UCC Postgraduate courses

End of Life Healthcare Ethics

About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

The MSc in End-of-Life Healthcare Ethics is a unique ground-breaking multidisciplinary course that will enable you to identify, research and critically evaluate the ethical, professional, legal and philosophical underpinnings of end-of-life decisions and care in hospital and healthcare settings. It will normally be undertaken part-time over a two-year period. The course is primarily intended for health professionals (e.g. registered nurses, doctors, consultants, directors of nursing, pharmacists, speech therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists); allied professionals (e.g. hospital and nursing home administrators, social workers, chaplains, psychologists, members of clinical and research ethics committees); solicitors; theologians, counsellors; journalists and members of the general public with a keen interest in the subject area.  For further information please see CKX32 Brochure 2015.

You will complete modules to the value of 90 credits in total - 45 credits in Part 1 and 45 credits in Part 2.

PART 1 (Year 1)

  • Introduction to End-of-Life Decision-making (5 credits)
  • The Ethics of Cure and Care (10 credits)
  • End-of-Life Decision-making and the Role of Legal Rights (10 credits)
  • The Philosophy of Death and Dying (10 credits)Ethical Controversies in End-of-Life Care (10 Credits)

PART 2 (Year 2)

  • Ethical Governance (5 Credits)
  • Dissertation (30 Credits)
  • Philosophical and Empirical Research Methodologies (10 credits)

Further details on the content and modules are available on the Postgraduate College Calendar.

Additional Teaching Mode Information

The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years.


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

In Part 1, you are expected to attend college for lectures, tutorials and seminars for the last Monday and Tuesday of each month (September 2014-May 2015) and for one block-week: March, 2015).

In Part 2, you are expected to attend college for the last Monday and Tuesday of each month (September 2015 – December 2015). On successful completion of a dissertation, to be submitted in July 2016, you will be awarded an MSc in End-of-Life Healthcare Ethics.

Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, group discussions, seminars, and workshops. You will also identify and critically discuss challenging cases drawn from clinical practice, engage in debates and participate in simulated court proceedings. You are required to have internet access for online learning and discussion boards where appropriate.

Staff from the College of Medicine and Health and the Department of Philosophy as well as invited clinical, ethical and legal experts with national and international expertise in the field of healthcare, ethics and law, all take part in teaching this course.

Why Choose This Course

Described in the New York Times as the world’s first MSc in End-of-Life Healthcare Ethics, this is a unique and ground-breaking multidisciplinary course that will enable you to identify, research and critically evaluate the ethical, professional, legal and philosophical underpinnings of end-of-life decisions and care in hospital and healthcare settings. The idea for this timely and pioneering course emerged out of a national project undertaken by University College Cork, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Irish Hospice Foundation. For details see http://www.hospicefriendlyhospitals.net/ethics

Skills and Careers Information

On completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • apply greater insights into the ethical, professional, legal and philosophical underpinnings of end-of-life decision-making in Ireland and abroad
  • bring comprehensive and well-assimilated knowledge and critical skills to ethically challenging situations that arise in relation to death and dying in professional and personal life
  • act as innovators, leaders and facilitators in healthcare ethics and contribute to practice development and best practice.


Entry Requirements
(a) Candidates for the MSc (End-of-Life Healthcare Ethics) must satisfy the following:

  • normally hold a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in a relevant subject (e.g. nursing, medicine, pharmacy, clinical therapies, philosophy, law, theology, social sciences) OR in any discipline and either possess a postgraduate qualification in a relevant field or show evidence of at least two years' work experience in a relevant field. 
  • applicants with a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) will also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) on a case by case basis.

(b) Applicants will be judged on academic credentials, previous experience and their personal statement.

Note: In exceptional circumstances, applicants without a primary degree may be recommended for entry to the programme after a review of their individual qualifications and experience by the course committee. These applicants may be required to attend an interview and their admission will be subject to the approval of the College of Medicine and Health Executive Committee.


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 €4,130 (Year 1); €4,130 (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:

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 

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.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact