UCC Undergraduate courses

Intellectual Disability Nursing

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Intellectual Disability Nursing

  • Code


  • College

    Medicine and Health

  • Duration

    4 Years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons)

  • Fees

    EU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    2 x H5, 4 x O6/H7, Maths, Lab Science. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2022: 419

  • CAO Points Range


Course Outline

This Intellectual Disability Nursing course will provide you with excellent opportunities to develop knowledge and skills relevant to professional Intellectual Disability Nursing practice, including independent and critical thinking, and problem-solving. It will enable you to deliver nursing care that is up-to-date and based on the best current evidence.

This four-year full-time degree course is offered in partnership with Cork's COPE Foundation, and upon completion you can apply to register as an Intellectual Disability Nurse with the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), the profession’s regulatory body. You will then be ready to start work as a qualified Intellectual Disability Nurse in a variety of clinical settings immediately after graduation. 

The broad aim of the course is to promote your personal, intellectual and professional development to meet the role dimensions of a qualified practitioner of Intellectual Disability Nursing. Each year, you will study modules in both theory and clinical practice. Clinical practice modules require you to be in supervised clinical practice in hospital, community and other healthcare settings for 35 hours per week for a number of weeks each year.

Theory modules include both nursing, and biological and social science modules, some of which are core (shared with students from other nursing/midwifery branches), while others are discipline-specific (taken by Intellectual Disability Nursing only).

Year 1 Modules

All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

  • NU1026 Academic Writing, Information Technology and Evidence-Based Nursing Practice
  • NU1032 Fundamental Knowledge and Skills for Nursing Practice (10 credits)
  • NU1040 Infection Prevention and Control for Nursing and Midwifery Practice 
  • NU1047 Interpersonal Skills for Nursing Practice and Psychology for Healthcare (10 credits)
  • NU1049 General Nursing Practice (10 credits)
  • NU1050 The Foundations of Contemporary Intellectual Disability Nursing
  • NU1066 Supporting Individuals with a Specific Intellectual Disability I (10 credits)
  • SC1015 Sociological Concepts for Nursing  

Year 2

Health, Life-Cycle - Perspectives on Maternity Care and Child Health Nursing; Health Care Needs of People with Intellectual Disabilities across the Lifespan I & II; Supporting Individuals with a Specific Intellectual Disability; Therapeutic Communication Supports and Person Centred Practice for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

Year 3

Professional Issues, Development of Disciplinary Knowledge, Teaching and Learning; Research for Evidence-Based Nursing and Midwifery Care; Supporting Individuals with a Specific Intellectual Disability; From Childhood to Older Adult: Issues for the Person with an Intellectual Disability and their Family; Health Needs of People with an Intellectual Disability across the Lifespan; Supporting People with Behaviours that challenge and/or Mental Health Issues; Intellectual Disability Nursing Practice.

Year 4

In Year 4, you will take a number of theory modules at UCC in semester one (before Christmas). In semester two (after Christmas), you will undertake a 36-week paid internship with your parent health service provider (HSP). Modules include:

Research for Evidence-Based Nursing and Midwifery Care; The Profession and Discipline of Nursing: including Ethics, Legal Issues, Equality, and Professional Practice; Professional Development and Nurses as Team Members, Leaders, and Managers of the Future; Valuing People with Intellectual Disabilities and their Families across the Lifespan; Therapeutic Interpersonal Skills for Intellectual Disability Nursing Practice; Intellectual Disability Nursing Practice; Elective Module.

Clinical Practice Modules

These require you to be in supervised clinical practice in hospital, community and other healthcare settings for 35 hours per week for a number of weeks each year. In semester two (after Christmas) of Year 4, you will undertake a 36-week paid internship with your parent HSP. 


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May.  Not all modules will have formal examinations. Many modules use other types of assessment including essays, projects, seminar presentations, assessments of clinical skills and learning, in-class tests, self- and peer-assessment. Students are assessed by expert clinical nurses while on their clinical placements.


See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.

Course Practicalities

Technical Requirements

All Nursing and Midwifery undergraduate students will require access to their own personal Apple device (iPad or iPad mini) (iOS 12 or higher) and an Apple pen (or other compatible stylus). This is necessary to complete programme work while in college and scheduled clinical placements. Please see School of Nursing & Midwifery Tech Requirements for more information. 

Why Choose This Course

Top 50 Ranking

University College Cork (UCC) is ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide according to the major World University Rankings and is ranked as one of the top 50 Nursing Schools. According to the QS rankings, UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery is ranked as the top School of Nursing in Ireland and is the top-ranked subject at UCC. The Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Professor Josephine Hegarty notes:

The top 50 QS ranking is certainly a huge achievement for UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. The ranking is a testament to all the hard work of our incredible students, faculty, and clinical partners. We’re extremely proud of the achievement and look to continue to push boundaries in ensuring academic excellence in Nursing and in advancing research capabilities and impact.

The BSc (Hons) Intellectual Disability Nursing course at UCC is a highly sought-after course, as evidenced by the consistently high points required for entry to the course.

We can offer you a wide variety of clinical placements across a number of university hospitals and community facilities, representing all of the major Intellectual Disability specialties. We can also offer opportunities to study abroad and have a large suite of postgraduate courses available to our graduates to facilitate further study needs.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Clinical Placements

The diversity of placement requirements and their geographical spread will mean that regardless of where you live, or which programme you are registered on, traveling to clinical placement areas will be required throughout various stages of your nursing or midwifery programme. This is to ensure students meet the required clinical instruction, set out by the NMBI (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland).

Typically travel will be within the Munster region.  Some of our clinical partners include, but are not limited to, Mallow General Hospital (MGH), University Hospital Kerry (UHK), University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and Tipperary University Hospital (TUH). There are also several elective placements in Dublin and with our Erasmus partners throughout Europe.

The Allocations Office in the School of Nursing and Midwifery and our Clinical Partners use several methods to ensure equity in relation to students travelling eg preferred placement submissions and student rotation.

Study Abroad

The School of Nursing and Midwifery participates in a number of international research and educational programmes which afford you the opportunity to undertake part of your BSc studies abroad. See our Go Abroad with UCC page for more information.

Skills and Careers Information

The course aims to provide you with sound clinical nursing skills (and the supporting knowledge base) necessary for starting your professional career as an Intellectual Disability Nurse. These skills will be further developed through clinical experience and further study at postgraduate and in-service levels.

You will also develop skills in independent thinking, problem-solving, and analytical and clinical decision-making, as well as fundamental research utilisation and application skills.

Upon graduation, you may seek employment as an Intellectual Disability Nurse. Intellectual Disability Nurses work in a wide range of areas including acute care, respite care, community facilities, residential facilities, workshops, schools, retirement care, and home nursing.

Traditionally, Irish nurses are highly regarded by other countries, enhancing work opportunities abroad, in particular in the UK, Canada, Australia, and the US.


Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

At Least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H5 in two subjects and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

The following are considered Lab Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry and Agricultural Science.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsLab Science
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7

Mature Applicants

Mature applicants can apply to the CAO (www.cao.ie).  In order to be eligible for application, they must be successful in an assessment test. NMBI will provide further information about the test on its website in advance of the test. Further information is available on the NMBI website.

Other qualifications: EU/EFTA/UK students presenting an alternative school-leaving qualification (e.g. A-levels or International Baccalaureate) or QQI/FE course should visit our Entry Requirements pages for further information. 

Garda Clearance

All students on this programme will come into contact with the public and assume positions of trust through educational and training opportunities. To ensure the protection of the public, and to justify public trust and confidence, UCC is committed to ensuring that only suitable candidates are allowed to undertake this programme.

Vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted their place on the programme. It involves a police check to establish whether the individual being vetted has had criminal convictions in the past or whether any criminal proceedings are pending. The Garda Siochána provide this information for students who have resided in Ireland for a period of six months or more (including permanent residence).

All students who have resided outside Ireland for a period of six months or more must furnish a Police Clearance Certificate from their country or countries of residence. This certificate should state that the student has had no convictions recorded against them while residing there.

Fitness to Practise

This programme is subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. 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 and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page.

Refer to our International Office page for more information on how to apply to UCC.

Fees and Costs

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. The state will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. Please see Fees Office for more information.

For International Fees see our Fees Schedule page.

How Do I Apply

EU Applicants

Application to Year 1 of the degree programme is made directly through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry.

EU Applicants: The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Refer to the CAO page for further information.

Mature Applicants (age 23 or over): See the CAO Mature Applicants page and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) page for essential information on the application process for mature students.

QQI FET: See our QQI FET Applicants page.

Non-EU Applicants: Non-EU applicants apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page.

All Applicants: Please note that the modules listed are indicative of the current set of modules for this course and 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 terms programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact