Frequently Asked Questions

This question and answer sheet is designed to help intending applicants complete their application submission. If there are questions you would like to see answered here please forward these to

Which disciplines are eligible for consideration?

The School welcomes applications from a wide range of disciplines: creative arts and media, including design; visual and performing arts; architecture and digital media; and the critical/theoretical/historical underpinnings of these practices. This includes – but is not limited to – the broad disciplines of architecture, art, design, drama, media and music. It is therefore not necessarily the case that all these disciplines will be equally represented in the first intake of students. The key factor determining the specific disciplinary mix of the first intake of funded PhD students will be the quality of the research projects proposed. We will not operate a discipline-quota system, but respond to the most innovative and critically challenging proposals. Working in this creative arena the School seeks to creatively conceive its mission in an inclusive manner. It is recommended that you look at the websites of the collaborators to help identify the particular expertise that each institution contributes to the School:, and

Can a project draw on more than one discipline?

Yes. It is an explicit goal of the School to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and interaction.

Will there ONLY be support for practice-based aspects of these disciplines?

The School conceives its mission to support research in these discipline areas not only through various practice modes but also through supporting and developing the critical, theoretical and historical underpinnings of contemporary practice. The School therefore has a broad remit to support many modes of research enquiry and not solely practice-based or practice-led enquiry. It furthermore has a specific thematic priority to develop research across visual and material culture. (See the outline of the School’s Programme.)


Preparing The Application

Should I include samples of my work?

For the purpose of the initial application this is not required. It is however recommended that you prepare a portfolio of material documenting your previous work. This will be required should you be called for interview. You may be invited to submit this in advance of the interview, or at the interview itself, depending on the nature of your specific research project / creative practice, and the format of your portfolio / documentation. Should you be successful in the first phase of the application process, the call to interview will make explicit the portfolio requirements (where these apply.)

Who should my referees be?

The referees should be individuals who have worked with you in a professional context (e.g. as a lecturer / tutor or as a manager / employer / commissioner) which would enable them to comment on your aptitude for further studies. It may help to discuss the choice of referees with your proposed supervisor if the opportunity arises. The function of the supervisor is to provide the application review committee with a clear sense of the applicant’s suitability for PhD study in the context of the Graduate School.

How can I find out about possible supervisors?

The institutional websites are a good starting point:,, and You can also pass on specific enquiries to the Interim Dean, Dr. Mick Wilson: Other sources of information on potential supervisors include the various Heads of Faculty, Heads of School, and Heads of Department in the collaborating institutions. If, at the time of completing the application, you are unsure as to who you believe to be the most suitable supervisor for your particular project, please indicate clearly with which of the partner institutions you would prefer to register.


Research Proposal

How long should the proposal be?

The proposal should typically be approximately 1,500 words long. The key consideration in drafting the proposal should be clarity. If it is necessary to provide greater detail or more extensive contextual material, then appendices may also be included.

How detailed should the proposal be?

Headings that should be addressed by a PhD research proposal typically include:

(a) Research aims / research questions (i.e., indicating what the basic focus of the proposed work is to be);

(b) Relevance / contribution to the discipline(s) (i.e., indicating the broader context that the proposed work will exist within);

(c) Sources (bibliography, archives, examples, prior works within the field etc.);

(d) Resources required to develop the project (e.g. studio space, specific equipment access, specialist materials / techniques, facilities, specialist information resources…);

(e) Proposed timeline of project work (indicating key milestones in the development of the project).

The level of detail required under each heading will depend on the specific project. The key requirement is that the proposal communicates a clear programme of enquiry and investigation. It should demonstrate that the applicant is capable of framing their own agenda for research and that they have a sense of the larger field to which they wish to make a contribution.

Can I submit a proposal that I have already submitted elsewhere?

If you have had a proposal rejected in the past, it is not recommended that you re-submit that proposal unmodified. A proposal that is currently funded by another mechanism or framework should not be submitted. If you are currently a research student in one of the collaborating institutions please check the applicant eligibility information eligibility information.


Institutional & Supervision Arrangements

In which institution will successful applicants be registered?

Typically, researchers will register in the institution of the primary supervisor. All PhD researchers who are directly funded through the Graduate School must be registered in one of the collaborating institutions. However, as a participant in the Graduate School, researchers will have access to key personnel and resources in the collaborating institutions. The Graduate School will also develop opportunities for researchers based outside the collaborating institutions to access aspects of the Graduate School’s programme and activities.

Where will the programme seminars, lectures, workshops and related events take place?

The Graduate School will have a fixed base, initially in St. John’s Lane, Dublin 8. However, it is proposed that elements of the programme will be realised, drawing on the full range of institutional locations across the city which are made available to the School through the collaborating institutions.

What resources and facilities will successful applicants have access to?

Successful applicants will have access to the facilities of their registered institution, the facilities of the Graduate School itself, and they will also be able to request access to the resources of collaborating institutions. It will help to clarify resourcing issues if applicants identify – through the research proposal – the key resources that their research may require. The Graduate School recognises that resource needs will evolve and alter as the research project is developed and implemented.


Full-Time, Part-Time and Other Modes of Participation 

Are the PhD studentships full-time?

The funded PhD studentships advertised currently are full-time. Researchers receiving these awards will be engaged in their studies on a full-time basis. The exact requirements of full-time study will be discussed with applicants at the interview stage in order to take account of the specific focus of each individual research project. Applicants are advised to look at the programme information in this regard.

Can I study at the Graduate School on a part-time basis?

It is intended to evolve other modes of PhD study, and alternative pathways for researchers, through an ‘Associate Researcher’ role, which will provide study options for researchers with significant time-commitment to other activities outside the research project itself.

How else can I get involved?

In the first two years of its operation the Graduate School will pilot a number of projects which provide access to the research environment for undergraduates, practitioners in the field and other stakeholders. The School website will provide information on these opportunities as they emerge in the coming year. The School especially welcomes at this time expressions of interest from potential supervisors or research specialists who may wish to contribute to the research activities of the School (e.g. research training, conference development, peer review publication, and other research initiatives.)

Find out more:

Programme Content
Download an Application Form

Informal enquiries may be made to Dr. Mick Wilson

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