Applicants must have a Master’s of Arts degree or proof of study at a comparable level. English is the working language of PhDArts, and proficiency in both speaking and writing in English is required. The application should be written in English.

Because PhDArts is a practice-as-research doctorate, the applicant must first and foremost demonstrate that they are a highly accomplished practitioner in some aspect of the arts and/or design.

On a theoretical level, the applicant has to demonstrate that their ideas are already quite well-formed and that they have begun to place their own contribution within the context of existing research or innovative practice. The applicant will need to show a strong sense of intellectual curiosity and be able to justify what the urgency for this particular research is.

The PhDArts programme aims to encourage research that is rooted in practice – commonly referred to as artistic research or practice-based research. If the applicant is accepted to the PhDArts programme, they should be aware that there is no single, universally accepted definition of practice-based research, whether in arts or in other creative disciplines. As a doctoral student engaging in practice-based research, the researcher will be adding to the body of work that helps to define what practice-based research is. However, the PhDArts team has adopted a working definition of practice-based research, which the applicant should consider carefully when filling out section 2 of the application form.

The PhDArts working definition of practice-based research is:

‘Practice-based research, as applied to arts, is research in and through artistic practice and design (for example: fine arts, audiovisual art, design, interior architecture, hybrid forms and interdisciplinary work) where the researcher’s own practice and critical engagement are integral to the research subject, processes and outcomes. In a doctorate practice-based research, the researcher must therefore demonstrate a high level of artistic creativity, imagination and skill in order for the doctorate to make a substantial and original contribution to knowledge, understanding and art practice.’

As a guide to PhDArts applicants, the original shared ‘Dublin’ Descriptors of the 3rd cycle are set out here.

Qualifications that signify completion of the 3rd cycle are awarded to students who:

  1. Have demonstrated a systematic understanding of a field of study and mastery of the skills and methods of research associated with that field.
  2. Have demonstrated the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial process of research with scholarly integrity.
  3. Have made a contribution through original research that extends the frontier of knowledge by developing a substantial body of work, some of which merits national or international refereed publication.
  4. Are capable of critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas.
  5. Can communicate with their peers, the larger scholarly community and with society in general about their areas of expertise.
  6. Can be expected to be able to promote, within academic and professional contexts, technological, social or cultural advancement in a knowledge based society.

Glossary (from the Original Shared ‘Dublin’ Descriptors)

  1. The word professional is used in the descriptors in its broadest sense, relating to those attributes relevant to undertaking work or a vocation and that involves the application of some aspects of advanced learning. It is not used with regard to those specific requirements relating to regulated professions. The latter may be identified with the profile/specification.
  2. The word competence is used in the descriptors in its broadest sense, allowing for gradation of abilities or skills. It is not used in the narrower sense identified solely on the basis of a yes/no assessment
  3. The word research is used to cover a wide variety of activities, with the context often related to a field of study; the term is used here to represent a careful study or investigation based on a systematic understanding and critical awareness of knowledge. The word is used in an inclusive way to accommodate the range of activities that support original and innovative work in the whole range of academic, professional and technological fields, including the humanities, and traditional, performing, and other creative arts. It is not used in any limited or restricted sense, or relating solely to a traditional ‘scientific method’.

Doctoral students undergo an interim evaluation at the end of the first year of the programme. The Evaluation Committee (Board of Directors of PhDArts and team of supervisors) will decide whether or not the student can continue with the programme. A positive evaluation of the Interim Evaluation will result in the definitive enrolment in the PhDArts programme.