Sociology - Research

The School welcomes applications from prospective PhD and Research Masters students who wish to undertake research in sociology. We are very pleased to consider applications in any area of sociology in which we can provide appropriate supervision.

The School has exciting and diverse PhD and MLitt programmes which have been extensively revised in recent years. There are new taught components that provide greater structure and professional training, but the emphasis remains on students completing a major, independent piece of research that makes a significant contribution to sociological knowledge.

The PhD in Sociology is awarded following the completion of 270 credits, comprising 240 credits for the thesis and a further 30 credits of taught modules. This is normally a 3 year full-time or 5-6 year part-time programme.

The MLitt in Sociology is awarded following the completion of 180 credits, comprising 150 credit for the thesis and a further 30 credits of taught modules. This is normally a 2 year programme.

Subjects taught

Structured PhD Programme – School of Sociology

The UCD Structured PhD aims to enable PhD students to achieve the best possible experience of graduate research and training. Making a substantial and original contribution to knowledge, normally leading to peer-reviewed publications, remains the core objective of doctoral studies. The Structured PhD includes several innovative measures designed to support you in achieving your academic and professional objectives, which are outlined below.

Research Studies Panel
The School of Sociology will appoint a Research Studies Panel for you at the beginning of your first year. The purpose of the Research Studies Panel is to support and enhance the supervisor-student relationship, to monitor your progress during the course of your doctoral studies and to provide advice and support both to you and your supervisor(s). See Link to Academic Regulations below for more information.

Research and Professional Development Plan (RPDP)
Research and professional development planning is an integral part of the Structured PhD programme at UCD. The purpose of such planning is to ensure that your work is clearly focused on achieving your research and professional development goals. This will play a major part in informing the trajectory of your PhD research and in your training and development as a researcher. For further information on the RPDP please click here.

Transferable Skills Training
As a PhD graduate, your skill-set will naturally include the advanced research and analytical techniques required to undertake high level research in your field. You will also be expected to possess a range of transferable skills, relevant to the successful completion of your research project and to broader career development. Taught modules, online modules and workshops covering a wide range of transferable skills and research skills topics are available to assist you. Please visit Research Student Training and Development for further information.

Credits and Modules
The UCD Structured PhD operates within a credit-based framework (270 credits for 3-year full-time, or 5-6 year part-time PhD). Of that 270 credits, you must earn 30 credits by attending taught modules that develop your academic and transferable skills. Please see Masters modules available under our "Masters Programmes" in the left hand column.

The School runs PhD/MLitt Roundtable modules in research and theory (2.5 credits per semester) which students are encouraged to take. Students may also take modules from within the School's taught Masters Programmes (10 credits per module) or from other programmes within the College of Social Sciences and Law, including a wide range of modules in research methods.

Doctoral studies, which are normally completed by full-time students within three years, comprise two stages:

Stage 1 is a period when you define your research plan, develop your research skills and initiate original research work for your doctorate. For doctoral students progression from Stage 1 to Stage 2 normally occurs within the first 12-18 months (or 24-36 months for part-time students).

Stage 2 is primarily dedicated to continuing your original doctoral research but may also include some advanced education and training.

Further information can be found in Section 18 of the Academic Regulations (see link below)

Academic Regulations
The regulations governing the UCD Structured PhD Programme are available here.

UCD Research Ethics
Regulations governing UCD Research Ethics are available here.

Entry requirements

Applicants must normally have a first or upper second-class honours primary degree and/or masters degree, or the equivalent. In circumstances where examination results are not known at the time of application, the School of Sociology may make a Conditional Offer subject to receiving a complete and final transcript confirming that the applicant has met the above requirements. Notarised English translations, as well as the original transcript, should be provided where relevant giving details of all courses taken and examination marks obtained.

Application dates

In advance of making your application you should read through the Application Procedures, and make contact with a member of staff whose area of research you think most closely relates to your area of research to discuss your proposal. For information on research areas of staff please click here. It is important that you send them a clear outline of your draft research proposal, cv, and copy of transcripts. We strongly recommend that a member of staff reads and reviews your final proposal before you make you application to the School.

Documents Required for the Application Process
Cover letter outlining the candidate's reasons for choosing to apply to UCD School of Sociology and our research programme.

Comprehensive research proposal (a) - (e) below
(a) Abstract of your research proposal (no more than 250 words)

(b) Introduction that highlights originality and significance of your research and identifies a clear research question (no more than 500 words)

(c) Location of the proposed project within the current state of research and bibliography in the area (no more than 500 words)

(d) Outline of your research methodology (no more than 400 words)

(e) Year to year plan of the research (no more than 250 words)

Curriculum vitae / resumé.

Transcripts (notarised English translations, as well as the original transcript where relevant) giving details of all courses taken and examination marks obtained.

Two academic references from referees acquainted with the candidate's academic work and who are prepared to write on their behalf. References must be on headed paper and contain the referee's individual contact details. Referees must email their reference to References forwarded by applicants will not be accepted.

Writing Sample comprising one of the following: the candidate's completed Masters thesis, 2-3 draft chapters if thesis is not yet submitted, samples of published work or other relevant written work.

Evidence of English language proficiency. Candidates must demonstrate that they have met the UCD mimimum English Language Entry Requirements. A degree taken in English in a native English-speaking country is acceptable. A wide range of other qualifications, such as IELTS or TOEFL, are also accepted. Full information can be found here.

Copy of birth certificate or relevant pages from the candidate's passport to confirm their official name and date of birth (non UCD applicants only).
Applications will be evaluated by a School Selection Board on the basis of their excellence, originality and potential.

PhD applications are submitted via the UCD online application portal. Use the course finder to search for W149 (full-time PhD programme) or W150 (part-time PhD programme) and follow the steps online to apply.

MLitt applicants should contact the School via the details below before beginning the submission process.

Lucia Suchorova

Tel: +353 1 716 8674
Email: with cc to


Applications will be considered from any suitably qualified applicants. Applicants, however, must make their own visa/consular arrangements to ensure that they are eligible to reside in Ireland for the duration of their studies. Useful information can be found on the UCD International Office website.

A Zoom or phone interview may be requested by the UCD School of Sociology as part of the admissions process.

Original copies of all application documents will be required prior to enrolment on PhD or MLitt programmes.

The School of Sociology reserves the right to revise these application procedures at any time.


W149 PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time.
W123 MLitt 2 years full-time

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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    Course provider