From visa extensions to funding, Pilar, our Brazilian and Waterford Institute of Technology Ambassador, shares her knowledge for those interested in pursuing a PhD in Ireland…

There are many things I didn’t know when I came to Ireland to pursue a master’s degree, even later on when I applied for a PhD. Sometimes as an international student it can be difficult to find information, especially from the experience or perspective from someone who has already been there. In this blog post I give you some information I consider important and also tips for those interested in choosing Ireland as a study destination, specifically those seeking or thinking about pursuing a PhD.

Possibility to go from a bachelor’s to a PhD

In some countries, like my home country in Brazil, it is generally a requirement to hold a master’s degree to be able to apply or be considered for a PhD program. In Ireland, however, this is not always the case. In many programs throughout the higher education institutions in Ireland, it is only necessary to have a bachelor’s degree. Students can, therefore, jump from a bachelor’s straight to a PhD, depending on the program they are applying for and if it suits their academic goals.

Many options of scholarships and funding

At other level of studies, such as bachelor’s, post-graduate diploma, or master’s, scholarship opportunities may be limited. However, you’ll be glad to know that there are many options of funding for pursuing PhD level in Ireland, for both EU and non-EU students. In the Emerald Isle you can find several grants from the government of Ireland, the Irish Research Council, as well as scholarships and studentships offered by the universities themselves. 

Choose a research topic that you’re passionate about

Pursuing a PhD can be extremely challenging (but rewarding!) and requires much resilience. For this reason, it is really important that when applying for a PhD you make sure that the project you are applying for, or that you are designing, is on something that you are really passionate about. No matter how difficult things get or how challenging it is to write your thesis, your passion for your subject will give you that extra drive to keep on going and reach your goals!

Visa extension after completion of studies

Students who complete a master’s degree or a PhD in Ireland, have the possibility of a 24 month stay back option. This means that students can renew their visa for another two years after completion of their study program to seek employment in Ireland. Not all countries in Europe offer international students this kind of opportunity, so it is a wonderful benefit and differential to consider when choosing where to go to pursue your studies!

Contact a supervisor of interest

This is definitely not a requirement, but contacting a supervisor of interest before applying for a PhD can be very beneficial. A PhD usually lasts from three to four years (sometimes more), and during that time you will be working closely with a supervisor. Getting to know your future supervisor, prior to applying, makes all the difference in ensuring that you would work well together and also that the research being conducted by the supervisor is in line with your research interests.