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UCC Adult courses

Environment, Sustainability and Climate - Dip

Course Fact File
Duration2 years
Teaching ModePart-Time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.
NFQ LevelLevel 7
NFQ Award TitleSpecial Purpose
Fees€1,500 per academic year. See Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing Date18th August 2024 -subject to place, demand and availability
Next IntakeSeptember 2024


Start DateSeptember 2024

Course Outline

Springboard + Image

Springboard Full Logos 2024

Adult Continuing Education (ACE) at UCC is delighted to offer this revised course (formerly the Diploma in Environmental Science and Social Policy) as an innovative Diploma based in UCC campus, at outreach and online.

Today's world is one which is rapidly changing: global warming and the related environmental and social issues raise serious concerns for the welfare of our current and future generations. Such changing developments requires business to be responsive, agile and capable of developing new approaches and solutions to address these key issues in order for their businesses to remain sustainable. The Diploma in Environment, Sustainability and Climate will introduce students to key theories and skills related to the environmental and related sustainable and societal issues within their own organisations. Environmental issues such as climate change, sustainable development and planning, use and misuse of natural resources, environmental conditions and the protection of human health are now high on the agenda of all government departments, resulting in more stringent regulations and standards. This in turn has created a greater need for an environmentally aware, knowledgeable and appropriately trained workforce.

Course Details

This is an interdisciplinary programme across both science and social studies and links the UN SDGs across all its teaching.

Students will complete 30 credits as follows in Year 1:

  • AD1084 Introduction to Earth Science (10 credits)
  • AD1085 Perspectives on Climate Change and Sustainable Development (10 credits)
  • AD1086 Environmental Monitoring, Assessment and Social Impact (10 Credits)

Students will complete 30 credits as follows in Year 2:

  • AD2031 Ecology and Applied Geographical Information Systems (GIS) (10 credits)
  • AD2032 Environmental Protection and Eco-Social Policy (10 credits)
  • AD2033 Practical Environmental Management (10 credits)

Please see below a short introductory video about the course. 

Course Details for this Course

For Academic Queries and Course Content Queries please contact the Programme Coordinator 


For Online Application Support please click here.  

Additional Teaching Mode Information

Students applying from the Skellig Coast region please contact the Course Co-ordinator, Belinda Gascoigne prior to applying at

Lectures will be delivered using a blended online approach with pre-recorded material released on a weekly basis prior to a live interactive discussion class with the subject lecturer on Thursday evenings from 7pm to 8pm. Lectures can be viewed at any time, from anywhere, and as often as desired. Detailed lecture notes will accompany each lecture as well as recommended reading. First year students will attend an in-person fieldtrip in semester one.  We aim to have an on-campus workshop in semester 2 in both year 1 and year 2. The programme is wholly assessed via continuous assessment.

Course commitment: An ability to manage and allocate time to course content each week is necessary. Students are expected to participate in the weekly live class and to engage with the discussion forum to interact with course lecturers, tutors, and other students, where they can discuss content and engage in module material.

Course Practicalities


All work is continuously assessed. The course is evaluated through a combination of essays, journal reviews, case studies, oral presentation, poster presentation, field reports and practicals.

Who teaches this course

Lecturers on this course are drawn from a broad spectrum of disciplines and include academics, regulators, environmental scientists, economists, social scientists, energy sector professional, planners and policy makers.

Why Choose This Course

This is an in-depth introduction to the environment and related societal issues and policy, as a stand-alone qualification or as a springboard to further study and employment. The course gives students the knowledge and experience of the key inter-related concepts of the environment and society  through subjects such as geology, ecology, sustainable development, climate change adaptation and mitigation, environmental monitoring, eco-social policy, law and conservation. The course also offers the students an insight into how these subjects can be assessed and analysed using technology such as GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and through practical applications. The role of the UN Sustainable Development Goals that will help shape the world we live in is also central to this long established and highly regarded programme at UCC.

Who Should Apply

This course is aimed at people returning to education, people with an existing qualification and seeking to broaden their knowledge of environmental and social issues, or people starting out in a career in and looking for direction to an area of specialisation.


  • Many students have continued their studies in specialised areas such as Planning and Development, Environmental Science/Studies, Environmental Management and Protection, and Government Policy. 
  • Graduates of this course have found employment in Local Authorities, Environmental, Health and Safety positions, the pharma-chem sector, “green teams” and sustainability teams in many sectors. 
  • Each May a session is held where a member of the team will present the most up-to-date information on further education and jobs in the industry.


  • The programme will be taken part-time over a two-year period
  • 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 (environmental studies, social studies) and 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.
  • On successful completion of the second year of the course, participants will be awarded a Diploma in Environment, Sustainability and Climate
  • English Language Requirement: All applicants whose first language is not English must have attained IELTS Level 6 or the equivalent TOEFL score

Fees and Costs

€1,500 per academic year paid in two instalments for Diploma students.

A limited number of places for year 1 of this course only are available under the Springboard+ initiative which provides fee subsidies of 90-100% for eligible applicants. Successful candidates will graduate with a Certificate in Environment, Sustainability and Climate. For more information on Springboard+ and to apply under this scheme, please go to

For further information on fees and financial supports please click here.

How To Apply

Applicants need to be aware of the IT student checklist below before applying:

  • You will need access to a laptop or desktop computer running a modern supported operating system with all software updates.
  • Some of UCC’s services (e.g. the Canvas Virtual Learning Environment) link to an external site and 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.
  • 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).
  • We recommend a reliable broadband connection with at least 2Mbps or more.
  • 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 will have access to Office 365 which includes software such as Word/Excel/Powerpoint etc. once registered.

To Apply for this course please follow the steps below:

When you log into the Application Portal:

Click Apply Online

Select Start a new Adult & Continuing Education Application 

On the 2nd tab Academic Level 
Select the following options:
Academic Level: Adult Continuing Education (ACE at UCC)
Course Type:  ACE Part-time Courses
Academic Programme: The course title you are applying for.

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

  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Passport Photograph 
  • English Language Test Report [if applicable]
  • 50% of the fees are required to complete your application. 

Apply Now

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