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Infomation & Communication Studies - Research

The School's research is highly interdisciplinary. Much of the work is strongly anchored in the human sciences, focusing on the interaction between people, information and society in technological and communicative contexts.

The School's research has a strong base in theories from across the disciplines, uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods and is interdisciplinary in its research outputs. Individual staff members have strong formal and informal links with academics in other disciplines (e.g. anthropology, computer science, philosophy and psychology, cultural heritage, business studies) as well as backgrounds that relate to these disciplines.

Entry requirements

PhD Academic Background and Knowledge requirements

It is expected that PhD students will have an academic background necessary to support doctoral level research. Information and communication studies is a broad, interdisciplinary field and all students will need different knowledge to complete their thesis. A potential supervisor may be able to advise on the knowledge they expect their potential students to have gained before applying for entry to the programme.

In addition to subject specific knowledge, all PhD students are expected to have a basic understanding of social science research methods before applying for entry to the programme. If this knowledge is lacking and the student is offered a place, it is expected that they will complete necessary taught modules in research methods to meet basic requirements set by the department.

Admission requirements

a. A minimum 2.1 primary degree (3.08 GPA) in any field of study; OR

b. A master's degree in information science, library science, communication studies or a related field.

For non-native English speakers, an English language certificate is required: IELTS overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each section.


Information & Communication Studies (W118) MLitt Research 2 Years FT
Information & Communication Studies (W139/W140) PhD Research 3 Years FT / 6 Years PT

Further enquiries

The School Office (room 113) Newman Building, first floor, C block
E-mail: Telephone: +353 (01) 716 8360

Claire Nolan,
School administrator for the school office
T: +353 1 716 8360

UCD School of Information and Communication Studies
Newman Building, first floor, C block, room 113
University College
Dublin 4

The School Office (room 113) is an extremely important part of the School, it is the administrative hub of School activities. Office hours are posted on the office door.
The School Administrator Ms Claire Nolan will help with any questions regarding student administrative or organisational matters. When the Office is closed, or if the Administrator is not available, your queries should be sent by e-mail to:, please include your UCD student number in all correspondence with the School.

Subjects taught

Current Research Activity

The school houses faculty with expertise in open data, digital archives, information behaviour, human-computer interaction, informatics, digital curation, theoretical foundations of information science, issues in information profession and social media and society. Currently the research strategy of the school is one that focuses on bottom-up development of areas of research.

Social Science Data Archives: History and Sustainability

Playing Social Roulette: The Impact of Gambling on Individuals and Society in Ireland

User Requirements Analysis for the Nation, Genre and Gender Project

Usability Evaluation of Digital Edition of Letters of 1916 Project

Authority and Responsibility in the Digital Age

Scholarly Communication and Practices in the World of Metrics: A Critical Study

Seeking the Perfect Blend: Creating Innovative Digital Learning Spaces in ICS.

Partner Modeling in Human-Computer Dialogue

EastAR Rising; Mobile Walking Tour App for the 1916 Easter Rising sites in Dublin

Digital Curation Needs Analysis in Ireland

Visualization, Media, Digital Humanities and Preservation: Developing Curation ready Projects

Application date

1. Check admission requirements.

a. A minimum 2.1 primary degree (3.08 GPA) in any field of study; OR

b. A master's degree in information science, library science, communication studies or a related field.

For non-native English speakers, an English language certificate is required: IELTS overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each section.

2. Conduct research on School staff areas of expertise.

Search the UCD staff profiles and search published literature on Google scholar to get an idea about staff research expertise.

3. Contact an ICS academic staff member directly and ask if they would be willing to supervisor you.

You will not be considered for a place in the programme if a staff member has not agreed to supervise you. While the PhD Coordinator may be able to offer advice, it is not the role of the PhD Coordinator to match applicants with supervisors. It is expected that exceptional applicants will locate their own supervisor.

4. Apply to the programme using the UCD Online applications system.
This is the only acceptable method to apply to the PhD programme, no email applications or post applications are accepted.

The online application system will provide you to respond to the following prompts. Each section of the application will be weighted using the corresponding percentage.

1. Applicant statement (500-1000 words) (35%)

a. Please provide details of your proposed research to include (a) aims, objectives and central research questions of the project, (b) how existing literature on the topic has been used to inform the proposal and (c) how the project will advance state of the art and make a contribution to existing knowledge:

b. Please detail the research design and methodologies to be employed in carrying out your scholarship which should be described in sufficient detail to demonstrate your thorough understanding of the research topic:

2. Personal statement (500-1000 words) (40%)

a. What are your career goals and how would obtaining a PhD in Information and Communication studies help you to achieve them?

b. How will you go about acquiring the expert knowledge and transferable skills necessary for your professional development, e.g. technical skills, communication skills, analytical skills?

c. How would the PhD degree enable you to gain skills relevant to employment outside the traditional academic sector?

3. Additional information (300-500 words) (10%)

Please highlight any additional information which has not been included elsewhere in the application, e.g.:

Why do you wish to pursue a higher degree by research?

Why have you proposed this research topic?

Why do you feel there is a specific demand for the skill set that you wish to build?

Why are you particularly suited to this research field?

Which of your attributes demonstrate your capability to be a good researcher, e.g. motivation, commitment, thirst for knowledge?

4. Academic background CV/resume (15%) including detail about work experience and research achievements (publications, research awards, exhibits, media recognition, etc.)

5. The online application system opens in February each year. Although you may submit at any time, applications are not reviewed until after the May 15th deadline (if you are applying for the UCD China Scholarship Scheme the deadlines are usually much earlier- please contact the PhD Coordinator or UCD Graduate studies). We will attempt to notify you about the outcome of your application as soon as possible. After your application is preliminarily reviewed, you may or may not be asked to complete a Skype interview, to provide the application committee with more information. An interview does not mean you are or are not more likely to be accepted to the programme, it is just a way to gather more information about your application.

If you have further questions please contact the PhD coordinator:

Research areas

The PhD research programme at UCD School of Information and Communication Studies provides the highest level of specialisation in:

•Digital Curation and Digital Heritage
•Information and Digital Literacy
•Human Computer Interaction and Informatics
•Communication with and through Technology
•Critical Information Studies
•Information Behaviour
•Data and Society
•Data Journalism

Enrolment and start dates

Start date: To be agreed with School.

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