UCC Postgraduate courses

Professional Practice & Leadership in Higher Education

About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

The Centre for the Integration of Teaching, Research and Learning (CITRL) at University College Cork is pleased to offer this new part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice and Leadership in Higher Education as a flexible learning opportunity for professionals working in an administrative or academic role in Higher Education.

This is an ideal programme for those of you looking to formalise your experience, develop your leadership potential, and enhance your skillset and professional competencies in the Higher Education (HE) sector.

With a unique focus on leadership in higher education, participants in this part-time programme will explore the higher education landscape and operations. You will discover the latest insights into the development of policy and practice and connect with peers across the HE sector via a virtual and in-person learning environment. This course allows you to engage in peer learning, gain a professional qualification, and grow your network, both nationally and internationally.   

PG Certificate in Professional Practice and Leadership in Higher Education Modules

This part-time programme is delivered over one academic year, using a blended learning model with online and face-to-face instruction. The programme consists of four modules, worth 30 credits in total:

MG6104 Understanding, Navigating, and Implementing Change 5 1
TL6101 Higher Education Landscape  10 1
TL6102 Innovative Practices in Higher Education 5 2
TL6013 Reflective Leadership Practices 10 2

Learning Outcomes 

On successful completion of this programme you will be able to:

  • Examine the key features or challenges in your professional practice as relates to your institutional setting and the wider higher education landscape and policy context.
  • Investigate opportunities within your professional practice identifying options to effect innovation and change and the potential for sustainable societal impact.
  • Reflect on professional identity and professional culture and how these manifest in the higher education context.
  • Critique professional practice and leadership and the implications for future innovative practice as a community of learners committed to inter-professionalism.
  • Demonstrate engagement in interprofessional exchange, collaboration, and peer learning.


MG6104 Understanding, Navigating, and Implementing Change Group case study (60 marks) and an individual reflection (40 marks)
TL6101 Higher Education Landscape  Group seminar presentation (20 marks), 1,000-word reflective essay (70 marks), and a 2,000-word professional plan (110 marks)
TL6102 Innovative Practices in Higher Education 1,000-word reflective assignment (50 marks) and an individual presentation (50 marks)
TL6013 Reflective Leadership Practices Podcast or similar output (180 marks) and attendance and participation (20 marks)
  • See the University Calendar (PG Cert in Professional Practice & Leadership) for more information.
  • Please note that there are limited places on this programme to ensure a balance of staff across the University and from external institutions. 

Course Practicalities

The Postgraduate Certificate is a one-year blended offering with access via Canvas, UCC’s Learning Management System, as well as the block release of the first three days of the programme each semester on campus.

Weekly synchronous lectures (2-4pm) are held every Wednesday, either in person or online, and virtual office hours (10 -11am) are held every Thursday. Please note your ability to commit to in-person and synchronous engagement as part of the application process

This blended nature of delivery will encourage course participants to develop a community of practice that will be anchored through peer exchange and collaborative learning partnerships. In addition, we facilitate three full campus activity days in both Semester 1 and Semester 2.

Campus Days 2023-2024

Semester 1Semester 2







Why Choose This Course

We provide HE staff with an opportunity to do a deep dive into the policy landscape and key operations of the HE sector while facilitating their potential to impact and shape professional practice.

The growth of universities as complex educational ecosystems has led to differentiation and professionalisation of key functions and roles, and the emergence of HE professionals who play key roles in this new ecosystem. Consequently, there is a demand for professionals who are responsible for the implementation of policies and practices in support of institutional, national, and international strategies, and who shape and respond to the core research, teaching, and learning activities of the university. In this respect, the postgraduate certificate will facilitate your professional development and enhance your career opportunities across the sector.


We will connect you to an experienced team of academics and professional services staff in higher education including:


The minimum academic entry requirement is Second Class Honours Grade 2 in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8). Applicants who do not hold a degree at Second Class Honours Grade 2 in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) may also be accepted under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), following a review of their qualifications, relevant industry experience and interview with the programme team, and subject to final approval by the CIRTL Academic Programmes Board. Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

As the course assignments are based on authentic professional scenarios, applicants must be in employment or be able to gain access to an organisation upon which to base assignments. You will need to provide evidence of permission from the organisation to use their data during your course. Applicants must supply written permission to access employer data for acceptance onto the programme.

Applicants must outline in their motivational statement their reasons for applying for the programme. Please see important notes on the application process: PCPLHE Important Notes

English Language Requirements

We require an IELTS score of 6.5 with minimum individual sections of 5.5. See the Postgraduate English Language Entry Requirements page for more information and other English language test requirements.

For applicants from non-native English-speaking backgrounds, proof of English language certification is not required if currently employed in the third-level education sector where the main language of instruction is English. Applicants who fall into this category are required to show proof of employment, e.g. a letter from your director of Human Resources, which is evidence of working in a third-level educational setting where the main language of instruction is English.

Fees and Costs

The tuition fee for this programme is €3,000*

UCC staff have a discounted fee of €1,000 and may be eligible for the staff fee concession scheme.  

*The application fee of €50 is additional to this cost. 

How Do I Apply

You can apply online via our online application portal before the course closing date. There is a €50 application fee for all courses.

Questions on how to apply? Use our web inquiry form to contact us.




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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact