PhD in Ireland – Your Complete Guide

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or Doctorate is the highest postgraduate degree that can be attained at Irish universities. Ireland has one of the oldest higher education systems in the world, recognized for its high-quality teaching and research. Recently, Ireland has established one of the most advanced doctoral training systems in Europe, with a core focus on research expertise and academic excellence. Also, it is moving towards more structured PhDs supporting practice-based and industrial doctoral programmes with a focus on specialist transferrable skills.

Structured PhD Programs Vs Individual Doctoral Studies

Individual Doctoral Studies 

It is the most chosen study route by doctoral students. It is based on research carried out under the supervision of a professor and involves a thesis or dissertation that has to be produced at the end of the doctoral studies. You can complete this type of research at a university, a non-university research facility, or a company. In any case, a professor will supervise you and a thesis advisory committee may or may not be essential depending on the university norms.

Structured Ph.D. Programs

In this route, a doctoral student will be supervised by a professor and will attend courses, lectures, and seminars together with other doctoral students. In such PhD programs, a team of advisors in form of a thesis advisory committee offers regular and intense supervision to students. A structured interdisciplinary curriculum is to be followed which helps improving academic, scientific, and other soft skills.

PhD Supervision in Ireland

During your PhD, you will be supervised under the responsibility of at least one academic supervisor, the department or school, and the research institution. Your primary supervisor will be an active academic in the relevant research area and will have the principal responsibility for the management and supervision of your studies and research. There may also be a secondary supervisor or joint-supervisor, who may be non-academic. There is also a supporting supervisory panel of other researchers to monitor your progress and the supervision process – these can be from different universities or countries. There will be regular formal meetings and reviews throughout your doctoral programme with your supervisor and supervisory panel.

Length of PhD in Ireland

A standard full-time PhD in Ireland is usually completed in 3-4 years. For more structured programmes this is normally 4 years.

Cost of PhD in Ireland

PhD tuition fees at Irish universities range from €4000 to €6,000 per year for students from within Europe and from €15,000 to €20,000 for international students.

Scholarships/ Funding for PhD in Ireland

Ph.D. programs in Ireland provide full scholarship. Institutions in Ireland generally receive funds from charities, industry partners, and research councils for undertaking research. Students applying for undertaking their Ph.D. in such programs get their tuition fees covered under studentship. Many times, the students can even receive funding for their living expenditures.

The Irish Research Council provides three main funding schemes for students seeking to study for a Ph.D. in Ireland

  1. The Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship supports academic research in all subject areas and is available to international students seeking to study in Ireland.
  2. The Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme is also multi-disciplinary but operates through employer partnerships at specific institutions.
  3. The Enterprise Partnership Programme is designed for high-quality researchers seeking to develop key transferable skills.

Application Process for PhD in Ireland

Admission for a Ph.D. programme in Ireland involves various steps which are discussed below-

  • Finding a supervisor: the PhD programme involves one-on-one interaction with the supervisor and the college or university may not assign a faculty for your guidance. You should make sure that you find a guide in your area of study from the college/ university that you want to apply for.
  • Once the supervisor agrees to act as your guide and to support your application for the School’s Ph.D. programme, you will be required to submit an official application to the university.
  • You will be asked to provide your contact details, curriculum vitae and supporting documents including the research proposal, personal statement, transcript and references.
  • Prepare a Research Proposal: This holds the key in the application process for the Ph.D. programme. Normally a proposal should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words. The proposal should explain your area of study, the aim of your research and your hypothesis.
  • Personal statement: The most important challenge is to put down in words the reason for pursuing the particular programme, what attracts you to the subject area and how your studies or work experience has influenced you to take up PhD studies. It is a very important document and holds a lot of value in eyes of the admission committee.
  • References: All programmes will ask for referees who can provide details about your academic abilities and motivation. In some cases, there will be specific referee forms available on the school site. And in other cases, a referee may be asked to provide a letter of reference in his/her own words.

At Irish higher education institutes, all prospective international postgraduate students apply directly to the international office of the institute. Some universities require to you to apply via the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). This is similar to the UCAS system for undergraduate students in the UK.

Post-Study Work Visa in Ireland

PhD graduates will be granted a post-study work visa of up to 2 years after completion of the course. PhD graduates can live and work in Ireland during this time without any restrictions. 

Family visa norms in Ireland

A PhD student, studying in an Irish accredited program can bring immediate family:

  • The spouse or child under 18 (also referred to as “Nuclear Family”)
  • De Facto partner
  • Elderly parent

Can I work in Ireland part-time during my studies?

Students can carry out paid work for up to 20 hours per week whilst researching for a PhD in Ireland. No restriction is applied to employment during holiday periods.

How can “Road to Abroad” help you?

We provide the best PhD Assistance across the globe. We provide the right guidance and support needed to complete the tedious and time-consuming PhD admission process. Our flawless track record and very high success rate have fulfilled the dreams of many students who aspire to gain a doctoral degree. We will help you secure a fully-funded PhD position and help you in all the steps from application to immigration. For more information, visit our PhD Consultation Page.

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