UCC Postgraduate courses

Pharmaceutical Technology & Quality Systems

Course Fact File
Duration2 Years Part-time
Teaching ModePart-Time, Distance Learning
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 Date2 September 2024

Course Outline

This two-year Pharmaceutical Technology & Quality Systems distance learning programme is aimed at graduates who currently work within the pharmaceutical industry and wish to fulfil the EU educational requirements for Qualified Person (QP) status. Graduates who complete this course and have 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 online module notes, recorded material, webinars, workshops, online assessments and end of year written exams. Students must also attend the two workshops on campus each year, involving lectures, practical sessions, tutorials and industrial site visits.

In Part II, students complete a research project module to the value of 30 credits.

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 within the field of Pharmaceutical Technology and Quality Systems.  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 the 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)

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

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 online module notes, recorded material, webinars, workshops, online assessments and end of year written exams. 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. Webinars are held regularly throughout the year and students must attend a workshop held in UCC at the end of each semester, (usually in December and February).


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.


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.

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