UCC Postgraduate courses

Healthcare Quality Improvement (Online)

Course Fact File
Duration2 Years Part-time
Teaching ModeDistance Learning
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 7 June 2024. Early application is advised.
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 7 June 2024. Early application is advised.
Course Delivery MethodOnline
Start Date2 September 2024

Course Outline

Our online MSc in Healthcare Quality Improvement course is an exciting, contemporary, degree for healthcare professionals, offering a flexible mode of learning while continuing to work.

This 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. 

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.

Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Quality Improvement

The MSc 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. 

Postgraduate Diploma 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.

Subject areas covered in the MSc 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 will involve conducting a systematic investigation of a problem relevant to the student’s practice area using the research process.

Modules - 90 credits over two years as follows:

Year 1

  • 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 2

  • 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)

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 MSc (Healthcare Quality Improvement) is a part-time online programme. This programme consists of seven 10-credit modules and one 20-credit module. Each 10-credit module will be delivered over a six-week period with one module delivered at a time. The 20-credit Dissertation module will be delivered over 33 weeks. Successful completion of the online MSc (Healthcare Quality Improvement) will allow eligibility to apply for entry into Doctorate programmes in related disciplines.

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 33 weeks (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, online 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.

Our staff include:

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, but 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.

Our 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. Our graduates will be qualified to pursue a number of exciting careers including:

  • 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 an 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 are recommended.

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 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 Open until all places have been filled or no later than 7 June 2024. Early application is advised.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact