Business - Research

Aimed at graduates with an excellent academic background in business or an area relevant to their chosen field of research, our PhD programme is a key part of our research culture and has a global reputation for excellence and facilities that are second-to-none. It is designed for those who intend to pursue a career in academia, business education, research, consultancy or related professions.

We offer an excellent taught programme in the first and second years of the PhD so as to properly equip you with the skills to undertake your own research. Guided by a specifically designed Research and Professional Development Programme, you can plan and organise your coursework and research activities over the course of your studies.

Our campus setting in Blackrock is home to around 50 doctoral researchers originating from a wide variety of countries, who are less 'students' and more early professionals partaking in a research education of the highest quality. As a doctoral student, you are encouraged to develop your own research ideas and preferred methodology under the close guidance of a senior academic colleague.

How will I benefit?

1.You will receive structured training through taught advanced modules and close supervision to guide you in becoming a successful researcher, and to make a significant and original contribution to knowledge in business research.

2.Access to the latest business research through premium-quality academic seminars, PhD workshops, and high-profile visiting academics.

3.You will be an integral part of UCD Smurfit Business School's vibrant, globally recognised (ranked 1st in Ireland and top 50 in Europe by the FT) research community.

4.Opportunity to interact and collaborate with leading academics who publish regularly in top international business and management journals.

5.Financial support to attend top international conferences and workshops.


Our structured PhD programme is centred on the preparation of a research thesis, which must contain material of a publishable/peer-reviewed standard. You will prepare the thesis under the guidance of a Principal Supervisor and submit it within four years of registration for full-time students and six years for part-time students.

Your PhD is structured into two stages. Stage 1 is an initial period of advanced education and normally comprises 90 ECTS credits. At the end of Stage 1, students may apply to transfer to Stage 2, which is largely dedicated to original doctoral research, but may also include taught modules. Students with a relevant Master's degree by research may be admitted directly to Stage 2.

All PhD students are required, with the support of their Doctoral Studies Panel, to develop a Research and Professional Development Plan that describes the student's educational, training and personal and professional development needs.

Entry requirements

Admission onto the UCD Smurfit School PhD is subject to stringent entrance criteria, the submission of a proposal outlining your intended line of research, references and, where appropriate, proof of linguistic and academic ability.

A minimum 2.1 primary degree in Commerce or Business Studies, or in a subject closely related to the proposed area of study
An appropriate Master's degree (or equivalent) from a recognised higher education institution
Evidence of academic standing and/or relevant professional experience proving the applicant's suitability for doctoral studies

Please submit original/certified copy of your transcript along with your application

Two references attesting to the applicant's intellectual ability, maturity and motivation. Two original references are required.

Please arrange for referees to post their references to the Centre For Doctoral Research, Smurfit School, Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin or e-mail directly to If posted, the reference should be on headed notepaper of the referee's institution. If emailed, then the email must be sent from the referee's work email.

Applications remain incomplete until the receipt of Original References and must be received by relevant application deadlines (where applicable)

Please submit a copy of your scholarly work along with your application (e.g. masters dissertation, undergraduate individual project)

For non-native English speakers (except those whose primary degree was taken in English), an English language qualification is required. Please submit original/certified copy of your English language qualification results along with your application

A Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) score may be requested for some PhD programmes.


3 Years FT/ 6 Years PT


Fees Full-Time EU:
€6,170 (academic year 2018/2019)

Full-Time Non-EU:
€11,885 (academic year 2018/2019)

Part-Time EU*:
€4,080 per year (academic year 2018/2019)

Part-Time Non-EU*:
€7,955 per year (academic year 2018/2019)

*The minimum registration period for a part-time PhD is six years.

Enrolment dates

Start date: To be agreed with School

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

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