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Graduate Studies Committee (ACGSC)

General purpose:  A Standing Committee of Academic Council responsible for the strategic development of the University’s approach to research education and for the development and maintenance of academic standards in this area.  The Committee is the primary forum for debate on graduate studies at UCC in the context of national and international developments in this area.  

The Graduate Studies Committee shall consider and report on research education matters as appropriate and the Committee shall liaise with other Committees as necessary to ensure the enrichment of the research student experience at UCC. 

The Committee shall consult with relevant University Officers as appropriate in relation to specific items and issues of potential significant impact to the University (particularly in relation to resources).  

The Committee shall undertake any other duties or tasks assigned to it by Academic Council from time to time. 

Reports to:  Reports to Academic Board on matters concerning devolved authority, and advisory to Academic Council, via Academic Board, on matters concerning policy and strategy.

Terms of reference:

1. Strategy and Policy

To bring forward for consideration by Council:  

a) Policy proposals concerning academic standards and procedures governing the quality of research degrees.}
b) Options for the development of the University’s structured and professional doctorates taking account of national and international good practice.
c) Proposals to improve the research environment and create an organisational culture to ensure the delivery of a high quality research student experience, in partnership with College Graduate Schools.
d) Publicise and promote the importance of research students and graduate studies at UCC.

2. Executive Functions:

Under delegated authority from Academic Council to:

a) Approve external examiner reports and recommend the conferral of research degrees to Academic Board.
b) Receive and consider external examiners’ reports and propose amendments and improvements to research degree policy and procedures as appropriate.
c) Approve the selection of new modules for inclusion in the University postgraduate research training framework.

Oversight function

a) To oversee the conduct of graduate research admissions, examination of research degrees, and student supervisory arrangements.
b) To support Colleges in the discharge of their devolved responsibilities in research student education and training.
c)  Receive and consider reports on student admissions, examination and reviews from College Graduate Studies Committees and take action as required.
d) To undertake an annual evaluation of graduate education and report on the effectiveness  of activities undertaken during the year.

4. Other business as required

a) To submit to Academic Board minutes from each meeting of the Committee and to    report on specific matters as requested.               

b) To advise Academic Board and Academic Council on such matters that Academic Board     or Academic Council may refer to the Committee from time to time.

Delegation of authority

The Graduate Studies Committee retains the overall responsibilities defined in its terms of reference as approved by Academic Council.  The Committee may establish sub-committees to enable it to fulfil its remit and to which it may delegate functions with the approval of Academic Council.   The Committee may also establish working groups from time to time to assist in its work.  Sub-Committees and working groups shall operate in accordance with the procedures set down in the Academic Council Committee Handbook.  

Sub committee

Sub Committee of the Academic Council Graduate Studies Committee

Reserved Business

Academic Council exceptionally approves the use of ‘Reserved Business’ for Graduate Studies Committee matters dealing with decisions concerning individual students. The conduct of Reserved Business shall be as advised by the Graduate Studies Committee and approved by Academic Council.   Minutes relating to Graduate Studies Committee discussions and decisions concerning Reserved Business shall be recorded so as to ensure probity.


Frequency of Meetings

The Committee shall meet up to 6 times per year or as directed by Academic Council.


Appointed by the President

Dr Fatima Gunning

Ex Officio: 


Dean of Graduate Studies


Head of Graduate Studies Office

Ms Áine Flynn

Deputy Director of the International Office

Ms Marita Foster 

Head of College Graduate Schools



Dr Barry Monahan


Dr Ronan Carbery


Dr David Clarke


Professor Yvonne Nolan 

Student Union President (or nominee)

Asha Woodhouse 

Student Union Postgraduate Officer

Srujani Dash 

2 academic staff members from each College 


Dr James Cuffe (Jan 2022)

Dr Sharon Lambert (Jan 2022)


Dr Aoife Daly (Sept 2022)

Dr Jane Burke (Sept 2022)


Dr Fatima Gunning (2nd term Jan 2021)

Dr Claus Koestler (from Jan 2020, 2nd term starts 2023)


Dr Colette Hand (2nd term May 2022)

Professor Mark McEntee (from Oct 2020)

2 members of Academic Council nominated by Academic Council 


Dr Eithne Hunt (Jan 2022)


Dr Rachel Magshamhrain (end term June 2022)

Co-opted members

Up to 3 members approved by Academic Council 


Graduate Attributes Programme representative

Adel Coleman (March 2022) 

CIRTL representative

Dr Katy Dineen (Sept 2022)

Committee Secretary
Graduate Studies Office

 Research Student Administrator

Membership updated to reflect new Chair 30 March 2023

Approved by Academic Council 28 January 2011

Amended by Academic Council 19 January 2018



Academic Affairs and Governance

Gnothaí Acadúla agus Rialú