Science & Engineering - Structured Research

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement to a postgraduate research degree is an honours primary degree (level 8 – as defined by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) with a minimum classification of a 2:1 or 2:2. Individual faculties or research centres may have specific entry requirements.

International Applicants
In addition to the minimum entry requirements specified above, international applicants are advised to meet the following standard English language requirements:

Overall score of 6.5 or above, with no less than 6.0 in any one component

A minimum score of 580 (paper-based) 90 (internet-based)

Uni of Cambridge ESOL Examination
Grade C or higher on a Certificate of proficiency in English (CPE)
Grade A on a Certificate of Advanced English (CAE)

Information on visas, immigration, accommodation and insurance is available on the Graduate School website:

Application date

The first step in applying for a graduate research position is to identify a potential supervisor and project. If you have difficulty in identifying a potential supervisor you should complete an expression of interest form available from Once you have identified a supervisor and project, you should complete a research application form and submit it to the Postgraduate Admissions Office. Application forms are available from UL accepts research applications throughout the year.

Up-to-date information on research activities in faculties, departments and research centres is available on the UL website: At this stage you should also try to identify possible sources of funding.

Research areas

Science & Engineering
The Faculty of Science & Engineering is the largest faculty in UL, comprised of the following ten departments:

• Architecture
• Chemical & Environmental Sciences
• Civil Engineering & Materials Science
• Computer Science & Information Systems
• Electronic & Computer Engineering
• Life Sciences
• Design & Manufacturing Technology
• Mathematics & Statistics
• Mechanical, Aeronautical & Biomedical Engineering
• Physics & Energy

The faculty's departments currently deliver taught and research postgraduate programmes to over 780 registered postgraduates, of which over 330 are pursuing doctorate programmes. The primary focus is on increasing the quality and quantity of postgraduate students and research outputs, including PhDs and publications.

The main research objective of the faculty is to provide a research-driven environment that will undertake both fundamental and applied research. Promoting the publication of results, attracting national and international researchers, and developing further collaborative links with industry are also key priorities.

The research interests of the faculty cover a wide spectrum of disciplines under the umbrella of three strategic research institutes – Materials & Surface Science (MSSI), Stokes Institute and the Irish Software Engineering Research Institute (Lero) – and a large number of research centres, including recently opened Irish Centre for Composites Research (IComp). A major emphasis has been placed on Pharmaceuticals Research with the recent launch of the €40 million National Pharmaceutical Research Centre (SSPCSynthesis & Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre) at the University of Limerick, which will position Ireland as a global hub for the pharmaceutical industry.

IComp: The Irish Centre for Composites Research

IComp was established in 2009 under the EI/IDA Technology Centre initiative. It is hosted by the University of Limerick which is the leading composites research establishment in the Republic of Ireland, working in partnership with University College Dublin. Academia and industry are being brought together within IComp to focus on the critical requirements of various industrial sectors ranging from aerospace to construction and the supply chain. IComp is focusing on joining, bonding, surface engineering and processing technologies to improve performance, reduce final part costs and increase manufacturing throughput, and on maintenance including damage detection and repair.

The IComp Technology Leader is an ex-industrialist who has wide R&D experience in polymers and composites. He is supported by world class academics and a dedicated team of highly qualified and experienced researchers together with other staff in the university. IComp provides a focal point for composites-related R&D, innovation and technology transfer within an agenda set by its industrial members, which they believe will give them a material, technical and commercial edge in the global composites Market in both the immediate and longer terms.

IComp's mission is to carry out world class research in order to provide innovative solutions to industrial problems which will accelerate economic growth in Ireland. Our vision is to be a centre-of-excellence providing the most technologically advanced solutions to industrial problems. This is an aspirational and motivational research centre which encourages the personal and professional development of talented and passionate people in the best interests of the Irish economy.

SSPC – Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre
The Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC), a Global Hub of Pharmaceutical Process Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing, funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (€30m) and industry (€10m), is a unique inclusive collaboration between 17 companies, 8 academic institutions and 12 international academic collaborators. The SSPC is hosted at the University of Limerick and Professor Kieran Hodnett is the SSPC Director. The SSPC supports 27 Principle Investigators, 28 PDRAs and 60 PhD students. The SSPC management support team, comprising six members, is also hosted at the University of Limerick.

Established to support the pharmaceutical industry, which is responsible for 56% of all Ireland's exports and 60,000 jobs, the SSPC transcends company and academic boundaries and is the largest research collaboration in Ireland within the pharmaceutical area. The SSPC's role is to link scientists and engineers in academia; in partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry to address and resolve crucial research questions. The SSPC carries out research ranging from molecule to medicine with the objective of gaining a better understanding of mechanisms, control processes and predicting outcomes for the efficient and environmentally sustainable production of safe medicines. The aim of SSPC is to deliver relevant solutions that address the manufacturing needs of the pharmaceutical companies and, through this, to build a strong pharmaceutical community and a pharma friendly environment in Ireland.

Course fee

An up-to-date schedule of fees is available to download from

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: 09/Sep/2019

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