Research Degrees: PhD and MSc

Our postgraduate research students are involved in diverse research projects across the entire spectrum of computer science. In many cases, we offer funded studentships; these positions attract a tax-free scholarship as well as payment of University fees.

Completion of a PhD typically takes about 4 years full-time and 6 years part-time, after a masters or a bachelors degree. The School is now following UCD's Structured PhD programme. We currently have around 100 postgraduate research students, and the School has a strong international flavor, with students and academic staff from around the world.

Academic Regulations

The set of rules that governs graduate research in UCD is described here: UCD Academic Regulations.

Potential applicants, supervisors and research students should read and keep updated with the UCD Academic Regulations.

The minimum requirements for entry into the PhD programme regarding prior degree and language are given below:

  • Degree: minimum 2.1 grade (or equivalent) in an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Computer Science, Maths, Engineering, or similar technical discipline.
  • Language: Non-native English speakers require IELTS at least 6.5 (with at least 6 in all components) or equivalent (see link for details on test equivalence).

New student registrations take place in January, May and September each year. Our students generally have a high honours standard in an MSc or BSc primary degree in computer science or a cognate discipline, and we welcome high quality applicants from diverse backgrounds. The application process has two steps:

  • First, you should contact relevant members of the department to discuss potential topics and projects, starting dates, funding, etc. To identify a prospective supervisor, please browse our academic staff page, or look under staff research interests. Academic staff that have open positions typically advertise them on the school webpage, their personal webpage and/or social media, so it is good to keep track of those opportunities. If you do contact academic members of staff directly, please specify your research interests and attach evidence of your high academic standard (e.g., CV + short cover letter detailing relevant grades, research experience, research outputs, awards, other relevant experience).
  • Next, if these initial discussions are successful, you should complete the formal application form. As described in this form, to support your application you must submit a Statement of Research Interests, university transcripts, your IELTS/TOEFL results (if applicable), and reports from two referees.

Application Forms

For All Applicants 

1. Completed MSc/PhD Application Form - can be obtained from supervisor

2. Certified copies of transcripts of previous academic qualifications. Candidates must have a first class or upper second-class honours primary degree (BSc, MSc), or equivalent.

3. References from two referees, commenting specifically on the candidate’s academic suitability to pursue a MSc/PhD (see attached form).

For International Applicants

4. If the applicant's first language is not English or they have no primary degree(s) obtained in a country where English

 is the official language of instruction, evidence of proficiency in English (IELTS or TOEFL score) is required. 

See further information regarding English requirements at the following link:

5. Visa status as required (this usually follows School approval).

Once the supervisor selects a PhD/MSc candidate, the next step is to start the process of registration by submitting the required documentation to the school.

Part-time research: There are opportunities for part-time research MSc and PhD and this is agreed with individual academic supervisors and depends on the funding source. For details on regulations for part-time study please also consult the UCD Academic Regulations.

Teaching: all research students can participate in teaching via Teaching Assistant or Demonstrator roles. This is highly encouraged in our school as it contributes to developing valuable transferable skills during PhD. Once registered, the student is contacted by the student teaching coordinator with details on teaching opportunities and resources. The teaching opportunities and workload should also be discussed with the supervisor and DSP.

Networking and career advice: we have several research postgraduate events in the school that play an important role in networking and career building, e.g., two poster sessions each year (June and December), monthly research postgrad lunch, new student induction (September each year), weekly school research seminar. Once registered, you will receive e-mails about how to participate in these events.

For more information about structured PhD in our school please visit:

The most common sources of funding for PhD and MSc by research are the programmes run by the Irish Research Council (IRC). The UCD CS school also has a call for funding for PhD students only (with deadlines in mid May and November):

UCD has a variety of funding initiatives and FAQ for MSc/PhD, for more details see:

UCD Science Student Handbook 2018/19:

UCD College of Science Graduate School Website: 

Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Degree Students:

Code of Practice for Conflict Resolution for Supervisors and Graduate Research Students:

Steps for addressing potential conflicts: If the Student and Supervisor cannot find a resolution, the first contact point is the DSP. A DSP meeting can be called on by either student or supervisor. If the DSP does not resolve the issues, the next contact point is the CS Director of Graduate Research. If the issues are related to student academic progress, a formal assessment by the school GSB panel may bet setup. The assessment should decide whether the student may continue in the programme or consider alternatives (i.e., exit with MSc, withdrawal). The Head of School and the College GSB will be informed about the outcome of this process.

If you have any further queries, please contact:

Postgraduate by Research Administrator: Ms Rosemary Deevy