UCC Postgraduate courses

Healthcare Quality Improvement

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Healthcare Quality Improvement

  • Code


  • College

    Medicine and Health

  • Duration

    2 years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees 2021

    €4,580 Year 1; €3,680 Year 2
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2021


  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Closed for applications for admission 2021/22

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    11 June 2021

  • Course Delivery Method


  • Start Date

    6 September 2021

Course Outline

The online MSc in Healthcare Quality Improvement programme is an exciting, contemporary, degree for healthcare professionals, offering a flexible mode of learning while continuing to work. The programme will enable practitioners to take leadership roles in an increasingly complex healthcare environment with an emphasis on quality improvement in healthcare.  It should appeal to students from a number of clinical areas and from management positions.  Subject areas covered in the programme include digital healthcare, contemporary issues in healthcare, practice enhancement for quality healthcare, advancing practice for patient safety, clinical leadership for healthcare quality improvement, implementation of evidence based practice and advanced research methods applied to healthcare. The final project on the programme will involve conducting a systematic investigation of a problem relevant to the student’s practice area using the research process.

This online programme offers a flexible online approach to learning, designed to allow healthcare professionals to undertake their studies while working simultaneously. The programme is designed to allow students to undertake their studies while working simultaneously with the intention to suit service, personal and academic requirements. This programme consists of seven modules to the value of 70 credits and one module to the value of 20 credits. Students have the option of exiting the programme after completing 30 credits with a Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Quality Improvement.  Students have the option of exiting the programme after completing Year 1 and one 10-credit (NU6306) module in Year 2 with a Postgraduate Diploma in Healthcare Quality Improvement.

For the 90 credits in the programme, there are seven core 10 credit modules to be completed by all students, and one final 20 credit module to be completed by all students.

Students take 90 credits as follows:

  • Year 1 - 50 Credits
  • Year 2 - 40 Credits
YEAR 1Students take 50 credits as follows: 
NU6313 Digital Healthcare 10 credits
NU6303 Advancing Practice for Patient Safety 10 credits
NU6302 Practice Enhancement for Quality Healthcare 10 credits 
NU6310 Implementation of Evidence-Based Practice for Quality Improvement in Healthcare. 10 credits
NU6312 Contemporary Issues in Healthcare 10 credits


YEAR 2Students take 40 credits as follows: 
NU6306 Clinical Leadership for Healthcare Quality Improvement 10 credits
NU6304 Advanced Research Methods Applied to Healthcare 10 credits
NU6309 Applied Research for Evidence Based Practice and Quality Improvement 20 credits


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

Applicants can complete this online programme over a minimum of 2 academic years. Each 10 credit module will be delivered over 6 weeks with one module delivered at a time. The 20-credit Dissertation module (NU6309) will be taken over 33weeks (8 months) as a final project. Each 10-credit module consists of an estimated student workload of 200 hours. The 20-credit module consists of an estimated workload of 400 hours. This involves online learning, self-directed learning, required readings, subject investigation, on-line activities and assignment preparation, participation and submission.


A range of continuous assessments are used across the modules.  These include essays, case study discussion, portfolio submission, digital presentation, accumulative report writing and online activities. In addition, students complete a written research/evidence based project as the final module of the programme.

Who teaches this course

·         Dr Nicola Cornally and Dr Sile Creedon - Programme Coordinators

·         Dr Elaine Lehane – Senior Lecturer



Why Choose This Course

This MSc in Healthcare Quality Improvement is the only fully online, programme available in Ireland and one of the few available in the world. There is a strong emphasis on quality improvement and on advancing knowledge and skills thereby preparing students for current health service challenges and reform. The programme will not only prepare healthcare professionals to advance their practice and take leadership roles in healthcare, it will also prepare them for new career opportunities.

Skills and Careers Information

What can I do after I graduate with an MSc in Healthcare Quality Improvement

This online, MSc in Healthcare Quality Improvement enables students to take a leadership role in clinical practice in an increasingly complex healthcare environment with an emphasis on quality improvement in healthcare. The programme prepares healthcare professionals to advance patient-centred care with a specific skillset relevant to contemporary healthcare including but not limited to patient safety, digital healthcare, practice enhancement and quality improvement, research and evidence based practice, and managing and leading change innovation. Graduates will be well positioned to engage in leadership roles relating to quality improvement initiatives, and middle/senior management in their work environments as well as seeking promotional opportunities in these areas.

The additional skills provided by this programme will be the ability to:

  • Develop and advance knowledge in the area of digital health
  • Critically review contemporary issues in healthcare
  • Change management at clinical and organisational levels incl. project management, team organisation, auditing.
  • Clinical leadership.
  • Proficiency at advancing patient safety in clinical practice and at organisational level e.g. communication, negotiation, problem-solving.
  • Collaborative skills of engaging in research to enhance healthcare practice.
  • Generating questions from clinical practice/services for research and conducting this research.  
  • Others e.g. report writing, development and delivery of PowerPoint presentations, computer literacy and online lifelong learning.

Occupations associated with an MSc in Healthcare Quality Improvement

Graduates from the online MSc in Healthcare Quality Improvement will be qualified to pursue a number of exciting careers. The identified career pathways for graduates of this programme include:

  • Management
  • Practice Development Positions
  • Quality Improvement/Project Manager positions
  • Clinical Research positions


Applicants must satisfy the following to be eligible to apply:

  • Applicants must be qualified healthcare professionals registered with the regulatory body in their country of residence.
  • Applicants must have a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or equivalent.

Note: In exceptional circumstances, applicants who do not fulfil this entry requirement 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. Some such applicants may be invited for interview to satisfy the selection committee of their suitability for the programme. Admission to such applicants will be subject to the approval of the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Technical Entry Requirements:
To access and interact with the programme content, assignments and assessments etc. students will require reliable broadband and access to at least a PC/ Laptop running Windows 7 or later and Mac OSX 10.7.4. Common plug-ins such as Microsoft Silverlight, Java and Flash will also be required. Students must have access to MS Office or an equivalent suite of applications such as Libre Office. They must also have access to a modern standards compliant web browser. UCC recommends either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. To engage productively and successfully with the content, basic technical computer skills such as familiarity with word processing, web browsing and email recommended.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please 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.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €4,580 Year 1; €3,680 Year 2.

The Non-EU fee for this course is €10,130.


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:

Fees for Non-EU Students are payable in one instalment in August.

How can I 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 .

Non-EU Fees

The fee schedule for 2019/2020 is available here.

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to two courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a non-refundable €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nursing must apply on the PAC website when the programme opens for applications.

3. 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.

Please log into the online application portal for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

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

5. Rounds

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

Questions on how to apply?

Please 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.

  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning and professional training relevant to this programme.

  • Please upload certification of current registration with the appropriate professional body.



Deferrals are not permitted on this course.

The closing date for non-EU applications is 11 June 2021

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact