A PhD is the highest degree awarded at universities in Ireland. Study is based on a substantial research project in an area of academic interest, typically up to 100,000 words in length, written as a thesis which must be defended in an oral examination at the end of the programme. All PhD students are assigned a supervisor, and the duration of a PhD is typically three years full-time and six years part-time.
Very few research degrees feature taught modules, and students are expected to take more responsibility for their work and schedule. Universities in Ireland are known for their academic excellence and state-of-the-art research infrastructure, along with their support for enterprise partnerships lending much value to a PhD degree from Ireland.
Irish universities are free to admit anyone to a PhD programme, with admission generally conditional on the prospective student having completed an undergraduate degree with at least upper second-class honours and a masters degree. English language ability proof is a must, and a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is generally required. There is usually a first-year assessment to remain in study, and the thesis is submitted at the end of the completed programme.
Once you have decided on an area of research and have looked into how you will fund your study, several documents are required when submitting your application. They include:
A research proposal (example) is required by all students when applying to study for a PhD. The proposal should address the research you wish to undertake, how you will do it, and why it is important. A panel of experts must accept the proposal before your programme can begin.
If you wish to study for a PhD, you may first need to begin an MPhil and then transfer to a PhD programme after 12-18 months. An MPhil is also a qualification in its own right and is generally thesis-only, lasting one year full-time and two years part-time. The thesis must present the results of a study and research and be a maximum of 60,000 words.
Students choose to study an MPhil if the proposed research has insufficient scope for a full PhD.
An MRes is an advanced postgraduate research degree in art, humanities and social sciences. Some PhDs require an MRes qualification before beginning a PhD proper, and the student must complete a 40,000-word dissertation.
An MRes is an excellent test to see if you enjoy conducting your research without fully committing to and finding funding for a full PhD.
Professional doctorates are similar to a PhD but are intended to advance professional practice rather than improve academic ability. Common professional doctorates include law, education, business, engineering and medicine.
Funding and researching a PhD can be expensive, with non-EU students paying up to £9,000 to £30,000 per year or more, depending on the chosen programmes and institutions.
It is rare for a PhD student not to be supported by some form of bursary, grant or scholarship, and many universities and research councils provide monetary support for part or all of a PhD programme.
If you are interested in studying for a research degree in Ireland, arrange a free consultation with SI-Ireland today.
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