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UCC Adult courses

(Bio) Pharma Processing - PG Cert

Course Fact File
Duration6-7 months
Teaching ModePart-Time
QualificationsPG Cert
NFQ LevelLevel 9
NFQ Award TitleMinor
Fees€3000 See Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing Date31 August 2024
Next IntakeSeptember 2024


Start DateSeptember 2024

Course Outline

The Postgraduate Certificate in (Bio)Pharma Processing is designed for graduates who wish to transition into employment in the (bio)Pharma sector. The part time course provides pharmacy, science or engineering graduates, as well as candidates who hold sufficient previous educational/professional experience, with a technical overview of current processing in Pharmaceutical and Biopharma sectors. The programme design provides participants with both a theoretical and practical understanding of the processes involved in drug substance and drug product manufacture. It is delivered part-time by a combination of online distance learning supported by classroom workshops, practicals and site visits. Practical and training sessions are delivered in the advanced laboratory-scale processing facilities in the School of Pharmacy, University College Cork and the Cork Education and Training Board facilities in Carrigaline. Career coaching and job readiness skills are provided via the ‘Transitioning into the Workplace and Placement’ module that is optionally available for recent graduates, those interested in career changes or re-engaging with recruitment processes. 

A typical workload for each module is as follows; Students will be expected to attend classroom workshops (UCC), practicals and site visits (approx. 30 hrs), undertake self-directed study in advance of classroom/practical sessions (approx. 30 hrs), continuous assessment assignments and/or prepare for end of semester exam (40 hours). Students are only required to attend classes at the university 1 day per week during each 12 week semester (Sept- Dec and Jan – April). For the 2019/2020 programme the classroom/practical/site visits are scheduled for Fridays 9.30a.m - 5pm.


Students will complete 30 credits as follows:

  • PF6603 Introduction to the Principle of Formulation and Dosage Form Design (5 credits)
  • PF6605 Microbiology and Sterile (Bio) Pharmaceutical Processes (5 credits)
  • PF6607 Pharmaceutical Process Design and Verification (5 Credits)
  • PF6609 GXP – Regulatory and Best Practice Standards in the (Bio)Pharmaceutical Industry (5 credits) 
  • PF6610 BioPharmaceutical Technology and Processes (10 credits)

Optional Module: PF6615 Transitioning into the Workplace and Placement (5 credits)

This optional module will be offered to students (subject to approval of the programme director) looking to transition into the workplace as follows (i.e. those classified as jobseekers or returners). PF6615 is assessed on a pass/fail basis and is not counted toward the final award. The result obtained in PF6615 will be recorded on the student’s transcript.


Course Practicalities

Workshops are held every Friday (almost exclusively in the afternoon but see later for on-campus assessments).

In advance of Friday workshops (generally 5-7 days in advance), notes and pre-recorded lectures are made available over the internet (through our Canvas student portal webpage). Students are encouraged to review the material and any directed study in advance of the Friday workshops.

Friday workshops will be held online. Attendance at Friday workshops is NOT compulsory, ALL Friday workshop webinars are recorded, and recorded workshops are made available for those who were unable to attend. HOWEVER, students are STRONGLY recommended to attend the Friday workshops live online if possible.

Advances in AI, and chat-bots like CHAT-GPT, now require that some of our open book written assignments have to be changed to in-class exams that will be completed ON-CAMPUS. In contrast with recent years therefore, where ALL assessment could be completed remotely online, students will need to come on campus to complete some assignments under exam hall conditions.

Current planning suggests that between the 1st of September 2023 and the end of the course in July 2024, the students will need to come on campus on 6 occasions – all on-campus exam dates will be released to the students in advance of starting the course.

On-campus in-class tests will be scheduled to accommodate those needing to travel to Cork.

The optional PF6615 "Transitioning into the workplace and placement" module is assessed on a Pass/ Fail basis. PF6615 is not required for progression and is not counted towards the final award. The result obtained in PF6615 will be recorded on the student's transcript.

Why Choose This Course

The part-time programme provides participants with technical expertise for career progression in both the Biopharma-Pharmaceutical manufacturing sectors.  

Key programme aspects include: 

  • Hands-on practical experience of unit operations at lab scale facilities in the School of Pharmacy, University College Cork and the Cork Education and Training Board facilities in Carrigaline.
  • Practical application of the theory relating to pharmaceutical processing both Biopharma, Pharmchem and Drug Product.
  • Delivery online and in-classrooms allowing flexible contact hours; On-site teaching at UCC Fridays only semester 1 and 2.
  • Career coaching and job readiness workshops.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Suitable students will be provided with an optional 5 credit module PF6615 focused on  transitioning to the workplace which, where possible, will include a placement in a local company.


A candidate must have obtained at least a Second Class Honours primary degree in a relevant Pharmacy, Science or Engineering discipline (NFQ level 8).

In exceptional cases applicants not meeting the above criteria will be considered for entry based on an interview and successfully demonstrating that they hold an equivalent professional qualification, or significant industrial experience relevant to the course.

All applicants whose first language is not English are expected to have a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with no individual section lower than 6.5. 

Fees and Costs

€3,000 for full programme
€700 per standalone 5 credit module

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


How To Apply

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

  • Application Statement
  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Passport Photograph 
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • English Language Test Report [if applicable]
  • Transcripts [if applicable]



Apply Now

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact