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UCC Postgraduate courses

Health & Society

Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time; 2 Years Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

Health and wellbeing are critical issues in society and at UCC we have addressed this with our MA in Health & Society. This is an innovative joint programme, led by the Department of Philosophy, the School of Public Health, and the Department of Economics, which examines health and its social and policy determinants from a rich interdisciplinary perspective.

Our MA programme is aimed at graduates from a broad range of disciplines in the medical sciences, economics, and humanities and is designed to provide a unique and critical analysis of contemporary discourses on health from an individual, societal and global perspective. This course is about health, but not exclusively healthcare, as health is both a medical and a social issue. We ask you to explore health from a variety of different angles and to this end bring together health experts from a vast range of disciplines and colleges, including medicine, epidemiology, philosophy, economics, sociology, social policy, and law.

This is a full-time programme running for 12 months or part-time over 24 months from the date of first registration.  In total, you choose 90 credits comprising core modules and modules from your chosen pathway:

  • Philosophy
  • Public Health
  • Economics

All students take 30 credits of core modules and 10 credits of mandatory modules from their chosen pathway along with elective postgraduate or undergraduate modules. See below for the breadth of modules on offer.

Core Modules (30 credits)

  • EH6025 Principles and Practice of Public Health (10 credits)
  • PH6047 Philosophy and Health (10 credits)
  • EC6049 Healthcare Economics (10 credits)
  • Philosophy Pathway

With a background in philosophy

PH6053 Professional Ethics: Advanced (10 credits) or PH6054 Measuring Society: Growth, Poverty, Inequality, and Human Capital (10 credits) or PH6057 Philosophy and the Biological Health Sciences (10 credits)

With no background in philosophy

PH2002 Reasoning and Argument (5 credits) and PH2019 Philosophy of Science (5 credits) or PH2028 Applied Ethics (5 credits)
  • Public Health Pathway
  EH6026 Applied Research for Public Health (10 credits)
  • Economics Pathway 

With a background in econometrics 

EC2100 Microeconomics: Behaviour and Organisations (5 credits) and EC6062 Applied Econometrics (5 credits) 

With no background in econometrics

EC2100 Microeconomics: Behaviour and Organisations (5 credits) and EC3143 Quantitative Methods for Economic Investigation: Empirical Econometrics (5 credits) 

Postgraduate Elective Modules 

  • AP6129 Health Psychology (5 credits)
  • EH6026 Applied Research for Public Health (10 credits)
  • LW6546 Juvenile Justice (10 credits)
  • LW6549 International Children's Rights (10 credits)
  • LW6592 Mental Capacity Law (5 credits)
  • PH6012 Human Rights I (10 credits)
  • PH6048 The Philosophy of Death and Dying (10 credits)
  • PH6052 Advanced Moral Psychology (10 credits)
  • PH6053 Professional Ethics: Advanced (10 credits)
  • PH6054 Measuring Society: Growth, Poverty, Inequality, and Human Capital (10 credits)
  • PH6057 Philosophy and the Biological Health Sciences (10 credits)
  • SS6019 Critical Public Health (10 credits)
  • EC6073 Economic Decision Making in Healthcare (5 credits)
  • EC6619 Scenario Planning for Strategic Decision Making (5 credits)


  • AP3126 Health Psychology: Models and Applications (5 credits)
  • EH4005 Health Services (5 credits)
  • PH2002 Reasoning and Argument (5 credits)
  • PH2019 Philosophy of Science (5 credits)
  • PH2028 Applied Ethics (5 credits)
  • PH3046 Philosophy of Biology (5 credits)
  • PH3047 Evidence (5 credits)
  • SC1011 Sociology of Health, Public Health and Health Promotion (5 credits)
  • SC3025 Health and Scientific Deviance (5 credits)
  • SS3016 Social Perspectives in Mental Health (5 credits)
  • SS3024 Social Movements and Health (5 credits)
  • SS4000 Science, Technology and Public Controversy (5 credits)
  • EC3157 Public Finance Projects (5 credits)
  • EC2018 Economics Journey Through Life Decisions (5 credits) 

Dissertation Modules (30 credits)

  • Philosophy PathwayPH6050 Dissertation in Philosophy and Health (30 credits) or  PH6059 Work-Based Dissertation in Philosophy and Health (30 credits)
  • Public Health Pathway: EH6040 Dissertation in Public Health and Epidemiology (30 credits)
  • Economics Pathway: EC6074 Dissertation in Economics and Health (30 credits)

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

Please consult the UCC University Calendar (MA Health & Society) for further programme details.

Postgraduate Certificate in Health & Society (NFQ Level 9, Minor Award)

Students who pass taught modules to the value of at least 30 credits (but less than 60 credits) may exit the programme and be conferred with a Postgraduate Certificate in Health & Society.

Postgraduate Diploma in Health & Society (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)

Students who pass taught modules to the value of 60 credits may exit the programme and be conferred with a Postgraduate Diploma in Health & Society.

Course Practicalities

There are be approximately 9 hours of lectures/seminars per week. Students will be expected to conduct on average 20 hours of reading per week, on top of the time spent in class. 


Each module will be assessed by continuous assessment, end-of-semester examination, or a combination of both. The continuous assessment element will take the form of essays and assignments including class presentations. There will also be a final year dissertation of approximately 10,000 words.

Connected Curriculum

We encourage innovative teaching and learning practices at UCC. This learning approach reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research, and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff are at the forefront of this integrative approach to learning and will support you in making meaningful connections within and between disciplines such as medicine, epidemiology, philosophy, economics, sociology, social policy, and law.

Our staff are drawn from across the University and include academics from Health and Medicine, Arts, Social Sciences, Applied Social Studies, Philosophy, and beyond. Our current team includes:

Why Choose This Course

This is an interdisciplinary course that overcomes the boundaries between disciplines in medicine, economics, and humanities. While health is the focus, students will learn how to approach this complex issue from a variety of methodologies: medical, economic, philosophical, sociological, psychological, and legal.

Skills and Careers Information

Students will acquire a variety of analytical skills, which will allow them to analyse health from many different perspectives. By the end of the course, students will be expected to demonstrate in-depth expertise in relation to epidemiological, economic, and philosophical factors which contribute to health and well-being.

Our MA will enhance opportunities for you to work in the health sector, at all levels. The MA in Health & Society will potentially educate future decision-makers in health policy, managerial staff working in the health sector, journalists who report on health policies, advocates for people and populations with special health vulnerabilities, and others. Careers in the private sector, especially pharmaceutical companies, is another route that our graduates can take. This MA will also open research opportunities in public health, health economics, and the medical humanities. Read more about your PhD options here.


Applicants must hold a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ Level 8) in either the disciplines of Philosophy, Public Health,  Economics, Sociology, Social Science, Geography, Government, Politics, Law, Medicine, Nursing and other health professional programmes.

Candidates who hold less than a Second Class Honours Grade I may also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), following a review of their individual qualifications and experience and based on the information provided in a supplementary statement and/or interview acceptable to the Department selection committee. Admission of such applicants will be subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

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

  • 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.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


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

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

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

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants) 

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning, and professional training relevant to this programme.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

  • Please enter the names and email addresses of two referees.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Open until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact