International Structured PhD | Graduate School, University of Limerick

International Structured PhD

The programme supports the University of Limerick Strategic plan to increase our cohort of international students and to increase the number of research  postgraduate students. It is aligned with initiatives from non-EU countries such as Brazil (Science without Borders’ initiative) Iraq, and Libya, who fund research to PhD level in English speaking countries.

University and national policy disadvantage international students who have not previously studied through the medium of English. Studying English for a year and subsequently embarking on a research degree results in students having to undertake two discrete programmes, returning to their home country and completing two distinct international visa applications. Furthermore, owing to the prolonged length of study required in completing an English Language qualification plus a structured PhD involves, the research element in such an arrangement of programmes is unlikely to in a structured PhD format due to extended timelines.
The programme provides a pathway for international students who wish to improve their English Language Competency and access a postgraduate research-based education programme at the University. The learning outcomes of programme are in the first instance focus on improving international students’ ability to communicate effectively through the medium of English. In this way the programme will allow students to develop skills that are part of the University’s Graduate Attributes, in particular the ability to think and communicate both verbally and in a written context. This will enable the student to proffer their research position. These skills will combine over the duration of students’ programme of study with disciplinary training to enable students to become critical thinkers.

The proposed programme combines English language and PhD study in a format that should  simplify visa arrangements and allow international students to enrol on a structured PhD degree programme at the start of their study programme. The programme requires successful applicants to complete an University English language programme, as well as a number of research methods modules in their first year of study. The students also develop and have their research proposal approved by their chosen faculty research committees within the first year of the programme. Students completing year 1 of the programme will be integrated into the life of the University and prepared to engage in full-time research more actively from the start of that phase of their studies.

In the first year students take a mix of English language courses, develop their research proposal, and take some modules in their chosen discipline. Students entering this programme can be planning to undertake research in any of the University’s Faculties, departments and schools.

• Will enable students to improve their English Language competency
• Will develop the research question whilst improving English Language skills
• Will develop the generic and transferable skills of the student
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