Application Process

Depending on preference, potential candidates can apply to either or both institutions. If applying to both institutions, a hard copy of the application must be sent to each institution.

Applicants must include the following in their application:

  • A personal statement (300 words)

Please include a sentence to state your preference to study full-time or part-time.

  • A curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of reference from academic referees

Referees are asked to place their reference into a sealed envelope and to sign the seal of the envelope.

  • A research proposal (1000 words)
  • All candidates must identify what staff member(s) they have consulted (if any) during the development of their proposal. Candidates are encouraged to consult with a member of staff from the institution they are applying to.

The research proposal (1000 words) should outline:

  • A title/topic
  • Background / literature review

Please draw on relevant literature, identify gaps in the literature and identify the novel contribution of the proposed research

  • What is the issue you want to address?

Identify your research question and ensure you have given a rationale for this research

  • How do you intend investigating the proposed area of research?
    • Possible issues to consider include proposed design, participant details, procedure for data collection, data analysis, ethical issues.

Before preparing your proposal, applicants are required to make contact with potential supervisors and consult the research topics or themes in which supervision may be available.

Please see here for relevant information.

You are encouraged to develop a proposal in one of these areas. Your choice of topic will depend on your interests, the institution you are applying to and your disciplinary background. Candidates may develop a proposal in an area not listed in this document. However, we may not have supervisors available for some research topics. If you wish to obtain further information on these topics / themes, please contact the relevant supervisor or Dr. Lorraine Swords (TCD) or Nuala Donohue (NUI, Galway). Contact details are provided below.

The proposal plays an important role in the assessment process, as it provides the panel with information on the candidate’s research knowledge and suitability. However, depending on the number of applicants and supervision capacity, the proposal may not necessarily be the topic of your thesis.

Applications for the programme will be reviewed by a Joint Programme Committee comprising representatives of both institutions.  A place on the programme is dependent on the availability of a supervisor. Selected students will then have to follow the usual administrative application processes of the institution that has accepted their application.

Applications by hard copy only should be sent to the contacts below by June 14th, 2013.  Shortlisted candidates will be informed by May 24th and interviews will take place in the first week of June.

Contact details:

Dr. Lorraine Swords
Children’s Research Centre
30 Anglesea Street
Trinity College, Dublin 2      


Ms Nuala Donohue
School of Psychology and School of
Political Science & Sociology
NUI Galway, Galway