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Psychology - Research

PhD Research Programme
The PhD research programme at UCD School of Psychology, which is offered as a three-year full-time or six-year part-time programme, provides the highest level of specialisation in clinical psychology, disability and rehabilitation, cognitive and behavioural neuroscience, and social and developmental psychology. It is designed for students who wish to pursue teaching, research or clinical positions in academia or industry. To complete the PhD, you conduct a research programme, write it up as a doctoral thesis, and undertake 30 credits of postgraduate coursework on modules relevant to your thesis – Search UCD Graduate Modules Each student's educational, training, personal and professional development needs are supported by a panel of staff. Students may receive financial support through paid positions as a tutor or demonstrator in undergraduate tutorials or labs.

Entry requirements

You may apply for admission to the PhD research programme if you have obtained, or expect to obtain:

•An upper second-class honours bachelor's degree in Psychology or an upper second-class honours Higher Diploma in Psychology (conversion course). The award must be recognised by the Psychological Society of Ireland or by the psychology society of the country in which the qualification was awarded.

•To enter the PhD programme directly, you should have completed a research masters degree in psychology, or you should have completed a taught masters degree in psychology and have three year's experience in a field relevant to your PhD topic.

If you do not fully meet the second requirement listed above, you may be eligible to apply for an MLitt Research Masters Degree after one year of which you can apply to transfer to the PhD programme.

If you have a masters degree in disability studies and wish to pursue doctoral study, please contact Dr Suzanne Guerin, Director of the UCD Centre for Disability Studies, at


3 years full-time / 6 years part-time.

Further enquiries
01 716 8369

Assessment method

Each PhD student is supported by a three-person doctoral studies panel (DSP) which includes their thesis supervisor and two other academics.

You develop a research and professional development plan (RPDP) that your doctoral studies panel use to monitor your progress annually. The RPDP describes your proposed programme of research and documents your educational, training, personal, and professional development needs. At the end of the first year, you write a transfer report to transfer from stage 1 to stage 2 of the PhD programme and defend this in a meeting with your doctoral studies panel. The PhD is examined in an oral viva voce examination with internal and external examiners where you defend your PhD thesis. PhD theses describe research which makes an original, substantial, publishable contribution to knowledge and the degree is awarded to candidates who have demonstrated the capacity to pursue original research and scholarship.

Application date

Applicants in the first instance may contact the staff member who they would like to supervise their research. Details of individual academic staff members' research interests, lists of their publications, and their contact details are available on the Staff profile pages. If you are interested in working with a specific staff member, contact them by email. If a staff member agrees to supervise your research then, you are invited to submit a research proposal to the School of Psychology Research Committee on the Research Graduate Application form.

Contact Muriel Keegan at or +353 1 716 8120 for further information on the PhD research programme or procedures for proposal submission.

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