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 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.

New student registrations take place in January, May and September each year. Our students generally have a high honours standard in a 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 research interests. If you contact academic members of staff, 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 (see attached form).

2. Certified copies of transcripts of previous academic qualifications.

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. 

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

Academic Regulations

The set of rules that governs graduate research in UCD:

UCD Academic Regulations 2017

Stages of a UCD CS Structured PhD

How should students apply for a MSc by research or for a PhD in UCD CS?

The student should find a supervisor that has funding or apply with a potential supervisor for funding. 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:

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.


If you have any further queries, please contact:

Postgraduate by Research Administrator: Ms Imelda Huggins