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.

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

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.


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. Vsit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

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 is 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 contact the Fees Office.

How Do I 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.

  • For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
  • Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.

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.

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.

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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact