GTEHSS/GTEEC/GTEFSH/GTEIE. 

Along with the faculty graduate training programme code, the codes for individual GTEs chosen at registration will also appear. For example, GS601 is an individual, generic graduate training element, available to students in each faculty, entitled ‘Intellectual Property & Commercialisation’.

Once registered, students can see their own graduate training registration details on their portal pages (alongside their core research programme registration). Students will have an opportunity to change their registrations, having consulted with their supervisors as part of the normal ‘Change of Module’ process. All registration issues / queries should be directed to the Postgraduate Enrolment Officer in Registry by emailing

Credit accumulation for Graduate Training Elements

Research students are encouraged to undertake graduate training, but the number of modules should be appropriate for their research degree. Full-time PhD students are permitted a maximum of 90 credits over the four years of their degree. Where 20 credits or more are taken, the University recognises the student as being on a ‘structured path’ (see below). The maximum allowed for full-time Master’s students is 20 credits over the two years.

All Graduate Training Elements (GTEs) achieved are awarded and credited on an bi-annual basis at GTE Award Boards.    

De-registering for modules

Students wishing to de-register for semester 1 and year long modules can only do so during the September-October Change of Module Choice Period. Students wishing to de-register for semester 2 or summer modules can only do so during the January-February Change of Module Choice Period. These dates are outlined on the Academic Calendar.

Students who registered online during the August-September registration period ought to be able to de-register for their modules during the specified Change of Module Choice Periods. Students who registered manually with Registry will not be able to use the online registration system for the whole academic year. Registry have set up a Google Form for these students to complete if they wish to change their modules. To find this form go to the Registration page of the Registry website and find the relevant Change of Module Choice Period link. That should detail the process for you. If you are having problems with this then contact Registry

Structured Doctoral/Research Pathways

Faculty GTE programmes can contain a wide listing of modules for a student to choose from. As such, all schools have introduced structured ‘pathways’ that draw on the most relevant and appropriate modules from the faculty programme for that particular discipline. The DCU Institute of Education has a faculty-wide pathway. The GSO communicates the pathways at the beginning of each academic year and details are also available on the GSO Loop page.

When considering training needs, students, in consultation with their supervisor/s, should use the pathway as a guide. Some pathways include compulsory modules, therefore, each student should familiarise themselves with their school's pathway as early as possible in their studies. 

Each pathway acknowledges the individual needs of each student and where a particular training need is not addressed in a pathway, the student should refer to the faculty programme to determine if suitable training can be identified there.  

Find below links to School Pathways:

Other aspects of Graduate Training 

Writing Supports for Graduate Researchers

DCU acknowledges the importance of researchers developing advanced writing skills and it has developed a broad-based approach aimed at supporting resesarch students in this regard. Further information is available here.       

Research Integrity Training

Research integrity is a key component in the induction of graduate students, postdocs and research supervisors and various information sessions are delivered throughout the academic year. Attendance is particularly important for those commencing their research at DCU, in addition to the completion of the online Research Integrity module, details of which are communicated to students via email and at induction sessions. Details are outlined at this webpage.

ENRICH Framework

The ENRICH Framework, launched in September 2016, aims to support research students in the development of the skills and knowledge required for a broad range of careers. It acknowledges that many graduates go on to establish careers beyond academia by augmenting their research skills with other 'enterprise-ready' skills. Further information on this initiative is available from the ENRICH Framework website.   

Inter-Institutional Registration and Credit Transfer Processes

IUA Guide for research students undertaking graduate training in a host institution

Some research students, for example those undertaking modules where a collaborative / consortium agreement exists, may undertake training in other institutions where such opportunities are available, but must first seek the approval of their DCU supervisor and must also be accepted by the host institution. Each institution / training provider has their own registration process and procedures for issuing results to visiting students. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure they are correctly registered for, and receive official results from, the training provider. Details of the registration process to be followed for the seven Irish universities (DCU, UCD, TCD, NUIM, UCC, UL, and NUIG) are detailed in the IUA Inter-Institutional Agreement on Collaborative Graduate Programmes: Information for Research Students going to a host institution to undertake graduate training.

Research students undertaking a recognised multi-institutional structured programme can request that their results for modules completed in partnering institutions be added to their DCU record. In this case, all module results, both DCU and non-DCU, are processed at the relevant Faculty Awards Board for Research Degrees (FABRD) and all successfully completed modules, both DCU and non-DCU, appear on the DCU student’s final award transcript. Please note that this currently applies only to students undertaking a recognised multi-institutional structured programme.

DCU has Standard Operating Procedures for the Inter-institutional Mobility of Postgraduate Research Students which outline the steps to be taken to enable module delivery, student mobility and credit exchange for DCU postgraduate research students, and research students of DCU’s partner institutions, who are undertaking a module(s) as part of a formally institutionally agreed (i.e. covered by a Memorandum of Understanding or other formal collaborative agreement), thematic, structured or multi-institutional graduate programme.

Research students from other institutions may visit DCU for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

    • To undertake a module(s) or lab rotation as part of a multi-institutional postgraduate research programme
    • To undertake part of their research degree in DCU as part of an MOU or Consortium Agreement
    • To work alongside a research team or staff member for a short period
    • To attend s short training or educational course
    • To undertake a single module programme

Visiting research students register with the University in one of the following ways depending on the purpose of their visit:

Purpose of visitRegistration process
To undertake a module(s) or lab rotation as part of a structured multi-institutional 
postgraduate programme / consortium agreement
R26H Registration Form submitted to Registry
 To undertake a DCU accredited educational course or moduleR26 Registration Form submitted to Registry
 To work alongside a research team or staff member for a short period DCU ID Request Form submitted to HR
Further information for international research students visiting DCU is available from the GSO's Fáilte website.   
 Other DCU Training Opportunities

The Careers Service

The Careers Service offers one-to-one consultations for students.

Academic Skills Workshops

Student Learning offers workshops on a wide range of academic skills, including time management, presentation skills, academic writing, etc. All workshops are free but registration is required and new workshops are added on a regular basis. Student Learning also offers an online study skills module through Loop, one-to-one academic skills sessions and a drop-in centre for academic skills.

The Writing Centre

The Writing Centre is run by PhD students from DCU and coordinated by Student Learning. Located in DCU Library, the service is free and open to all students.  

Library and Information Skills Training

The Library offers a wide range of classes and workshops to help students develop skills in finding, using and organising information. Further details are available from the Library website.