Apply-Research course

Steps in application for research courses

1. Choose Programme

Academic requirements: 

  • PhD applicants need an honours level degree (NFQ level 8) with a minimum of a 2H1 (second class honours, grade 1) to apply.
  • Master by Research applicants need an honours level degree (NFQ level 8) with a minimum of a 2H2 (second class honours, grade 2) to apply.
  • Check our qualification comparison website here for equivalencies.
  • Although students generally choose a topic for their research from their degree discipline you are not restricted to your primary degree subjects.
  • Find a supervisor: Once students know which area or topic they wish to research, they then need to find a supervisor. This site offers a list of academics listed under a wide range of schools/departments/disciplines
  • Students can also contact UCC Department/Schools relevant to that area of research and check the availability of an appropriate supervisor.
  • Students need to choose a supervisor and discuss your prospective research with them before applying. Your supervisor will let you know if you need to prepare a research proposal and will need to approve your proposal before you submit it. You may need to submit this proposal directly to the department and/or submit it with your online application. Candidates who apply to research programmes in Arts, Law or Medicine & Health are required to submit a research proposal of approximately 1,500 words, and in Commerce a proposal of approximately 500 words is required.

2. Apply Online

  • After confirming your research area and supervisor in UCC, students apply online at the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC).
  • You will need to apply at least three months in advance of your estimated start date.
  • There are 4 start dates each year for PhD students; October, January, April and July.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to in support of your application.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institution other than UCC
  • Your original Passport or Birth Certificate (non-UCC students only). You will be registered in the name that appears on your passport or birth certificate.
  • Your research proposal (check with your Supervisor if this should be submitted to the department as well).
  • Any supplementary forms requested

You do not need to supply originals of any document in support of your application to PAC in Galway at application stage. However, you will be asked to produce the original documents in support of your application to UCC when you register.

If you cannot scan your documents and upload to your application, then copies of your documents may be posted to:

Postgraduate Applications Centre
1, Courthouse Square

4. Fees and Funding

Fees for all postgraduate courses are payable in two instalments for EU students. The first part will be payable when you register online in September with the second instalment payable the following January. Non-EU students will need to pay their full fees in one instalment when registering online.

Check out our funding page for sources of funding. 

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Visit the Frequently Asked Questions for research courses page for answers to some commonly asked questions.   

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please complete the Graduate Studies Office

6. Your UCC application journey

  1. PAC online application completed by applicant
  2. Printed by Graduate Studies Office
  3. Sent to Supervisor
  4. Sent to Head of Department / School
  5. Sent to College meeting for decision
  6. Sent back to Graduate Studies office with decision
  7. Decision sent to candidate with instructions on how to register

Check-list Before Making an Application

  • Credit/Laser card- the application fee is €50. (For applicants who cannot pay by these methods, there is a facility to follow with the application fee by bank draft or direct bank transfer. There is an extra charge for this facility.)
  • Email Address - Applicants must have a valid email address to use this online application facility. It is your responsibility to check your account regularly for updates.
  • PPS Number - Irish applicants will be also required to have their PPS number. (This is not mandatory for non-Irish applicants).
  • UCC Student Number - Applicants who are current/past graduates/postgraduates at UCC must also have their existing UCC student number.
  • PAC Login Account - See instructions

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How to Apply Online

  1. Go to PAC website:
  2. Create PAC Login Account (first time users only) – Applicants who are first time users need to create an account before making an application. Go to the login section on the top of the screen and click on the Register link. Enter your email address, password and contact details and click submit
  3. Click on APPLY under MY PAC
  4. Select Option: EU Research
  5. Confirm you have read both the Application Instructions and Terms and Conditions and click on the start application button
  • Page 1 You will be asked to input biographical information, your PPS number, UCC student no (if applicable) and your course codes. You may choose up to 3 codes for programmes. You can choose to save your application at this point, or continue.
  • Page 2 You will be asked to fill in details of Higher Education Qualifications you have completed. Please note that transcripts of all Non-UCC qualifications will need to be submitted to PAC.
  • Page 3 You will be asked to verify the information submitted and proceed to fee payment.
  • Page 4 This is the receipt page where you will be given your PAC number.

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Supplementary Questions

Please note that there are additional supplementary questions to be completed for certain taught postgraduate course. The additional supplementary questions are part of the application procedure for these courses and applications to these courses cannot be considered if the required additional supplementary questions are not completed when submitting your online application.

The additional supplementary questions link will be highlighted (with the Course Code) when you input the course code on your online application. Applicants must click on the link, complete and save the relevant the questions. Applicants will not be allowed submit their final application until all required additional supplementary questions are completed.

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Important Information for Students who did not Previously Attend UCC


Please note you must also forward/upload PHOTOCOPIES of official documentary evidence of any third level qualifications (undergraduate and postgraduate) and or other professional/vocational qualifications that were not completed at University College Cork. PHOTOCOPIES of academic transcripts (with details of subjects and results) and certificates/parchments of your qualifications listed on your application must be marked with your PAC number and forwarded directly to:

The Postgraduate Applications Centre
1 Courthouse Square

Please mark all documents with your PAC Number.

You also have the option of uploading this documentation to your online application form via the My Account section.

N.B. Non-UCC Applicants who are currently completing undergraduate/postgraduate programmes and have not as yet completed final exams/graduated should submit photocopies of academic transcripts with details of subjects studied and results to date as soon as possible after applying online.

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Important Information for Current UCC Students / UCC Graduates

You are not required to submit evidence of qualifications pursued at University College Cork. However, if you are a current UCC student or past UCC graduate and have also completed additional qualifications in another University/College, you must provide official copy documentary evidence of your non-UCC qualifications.

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