Thematic PhD in Cognitive Science

UCD offers a Thematic PhD programme in Cognitive Science. This is a structured PhD programme, incorporating taught modules in the first year, followed by production of a standard PhD thesis.

Admission: In order to enter the programme, as well as submitting a formal application, the prospective student must reach agreement with a staff member who will undertake the role of principal supervisor. Applicants will typically have an 2.1 honours bachelor's degree in one of the main contributing disciplines, including but not limited to Psychology, Philosophy, Computer Science, Neuroscience, or Linguistics. Under no circumstances will entry be allowed without a minimum of a 2.2 in a primary degree.

Finding a supervisor: There are many faculty at UCD who work in areas that fall under Cognitive Science. Interested students are encouraged to contact the programme directors, detailing their research interests, with a view to initiating contact with potential supervisors. (Directors: Fred Cummins and Maria Baghramian.) Applicants may also explore the specialization of associated faculty by following the 'staff' and 'schools' links above.

Progression: Students admitted to the programme will complete 60 credits of taught modules in the first 2 semesters. A formal transfer process is conducted after 18 months, at which the student's progress and plans are evaluated by an assessment panel. At this stage, a well-fleshed out research plan needs to be in place, as well as the completed taught modules, and the identification of both a principal and a secondary supervisor.

It is also possible to pursue the Ph.D. on a part time basis.

Normal progression is to a Ph.D., but the panel may recommend transfer to an M.Sc. programme instead, if appropriate. In rare cases, it is possible to exit the programme with a Graduate Diploma after completion of just the 60 credits of taught modules.

Students who already have a masters in cognitive science, or its equivalent, may be permitted to progress to the transfer stage after just 30 credits of research activity, without taking any further modules.

How to apply

The first step in any PhD application is to make personal contact with a potential supervisor. Please note: without an agreed supervisor, there is no point in submitting a formal application. See the note above about finding a supervisor.

Applications can be made through the Online Applications System, by clicking on the Apply Online link. The Cognitive Science PhD (codes: FT T221) appears under the Graduate Research application type for the September entry.

As part of the application procedure, a statement of research interest of 2000-3000 words must be supplied. This will serve to establish suitability of the applicant to the programme structure and goals, and also provides an important writing sample. English language requirements, as laid down in this document, will apply. In the simplest case, this requires an average IELTS score of 6.5 or better, with no individual score falling below 6.0.

Other documents required for application include two academic references and transcripts of previous academic achievements.

Students are admitted on a continual basis throughout the year, and may be involved in diverse research projects across the entire spectrum of Cognitive Science. As Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary programme, rather than an individual school, research students will be located within one or other of the contributing schools. General information about postgraduate studies at UCD is available at this page.

Students enrolled in structured PhD programmes throughout the university may take modules taught in the MA/MSc programme. Each module is worth 7.5 credits under the European Credit Transfer System.