Health Professions' Education, PhD

National University of Ireland, Cork
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Phd programs


Course Outline

The Postgraduate Certificate in Health Professions' Education is a part-time fully online programme. It is designed to provide healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills to be effective educators. Students who have completed the PG Certificate and wish to further their education and development in the area of Health Professions’ Education can progress to the Postgraduate Diploma and subsequently the Masters (MSc) also offered by the School of Medicine.

Postgraduate CertificateThe Postgraduate Certificate, delivered entirely online, consisting of 3 x 10 credit modules, introduces the student to the theory behind delivering education to health professionals and develops knowledge of teaching, assessment, feedback and instructional design. Students who complete the PG Certificate may progress to the PG Diploma (additional 3 x 10 credit modules) which builds on the knowledge base gained in the PG Certificate with emphasis on professional development, advanced methods for teaching and assessment as well as the management and development of academic programmes in Health Professions' Education (HPE). On completion of the PG Diploma students may progress to the MSc, completing a 30 credit research dissertation. Students must complete MH6023 in order to progress to the MSc which can be completed in the same year as the PG Diploma. The Postgraduate Certificate comprises of 3 x 10 credit online modules:

  • MH6020 Teaching, Assessment and Feedback: Teaching and Learning in Health Professions' Education I (10 credits)
  • MH6021 Theory in Health Professions' Education (10 credits)
  • MH6022 Instructional Design: Teaching and Learning in Health Professions' Education II (10 credits

On successful completion of 30 credits from the Postgraduate Certificate students may progress to the Postgraduate Diploma.

Postgraduate DiplomaThe Postgraduate Diploma is delivered primarily online with a campus-based component (requiring attendance in UCC) of approximately 4 days. Students complete a further 3 x 10 credit modules from the following list:

  • MH6023 Scholarship and Professional Development in Health Professions' Education (10 credits)
  • MH6024 Advanced Assessment in Health Professions' Education (10 credits)
  • MH6025 Leadership and Academic Programme Development (10 credits)
  • MH6026 Contemporary Health Professions' Education Methods (10 credits)

On successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma (including module MH6023) students may progress to the Masters in Health Professions’ Education.

MastersIn addition to 60 credits from the Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma, students complete a research dissertation (MH6027) to the value of 30 credits. Successful completion of MH6023 is essential for those wishing to progress to the MSc in Health Professions’ Education. The MSc can be completed in the same year as the Postgraduate Diploma.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can also apply online at PAC.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

Course Practicalities

Students are required to engage with online materials and attend in person on campus at a limited number of workshops (at PG Diploma level), contribute to online discussions, link with peers, perform and reflect on teaching practice, and complete personal reading and written assignments. Face to face and online work including completion of online materials and contribution to discussions is expected to take in the region of 40 hours per 10 credit ECTS module. Additional time should be spent on self-directed reading, planning, performing and reflecting on teaching.

There is no work placement in this programme but students are expected to be able to access teaching opportunities to allow completion of compulsory assignments.

Students completing the MSc are expected to communicate regularly and attend meetings as required with their supervisor regarding their dissertation.

Students require the following skills and equipment:

  • Basic computing and word processing skills
  • PC or a laptop with an up to date operating systems capable of playing SCORM packages
  • High Speed Broadband (a minimum of 1MB download speed and 500KB upload speed is required)
  • Common plug-ins such as Microsoft Silverlight, Java and Flash
  • Access to MS Office or an equivalent e.g. Open Office
  • Access to a modern standards compliant web browser. UCC recommends either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox
  • Camera for recording a teaching episode (smartphone camera will suffice)

Why Choose This Course

The UCC Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters in Health Professions’ Education is designed for busy healthcare professionals, including those working full time, who want to learn flexibly. UCC has a strong tradition in the education of educators and the Medical Education Unit is specifically dedicated to the development of teachers in the health professions. The course team includes faculty from the Medical Education Unit, Schools Nursing and Midwifery and Pharmacy, and the Department of General Practice, who have a broad range of experience and expertise in the area.

Skills and Careers Information

What can I do after I graduate with a qualification in Health Professions’ Education?

The Postgraduate Certificate will provide you with the knowledge and skills to to be an effective educator.  The Postgraduate Diploma will allow you to develop yourself in the areas of scholarship and leadership in HPE. Completion of the Masters programme will give you:

  • Critical skills to evaluate education methods and courses, and the evidence base for current practices in HPE;
  • Knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of key topics required to be a health professions’ educator;
  • Knowledge and skills required to design, undertake and evaluate research in HPE;
  • Skills to act as a leader and innovator in HPE.

Occupations associated with Health Professions’ Education

Occupations include but are not limited to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, psychology and social care professionals.

What are our graduates doing?

The programme is relevant to individuals involved or interested in teaching in clinical or academic settings. In addition, it is relevant to those working in postgraduate training bodies. Graduates could utilise knowledge and skills acquired in this course for teaching, research, and leadership roles relating to Health Professions’ Education in any of these settings.


Candidates must have the following:

  • An undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification in an appropriate healthcare related subject, such as (but not restricted to) medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, psychology, social science;
  • Access to teaching opportunities to allow completion of compulsory assignments;
  • Applicants who do not meet these requirements may also be considered on a case by case basis following a review of their individual qualifications and experience by the programme board;
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must have a minimum IELTS of 6.5 with scores in no individual section less than 6.5, regardless of nationality or employment status within the EU.

In accordance with UCC's Policy for Recognition of Prior Learning, students who have completed relevant university postgraduate modules in a cognate area at similar NFQ level may apply for exemptions for modules taken within the last five years.

Technical Requirements

To access and interact with the course content, assignments and assessments etc., students will require access to a PC/Laptop running at least Windows 7 or later or a recent version of Mac OSX. Common plug-ins such as Microsoft Silverlight, Java and Flash will also be required. Students must have access to MS Office or an equivalent suite of applications such as Open Office.

Students must also have access to a modern standards compliant web browser. UCC recommends either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. A minimum of 1MB download speed and 500KB upload speed is required. To engage productively and successfully with the content, basic technical computer skills such as familiarity with word processing, web browsing and email is recommended.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. To verify if you meet the minimum academic requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website .

Fees and Costs

Part-time students:

If your course is offered full time and part time, normally the fee for part time course is half the full time fee per year, please check the fact file for confirmation.


If your course required a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second semester fee payment in January.

EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:How can I pay?Questions?Non-EU Fees

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to three courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to PAC in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary forms requested for your course.

Please log into PAC for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application system PAC opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

Questions on how to apply?

Irish/EU Closing Date Rounds

Irish/EU places on this programme are offered in rounds. The closing dates for each round can be found here.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Not currently open to Non EU applicants

  • Dr Catherine Sweeney

More Information

Posted on:


Phd programs


Cork , Ireland