Award Type and NFQ level : RESEARCH PH.D. (10)

CAO/PAC code : MH02K

CAO Points :

The PhD in Design Innovation is the highest degree offered by the Department of Design Innovation. The structured PhD programme offers a framework which facilitates independent research, whilst providing milestones for measuring progress.

Students will be equipped with methodological and analytical tools for advanced research in Design Innovation through a number of taught modules across the Faculty. These will be supplemented by periodic one-on-one supervision meetings. Students will also have opportunities to actively engage in other aspects of academic writing and publishing during the course of their education.

We are cognisant of the variety of expertise and experience within the context of Design Innovation and therefore are open to discussing various formats of theses suitable to the PhD in Design Innovation award, for example, a PhD by publication may be more suitable for some than a traditional PhD thesis. In order to hear more about these options, please contact the Programme Director, Dr Linzi Ryan (

Applicants should ordinarily have a master’s degree in a design-related discipline, however, those who do not but have relevant work experience in the sector are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must have a minimum 2.1 primary degree or international equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. Applicants in possession of a primary degree with a grade lower than 2.1 will be considered if they have relevant experience. Applicants are welcome from all disciplines, however a clear interest in Design is required, which aligns with staff research interests within the Department of Design Innovation.

Minimum English language requirements:

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. For information about English language tests accepted and required scores, please see here. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and International applicants.

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850

Additional Information

Applications are generally accepted at any time, and decisions are made on a rolling basis on completed applications. However, they are preferably received by the end of July at the latest for a September start and by the end of November for a January start. Early applications are encouraged.


September/January (or other agreed time based upon date application was submitted).

While students carry out a piece of independent research, it is essential that the topic of this research is relevant to Design Innovation. As two members of staff will be supervising your thesis (primary and secondary supervisors), it is important that your topic aligns with the core research areas of the department. Please browse the staff pages and the research pages of our department’s website for details on the specialities of academic staff and current research projects of both staff and postgraduate students ( Students with queries on how their research might align with the department are welcome to contact the Programme Director,  Dr Linzi Ryan (  

In addition to developing their own research topic with their supervisor(s), students will be required to take 30 credits worth of modules over the duration of their programme of doctoral research. 15 of these will be generic/transferable modules offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences, and 15 in subject/specialist modules which are being developed by the Department.

Annual progress reviews are part of the PhD programme and completion of requisite modules will be taken into account when assessing student progress. Students will not be permitted to submit their thesis (or equivalent) for examination without having accumulated the required number of credits.

Course Duration: 3-6 years (full-time)/4-8 years (part-time)


The skills acquired during the programme of doctoral study will prepare students for a wide range of careers including academia, private industry and public service.

Prior to submitting a formal application through PAC, potential candidates should:

Make contact with the Programme Director Dr Linzi Ryan ( to discuss the suitability of their interests and qualifications, who will then advise on the best member of staff to contact in relation to your research.

a) Once you have Identified a member of staff as a potential supervisor, you will then submit a research proposal and CV to the proposed supervisor. After receiving provisional approval, a formal application through PAC may be made.

The research proposal should be in the following format:

  • Project Title
  • Description of topic to include, for example, aims, objectives and central research questions (1,000 words max)
  • Methodology, to include, for example, investigative and analytic methods and theoretical frameworks (500 words max)
  • Research plan to include, for example, a schedule for the completion of tasks/phases of the project, draft table of contents (300 words max)
  • Description of the relationship of the project to existing research. Suggest how the project will make a new contribution to knowledge (300 words max)
  • Description of how the applicant proposes to fund his/her doctoral studies

Applicants wishing to undertake doctoral studies in the Department of Design Innovation should familiarise themselves with the general structures and policies of the University (see Enrolment for doctoral studies normally takes place at the beginning of the academic year.

Online application only 

PAC Code


The following information should be uploaded to your online application form:

Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for all non-Maynooth University qualifications listed MUST accompany the application. Failure to do so will delay your application being processed. Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide two academic references and a copy of their birth certificate or valid passport.


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