Social Science - Research

The Doctor of Social Science (DSocSc) is a four year professional doctorate programme designed to provide advanced professional and research skills to qualified, experienced practitioners in lead roles in youth work, community work, rights and social change focused organisations.

The DSocSc programme is designed to:

1. further progress the commitment of the Department and the University to combining the highest levels of academic achievement with excellence in professional education by educating flexible, innovative and skilled practitioners who can contribute to development of theory and practice in youth work, community work and the realisation of rights for marginalised groups.

2. enable experienced practitioners to undertake original, rigorous research in youth work, community work and rights based contexts that contributes to the development of their disciplines.

Entry requirements

All candidates should hold at least an MA or equivalent level 9 academic qualification, ideally in a social science discipline. They should have a minimum of five years post-qualifying professional experience in youth work, community work, social policy or related social professions. Particular consideration is given to candidates with professional qualifications in youth work and community work and allied social professions.


MHB06 4 years Full-time

Careers or further progression

Career options:

While the participants on the DSocSc programme will be skilled professionals on entry to the programme, experience over the four years will prepare them to further advance in their professional and academic careers in the areas of senior management, policy development, teaching and research.

Postgraduate options:
For further information on Postgraduate options please go to the Graduate Studies site

Further enquiries

Programme Co-ordinator: Hilary Tierney
Tel: +353 (0)1 708 3743/4574
Fax; +353 (0)1 708 4708
Web: applied-social-studies

Subjects taught

The programme is structured around four years, combining four block campus based modules (3–5 days duration) per year. Each block workshop consists of taught seminars, small group work, self directed learning, individual and small group tutorials. Participants will be expected to participate in online learning in between block modules. Students will complete 360 credits over four years, which are divided equally between continuous assessment in the first two years and a final research thesis of some 40–50,000 words in years three and four.

The DSocSc programme modules will focus on topics of particular relevance to youth work, community work and rights contexts. In addition, students will be able to avail of modules develeloped by the Faculty of Social Sciences as well as those offered through the DRHEA. The taught modules offered will include:

1. Social science, the social professions and the foundations of social research (15 credits)
2. Critical Debates in Practice (15 credits)
3. Participatory and Feminist Analysis and Research (15 credits)
4. Social Research Debates & Processes (15 credits)
5. Research Design (15 cred its)
6. Governance, Organisations, Leadership and Change (15 credits)
7. Realising Rights: Social Policy Debates & Issues (15 credits)
8. Professional Practice: Perspectives on Development, Gender, Diversity and Conflict & Mediation Studies (15 credits)

It will not necessary to have a research project in mind when applying though students will have identified a substantive topic by the end of the first year. In years three and four, the modules will be tailored to suit participants' research interests and will focus on ensuring thesis completion in the agreed timeframe. In addition, interested participants will have the oportunity to prepare a Conference Presentation (5 credits) or engage in a Professional Publication Project (5 credits).

Full details will be available on the Departmental website.


Since its inception in 1981, the Department has earned an unrivalled reputation for its education and training with graduates occupying positions at all levels in community organisations, youth projects, social justice, equality and human rights initiatives, local national and international NGOs, local and national authorities and institutions.

Application date

All applications should be made through the PAC system.

Research areas

Research Interests
Research interests include equality and human rights, racism, ethnicity, women's studies, ageism, youth work and youth studies, community development and community work, criminal justice policy and Irish, comparative and European social policy.

Course fee

In general, there are two levels of fees payable. EU students from EU countries including Ireland pay a subsidised level of fees for both taught courses and research programmes. Tuition fees for students from outside the EU are not subsidised and are thus somewhat higher than for EU students.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!