The aims of the PhD programmes offered by the School of Law in UCD are:
that candidates will conceive, design and give effect to a substantial and innovative piece of research which will expand the frontiers of knowledge. This is done by developing of a substantial body of work (leading to publication of a monograph or a series of academic articles);
that candidates will be able to evaluate and synthesise new and complex ideas;
that candidates will become effective communicators orally and through writing;
that candidates will demonstrate knowledge and understanding in their chosen field of legal study. They will develop advanced conceptual frameworks and provide systemic understanding of the problems they identify; and
that candidates will be able to promote intellectual, social and cultural advancement in a knowledge-based society.
The doctoral programme in law is a structured programme. The core element in the programme is of course the carrying out of research leading to the completion of a thesis. Students are also required to complete a minimum number of taught modules (30 credits).
These modules include one compulsory course - Introduction to Advanced Research in Law - Optional courses which a student might choose to take include a course in qualitative and quantitative research methods, in substantive areas of law or in other areas where the student feels skills might be required to advance his or her PhD studies, for example languages or economics.
Students are assigned to a main supervisor before arrival at the Law School. The supervisor, in turn, is supported by a team of two other members of academic staff with expertise in the field of research. The supervisor plus the other staff members constitute your 'doctoral panel'.
At the end of the first year of the PhD programme each candidate is required to complete a transfer process in order to move from the first to the second stage of the PhD programme. This process provides an opportunity for students to review the progress they have made in the first year. It also enables the School of Law to ensure that all candidates are making sufficient progressing towards completion and accruing the transferable skills which PhD studies are designed to foster in a student - independence of research, originality of thought and competence in advanced research methodologies and skills.