Structured PhD

Structured PhD

Structured PhD

‌‌‌The UCC model of structured PhD education is comprised of a programme of supportive and developmental elements, with a stated minimum level of 15 credits of coursework and training. In addition, all students will be supervised by a supervisory team, or have a sole supervisor and a PhD advisor.

For a 3 year PhD, the maximum number of credits that can be undertaken is 30 credits.

For a 4 year PhD, the maximum number of credits that can be undertaken is 90 credits

The UCC Structured PhD - Compulsory Requirements (205kB)

If you are currently registered as a student and wish to take discipline specific academic modules, please complete the Discipline Specific Module Form (476kB) 

If you have taken or plan to take courses or modules outside UCC and wish to get credits towards your PhD, pleae complete the Recognition of external modules (384kB) form.

A 5 credit generic and transferable skills portfolio module (PG7048) is now available. See PG7048 Portfolio Skills Module (53kB)for further details.

National Framework for Doctoral Education 

PhD student may take a selection of Generic and Transferable Skills Modules and/or Disciplinary modules listed below.

Chemistry
CM6101 Basic Postgraduate Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry Problem Solving and Presentation Skills (5 credits)
CM7002 Intermediate Postgraduate Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry Problem Solving and Presentation Skills (5 credits)
CM7003 Advanced Postgraduate Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry Problem Solving and Presentation Skills (5 credits)
CM7004 Postgraduate Internship in Pharmaceutical Sector (5 credits)
CM7005 Theory and Application of Computational Chemistry (5 credits)

Early and Medieval Irish
CC6008 Palaeography and Manuscript-based Research (10 credits)

Food Science
FE6600 An Introduction to the National and Global Food Sector (5 credits)
FS6622 Food Regulatory Affairs (5 credits)
FS6633 Innovation: From New Idea to New Product (5 credits)
PE6001 Analysis and Interpretation of Experimental Data with Mathematical and Statistical Tools (5 credits)

Law
LW6004 Research Methods in Law (5 credits)

Physiology
PL6001 Molecular and Cellular Physiology Techniques (5 credits)
PL6002 Integrated Physiology Research Methods (5 credits)
PL6003 Peer Review and Scientific Communication (5 credits)

School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
LL7001 Presenting Critical Theory (5 credits)*
LL7002 Research Skills in Non-Native Languages 1*

* Note: These modules are available to doctoral students of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Departments of Italian, French, German and Hispanic Studies).

Sociology
SC7604 Sociology of the Mass Media (10 credits)
SC7623 Globalisation and Culture (10 credits)
SC7624 Civilisation and Globalisation (10 credits)
SC7626 Sociology of the Public Sphere (10 credits)
SC7627 Social Pathology and Civic Health (10 credits)
SC7628 Communication and Learning in the Constitution of Society (10 credits)

The model approved by Academic Council in March 2013 states that only those modules developed specifically for postgraduate student training can be taken with free choice by students in 2013/14 and count towards the 15 credit minimum requirement for the PhD programme.  The full list of these modules can be seen on the Modules for Postgraduate Training section of the Academic Calendar

Further modules will be developed and approved over the year 2013/14.

Students will be given further details of these modules and details of how to sign up in their registration packs. Students who choose to take one or more of these modules in 2013/14 will be formally registered once they have completed all compulsory elements, including assessment. Please note that postgraduate training modules are assessed on a pass/fail basis only. It is expected that supervisors will discuss the most appropriate modules to undertake with their students at an early meeting, and these modules do not require sign-off at approval stage.

Selection of academic modules

For 2013/14, it will be possible for students to formally get credit for taking academic modules (e.g., from Taught Masters programmes) if these are specified formally on the attached approval form. If specific academic modules are required by a Supervisor/Department/School, these should be discussed with the student in question before recording such requirements on the approval form and are also subject to approval by the relevant module coordinator.  Please note that students who undertake taught modules will be required to complete all elements of any such module, including all elements of assessment and examination and, where marks are awarded, these will appear on the student’s transcript. For 2013/14, it will not be possible for additional academic modules to be chosen after registration. However, where it is believed that a taught module would be of value to a student, and subject to the agreement of the module co-ordinator, such a module may be audited without requiring completion of the assessment.  Such a module will not appear on a student’s transcript, nor will it count towards the 15-credit requirement. Work is on-going to ensure there are structures and resources in place to allow greater flexibility in module choice for future years but the constraints specified here must apply for 2013/14 given the time frame and working within existing resources.

External Modules

Students who complete modules, training or coursework in other institutions will have the opportunity to gain credits at UCC for this work through the Graduate School in each of the Colleges. Further details on the process for recognising credits taken externally will be sent out shortly. 

Exemptions from module requirements

At its meeting of 21 June, Academic Council agreed a minor modification to the approved structured PhD model, whereby exemptions from the credit requirement will NOT be sought at approval stage; these will rather be applied for at a later stage of study to allow greater flexibility in determining the final structured PhD training plan for individual students.

If you are currently registered as a student and wish to take discipline specific academic modules in 2013/14, please complete the Discipline Specific Module Form (476kB).

 

Traditional PhD*

Structured PhD**

 

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have obtained at least Second Class Honours, Grade I, in an approved primary degree, or other evidence under the University’s policy for Recognition of Prior Learning for Admission to Research Degrees.

Applicants must have obtained at least Second Class Honours, Grade I, in an approved primary degree, or other evidence under the University’s policy for Recognition of Prior Learning for Admission to Research Degrees

Minimum No of Years’ Approval

Three

Three

Supervision Arrangements

Sole supervision and co-supervision are possible

All PhD students will either have a minimum of two supervisors, or a supervisor and a PhD Advisor as per Policy on Models of Team Supervision at UCC

Learning Plan

Recommended to be completed  by student and supervisor

Required to be completed by student and supervisor

Coursework  -  Minimum Credits

None.

15 credits over the course of the PhD (no minimum number of credits to be taken in a particular year)

Seepostgraduate calendar

Coursework - Maximum Credits

30 credits over three years or 90 credits over 4 years

30 Credits over three years or 90 credits over 4 years

Compulsory Modules

None (unless specific disciplinary modules are stated in the postgraduate calendar).

None (unless specific disciplinary modules are stated in the postgraduate calendar)

Module Choice

Modules agreed between student and supervisor(s). Modules may include postgraduate generic and transferable skills training modules or discipline-specific academic modules from the Book of Modules

Modules agreed between student and supervisor(s. )Modules may include postgraduate generic and transferable skills training modules or discipline-specific academic modules from the Book of Modules

Progress Review

Organised on an annual basis by the local Graduate Studies Committee

The Roles of Graduate Studies Committees and the Operation of Progress Reviews for Research Students

Organised on an annual basis by the local Graduate Studies Committee

The Roles of Graduate Studies Committees and the Operation of Progress Reviews for Research Students

Start Date/Cohort

Four possible start dates – October/January/April/July

Four possible start dates – October/January/April/July

Pass and Progression

Students progress to the next year unless they have an unsatisfactory annual review.

Students progress to the next year unless they have an unsatisfactory annual review.

Calendar Entry

General PhD entry

General PhD entry

Fees

€5,770 for 2013/14 FT with partial fee waiver for self-funded students in Year 4

€1700 continuation fee from Year 5

€5,770 for 2013/14 FT with partial fee waiver for self-funded students in Year 4

€1700 continuation fee from Year 5

Introduction of the structured PhD model

When will the new structured PhD model start?

From October 2013 onwards, all UCC students will have either a Team Model of supervision or Advisor Model of supervision and will be expected to complete a minimum of 15 credits of coursework and training.

What is the difference between the Team Model and the Advisor Model of supervision?

In the Team Model there are two or more staff members with responsibility for the direction of the student’s research. In the Advisor Model there is a sole supervisor and an Advisor who provides non-academic support and pastoral care to the student.

Is the Team Model of supervision preferable to the Advisor Model?

In general team supervision is to be encouraged. Team supervision is believed to contribute to greater transparency, staff development and mentoring, PhD quality control and improved retention rates for PhDs. Team supervision, or the use of supervisor panels is recommended in the IUQB Good Practice in the Organisation of PhD Programmes In Irish Higher Education, National Guidelines (2009).

Does the new structured PhD model supersede existing “Thematic Structured PhDs” or “Unit-defined PhDs”?

It does not. Existing “Thematic Structured PhDs” e.g. PhD in Cancer Biology or Health Services Research, or “Unit-defined PhDs” e.g. PhD in Microelectronics, are unaffected by the introduction of the new structured PhD model, but where the requirements stated are less than the 15 credit minimum requirement (e.g., only 5 credits compulsory) the additional credits must be agreed for each student to meet this requirement.

Will students have input in to the choice of the supervision model?

The supervision model will be discussed between supervisor, co-supervisors and, where appropriate, potential Advisors. Students may have an input in to the choice of the supervision model during this process. The supervision model must be approved by the Head of Unit and all members must be named at the point of approval of a student’s application.

How will the introduction of the structured PhD affect staff workload?

The relative contribution made by individual supervisors should be clearly outlined to recognise supervisory input for promotion and also for workload allocation purposes. At the point of consideration of student applications by Heads of Academic Unit, the current workload of the proposed supervisor(s) should be considered to ensure that approval of additional students is not unfair to the staff member or student involved. The number of students that an individual can supervise satisfactorily will vary with the nature and size of the research group, and with the scope of their other duties. In cases where a supervisor wishes to have more than eight full-time equivalent research students at any one time, the Head of Unit must be satisfied that the research group would be able to support the students.

 

When is the Training Needs Assessment and Learning Plan sent to students?

These are sent to the student in their registration pack.

Can current “non-structured PhD” students be considered as being on a structured PhD?

Yes, provided they complete the minimum 15 credit requirement during the course of their study and have either multiple supervisors or an Advisor by the end of their study.

 

Team Model of Supervision

In what cases must the Team Model apply?

-          Where the supervisor for a PhD student has not previously supervised or co-supervised a PhD to graduation,

-          Where the proposed supervisor is not a permanent member of staff,

-          Where the proposed supervisor does not have a doctoral degree,

-          Where a student is undertaking inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary research involving two (or more) academic units.

Will there be guidelines for the co-supervisors to follow?

There will be no formal guidelines for the co-supervisors to follow. It is advised that the frequency of meetings, distribution of tasks etc. be agreed by members of the supervisory team at the outset with the student. The relative contribution made by the individual supervisors should be clearly agreed for workload purposes and also to recognise supervisory activity for promotion and, where appropriate, authorship of publications.

Do both co-supervisors need to be permanent members of UCC staff? Can a co-supervisor be a retired UCC staff member?

Only one co-supervisor must be a UCC member of staff. The second co-supervisor does not need to be a permanent member of staff i.e. can be a post-doc or externally based, but does require a contract which extends beyond the term of registration of the student. A retired UCC staff member can act as a co-supervisor. The retired staff member will not be responsible for administrative issues relating to the students registration, progress and examination. These tasks will be the responsibility of a named UCC co-supervisor.

If one of the co-supervisors is externally based, does this fulfil the criteria of the Team Model?

Yes, provided that the externally based co-supervisor is contracted beyond the end date of registration of the student. The externally based co-supervisor will not be responsible for administrative issues relating to the students registration, progress and examination. These tasks will be the responsibility of a named UCC co-supervisor.

In the event of a dispute between co-supervisors or between the student and supervisor(s), is there a process for conflict resolution?

Academic conflicts should be highlighted at the Progress Review stage. Non-academic conflicts can be dealt with by both formal and informal procedures in conjunction with the Graduate Studies Office.

 

Advisor Model of Supervision

What is the role of the Advisor?

The role of the Advisor is to act as appoint of contact on pastoral, procedural and student support issues (i.e., those not concerning the specific academic aspects of the student’s research). The main role of the advisor is in pastoral care i.e. in providing a person to whom the research student can go to in order to discuss any issues that they do not wish to discuss with their supervisor. The Advisor provides an additional “safety net” that should enhance the student experience, retention and time to completion. An Advisor is expected to meet an advisee twice per year.

Does the Advisor need to be a permanent member of staff? Can the Advisor be a retired UCC staff member?

The Advisor does not need to be a permanent member of staff, but does require a contract which extends beyond the term of registration of the student. A retired member of staff cannot act as an Advisor.

Can the Advisor be an Internal Examiner for one of their advisees?

Yes, provided that their input to that point has not been significant enough that to act in this role would present a conflict of interest.

Can the Advisor sit on the Progress Review Panel for one of their advisees?

The Advisor can sit on the Progress Review Panel, provided that at least one other academic who is not involved in the supervisory model of the student is also on the Panel.

Can one staff member act as Advisor to multiple advisees?

A staff member can act as Advisor to a cohort or cluster of students. This may be the chair or a member of the local Graduate Studies Committee, but should not be the Head of Unit.

In the event of a dispute between student and supervisor, what is the role of the Advisor?

The Advisor should act as a point of contact for the student if the supervisor-student relationship breaks down. In this role, the Advisor should be aware of the student support facilities that the University offers e.g. conflict resolution procedures through the Graduate Studies Office.

 

 

Module choice and accreditation

How many credits is a student expected to complete?

From October 2013, students at application stage, will receive information on the 15 credit minimum requirement. For a 3 year PhD, the maximum number of credits that can be undertaken is 30 credits. For a 4 year PhD, the maximum number of credits that can be undertaken is 90 credits.

Which modules can be taken?

If specific modules are stated in the calendar for a programme or area, this determines some or all of the choice of modules that are taken. Module choice will be agreed with the supervisor as part of the Training Needs Analysis before completion of the student’s Learning Plan.

Which modules will be available to do as part of the structured PhD model in 2013/14?

Only modules that are PG-coded will be available for accreditation in 2013/14. If a student wishes to attend a non-PG-coded module during 2013/14  this is possible, but that module will not be accredited. Modules take by students on Thematic Structured PhDs or discipline-specific modules, e.g. LW6004, are still a requirement for 2013/14, but if the required level of compulsory modules specified is less than 15 credits, additional modules or other elements to meet this requirement must be identified.

Can modules taken in 2013/14 be retrospectively accredited?

It will not be possible to retrospectively accredit non-PG-coded modules for 2013/14.

How can a student who is overseas complete the 15 credits?

Work is underway to make modules available in an online format.  In addition, overseas students can take training/modules in another institution as external modules which are recognised for credits at UCC.

Can internships and external modules be recognised for credits?

Internships and external modules can be recognised for up to a maximum of 10 credits. UCC Graduate Schools will award the appropriate levels of credit.

 

A student who completes a module externally and wishes to get this recognised and recorded on the UCC transcript requires the following:

- A copy of the module/course description, including the number of contact hours (where applicable) and learning outcomes, where possible,

- A Certificate/Proof of attendance, including dates (with the Institution stamp),

- Copy of assessment with the mark recorded (or pass/fail judgment if applicable),

- A copy of the ‘external credit form.’

 

What happens if student has not completed the minimum 15 credits by the time of thesis submission?

In order to submit their PhD thesis, a student will either a) have completed the minimum credit level of non-thesis elements or b) received an approved exemption for the credit-weighted component.

When does a student indicate that they are seeking exemption from the credit-weighted component?

This is indicated at the intention to submit stage. It is done at this stage as a student may not know at the start of their PhD if they do or do not wish, or will be in a position, to complete the 15 credits. The possibility of students receiving exemptions from credits through a formal Recognition of Prior Learning for research students is currently being worked on by the Academic Council Graduate Studies Committee.

 

Progress review

How often will the student meet with the Progress Review Panel?

The student will meet with the Progress Review Panel once annually.

How will the new structured PhD model affect the progress review?

Completion of modules will be discussed annually as part of the review process when students will be required to show evidence of modules completed during the period under review. The Progress Review Panel will indicate on their progress report the modules that a student has undertaken and, if the 15 credits have not been completed by the end of the second year, the student must explain their plan to have completed these modules before thesis submission.

 

What role should the Progress Review Panels and Graduate Studies Committees play in the new structured PhD model?

The role of the Progress Review Panel or the Graduate Studies Committee is to review and give feedback on a student’s progress in the period under review. These reviews present a key opportunity to identify and suggest measures for resolving problems which may arise.

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