The shortlist to design a new Gateway Project for the university includes UK heavyweights Zaha Hadid Architects and Hopkins Architects, Germany's Ingenhoven Architects and Behnisch Architekten, and Snøhetta from Norway.
The five shortlisted firms have been asked to develop a mixed-use design, including cultural, leisure, academic, residential, hospitality, retail and commercial functions.
UCD president Hugh Brady, said: 'Our vision is to build on the wonderful facility we already have, turning it into a centre that matches the finest universities internationally.
'The architecture competition is core to this vision as it attracts the finest planners and designers to create an iconic centre for Dublin and this university.'
The final winner will be announced in April, selected by a panel of judges including Richard MacCormac, Hugh Brady and James O'Connor of Moore Ruble Yudell Architects.