UCC Postgraduate courses

Pharmaceutical Technology & Quality Systems

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Pharmaceutical Technology & Quality Systems

  • Code


  • College

    Medicine and Health

  • Duration

    2 Years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode

    Part-Time, Distance Learning

  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees

    €9,630 (Year 1); €9,630 (Year 2)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees

    €15,400 (Year 1); €15,400 (Year 2)

  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Closed for applications for 2022/2023. Applications for 2023/2024 open 17 October 2022.

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    Closed for applications for 2022/2023. Applications for 2023/2024 open 17 October 2022.

  • Start Date

    5 September 2022

Course Outline

  • Please be advised that all Irish/EU applications will be reviewed after the closing date has passed regardless of the initial date of application. 

This two-year Pharmaceutical Technology & Quality Systems distance learning programme is aimed at graduates who currently work within the pharmaceutical industry who wish to fulfil the EU educational requirements for Qualified Person (QP) status. Graduates who complete this course and have the relevant work experience are eligible to apply to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) or EU regulatory authority to register as a QP.

The course is not limited to aspiring QPs: it is designed to broaden your professional development and provide up-to-date assessments of the latest trends in the areas of pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical development, manufacturing and quality. The individual modules provide knowledge and experience of benefit to all technical, quality, regulatory and managerial staff in the pharmaceutical industry.

Course Requirements (Pathway 1)

In Part I, you will take taught modules to the value of 60 credits, run over a minimum of 18 months. The taught modules incorporate a combination of self-instructional printed materials (i.e. printed module workbooks), teleconferences, web-based seminars and online assessments. Students must also attend the two three-day workshops on campus each year, involving lectures, practical sessions, tutorials and industrial site visits.

In Part II, you complete a research project module to the value of 30 credits. If you want to pursue the course, you must be able to carry out your research project in your place of employment.

Modules (90 credits)

Part I

  • PF6200 Pharmaceutical Chemistry (10 credits)
  • PF6201 Pharmaceutical Dosage Form Design (5 credits)
  • PT6401 Pharmacology (5 credits)
  • PF6202 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing - API to Finished Product (5 credits)
  • PF6203 Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Sterile Manufacturing (5 credits)
  • PF6204 Biopharmaceutical Development of Investigational Medicinal Products (5 credits)
  • PF6205 Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (5 credits)
  • PF6206 Pharmaceutical Statistics and Process Control (5 credits)
  • PF6207 Pharmaceutical Plant and Process: From Design through Validation (5 credits)
  • PF6208 Quality Management Systems and Regulatory Affairs (5 credits)
  • PF6209 Role and Professional Duties of the Qualified Person (5 credits)

Part II

  • PF6210 Research Project — Pharmaceutical Technology and Quality Systems (30 credits)

The research project will be centred in an industrial pharmaceutical setting. Consideration will be given to your chosen project area but all project titles must be approved in advance by the course committee and supervised by a member of academic staff at UCC.

Note: Taught modules are offered on a cyclical basis over alternative years.

Course Requirements (Pathway 2)

Students take 30 credits as follows:

  • PF6210 Research Project — Pharmaceutical Technology and Quality Systems (30 credits)

Further details on the content and modules are available on the Postgraduate College Calendar (MSc Pharmaceutical Technology & Quality Systems).


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

This programe is taught as a blended learning programme, with both online content and block attendance at UCC. The programme consists of taught modules delivered via distance learning, running from September to April each year. In Year 2, the research project runs from April to October/November.

The taught modules incorporate printed module workbooks, teleconferences, web-based seminars and online assessments. Each module runs for approximately four weeks and the average amount of directed study that you are advised to undertake per module is about 10-15 hours per week. Teleconferences and webinars are held regularly throughout the year and our students must attend a three-day workshop held in UCC at the end of each semester, (usually in December and February).

Exams are held in UCC in April. In some cases, arrangements can be made to sit the exams at a different university.


Assessment consists of a mixture of continuous assessment and end-of-year written exams. Exams take place in April each year, with repeats in autumn if required. Continuous assessments form part of each taught module and can be in various formats such as online Multiple Choice Questionnaries (MCQs), essays and interactive exercises on Canvas. The value of the continuous assessments varies for each module but can count for 20-50% of the overall mark.

Why Choose This Course

The MSc in Pharmaceutical Technology and Quality systems has been approved by the HPRA in meeting the educational requirements for QP status as stated in directive 2001/83/EC. Students who have completed this course and have the relevant work experience are eligible to apply to an EU regulatory authority to register as a QP. 

Skills and Careers Information

Although the course meets the educational requirements for registering as a QP, it is not only aspiring QPs who complete the course. Many of our graduates use the skills obtained in the course to develop their careers within other areas of the pharmaceutical industry.

Students from the EU can use this qualification to apply to your regulatory authority to register as a QP. Recently a number of our students from Malta graduated from this course and registered as QPs in Malta.


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:

Please download, complete, & upload this Company Reference Template.

Entry Requirements (Pathway 1): All candidates must be approved by the programme committee within the School of Pharmacy. Applicants may be short listed for interview.

  • a candidate must have obtained at least a Second Class Honours in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in a relevant science discipline which has been approved by the programme committee (e.g. pharmacy, chemistry or the biological sciences);
  • candidates must be currently employed in a relevant pharmaceutical sector (ideally greater than two years experience) and for the duration of the programme;
  • consideration under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) may be given to other applicants with suitable equivalent professional qualifications and significant industrial experience (greater than 5 years relevant experience in the pharmaceutical industry).

Note: Candidates who successfully complete this programme and wish to become a QP must apply to the HPRA to become registered as a QP and should also note the following:

  • they must also have an appropriate primary degree that is considered by the HPRA to meet the specific requirements for primary qualifications listed in article 49 of 2001/83/EC (e.g. chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry and technology, biology);
  • they must provide evidence to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) that they ‘have acquired practical experience over at least two years, in one or more undertakings which are authorized to manufacture medicinal products, in the activities of qualitative analysis of medicinal products, of quantitative analysis of active substances and of testing and checking necessary to ensure the quality of medicinal products’.

Entry Requirements (Pathway 2) (In addition to the above):

  • The Programme Management Committee may permit graduates holding a Postgraduate Diploma (equivalent to NFQ Level 9 award) in Pharmaceutical Technology and Quality Systems from an appropriately accredited School of Pharmacy to enter a one year programme. To be considered for entry to this programme, candidates must have completed their Postgraduate Diploma no later than five years prior to the date of registration for this programme. All candidates must be approved by the programme committee within the School of Pharmacy. Applicants may be shortlisted for interview.

Please be advised that all Irish/EU applications will be reviewed after the closing date has passed regardless of the initial date of application. 

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 €9,630 (Year 1); €9,630 (Year 2).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €15,400 (Year 1); €15,400 (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.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Closed for applications for 2022/2023. Applications for 2023/2024 open 17 October 2022.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact