Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Structured PhD

A PhD requires candidates to attend and carry out research under appropriate RCSI supervision for a minimum of three years full-time.

A full list of projects at RCSI is available here.  

Please subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on Twitter to be notified about future PhD scholarship opportunities at RCSI.



  • Candidates pay fees each year until they submit their thesis and are allowed a minimum of three years and a maximum of six years from initial registration to complete their degree. Students who take more than six years must re-apply for registration.
  • Students have access to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework system to define their competencies, identify weaknesses and develop transferable skills. 
  • All students submit annual written reports and present their work in an oral presentation and interview. Progress is reviewed by two independent staff members who decide on the continued registration of each student each year. Students can only progress to PhD after a satisfactory progress assessment at the end of the probationary first year
  • International placements are strongly encouraged, although funding is dependent on the specific funding agency arrangement.    
  • All PhD candidates complete a written thesis on their project which is submitted to one external examiner and one internal examiner* for examination. Following the recommendation of the examiners, including successful completion of an oral (viva voce) examination at RCSI with an independent chair present, a PhD may be awarded.
    [*Members of academic staff require examination by two external examiners.]



  • Research scholarships supported by a funding agency. RCSI researcher who receives the funding becomes the main supervisor of the student for the project. Individuals seeking such an opportunity can approach RCSI in general and/or potential supervisors in particular to discuss potential PhD opportunities.
  • Self-funded students. Some students may receive funding from their own funding sources in which case they may approach potential supervisors to see whether they would be interested in supervising the proposed project.
A list of currently available projects can be found here.


Entrance requirements

  • In order to register for a PhD at RCSI, candidates must have obtained at least an MSc or upper second class (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Candidates must also have an RCSI supervisor with whom they have agreed the topic for their thesis and the logistical details for their candidature, for example, start date, location for initial research training and so on. 
  • English language requirements for candidates who do not speak English as their first language: a high standard of written and spoken English is required. IELTS or equivalent English language test scores (for both written and spoken English) are accepted e.g. TOEFL, Cambridge, etc. An IELTS score of 7.0 is desirable, but scores > 6.5 are acceptable.    


How to apply

Application guidelines       SPGS recruitment portal