Business - Research

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?

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.

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

You will have direct access to a dedicated experienced Career & Skills consultant specialising in Graduate Research Students. One to one guidance, workshops and seminars re Interview skills etc will be available from our consultant who has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the research landscape and lifecycle, and who continually engages with employers to stay ahead of the curve in current & future employment trends.

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.

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

Financial support to attend top international conferences and workshops.

Subjects taught

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.

The PhD programme is structured into two stages. Stage 1 is an initial period of advanced education, training, and research. Students at the College of Business are required to obtain a minimum of 30 credits from attending taught modules, which are chosen in consultation with their supervisor and Research Studies Panel. At the end of Stage 1, students apply to transfer to Stage 2 of the PhD programme by undertaking a Transfer Assessment. Stage 2 of the programme is largely dedicated to original doctoral research but may also include taught modules. Students with a relevant Research Master’s degree may be admitted directly to Stage 2 after completing a Transfer Assessment.

All PhD students are required, with the support of their Doctoral Studies Panel, to develop a Research and Professional Development Plan (RPDP) that describes the student’s educational, training, and personal and professional development needs. The PhD thesis is examined through a viva voce examination by a unique PhD Examination Committee.

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

Application dates

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.

Before submitting an application, potential candidates are encouraged to consult the subject area webpages for the Business School or those of the other UCD Colleges to identify a suitable supervisor(s). Potential candidates should contact them directly by email (attaching research proposal, CV, etc) to request if they would be interested in supervising them.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to have secured funding for the duration of their studies (4 years minimum) prior to commencement. A guide to estimated costs is available

After securing supervision support and funding, potential candidates can then submit an application and other materials using the on-line system and completing an application pack consisting of:

On-line Application Form
Research Proposal
Two References
Sample of Scholarly Work
Satisfactory English Language Test Score where applicable

Applicants must submit a 1000-word research proposal outlining:

The chosen topic
The nature, scope and methodology of study
The relevance or importance of the topic
A preliminary literature review
Please submit your research proposal along with your application
Please submit original/certified copy of your transcript along with your application

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

Please arrange for referees to post their references to the Centre For Doctoral Research, Smurfit School, Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, to e-mail directly to, or avail of the confidential automatic referee system.

(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

Enrolment dates

Applications are accepted on on-going basis through our On-line Application Form.

Next Intake : September 2024. Application Closing date 30th June 2024.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider