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UCC Adult courses

The Climate Crisis and Local Government - Continuing Professional Development Certificate - Cert

Course Fact File
Duration12 weeks
Teaching ModePart-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 7
NFQ Award TitleSpecial Purpose Award
Fees€850 See Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing Date2024 Date to be confirmed
Next Intake2024 Date to be confirmed


Start Date2024 Date to be confirmed

Course Outline

The climate crisis is here. Recently we have seen it accelerate with record breaking temperatures, heatwaves, and wildfires. This course will examine these issues focusing on local government and sustainability. Such a dynamic and transitioning world requires governance at all levels, including local, to be responsive, proactive, and future-looking in finding solutions to address the complex intersecting issues we will all face as the global heating unfolds. The course will introduce councillors in how Ireland aims to become a climate-resilient, sustainable, and low carbon economy and society in the coming decades. The course will examine how government aims to mitigate and adapt to the challenges brought on by our changing climate in the process. In doing so it will look at, amongst other concerns the issues of urban and rural resilience, sustainability practices, the pathway to zero carbon, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and climate justice. The course will also examine the wider economic and political context at the macro level, the Paris climate agreement of 2015 for instance, and community leadership and the need for a dynamic political response across a subject which has not only local and national but global implications.

For more information on programme content, contact

Course Practicalities

This course will be delivered part-time to facilitate adult learners who already have a multitude of professional and personal responsibilities. Each module on this course will comprise 18 hours of lectures, including both recorded lectures and live online classes delivered over 6 weeks. In addition, there will be a full day (Saturday) fieldtrip/workshop per module.

Both online and offline delivery of this programme allows for students from around Ireland’s 31 county and city councils to interact with each other through peer-to-peer learning, with a view to building relationships and networks between participants, and expertise in the issues related to the climate crisis.   

Why Choose This Course

It is imperative that our Elected Members have the necessary knowledge, education and leadership expertise to lead this challenge.

Cllr. Pat Fitzpatrick, President AILG

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The course helped me as a Councillor understand the issues regarding the climate crisis and the role that Local Government can and must play in achieving our national and international climate goals.

2022 Graduate

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This level 7 certificate has been designed specifically for county councillors in local government in Ireland, and it will cover up to date policies and initiatives such as the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act and the Climate Action Plan, amongst other pressing climate related issues. This course is the only university bearing credit CPD programme of its kind in Ireland offering a recognised qualification in this sector. Its purpose is to provide a unique opportunity for councillors to upgrade and upskill their professional & academic qualifications. The online and field trip component is designed for local government staff to interact with each other with a view to building relationships and networks between participants from across the local government sector in Ireland. Students who successfully complete this course will also as a recognition of prior learning gain exemption from module AD 1082/1085 Perspectives on Climate Change and Sustainable Development (10 credit module) within the Diploma in Environment, Sustainability and Climate.


Skills and Careers Information

This unique programme aims to develop student’s knowledge and skills base with a view to support their effectiveness in their professional role. The wide-ranging content, subject specific material, peer-to-peer learning and sharing of practice in this course also act as a strong foundation for students to further their professional and academic development in the crucial subjects of global warming, sustainability, and the environment more generally.


  • Candidates must be at least 21 years of age by 1 January of the year of application
  • Leaving Certificate (or equivalent qualification)/FETAC Level 5 qualification
  • Candidates who do not have a Leaving Certificate or FETAC Level 5 but are over 21 years of age may be deemed suitable. Applicants will have at least 2 years prior experience in a suitable area (local government, social studies, community work or other related subject area). 
  • Applicants will be asked to submit a Personal Statement detailing their motivation to take this course and any work or life experience relevant to the subject.

Fees and Costs


For more information see the email and flyer from AILG or email

How To Apply

UCC identifies the following technical requirements checklist for students registering in 2020/21:

1. You will need access to a laptop or desktop computer running a modern supported operating system with all software updates.

2. Some of UCC’s services (e.g. the Canvas Virtual Learning Environment) Links to an external site. Also have mobile apps for iOS and Android Devices that you may wish to use as part of your studies.  However, we recommend using your desktop web browser for submission of assessments and exams.

3. You should always use the most current version of your preferred browser. In general, we recommend the Chrome Web browser (Important Note: Internet Explorer will not work with Canvas).

4. We recommend a reliable broadband connection with at least 2Mbps or more.

5. You will require an Office suite of software (Microsoft Office or equivalent) and a PDF reader. You should always use the latest version of this software.  All UCC students have access to Office 365.Links to an external site. By going to to an external site. you can download and install the latest version of Microsoft Office, which includes software such as Word/PowerPoint etc. 

Applicants will additionally require basic computing proficiency skills, including familiarity with Microsoft Office software such as Word, PowerPoint, and Teams.

During your online application you will be required to upload the following documents:

  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Passport Photograph 
  • Candidates will be asked for a brief 200 word summary outlining their reasons for applying for this course.
  • English Language Test Report [if applicable]

To apply, please contact the Programme Coordinator at


Contact Details For This Course

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact