MSc in Occupational Health

An integrated course in occupational health, safety and welfare.  

The MSc in Occupational Health is a part-time programme which provides a multidisciplinary approach to occupational health and safety management in the workplace, including occupational medicine and hygiene, ergonomics, epidemiology, psychology, public health, risk assessment and management, law and training and development.

The course is suitable for individuals already working in occupational safety and health such as health & safety advisors, health and safety officers and occupational health nurses and self employed health and safety practitioners. The course is also suitable for those who want to build a new career in this area, for example nurses, HR personnel, public health, social science and psychologists graduates.

2 Years part-time - This course is run on a cyclical basis. Next intake: September 2016

CPD Modules run every term together with the MSc cycle. Please see CPD module section below.

Download the Occupational Health Brochure 2016-2018 (647kB)


Photo of Occ. Health and Safety Professionals


The nature of work changed dramatically with increasing automation and computerisation in a globalised market. This resulted in changed work hazards, health problems and increased health and safety concerns relating to psychosocial work issues, i.e. job stress, repetitive work, change management, work-life-family balance and bullying.

These changes require health and safety specialists to be knowledgeable in assessing and managing both physical and psychosocial work hazards in an integrated approach.

This unique course offers you the opportunity to study modern cutting-edge scientific concepts and research evidence on causation, prevention and management of work-related accidents, injury and disease.

The interactive format of the teaching sessions is conducive to student networking and the sharing of knowledge and practical experience. In several modules students will work with practical case studies, engage in project work and reflective inquiry.


This multidisciplinary Masters program is suitable for professionals already working in occupational health and safety. It is also suitable for individuals with a strong interest in occupational health and a primary degree in a cognate area. 

This course is run on a cyclical basis as a 2-year part-time program and is due to commence again in September 2016.

CPD Modules run every term together with the MSc cycle.
 ‌The course will be held for 2 evenings per week (Monday and Thursday 6.15 to 9.00pm) from September to May.



Students take taught modules to the value of 60 credits and complete a research dissertation to the value of 30 credits. There will be continuous assessments through in-class tests, oral presentations, group work on case studies, written essays and a reflective case study.  The dissertation in year two requires  planning and conducting a research project on a chosen topic with submission of a written dissertation  and a journalistic article based on the dissertation.  

The course consists of three elements:

  1. Formal course work.
  2. Self-directed learning (using case studies).
  3. Project work (leading to a thesis/dissertation).


This programme's formal course work includes the following contents:

Year 1

Semester 1

EH6008 Research Methods and Information Retrieval in Occupational Health (5 credits)

EH6015 Occupational Health and Safety Management in the Workplace (10 credits)

EH6059 Principles of Psychosocial Epidemiology (5 credits)

Semester 2

EH6073 Critical Appraisal of Publications in Occupational Health (5 credits)

LW6107 Legal Aspects of Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare (5 credits)

EH6041 Psychology Applied to Occupational Health and Safety (5 credits)

EH6060 Applied Psychosocial Epidemiology (5 credits)

Year 2

Semester 1

AD6800 Training and Development Issues in Occupational Health (5 credits)

EH6061 Applied Research for Occupational Health (5 credits)

Semester 2

EH6062 Workplace Health, Safety and Wellbeing Dissertation (30 credits)

EH6017 Risk Assessment and Management Programmes in the Workplace (10 credits)


Students may opt to exit the programme with a Higher Diploma in Occupational Health after having completed 60 credits of the above modules excluding the dissertation module.

Modules also available as Continuous Professional Development units. To find out more about this option go to our CDP Modules section.


This course has as main objectives to provide the individuals the skills to:

  • Prevent disease, injury and accidents and promote health and safety in the workplace: insights from different disciplines.

  • Identify, retrieve and critically evaluate sources of health and safety information and scientific publications: Stay up-to-date.

  • Analyse and control physical and psychosocial work hazards in different settings.

  • Effectively manage and monitor health and safety by using health and safety manage-ment systems.

  • Understand and apply research evidence to health and safety practice: Evidence-based decision making.

  • Interpret statistics, conduct research and evaluate health and safety programmes.

  • Apply major legal principles relevant to health and safety and employment.

  • Become a lifelong reflective learner acting according to professional ethics.

  • Identify training and development needs in health and safety and evaluate training effectiveness.

  • Contribute to creating healthy, safe and competent organisations.

  • Work effectively in a team and communicate professionally. 

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of occupational health from a multidisciplinary perspective including occupational medicine, epidemiology, psychology, public health, law and training and development;

  • Practice measures to prevent disease and injury, and to protect and promote health and safety in occupational settings;

  • Perform risk assessments in the workplace including psychosocial risk factors;

  • Identify the role of psychology in improving the quality of work life and to develop basic skills to protect and promote the safety, health and well-being of workers;

  • Employ skills to critically appraise publications and statistics and stay up-to date with the newest research evidence;

  • Apply research evidence into occupational health and safety interventions and health promotion strategies by taking relevant legislation into account;

  • Design occupational health training and development programmes in line with organisational policy;

  • Carry out a focussed piece of scholarly research and health and safety programme evaluation.

Candidates for the MSc programme in Occupational Health must meet one of the following criteria:

A Level 8 honours primary degree (minimum second class honours, grade 2) in a relevant area, for example health-related (Public Health, Nursing, Medicine, Environmental Health, Psychology/Behavioural Science, Physiotherapy); Engineering and Human Resource Management and relevant professional experience¹ or work placement in an associated Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare area.


A minimum of a Diploma/Higher Diploma in Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare (minimum second class honours, grade1), from UCC, or an equivalent qualification² from another Institution  (Level 8 Diploma, minimum second class honours, grade 1) and a minimum of two years relevant professional work experience¹ in an area associated with Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare;


Applicants with a minimum of three years professional work experience in an associated area¹ of Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare will be invited for interview to satisfy the selection committee of their suitability for the programme.


¹ Relevant professional work experience, job title examples:  Health and Safety Officers/Advisors/Managers/Coordinators; Environmental Safety Officers/Managers; Safety Engineers, Health Promotion Officers; HR Officers/Managers; Occupational Health Nurses, Health Scientists, Professional Trainers, Health and Safety Consultants.

² Level 8, Examples: Diploma/Higher Diploma/International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety; Diploma in Environment Management, Diploma in Health Promotion, Diploma in Learning, Development and Work-based Training.

The course will have session taught by:

  • Ms Una Feeney (Behavioural Safety - Lilly)
  • Dr. John Gallagher (Health Services Executive Southern Area—Employment Health Advisors)

  • Dr. Martin Hogan (Employment Health Advisors Ltd)

  • Dr. Dan Gallagher (EHA Soft Solutions Ltd)

  • MEilis Casey - Senior HR Business Partner (Europe) at Zenith Technologies

  • Ms. Imelda O’Leary, Ms. Susan Hill, Mr. Brian Gallagher and other specialists of EHA

  • Mr. Kevin O’Sullivan, Ms. Nancy Finucane,  Ms. Denise Cahill  and Ms. Anne Power (from the HSE)
  • Ms Sarah Meaney (Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology)
  • Guest lecturers from the community of psychology, law and health and safety practitioners.


Application for this programme is on-line at Places on this programme are offered in rounds. The closing dates for each round can be found here. For full details of the application procedure click How to apply.

Please note that you will be asked to fill in a supplementary information form as part of the applications process for this programme. This form is available to view here SupplementaryFormCKX06 (14kB). All required documentation must be either uploaded to your application or sent in hard copy to The Postgraduate Applications Centre, 1, Courthouse Square, Galway.


EU Fees: The fee for this programme for the academic year 2014/2016 is €2.925 euros.

A similar fee will be payable in the second year of the programme in 2016/2017.


Students take taught modules to the value of 60 credits and complete a research dissertation to the value of 30 credits.

There will be continuous assessments through in-class tests, oral presentations, group work on case studies  written essays and a reflective case study. 

The dissertation in year two requires  planning and conducting a research project on a chosen topic with submission of a written dissertation  and a journalistic article based on the dissertation.  


Modules available in the Masters course in Occupational Health are now offered as CPD modules in the College of Medicine and Health.

As part of UCC's commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD), these modules are available for external individuals to attend as independent units, having as target groups essentially:

  • Health and Safety Professionals in Industry and Healthcare;
  • Occupational Health Nurses;
  • Self-employed Occupational Health and Safety Consultants;
  • Human Resources Managers among many others.

Candidates who satisfy the programme eligibility criteria may, subject to the approval of the Programme Director/Coordinator, be permitted to take the individual modules referred below and be provided with a relevant transcript of marks.

The modules available to be taken under these conditions are (to a maximum of 20 credits in total):


A student who successfully completes and passes a module under CPD will be eligible for exemptions if he/she subsequently undertakes the MSc in Occupational Health within five years from the date of successful completion of the module (and subject to the module being offered on the MSc in Occupational Health).

These modules will be available biennially , for a fee of €650 for 10 credits modules and €325 for 5 credits modules.  Candidates should contact the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health in relation to the modules available in any given year.

Application Procedure 

All applicants are required to apply directly to the Graduate Studies office in UCC.

To apply, complete and submit the following form: Application form CPD Epidemiology and Public Health (490kB)‌

The completed Application Form and €35 application fee to be posted to:

CPD Coordinator 
Graduate Studies Office
University College Cork


For further information contact Declan Whelan Curtin, or visit the webpage .

 We believe the MSc Occupational Health represents an important learning and development experience to its students. Thus, although sometimes it might represent a challenge for the students, we strive for this to be it is an enriching process of professional and personal growth.

Some of the former students of the MSc Occupational Health programme stated:

“I found the course to be very informative and am sure it has complimented and added to my knowledge in this area. It has given me confidence in undertaking research and reinforced my ability to deliver talks/presentations to my peers. Added greatly to my own personal development!”

“I found it difficult to combine work on the thesis with course work, work life and family. This has been very challenging. I have explained the situation to the academic staff and am very grateful for the support and empathy they have shown. It has helped a lot with the various difficulties encountered along the way.”

“I have enjoyed the course a lot and found it very relevant to my work as in a small business. I would recommend it.”


A previous MSc student has commented on this course's contribution to his career:

"The Master’s Degree that I undertook a few years ago has helped me to build a new career as an Occupational Health & Safety Consultant.

The program has given me the tools and knowledge to positively project myself forward knowing that the information gained through the program will benefit my clients.

I have set up my own company, Diamond Health & Safety and I can offer a variety of services to my clients based on the knowledge gained from the MSc course. I am now able to take control of my work and manage my career knowing that there is still support from your team if required.

The MSc course has certainly changed the direction of my work and has had a major and positive effect on my life."

To find out more on how the course was experienced by some of our former students and how it has impacted or influenced their life take a look at the testimonials they kindly sent to us:

Orla Kelleher – Occupational Health Manager (Bons Secours Hospital)

Padraig O’ Mahony – Self-Employed Bricklayer

Jerry Buckley - H & S Manager (Diamond Health & Safety)

Joel Spinney - Safety Adviser (Murphy Construction Group)


Photo of Occ. Health and Safety Professionals



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