PhD through Practice in Design

The PhD through practice entails a practitioner producing a body of work within a critically reflective frame of enquiry with the intention of extending and innovating an area of design practice.

Research in the School of Design is driven by three priorities: User-First Design, Design Sustainability, and Contemporary Practices in Art and Design. A vital model for PhD education in the School of Design is offered by TFE, an academy/industry partnership funded through the European FP7 programme, through which several PhD students work with a Principal Investigator in delivering a major research project.

In the PhD programme through Design - whether working as part of a research cluster or on an individual programme of enquiry – students demonstrate advanced research ability in the discovery and development of new knowledge and skills, delivering findings at the frontiers of knowledge and application. The key issue in a PhD is that the student will make a significant contribution to the field of enquiry. It is an ambitious programme of study whether pursued through practical work or written thesis. PhD study normally requires a minimum of three years full-time study (but may require longer, given the high level of achievement required).

The final submission for a doctoral award in Design will normally entail a combined submission of:

  1. A body of practical work
  2. A written text of 20,000 to 40,000 words.

The PhD programme at NCAD is a structured programme involving significant interdisciplinary and discipline specific input in the early stages of the research project, and active engagement with a community of researchers within and beyond NCAD.

  • The NCAD’s training, supervision and support processes for PhD candidates include:
  • Regular, dynamic student-led interdisciplinary PhD research seminars
  • Access to international PhD networks and exchange programmes
  • Supervised access to internal and external experts in the relevant field
  • Annual national PhD conferences in art and design
  • Public symposia and conferences in PhD research areas
  • Cross-institutional collaboration involving multidisciplinary research teams
  • Training in appropriate research methods.

Applicants for a PhD through Practice in Design are encouraged to identify members of college staff they would wish to work with as supervisor(s) to offer guidance in developing their research proposal.

View Entry Requirements and Application Procedure