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You are here Postgraduate > MSc in Science and PhD by Research

Student Research Opportunities

Key Facts

Master in Science
Course length: 2 years Full-Time & 3 years Part-Time (Maximum)
Start date: September or March
Location: 24 D’Olier Street, Dublin 2

Doctor in Philosophy
Course length: 4 years Full-Time & 6 years Part-Time (Maximum)
Start date: September or March
Location: 24 D’Olier Street, Dublin 2

Fees: Further information on course fees can be found at Academic Registry.

Overview

The School of Nursing and Midwifery offers a structured PhD programme. Students meet monthly to receive methodological and practical guidance and peer support.

If you plan to carry out your degree by research within the school, you are advised to contact the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate)  by e-mail (lavergnm@tcd.ie) who will work with you with an aim to identify a suitable supervisory team for you prior to submitting your application. Please refer to projects below that are available for PhD/ MSc supervision.  Projects outside of these themes may also be considered and need to be accompanied by a research proposal. All students undertaking a research degree are assigned at least one supervisor within a thesis committee. The supervisor's role is essentially that of an academic guide and mentor.

Please do not submit an online application until you have made an informal enquiry and have secured an academic supervisor.

Research students are placed either directly on the Ph.D. register or on the Masters register. Research students on the Masters register may then transfer to the Ph.D. register if they wish and provided their progress has been satisfactory and their work is of doctoral standard. Such transfers usually occur during the second year of full-time study. All applications to the research register in Trinity College Dublin must be made online.

Entry Requirement

The criteria for admission are that the candidate must have  

  • A 2.1 honours degree qualification or equivalent
  • A fluent command of the English language (See requirements below)
  • All graduate students should enter into residence in or near Dublin unless there is an agreement at the start of the studentship to reside elsewhere for part of the time.
  • Student are supported by academic supervisors throughout their studentship, and on occasion throughout the application process. For those planning to undertake clinical research, the issue of professional registration in Ireland should be discussed with the supervisor pre-admission.

Documentation required to complete application

  • 2 Academic references
  • Copies of academic transcripts from completed educational courses
  • Copies of official awards (parchment) from completed educational courses
  • Research proposal (3000 words)
  • CV

Language

All applicants whose first language is not English and who have not been educated through the medium of English must present one of the following qualifications in the English language:

IELTS (Academic version) and IELTS Indicator : Grade 6.5 overall with a minimum of grade of 6 in each category

TOEFL and TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition: 88 internet-based, 570 paper-based, 230 computer-based

  • TOEFL: 88 internet-based, 570 paper-based, 230 computer-based
  • University of Cambridge: 
    Proficiency Certificate, Grade C or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2) 
    Advanced Certificate, Grade C or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2) 
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) - PTE Academic: a minimum score of 63 to be eligible (with no section score below 59)
  • Duolingo English Test: minimum overall score of 110/160, dated since January 2020
  • An award certificate with a minimum II.1 overall score from Trinity's Centre for English Language Learning and Teaching's Pre-Master's Pathway Programme. The Pre-Master’s Pathway Programme is an academic English course for international students with conditional offers for postgraduate study at Trinity. Passing the programme means you meet Trinity’s English language requirement and can progress to your postgraduate course without retaking IELTS or any other exam. 

The Pre-Master’s Pathway Programme is an academic English course for international students with conditional offers for postgraduate study at Trinity. Passing the programme means you meet Trinity’s English language requirement and can progress to your postgraduate course without retaking IELTS or any other exam. Please click here for Pre-Masters pathway programme

Please also note that existing IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge and PET scores up to three years old (rather than two) will be accepted for 2021/22 applications in light of test centre closures.

For further details on these English Language Proficiency Tests, please contact the appropriate organisation directly.

An applicant whose first language is not English but who has taken a degree through the medium of English may be eligible. However some courses may request applicants to present an English Language qualification under certain circumstances.

Application Process and finding a supervisor

If you are eligible the next step is to see if the School has sufficient research expertise to support your research. Explore our research groups listed above. On these pages you will find links to members of staff with their different research expertise within the School. If you want to know more about any member of staff, please click on their name to view their profile page. In this way you will become familiar with the staff of the research group you are interested in and may identify a member of staff that you would like to be a supervisor for you if suitable and available.

The formal application process (once you have secured a supervisor) involves an online application form and the attachment to this of a 3000 words research proposal and CV. A range of essential documentations are also required please see Documentation required to complete application section above . Please note your application will not be finalised until you have provided all the necessary information.

Prospective students are advised that for both unfunded and funded research applications they need to contact and work with the member of staff who has posted the research topic or a member of staff whose research area their research is compatible with, so as to develop their proposal to a level suitable for application. It is usually advised that this process starts at least three months prior to registration.

For further information on the application process please contact the Director of Postgraduate Programmes, Prof Fiona Timmins

Funding

Applicants wishing to pursue research degrees within the School are eligible to apply for funding using the following options:

1. Internal College and School Grants

Any student completing the online application form has the opportunity to tick the relevant box so that their application enters into competition for the available grants. These applications may be based on the prospective students' own research idea or from our topic list (see link to research topics above). Applications will be ranked based on their online application form and the submission/ attachment of a research proposal. The research proposal has to be less than 3000 words.
Applications will be ranked according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of Research Proposal
  • Relevance to School's Research Agenda and supervisory support for the applicant
  • Review of educational preparation, references and career development

Postgraduate Research Ussher Fellowships maybe available to new entrants to the full-time Ph.D. register for entry in September and/or the following March of the next academic year (e.g. September 2020 and/or March 2021). They are awarded competitively on academic merit. The Fellowship fully covers EU and non-EU fees and provides an annual maintenance of euro 13,000 for three years. The fellowship is unrelated to teaching. A maximum annual income level of euro 18,000 excluding fees but including the studentship maintenance is permitted. (TBC).

A Postgraduate Research Studentship is available to new entrants as well as continuing students on the full-time Ph.D. register for entry in September 2020 and or March 2021. Applicants must have received a 2.1 honours degree to be eligible. The studentship is awarded competitively on academic merit. The postgraduate studentship fully covers EU or non-EU fee and an annual maintenance of euro 6,500 for three years. The holder of a postgraduate studentship is required to engage in teaching-related activities, as advised by the appropriate Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) or by his/her nominee, to a maximum of 6 hours per week in teaching term. A maximum annual income level of euro 18,000 excluding fees but including the studentship maintenance is permitted. The receipt of any additional funding must be notified immediately to the Graduate Studies Office and the Staff Office payroll. Postgraduate studentships cannot continue beyond the fourth year on the Ph.D. register. (Applications due TBC)

For all funding application details please contact Lavergne Marie-Pierre: lavergnm@tcd.ie

2. External programme grants

Principal investigators of projects may advertise for potential PhD students on the college WebPages. Please check the college vacancies page (https://jobs.tcd.ie/) to see if there are any current PhD opportunities on funded projects for specific research topics.

For further information on funding opportunities in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, please contact the Director of Research, Prof Joan Lalor

Projects available for PhD/MSc supervision

1. Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Women, Children and Families Prof Cecily Begley

Childbirth, Reproduction and Maternity Care

1.1 MAMMI (Maternal Health and Maternal Morbidity in Ireland). Please see website for information on this project http://www.mammi.ie/. Researchers: Prof Deirdre Daly and Prof Cecily Begley

There are opportunities for PhD projects within this longitudinal, cohort study in the following topics:

  • Use of antibiotics in pregnancy, labour and postpartum
  • Women's experiences on Vaginal Birth after Caesarean Section (VBAC) Prof Cecily Begley
  • Anal incontinence: risk factors and interventions
  • Obesity and associated factors in first-time mothers
  • Other morbidities, including perineal trauma and pain - please contact us to discuss
  • Activity and exercise during pregnancy and postpartum
  • The economic costs of becoming a mother
  • Breast-feeding issues and experiences

1.2 Promoting normality in childbirth Prof Cecily Begley

There are opportunities for PhD projects in the following topics:

  • Use and abuse of oxytocin in labour
  • Reducing episiotomy rates in Ireland
  • Increasing the use of expectant care in the third stage of labour
  • Other topics - please contact us to discuss Prof Cecily Begley

1.3 Trauma and traumatic loss in childbirth Prof Joan Lalor

  • Development of a model of palliative care for neonates with life limiting conditions (well developed)
  • Continuing bonds - preserving a place in the family for the baby that dies before or soon after birth (RQ and methodology done)
  • Parents' experiences of witnessing resuscitation and death in the NICU (RQ and methodology done)
  • Transition to motherhood/fatherhood when your baby is in the NICU (GT - S&C approach to verify/modify extant theories and adapt to NICU)

1.4 Parents and parents with a disability

  • Preparing for parenthood with a disability
  • Parenting with a disability
  • Transition to fatherhood for fathers with a disability
  • Motherhood and homelessness
  • Development of a care pathway for women with a disability accessing maternity care

1.5 Infant feeding Prof Louise Gallagher

  • Use of social media and technology to support breastfeeding
  • Development of family-centred strategies to support exclusive breastfeeding
  • Exploration of the use of incentives to increase breastfeeding rates among Irish mothers

1.6 Assessing fetal wellbeing during pregnancy and childbirth Prof Valerie Smith

  • Women's views and experiences of fetal heart rate monitoring on admission to the maternity unit with signs of possible labour (mixed methods design)
  • Monitoring fetal movements in pregnancy: women's perspectives
  • Evaluating methods for detecting decreased fetal movements in pregnancy (randomised trial design)
  • Evaluating clinical care pathways/strategies for women presenting with decreased fetal movements in pregnancy (randomised trial design)
  • Development of a core outcome set of measures for use in trials on fetal movements in pregnancy (e-Delphi and other consensus methods)

1.7 Models of Maternity Care Margaret Dunlea

  • Models of maternity care in general
  • Developing and implementing a continuity integrated antenatal care pathways
  • Piloting group models of antenatal care
  • Piloting continuity and integrated care models
  • Women's experiences of perineal suturing
  • Developing the role of the midwife in primary care

1.8 Preparation for Birth and Motherhood Prof Vivienne Brady

  • Action research to promote women's involvement in Health Research, Service Planning and Development
  • Antenatal education to address fear in childbirth
  • Developing Postnatal Community Supports for women as new mothers

1.9 Community Midwifery and Homebirth Prof Colm O'Boyle

  • Exploration of home birth services - integration with hospital services
  • Self-employed community midwives' experiences of home birth services since INMO insurance withdrawal, and the passing of the Nurses' & Midwives' Act 2011 and statutory requirement for indemnification
  • Memo of Understanding as means for supporting SECM/Home birth
  • Home birth service governance
  • National Maternity Strategy normal risk/supported care pathway

1.10 Children, Young People and Families' Health and Wellbeing Prof Imelda Coyne

  • Medication adherence for adolescents with diabetes. This project will build upon a position statement by the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine on medication adherence. Prof Imelda Coyne
  • Evaluation of an art-based intervention to promote transition to adult services for adolescents with a chronic illness. This project will build upon a systematic review which has been completed in this area. Prof Imelda Coyne
  • Developing self-management skills for adolescents with a chronic illness. This will build upon work done in the area of transition and self-management needs. Prof Imelda Coyne
  • Development of an intervention to support children’s (with Autism Spectrum Disorder) engagement with an Emergency Department stay using action research. Prof Imelda Coyne

2. Ageing

Ageing and Intellectual Disabilities Prof Mary McCarron

2.1 IDS TILDA - The Intellectual Disability Supplement to the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (see http://www.idstilda.tcd.ie ) Prof Mary McCarron

There are opportunities for PhD projects within this longitudinal, cohort study in the following topics:

  • Understanding risk for, prevalence, and incidence of type II diabetes among adults with an intellectual disability.
  • Understanding the impact of engagement in good nutrition, physical activity and health screenings in the health status of people with an intellectual disability.
  • Understanding prevalence, incidence and patterns of epilepsy among adults with an intellectual disability and its implications for health and social care.
  • Establishing key determinants in good health in persons with ID over age 60.
  • Understanding similarities and dissimilarities in cardiovascular disease progression for people with ID compared to the general population.
  • Changing patterns of social engagement for people with ID as they age.
  • Understanding cognitive frailty in people with ID.
  • Differential patterns in health services offered to people with ID compared to the general population when disease patterns are similar.
  • Hypertension risk factors and prevalence in Down syndrome specific adults versus the general population
  • Obesity and associated factors in adults with intellectual disability.
  • Obesity and obesity-related secondary conditions in Older adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
  • (Instrumental) activities of daily living in older adults with intellectual disabilities.
  • The prevalence of constipation in institutionalized people with intellectual disability.
  • Examining mental health issues in older adults with an intellectual disability.
  • Sense of belonging and community living for people with ID.
  • Cardiac risk profiles for ageing persons with ID: a comparison with the general population.
  • Understanding physical activity patterns for persons ageing with ID.
  • Understanding gastro-intestinal disease in ageing people with ID.
  • Meaningful day activities and fulfilling life roles for people with ID.
  • Exploring the changing nature of caregiving for people with ID.
  • Exploring usefulness of quality of life measures for people with ID.
  • Tracking availability and quality of end of life carer for people with ID over time.
  • Exploring the association between sedentary behaviour and cardiac risk in the ageing population.
  • Can physical activity, as part of a mental health and wellness programme, improve meaning in life in older adults with intellectual disability and thus contribute towards the establishment of recovery from mental ill-health symptomatology?

For further information on any of the projects, please refer to: http://nursing-midwifery.tcd.ie/research/opportunities/IDS%20Tilda%20projects.php

2.2 Dementia and Down Syndrome Prof Mary McCarron

There are opportunities for PhD projects within this longitudinal, cohort study in the following topics:

  • Prevalence of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia in individuals with intellectual disabilities.
  • Differentiating ageing among adults with Down Syndrome and people with ID from other aetiologies.
  • Understanding the onset of co-morbidities and frailty across the presentation of symptoms of dementia.
  • Comparing the lived experience of people with Down Syndrome and dementia across residential, community and family settings.

2.3 Ageing Well

  • Addressing cultural and linguistic diversity in cognitive screening protocols for older adult populations. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Developing the Resources and Life Strategy Management (REALISM) Intervention for care co-ordination in older adults. Prof Claire Donnellan

2.4 Other research interests in Ageing

  • Investigating the biological mechanisms underpinning age-related modifications to the vasculature. Prof Aileen Lynch
  • Defining associations between cognition (global, executive and meta-cognition), self-regulation and goal attainment in neurological rehabilitation (this topic will be applicable to nursing, psychology, allied health and medically qualified candidates). Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Assessing associations between physiological, cognitive and behavioural variables in older adults with neurodegenerative diseases. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Development of a nurse-led clinical governance stroke programme in Ireland: NLCGSP. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Development and implementation of an integrated care pathway for the management of neurogenic dysphagia in gerontological care settings. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Exploring the association between sedentary behaviour and cardiac risk in the ageing population. Prof Gabrielle McKee

3. Mental Health, Mental Distress and Mental Illness Prof Agnes Higgins

3.1 Developing and evaluating recovery-orientated and rights-based strategies for service users, families and practitioners

  • Social Exclusion, Incarceration and Reintegration within Civic Society. Prof Damien Brennan
  • Oral narratives of past Mental Hospital residents: A Historical Sociology. Prof Damien Brennan
  • The capacity for care provision within contemporary Home/Domestic spaces in Ireland. Prof Damien Brennan
  • Critical reflection and care erosion in hospitals. Prof Jan de Vries
  • Professional dissonance: discrepancies between nursing education and clinical practice. Prof Jan de Vries

3.2 Mental Wellness, Illness and Distress: Determinants and Impacts Prof Louise Doyle

4. Healthcare Innovation and Integration (Research theme) Professor Anne-Marie Brady

4.1 Chronic Illness

  • Living and working with chronic illness: Returning to work following 'diagnosis' and/or 'exacerbation' of a chronic illness - A mixed method study. Prof Patricia Cronin
  • Chronic illness and work affects - work-role functioning in people whith chronic illness in Ireland. Prof Patricia Cronin
  • Living and working with chronic illness: 'disclosing' - A qualitative exploration. Prof Patricia Cronin
  • What does it mean to be a part-time family carer? Prof Patricia Cronin

Oncology Nursing

Palliative Care

  • Palliative and end of life care for people with dementia and their families. Prof Louise Daly

Cardiovascular Health and Wellbeing Prof Gabrielle McKee

  • The effectiveness of a web-based intervention in reducing pre-hospital delay time in patients with acute coronary syndrome in the primary care and secondary care setting. Prof Gabrielle McKee
  • An action research project to evaluate, develop and implement telephone follow-up as a mechanism for post-discharge support. Prof Sharon O'Donnell
  • An action research project to evaluate, develop and implement a standardised patient discharge information protocol in a cardiac setting. Prof Mary Mooney & Prof Frances O'Brien
  • An action research project to evaluate the problem of non-attendance at cardiac appointments and to develop and implement a strategy to address this. Prof Gabrielle McKee and Prof Mary Mooney
  • An evaluation of the new Percutaneous Coronary intervention (PCI) programme. Prof Mary Mooney & Prof Frances O'Brien

Ageing

  • A case study of the co-ordination of health and social care for people with dementia. Prof Patricia Cronin and Prof Anne-Marie Brady
  • Dementia care. Dr Louise Daly
  • Self-management in dementia care. Dr Louise Daly
  • Self-management of co-morbidities in early to mid-stage dementia. Dr Louise Daly
  • An exploration of ways in which community nurses support self-care for people living with dementia. Dr Louise Daly
  • The support needs of staff working in dementia care. Dr Louise Daly
  • Addressing cultural and linguistic diversity in cognitive screening protocols for older adult populations. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Developing the Resources and Life Strategy Management (REALISM) Intervention for care co-ordination in older adults. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Investigating the biological mechanisms underpinning age-related modifications to the vasculature. Prof Aileen Lynch
  • Defining associations between cognition (global, executive and meta-cognition), self-regulation and goal attainment in neurological rehabilitation (this topic will be applicable to nursing, psychology, allied health and medically qualified candidates). Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Assessing associations between physiological, cognitive and behavioural variables in older adults with neurodegenerative diseases. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Development of a nurse-led clinical governance stroke programme in Ireland: NLCGSP. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Development and implementation of an integrated care pathway for the management of neurogenic dysphagia in gerontological care settings. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Exploring the association between sedentary behaviour and cardiac risk in the ageing population. Prof Gabrielle McKee

4.2 Population and Community Health

Addiction Prof Catherine Comiskey

  • Modelling the health, wellbeing and risk of addiction among the children of parents who use drugs
  • Addiction and ageing
  • Addiction and children
  • Addiction and innovations
  • Addiction and infectious disease
  • Addiction and data modelling

Health Needs of Ethnic and Minority Groups Dr Gobnait Byrne

Community Nursing Dr Gobnait Byrne

4.3 Practice Innovation

Practice, Service and Role Development Prof Anne-Marie Brady

  • Healthcare Systems
  • Patient safety solutions in healthcare
  • Innovation and models of healthcare delivery
  • Quality improvement initiatives in healthcare
  • Workforce development
  • Regulation, guideline and standards in healthcare
  • Evaluation and implementation of integrated care pathways

Implementation science, a study of the implementation of research in policy and or practice. Prof Catherine Comiskey

4.4 Digital solutions in integrated care Prof Anne-Marie Brady and Prof John Dinsmore

  • Technological innovation in healthcare
  • Technology and behavioural change

4.5 Spirituality Prof Fiona Timmins

  • Identification of clinical indicators of spiritual distress in palliative care patients and nurses' competencies in the provision of spiritual care
  • Developing and evaluating the impact of a web based spiritual care educational package for nurses
  • Patients' understanding of spirituality and spiritual care
  • An evaluation of the benefits of chaplaincy services in the Republic of Ireland
  • The evaluation of nurse-led rheumatoid arthritis practice using nurse-sensitive outcomes (Prof Gabrielle McKee)

Other Topics - please contact us to discuss Prof Anne-Marie Brady

Research Themes

These research themes not only encompass four nursing disciplines (children's nursing, general nursing, intellectual disability and mental health) and midwifery but also include research from other healthcare disciplines and the educational arena. Within these strengths several cross cutting themes are evident. These include service outcomes, care pathways, evaluation, intervention, prevention, evidence-based policy and practice, continuing professional development, education, leadership and management. The supervisory expertise in the School spans across many different methodologies. This includes qualitative methodologies (grounded theory, ethnography, narrative, feminist methodologies, phenomenology and hermeneutics), quantitative methodologies (longitudinal studies, randomised control trials, surveys), mathematical and statistical modelling, systematic reviews, action research and mixed methods designs.