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Traditional versus Structured PhD

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KBS offers both a structured and a traditional PhD. The traditional model centres on the research thesis with no requirement to attend taught modules. The structured PhD adds a layer of taught modules in relevant disciplinary and specialist areas. The structured PhD is most suited to full-time study, while the traditional model suits either part-time or full-time scholars.

In both cases, PhD Scholars have access to a range of personal development courses, research seminars featuring international speakers, peer colloquia and other workshops which offer the opportunity to develop presentation skills. Supports are also in place for students following both the structured and traditional models to develop specific skills in academic writing or qualitative and quantitative research methods and to attend conferences to present their work. The mix of such supports is individually designed for each student in collaboration with their supervisors.

The KBS Structured PHD has two core modules and a range of electives. The core modules are:

  • SG8002: Philosophy of Science (6 credits)
  • GT8101/GT8102/GT8103: Generic and Transferable Skills Portfolio (9 credits)

In addition to these cores, students must choose from a range of electives. These should include some research methods courses as well as specialist modules relevant to the subject matter of the course of study.

Available electives include modules on offer on the KBS suite of taught masters programmes (including appropriate research methods modules), and also the following modules external to KBS:

  • SO5031 - QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS 1 (9 credits)
  • SO5042 - QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS 2 (9 credits)
  • SO5041 - QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS 1 (9 credits)
  • SO5032 - QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS 2 (9 credits)

Students should choose modules totalling up to 60 credits between elective and core. Some students come into the programme with a Masters degree, or other exceptional experience, and where appropriate this group may avail of exemptions to reduce the taught element to a minimum of 30 credits. Summer Schools can also be used to accumulate credits. Modules may be taken on a pass/fail basis. We recommend that as far as possible, the taught element of a structured PhD is frontloaded and completed early in the programme of study.

Students registering now should choose their modules in conjunction with their supervisor, and return details of the suite of taught modules chosen to the ADR. They should also take care to register in good time for the modules. Similarly, students applying for exemptions should do so through the ADR’s office.