UCC Postgraduate courses

Engineering - Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering

Course Fact File
Duration9 months Full-time; 18 months Part-time (over 2 years)
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
QualificationsPG Dip
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 Date6 September 2024

Course Outline

The Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering is a full-time programme running for 9 months or a part-time programme running for a minimum of 18 months over 2 academic years (maximum 45 months over 5 academic years) from the date of first registration for the programme. You will have the opportunity to gain a formal qualification in areas of particular topical interest to the bio/pharmaceutical industry; to upskill your competence for these important industrial sectors, including issues such as product containment, powder/ particle technology, design of API and secondary production facilities, current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP), design of classified facilities, aseptic processing facility design, utilities and services, data analysis and process validation.

Students take modules to the value of 60 credits. The choice of modules is subject to the approval of the Programme Coordinator.


  • PE6004 Biopharmaceutical Support Systems (5 credits)
  • PE6010 Pharmaceutical Engineering (5 credits)
  • PE6011 Biopharmaceutical Engineering (5 credits)
  • PE6012 Pharmaceutical Process Equipment, Materials and Mechanical Design (5 credits)
  • PE6013 Powder and Particle Technology and Unit Operations (5 credits)
  • PE6019 Process Analytical Technology (5 credits)
  • PE6023 Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Utilities (5 credits)
  • PE6027 Advanced Biopharmaceutical Engineering (5 credits)
  • CM6010 Introductory Pharmaceutical Chemistry (5 credits)
  • PE6016 Pharmaceutical Industry; Manufacturing and Optimisation (5 credits)
  • PE6018 Pharmaceutical Process Validation and Quality (5 credits)
  • PE6022 Aseptic Manufacturing Design (5 credits)
  • PE6024 Advanced Process Design & Safety Engineering (5 credits)
  • PE6026 Project Engineering - From Concept to Completion (5 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

  • Start-up sessions over two days (half a day per 5 credit module) (four contact hours per 5 credit module) (Fridays and Saturdays at end August/start September and start January) 
  • Followed up by tutorial sessions (every two to three weeks on Saturdays) on respective modules throughout term. Tutorial sessions involve six contact hours
  • Complemented by regular feedback available weekly on each module during teaching period. For full programme (including timetable) information see programme website.
  • This programme will be taught during weekends.

Please note that this programme is principally organised to accommodate part-time students who are working in industry by holding lectures and tutorials in full day sessions every 3-4 weeks, mostly on a Saturday. Full-time students will follow the same lecturing regime but do the full complement of necessary modules and research activity within 1 year, whereas part-time students will do their modules and research typically over 2 years.


Assessment is by continuous assessment and end-of-period exams.

Who teaches this course

Staff from the Department of Process and Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemistry, School of Pharmacy and a number of guest lecturers from industry.

Why Choose This Course

This course has an excellent structure allowing participants to carry out further education whilst still working full-time....

Recent Graduate

Comments from recent graduates of the programme, provided as part of the formal feedback process for the programme

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Overall, enjoyed the course, found it relevant to my work in the pharm industry. Would recommend to colleagues.

Recent Graduate

Prior to the job I am in now, my background was in production management in various other industries. I chose this course as I felt I needed a formal pharmaceutical based qualification...

Recent Graduate

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I have recommended this course to colleagues and friends – I hold this course and its content in high regard.

Recent Graduate

The thesis element of the course I found the most satisfying as I chose a subject closely related to my work...

Recent Graduate

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Many graduates working in the pharmaceutical industries with a scientific background find themselves working in areas which increasingly overlap with engineers and engineering. Many would like to develop an engineering-based understanding of processes and production in a formal manner. This course offers you the opportunity to do this, developing your skills set and employability across a wider range of roles.

The course also presents the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry with an opportunity to enable greater cohesion and understanding among inter- and multi-disciplinary teams as graduates with science backgrounds receive a formal qualification in engineering.

Skills and Careers Information

The course offers graduates working in the pharmaceutical industry the opportunity to further develop your skills set and employability across a wider range of roles in the industry through enhanced continuing professional development.

Through the opportunities provided by participation on the programme, you are provided with opportunities to enable greater cohesion and understanding among inter-and multi-disciplinary teams while earning a formal qualification in engineering.


  • Candidates must have achieved a Pass in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in engineering or equivalent.
  • Or a Pass in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or equivalent, ideally with some relevant industrial experience.
  • In all cases, the course of study for each candidate must be approved by the course coordinator.

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. Vsit 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.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

  • Please upload your CV.

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.

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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact