Masters of Research

Masters of Research
Do you want to develop your research skills? Do you have a research project that you want to undertake, and are looking for expert support and access to the latest thinking? Do you need to upgrade your practice?

NCAD now offers a Masters in Research to support students who wish to pursue a specialist and indepdendent programme of study that results in the award of a reserarch degree.

What is the Masters of Research programme at NCAD?
Students registered on the MRes programme NCAD will create an individual body of work (artworks, text/s, designs, objects) that results from a systematic programme of critical enquiry into a research question or theme.

A training in research practice, MRes students will have identified and scoped a major project at the outset that they then realise over the course of the degree. As such, an MRes requires a greater degree of intellectual independence on the part of a student than is required on a taught masters programme. On completion, the work will demonstrate contemporary relevance in terms of an engagement with current concerns and issues in its field.

MRes students are supported by an expert supervision team providing one-to-one support as well as classes on research methods and other key skills and understanding required for the successful competition of the project such as research ethics or writing practices. They will have access to the facilities at NCAD or can choose to work remotely, coming to Dublin to present their work each trimester to their supervisors and peers. They will be joining a community of researchers with other MRes and PhD students at NCAD. Like all postgraduate students, they will be encouraged to make their research public by means of presentation, exhibition or publication.

The MRes is an excellent introduction to research methods and practice for those wishing to undertake a PhD. MRes students will have the opportunity to apply to transfer to PhD after two full time trimesters or four part time trimesters.

The MRes can be undertaken by thesis or by practice. ‘By practice’ describes a mode of research that is compatible with the kinds of creative practices undertaken at NCAD. Typically, an artist, designer, maker, curator, educator, writer or a practitioner of another kind will undertake to complete a body of work. The extent and nature of that work will be agreed at the outset and will include a written component. ‘By Thesis’ research will result in a body of writing this might be a single text of a portfolio of related articles in a distinct field amounting to c.25,000-30,000 words.

What will my qualification be?
The award will indicate one of the following specialisms:
MRes (Craft) * MRes (Design) * MRes (Education and Fine Art) * MRes (Education and Design) * MRes (Education and Craft) * MRes (Fine Art) * MRes (Visual Culture)

Who should do an MRes?
Future PhD Applicants: Those who wish to undertake a PhD in Art, Design, Craft, Education and/or Visual Culture, and need to develop the research skills as well as a sophisticated research proposal that will lead to successful doctoral studies at NCAD or elsewhere.

Researchers undertaking projects in their professional role. Mid-career professionals who have established a practice in Art, Design, Craft, Education and fields related to Visual Culture (such as art criticism and curation) and are looking to further develop their skills as researchers and critical thinkers. In such cases, the applicant may well have a significant project that they wish to develop within their current field of practice.

Researchers wishing to experiment or extend expertise. Mid-career professionals who wish to extend their practice into new fields e.g. an artist, educatoir or designer who wishes to develop a research expertise in curation, facilitation, educational, health and other social contexts.

Established Educators. The MRes is an attractive option for second and third level educators and other professionals who wish to advance their careers by undertaking a research project. In the case of teachers, this may be related to their educational practice though this is not necessarily the case.

Entry requirements

Am I qualified to do a MRes?
Typically, an MRes student will have a BA and MA qualification, though not always in the field in which they wish to conduct their MRes work. An MRes can be a good way of developing new expertise and skills. Students with professional practice are encouraged to apply – an MRes can be an excellent way of extending your professional capacities.

Application dates

How to apply
Applicants need to make a research proposal, i.e. to outline a project that they wish to undertake, as well as supply references and complete an application form. Prior to making a full application we recommend that you approach us with an outline proposal that answers these questions:

What is the field of research that you wish to undertake and why?
What research have you done to identify this field of research? (Map out your engagement with the topic in the past and explain how your prior education / experience supports your proposal)
What resources will you need to undertake this research? (e.g. do you need access to particular equipment, training, materials or archives)
How will the MRes support your intellectual or career aspirations?
What is your preferred mode of study (full time, part time or long mode)?
We will respond indicating whether we have the expertise and facilities to support you and whether or not we encourage you to make a full application.

Please send your outline proposal or any queries to Dr Declan Long –


The MRes can be taken in three modes:
Full time over 12 months (3 trimesters) – commencing in September
Part time over 24 months (6 PT trimesters) – commencing in September
Long mode – 3 summer full time trimesters – June-September each year

Students can be based on site at NCAD and if the practice requires, will have access to studio and workshop facilities. Students who work remotely or don’t need access to these facilities pay lower fees.


The PhD through practice entails a practitioner producing a body of work within a critically reflective frame of enquiry with the intention of extending and innovating an area of design practice.

In the PhD programme through Design - whether working as part of a research cluster or on an individual programme of enquiry – students demonstrate advanced research ability in the discovery and development of new knowledge and skills, delivering findings at the frontiers of knowledge and application. The key issue in a PhD is that the student will make a significant contribution to the field of enquiry. It is an ambitious programme of study whether pursued through practical work or written thesis. PhD study normally requires a minimum of three years full-time study (but may require longer, given the high level of achievement required).

The final submission for a doctoral award in Design will normally entail a combined submission of:

1.A body of practical work

2.A written text of 20,000 to 40,000 words.

The PhD programme at NCAD is a structured programme involving significant interdisciplinary and discipline specific input in the early stages of the research project, and active engagement with a community of researchers within and beyond NCAD.

•The NCAD's training, supervision and support processes for PhD candidates include:

•Regular, dynamic student-led interdisciplinary PhD research seminars

•Access to international PhD networks and exchange programmes

•Supervised access to internal and external experts in the relevant field

•Annual national PhD conferences in art and design

•Public symposia and conferences in PhD research areas

•Cross-institutional collaboration involving multidisciplinary research teams

•Training in appropriate research methods.

Applicants for a PhD through Practice in Design are encouraged to identify members of college staff they would wish to work with as supervisor(s) to offer guidance in developing their research proposal.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider