UCC Postgraduate courses

Nursing - Medical & Surgical Nursing

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Nursing - Medical & Surgical Nursing

  • Code


  • College

    Medicine and Health

  • Duration

    2 Years - PG Diploma (Year 1); Masters (Year 2)

  • Teaching Mode

    Full-time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.

  • Qualifications

    PG Dip / MSc

  • EU Fees

    €7,130 (PG Diploma, Year 1); €2,630 (Masters, Year 2)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees

    €14,400 (PG Diploma, Year 1); €5,000 (Masters, Year 2)

  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    3 June 2022

  • Start Date

    29 August 2022

Course Outline

The Postgraduate Diploma/Masters in Medical and Surgical Nursing, offered by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at University College Cork, is a pathway of the MSc/Postgraduate Nursing Diploma.

This Medical and Surgical Nursing programme recognises the need for specialist postgraduate education to assist general nurses in meeting the challenges of increased levels of patient acuity, along with ethical and patient-safety challenges in medical-surgical settings.

Our teaching philosophy encompasses the importance of dynamic nursing staff, working within the multidisciplinary team, possessing the relevant knowledge and skills to enable them to deliver evidence-based care in a competent manner; it is essential that such care is delivered while cognisant of the needs of individual patients and their significant others.

We place particular emphasis on the development of assessment skills and early detection of patient deterioration as well as nurse-led (and multidisciplinary) interventions. The self-directed, theoretical, and physical skills learning is then applied to simulated critical, clinical incident scenarios within our state-of-the-art Clinical Skills Simulation Resource Centre (CSSRC).

Programme Pathways

This programme has Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) Category Two status and is awarded 60 credits at Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

There are 7 clinical pathways to the degree of Masters in Nursing, all of which have an exit route available for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing. Medical and Surgical Nursing is Pathway 8 and comprises theory modules and clinical practice modules as follows:

Medical and Surgical Nursing (Pathway 8)

Year 1 (60 credits)

Theory modules

  • NU6005 Evidence-Based Practice for Healthcare Professionals (10 credits) 
  • NU6053 Professional, Ethical, and Legal Decision-making in Specialist Practice (5 credits)
  • NU6070 Clinical Leadership in Practice Enhancement for Nursing and Midwifery (10 credits)
  • NU6085 Wound Care for Healthcare Professionals (5 credits)
  • NU6125 Professional Practice Issues for Nurses and Midwives (10 credits)
  • NU6152 Medical and Surgical Nursing of Individuals with Cardiorespiratory Problems (10 credits)

Clinical Practice/Practicum modules

  • NU6130 Clinical Practice in Specialist Nursing 1 (5 credits)
  • NU6131 Clinical Practice in Specialist Nursing 2 (5 credits)

Note: Students who have successfully completed 30 credits from the Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing (Medical and Surgical Nursing) and transfer into the MSc/Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Programme must take theory modules to the value of 25 credits from above (NU6070NU6085, and NU6152) and one Clinical Practice/Practicum module to the value of 5 credits (NU6131).

Year 2: MSc (30 credits)

  • MH6014 Advanced Research Methods for Healthcare Professionals (10 credits)
  • NU6073 Dissertation (20 credits)

See the Academic Calendar (PG Diploma/Masters in Nursing) for more information on this programme.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme, Medical and Surgical Nursing students should be able to:

  • Enhance medical and surgical nursing practice through the application of well-assimilated theoretical, practical, and policy knowledge and clinical skills;
  • Exercise accountability within the clinical, ethical, and professional boundaries of the role of medical and surgical nursing;
  • Critically appraise and evaluate current research evidence and best practice for medical and surgical nursing and its implications for practice;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of individual outcomes against specialist intervention plans for individuals and their families in medical and surgical nursing practice;
  • Synthesise health-related issues for the development of intervention/service responses appropriate to the needs of individuals and their families in medical and surgical nursing practice;
  • Contribute as a learned member of the multidisciplinary team in the delivery of quality healthcare for individuals and families within the context of medical and surgical nursing;
  • Act as a means of professional support, educator, and role model for the provision of lifelong learning to ensure ongoing professional development.

Additional Teaching Mode Information

All students will initially be registered for the postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (60 credits). If a student wishes to progress to the Master's degree they will be registered for the 2nd year (30 credits) part-time.


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our Book of Modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

Course Practicalities

The Postgraduate Diploma in Medical and Surgical Nursing is awarded 60 credits and forms the first year of the two-year MSc Nursing.

The programme has elements of blended learning. This means that the course content is delivered through lectures, workshops, seminars, and tutorials in combination with online content delivery using our virtual learning environment, known as Canvas. Some classes are online and others are face-to-face.

Modules are allocated a total of either 5 or 10 credits. A 10-credit module has an estimated 200 hours student workload, and a 5-credit module has an estimated 100 hours student workload. The estimated workload is further broken down into time allocated to complete the online learning component (including required reading; assignment preparation and submission as well as self-directed learning) and time allocated to attend scheduled lectures and workshops. 

The 10-credit modules are delivered over a six-week period and have approximately 16 hours allocated to lectures, tutorials, and workshops/simulations and there are approximately 184 hours allocated to the online learning component.

Classes are delivered on three separate days over the six-week period (normally two half-days and one full-day). The 5-credit modules are delivered over a four-week period and will be half the hours stated above (for 10-credit modules). Classes are delivered on two separate days over the four-week period (normally two half-days).

Semester 1 - September to December (16 weeks) contains 2 x 10-credit modules and 2 x 5-credit modules, one of which is a clinical practicum (16 weeks) which is undertaken in the student’s own clinical practice area over the course of the Semester.  While some workshops, lectures, and tutorials are delivered on-campus in Semester 1, the remainder of the content is delivered online using our virtual learning environment Canvas.  Learning strategies include module study guides, discussion boards, audio/visual resources and online assessments/activities. Ten-credit modules are delivered over 6 weeks and 5-credit modules are delivered over 4 weeks.

Semester 2 - January to May (16 weeks) contains 2 x 10-credit modules and 2 x 5-credit modules, one of which is a clinical practicum over the course of the Semester.  As in Semester 1, some workshops, lectures, and tutorials are delivered on-campus and the remainder of the content is delivered online using our virtual learning environment Canvas. 

  • Prior to commencing the course each student taking a blended module must attend the ‘orientation to Canvas and training’ online workshop on how to use the online technology within the course. IT support will be available to students throughout the duration of the course.


A range of continuous assessment strategies is used throughout the programme including written assignments, online activities (e-tivities), seminars, and poster presentations. Assessment of clinical competence is continuous and obtained through the acquisition of core competencies and structured self-reflections on related clinical practice experience, all of which is recorded in the student clinical practicum Competency Attainment Booklet.

Who teaches this course?

Our staff from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at University College Cork teach on this programme as well as staff from other Universities along with clinical practice specialists (and Advanced Nurse Practitioners) who are experts in their field.

Why Choose This Course

As a nurse who has been out of college for nearly 10 years, it was so wonderful to be taught by such supportive lecturers...

Louise Murphy, Medical & Surgical Nursing Graduate

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What I have gained in the last year from my postgraduate diploma is that it has empowered me to be me and has made me a confident person in life...

Anju Menon, Medical & Surgical Nursing Graduate

Find Out More

The Postgraduate Diploma Medical and Surgical Nursing programme is delivered in a blended format (a combination of classroom-based and online modules). Therefore, students are required to attend college for fewer days and, instead, complete more online work. This format suits a lot of students who invariably have difficulty being released from clinical practice to attend college classes.

Students come from a variety of Health Care Providers and from very mixed clinical backgrounds which lead to excellent class discussions.

Postgraduate students from other programmes join the students for some modules. This increases the cultural diversity in relation to Health Care Provider backgrounds, from an international perspective, which in turn further enhances discussions around nurse-led clinical practice decision-making.  

Top 50 Nursing School in the World

The School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, has been ranked within the top 50 nursing schools in the world, according to the QS global subject rankings. The school provides a world-class environment for cutting-edge research to prepare tomorrow’s nurses to shape and advance health care practices through research and education. Within UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, researchers are addressing global challenges, including the growing burden of diseases, nurse workforce requirements, population ageing, and sustainable approaches to healthcare and health promotion and our teaching staff are at the forefront of these developments.


There are 7 clinical pathways to the degree of Masters in Nursing, all of which have an exit route available for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing. The pathways to degree of Masters including the Diploma exit route are all available to view in the College Calendar

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Pathway  8 - Medical and Surgical Nursing

Applicants for this MSc in Nursing, including the PG Diploma exit route, should normally:

  1. Hold active registration on a division of the professional register maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland or be eligible for such registration as required for individual pathways. For the Medical-Surgical Nursing Pathway, applicants must be Registered General Nurses;
  2. Have clinical practice experience (and support structures, if applicable) as required for individual pathways. For the Medical-Surgical Nursing Pathway, applicants must have a minimum of six months of post-registration experience (excluding courses) and at least six months experience in the speciality pathway applied for;
  3. Applicants must provide written evidence of support from their Director of Nursing/equivalent authorised Nurse Manager stating:

(a) The applicant will be working in the relevant specialist area for the duration of the programme for a minimum of 19.5 hours a week 
(b) They will be released from practice to attend the programme requirements 
(c) A Clinical Preceptor and/or Clinical Facilitator can support learning in the specialist area of practice for the duration of the programme.

Note: In exceptional circumstances, applicants who do not fulfill the entry requirements may be recommended for entry to the programme under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) following a review of their individual qualifications and experience by the programme committee. Such applicants may be invited for an interview to satisfy the selection committee of their suitability for the programme. Admission of such applicants will be subject to the approval of the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Note: Prospective students who do not fulfill the clinical practice experience entry requirements for the Postgraduate Diploma in Medical-Surgical Nursing may be eligible to apply for the Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing programme (30 credits).

English Language Requirements

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

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.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €7,130 (PG Diploma, Year 1); €2,630 (Masters, Year 2).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €14,400 (PG Diploma, Year 1); €5,000 (Masters, Year 2).


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

EU student fee payment

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment

International Students can pay in two equal instalments once they have paid the appropriate deposit. The initial payment is due on registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay?

You can pay by Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie.

How Do I Apply

1. Apply online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online via the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. The majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

2. Gather supporting documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

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

3. Application processing timeline

Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

4. Rounds

For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates here.

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

Deferrals: Deferrals are not permitted on this course. 

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.
  • 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.
  • What is your current occupation/speciality?
  • Please add the name and email addresses of two referees.

Please upload certification of current registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

All applicants must also submit a signed Declaration Form completed by the Director of Nursing/Midwifery/Equivalent Authorised Manager. This form is downloadable here: Declaration Form Nursing Pathways

Additional Information

For students who have exited this programme with the award of postgraduate Diploma and wish to return to complete the Masters within 5 years, please apply for CKX13, MSc in Nursing Studies Direct Entry Year 2.


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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact