Frequently Asked Questions | Registry
Postgraduate Research Programmes
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A research degree involves the sustained and in-depth study of a specific topic, which is then written up as a thesis for examination. There are a number of different entry routes to research programmes at DCU:
- Master's by Research
- Master's Qualifier
Please see below (FAQ 3) for details of the entry requirements for each of these programmes. This and other information is also available on the DCU website at http://www.dcu.ie/registry/postgraduate/index.shtml
Firstly, you must contact the School with which you wish to be registered. A list of Schools is available from the DCU homepage https://www.dcu.ie/. Once you have identified the appropriate School, you should find a suitably qualified member of academic staff and contact them to discuss your research proposal.
Only candidates who have got a recommendation from the School to apply, will be able to proceed to the completion of the application. All such candidates need to have the support of a potential supervisor. Further details on finding a supervisor and how to submit an application are available here: How to Apply
- PhD: Candidates holding an appropriate Master's degree obtained by research may apply for direct entry to the PhD register to conduct research in a cognate area.
- PhD-track: Candidates with a taught Master's degree in an appropriate discipline with first- or second-class honours, and candidates with a primary degree in an appropriate discipline with first- or second-class honours, grade one, may apply and be considered for entry to the PhD-track register with a view to proceeding towards a PhD. Such candidates will undergo a confirmation procedure, as outlined in the Academic Regulations, before being admitted to the PhD register.
- Master's by Research: Candidates holding a primary degree equivalent to a second-class honours, grade two, may apply for entry on the research Master's register. Students on the Master's register may apply for transfer to the PhD Register under the same conditions, and using the same procedure, as PhD-track candidates requesting confirmation on the PhD register.
In addition to the completed application form, you will need to upload the following to your application:
- Certified Academic transcripts for all previous qualifications completed at 3rd level only
- Copy of Parchment indicating title of degree
- Where transcripts/documents are not in English, certified translations carried out by a professional translator must also be submitted.
- Research Proposal
- If you are not a native English speaker, you will need to provide proof of your competence in the English language. Please click here for details of the qualifications recognised by DCU.
Please note failure to submit correct documentation will lead to your application being kept on hold until the required documentation is supplied.
When a completed application form is submitted, the Admissions Team in the Registry section assess the application. If all requirements have been met, the application is forwarded to the Faculty Office for final decision.
Successful applicants are informed by email. The applicant must accept or decline the offer of Research with DCU by the date stated online. Once the acceptance has been received the applicant will be able to register.
Unsuccessful applicants are informed.
Information on Research Studentships and Scholarships should be available from the School/Research Centre in which you are interested in conducting your research.
Both the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) offer a number of graduate opportunities each year.
For research opportunities that currently exist within research centres/faculties visit the following:
Research by Centres
Research by Faculty
Information on fees for postgraduate research programmes is available on the DCU Finance page at this link.
All research students are appointed an academic supervisor. Your supervisor will be knowledgeable in your field of research and will provide guidance and advice throughout the research process.
If you are offered a place on a postgraduate research programme at DCU, you will receive an offer online which you can accept.
Once you arrive at DCU to commence your studies you should present yourself at the Registry where you will be registered and receive your student identity card.
All postgraduate research students are required to re-register online, on an annual basis, normally in August/September. Please refer to the Student Apps page for the information on the registration timetable. This is also applicable to students who register for year 1 in the grace period (on or after 2nd March) which will mean registering twice within a short period of time.
Students who fail to register during the online registration period will be subject to a late registration fee.
The table below outlines the minimum, typical and maximum periods of registration for each research award. They are also available in Section 5 of the Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees by Research & Thesis.
|PhD (full-time)||3 years||4 years||5 years|
|PhD (part-time)||5 years||6 years||7 years|
|Research Master's (full-time)||2 years||2 years||3 years|
|Research Master's (part-time)||3 years||3-4 years||5 years|
|Professional Doctorate (part-time)||4 years||4-5 years||6 years|
Students on the Master's register may apply for transfer to the PhD Register under the same conditions, and using the same procedure, as PhD-track candidates requesting confirmation on the PhD register.
See point 13. below for further information.
Students initially admitted on the PhD-track register, will have to undergo a transfer/confirmation procedure generally no earlier than 12 months and no later than 21 months registration for full-time students and at an appropriate corresponding time for part-time students.
Applications must be supported by the Principal Supervisor and will be subject to satisfactory performance in an oral examination conducted by the Principal Supervisor and Internal Examiner. Further information on this process is available in Section 8.2 of the Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees by Research & Thesis.
The PGR3 Application for Transfer to/Confirmation on the PhD Register form should be completed and submitted to the Registry at least two weeks in advance of the next Graduate Research Studies Board (GRSB) meeting. A schedule of these meetings is available at https://www.dcu.ie/ovpaa/academic-council-sub-committees
All Postgraduate Research forms are available on the Registry Forms page.
Only up to date forms will be accepted. The current academic year is indicated in the header of each form.
Please see point 11. for the minimum, typical and maximum registration periods for each postgraduate research degree.
If a student does not complete a thesis within the maximum period stipulated, he/she must seek permission from the Graduate Research Studies Board (GRSB) to be allowed to continue his/her studies. Such extensions will be granted in exceptional cases only.
The request should be made on a PGR14 form and submitted to the Registry at least two weeks in advance of the next Graduate Research Studies Board (GRSB) meeting. A schedule of these meetings is available at https://www.dcu.ie/ovpaa/academic-council-sub-committees.
For more information on Submission Dates for the next Conferring Ceremony, please visit the Key Dates page at: https://www.dcu.ie/registry/postgraduate-research-registry
You must submit two copies of your soft-bound thesis, together with, one electronic PDF Copy (entitled with I.D. Number & date on memory key) and a PGR7 Thesis Access Consent form.
Note: where there are two External Examiners appointed, three soft-bound thesis copies must be provided. Further details on the submission procedure should be reviewed in Section 9 of the Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees by Research & Thesis.
After Examination, Following Approval by Examiners for the Award
You must submit two copies of our final hardbound thesis, together with a PGR12 E-thesis submission declaration form. Note: the Front Cover and Spine should have the calendar year in which the Faculty Awards Board for Research Degrees approves the award.
You may also want submit a PGR8 Temporary Restriction of Access form, but this is not compulsory.
The PGR6 Examination Report should be submitted to the Registry by the Independent Chairperson or Internal Examiner.
One copy of your final hardbound thesis is formally presented to your Principal Supervisor at the Faculty Awards Board for Research Degrees and the second copy is delievred to the Library following graduation.
You must submit the thesis copies outlined in point 16. above, to the Registry, in the Henry Grattan Building.
In no instance, should a supervisor or student, send the thesis directly to the examiners, either in soft-bound printed or electronic format.
For more information on Submission Dates for the next Conferring Ceremony, please visit the Key Dates page at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/postgraduate/submission_dates.shtml
PhD Thesis - the maximum word length, including bibliography and notes, is 90,000. Any appendices remain outside the word limit.
Master's Thesis - the maximum word length, including bibliography and notes, is 45,000. Any appendices remain outside the word limit.
Professional Doctoral Thesis - the acceptable word length should fall between the parameters of a Master's thesis and a PhD thesis, and is a matter for discussion between the supervisor and the student.
In the case of scientific and technological theses, the amount of text may be less. Because of this variation from subject to subject, the advice of your supervisor should be sought at an early stage in the preparation of the thesis.
Please refer to Section 9 of the Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees by Research and Thesis for comprehensive information on Thesis Format and Layout.
The Front Cover and Spine should have the calendar year in which the Faculty Awards Board for Research Degrees approves the award. Please visit the Key Dates page information on the next Faculty Awards Boards for Research Degrees.
You must also ensure that the following Declaration is populated and signed in your thesis immediately following the Title Page:
I hereby certify that this material, which I now submit for assessment on the programme of study leading to the award of ........................... (insert title of degree for which registered)
is entirely my own work, and that I have exercised reasonable care to ensure that the work is original, and does not to the best of my knowledge breach any law of copyright,
and has not been taken from the work of others save and to the extent that such work has been cited and acknowledged within the text of my work.
Research students must undertake a review every year in consultation with their supervisory panel. This facilitates a recommendation being made about continued registration into the next academic year. It is an important formal part of progress monitoring.
The report must be completed online at http://pgr2online.dcu.ie.
The student must start the submission. There are several stages in the process so it should be started at the earliest possible opportunity.
The deadline for completion is mid-end of July each year. See the Academic Calendar for the definitive deadline.
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Please refer to sections 8, 9,10, 11 and 12 of the Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees by Research and Thesis for comprehensive information on Examination Procedures.
A transcript of your results will be issued after formal approval of the recommendations of the Faculty Awards Board for Research Degrees by Academic Council.
Your award parchment will be presented to you at the graduation ceremony. If you are unable to attend the graduation ceremony you should e-mail email@example.com to advise that you will not be in attendance and that you would like your award parchment to be posted to you after the ceremony.
Please ensure that your contact details are up to date before graduation.
The Letter of Invitation issued to External Examiner(s) following approval by Graduate Research Studies Board, includes a standard confidentiality clause, suitable for most academic and Intellectual Property (IP) protection purposes.
Where a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is required for thesis examination, this should be indicated on the PGR4 form.
Registry will then notify Invent to liaise with your Principal Supervisor to comprise the document.
Some examples where Non-Disclosure Agreements may be required are:
- Employment based PhD's funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC).
- Fully funded PhD scholarships where industry has additional specific secrecy/confidentiality agreements.
Further information on NDA's can be located on the Research Support page at this link. Note: access to this page requires a valid DCU account.