UCC Postgraduate courses

Clinical Trials (Online)

Course Fact File
Duration9 Months Part-Time
Teaching ModePart-Time
QualificationsPG Cert
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.
Course Delivery MethodOnline
Start Date23 September 2024

Course Outline

Our Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Trials (Online) is suitable for those of you wishing to pursue a career in clinical trials in the pharmaceutical, medical device, or academic sectors.

This is the first year of an online 3-year part-time Clinical Trails suite of programmes:

Year 1 Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Trials 30
Year 2 Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Trials 30
Year 3 MSc Clinical Trials 30

On completion of this Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Trials, you can apply for the Diploma in Year 2. On successful completion of the Diploma, you can apply for the Master's programme in Year 3.

Our Clinical Trials programmes are run in collaboration with the Health Research Board (HRB) Clinical Research Facility in Cork. The HRB provides dedicated infrastructure, experienced research and support staff, and the necessary quality and oversight programs that are critical for the successful conduct of world-class patient-focused research. 

This is a fully online, part-time, programme designed for the working professional who wishes to develop a career in clinical trials. Each year of the programme comprises three modules totalling 30 credits:

Certificate Modules (30 credits)

  • EH6123 Fundamentals of Clinical Trials (10 credits)
  • EH6124 Introduction to Clinical Trial Design and Analysis (10 credits)
  • EH6125 Ethics, Data Management and Quality in Clinical Trials (10 credits)


As part of UCC's commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD), students who have successfully completed a module from the Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Trials as a CPD module and subsequently undertake the programme within 24 months will be exempt from that module.

Programme Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Certificate programme, you will be able to:

  • Examine the methodological considerations of formulating a clinical research question;
  • Describe the phases of clinical trials and the requirements for their conduct;
  • Outline the basic clinical trial designs;
  • Interpret evidence from relatively simple clinical trials;
  • Demonstrate understanding of how relatively simple clinical trials should be analysed;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of effective data management practices;
  • Outline the ethical principles governing clinical trial conduct;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of quality systems and regulatory requirements for the conduct of clinical trials;
  • Attain a Good Clinical Practice (GCP) certificate;
  • Manage your own learning, including working effectively to deadlines.

Please see the Postgraduate Academic Calendar (PG Certificate Clinical Trials) for more information.

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

The Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Trials is a part-time programme delivered wholly online and runs for three 10-week blocks (comprising 8 teaching weeks and 2 weeks' reflection and absorption) beginning in late September.

You can expect to dedicate up to 20 hours per week to this Postgraduate Certificate course. Each 10-credit module typically involves:

  • 80hr(s) directed study (online self-directed learning)
  • 40hr(s) directed study (online moderated activities)
  • 40hr(s) other (online written assignment reflection and development)
  • 40hr(s) other (reading and reflective practice)

Assessments include online discussions, individual project work, and other online assessments. 

Why Choose This Course

This Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Trials is designed to give a competitive advantage for those wishing to pursue a career in clinical trials in the pharmaceutical, medical device or academic sectors. It is the first such course in Ireland and is provided by Health Research Board (HRB) Clinical Research Facility at UCC, a world-class centre of excellence, with experts in clinical trial design and analysis. 

This collaboration, between UCC's College of Medicine and Health and the Health Research Board, positions UCC at the forefront of patient-focused research within Ireland and enhances its international reputation for research excellence.

The PG Certificate Clinical Trials provides a pathway for progression to Postgraduate Diploma Clinical Trials and ultimately an MSc Clinical Trials, and is the only course designed and paced for the working professional.

We encourage physicians, nurses, dentists, managers, scientists, health scientists, food scientists, and workers in the allied health professions to consider this programme. With three 10-week semesters, a week in the middle and end to catch up and complete work, this learning experience caters to the busy professional life of our students.

Join us on our exciting journey of improving clinical trial methodology and patient-focused research to advance the health of our citizens.

Skills and Careers Information

Clinical Trials is a rapidly expanding discipline with exciting new job opportunities in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. On completion of the course, you can pursue a career in the academic, pharmaceutical, or medical device sectors that include the following roles:

  • Clinical Trialist
  • Quality Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Trial Monitor
  • Data Associate
  • Data Manager
  • Clinical Research Nurse
  • Clinical Research Associate
  • Research Coordinator
  • Pharmacovigilance Associate
  • Regulatory Affairs Associate


  1. Students accepted on the Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Trials are expected to hold a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8), or equivalent, in a science or health-related discipline, or relevant subject area.
  2. The Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Trials is also open to registered (not necessarily in current employment) health care professionals in Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Clinical Therapies, and Allied Health care disciplines who may not have a primary degree. Such applicants must provide evidence of current registration with the relevant professional regulatory body in their country (e.g. the Irish Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, etc. for Irish applicants).
  3. All applicants will be required to write a 500-word personal statement on why they wish to pursue a career in clinical trials.
  4. In exceptional circumstances, applicants with an honours primary degree (NFQ Level 8 or international equivalent) in an unrelated field, and who can demonstrate relevant experience in clinical research, may be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for entry to the programme, subject to the approval of the programme team.
  5. Applicants may be asked to participate in an interview.
  6. In all cases, decisions will be based on the qualifications and quality of the application. 

Technical Requirements
This programme will be delivered wholly online. As such, there are specific technical requirements that you need to meet.

  1. You will need access to a laptop or desktop (either Mac OS or Windows) running a relatively recent operating system (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 or Mac OSX 10.8, 10.9, 10.10 or later). UCC supports access to the Canvas Virtual Learning Environment through IOS and Android apps, which are available from the respective App stores.
  2. You will need access to a reliable broadband connection with at least 2MB download speeds. You can test your broadband or 4G speeds by visiting http://www.speedtest.net.
  3. You must have a modern web browser installed. The most reliable options for use with UCC online learning are Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Download and installation instructions will be provided. Safari is not suitable.
  4. You must have Java and Flash Runtimes installed. Download and installation instructions will be provided.
  5. You will require an Office suite of software (Microsoft Office 2003 or later or equivalent) and a PDF reader (preferably Adobe Acrobat Reader XI or later). Please note that registered UCC students have access to discounted software from Microsoft and Adobe.

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:

  • 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.

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