Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in SCM (Lean SCM Black Belt)

About the Programme

Supply Chain Management (SCM) has emerged as a major element in global business, with considerable investment in systems and processes. The opportunities to develop soft skills to support and use these systems and processes exist across a range of industries and organisations.  The need for effective and efficient coordination of key business processes is common to all businesses and cuts across functions and operations. In recent years, many companies in Ireland have expanded their perspective beyond the traditional factory to enterprise wide activities including supply chain management. Successful supply chain management requires strategic and operational alignment, thus the programme includes a strong emphasis on strategy, information systems, demand management, change and innovation, and integrated project management. 

This programme adopts a lean philosophy. Lean thinking has evolved beyond a toolkit approach to a strategy deployment framework. This deployment approach is supported by leadership capability and behaviour, embeds a learning capability, optimizes processes and sustains improvement. The programme is designed to support functional managers on their lean journey as they move into a leadership role. Thus the programme seeks to employ this lean approach to improve supply chain processes through both enhanced personal and organisational capability.

This Postgraduate Diploma / Masters in Supply Chain Management (Lean SCM Black Belt) offered by University College Cork provides a tailored and systematic programme designed to meet the needs of companies.  Delivered in conjunction with our practitioner partners the Leading Edge Group, this programme blends academic and practical expertise. The programme is designed to improve global supply chain processes through cost reduction and value-add for participants and their organisations. This is a part-time programme delivered over 18 months, and the programme meets National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Level 9.

Who will benefit from the programme?

The Postgraduate Diploma / Masters in SCM is aimed at career minded practitioners who work in either supply chain or related functions and who have responsibility for continuous improvement within their organizations. It would also suit those who have some experience in Lean or Supply Chain Management and wish to develop knowledge and skills in these areas.

Delivering significant benefits to participating companies.

Over 100 Black Belt Project have been completed since 2011, yielding reported monetized benefits of €130m in savings or approximately €1.3m/student. 

BB Project Reported Benefits Graph 1

Programme Objectives

  • Understand supply chain concepts and how activities interact within supply chains.

  • Assess competition drivers and develop and lead strategic supply chain projects.

  • Identify and apply tools and techniques to achieve optimal supply chain process, value, and service improvements.

  • Employ best practice project management tools and techniques in supply chain management.

  • Evaluate demand management and forecasting techniques in the context of supply chain efficiency and responsiveness.

  • Assess the implications of leadership and change management approaches and techniques and how they impact on any lean implementation and Leagile supply chain strategies.

  • Develop a suitable strategy for implementing Lean to achieve sustainable operational and supply chain improvements.

  • Resolve the complexities inherent in organisation-wide and supply chain projects and lead Lean SCM teams.

Programme Delivery & Timetable

This programme adopts a Blended Learning Approach i.e. a blend of classroom activity and on-line resources. On-line resources will be provided prior to workshops in the classroom, with further on-line resources provided after workshops. In total 18 classroom days will support the modules, as outlined below. The programme consists of three phases. The outcome of each phase will be a workplace assignment contributing to the development and implementation of a substantial Black Belt Lean SCM project.

YEAR 1 (Semester 1):

  • Strategic Planning and Implementation in Supply Chains (3 days in classroom and e-learning)

  • Advanced Lean Tools and Practices in Supply Chain Management (3 days in classroom and e-learning)

YEAR 1 (Semester 2):

  • Leadership Change and Innovation Management in Supply Chains (3 days in classroom and e-learning)

  • Managing Lean Projects in Supply Chains (3 days in classroom and e-learning)

  • Information Systems and Technologies in Supply Chain Process Design and Improvement (1.5 days in classroom and e-learning)

YEAR 2 (Semester 1):

  • Globalisation Issues, Capstone Module Seminars, Workshops and Lean Black Belt Project (4.5 days in classroom and e-learning)


For further information, please see the PG Diploma in SCM Provisional Timetable - 2020/21.

Progression Path

Students achieving a Second Class Grade I Honour (an aggregate grade of at least 60%) or higher in the Postgraduate Diploma in Supply Chain Management (Lean SCM Black Belt) are eligible to enter the MSc (Supply Chain Management - Lean SCM Black Belt).  This leads to a further 6 months of study. A Masters (MSc SCM - Lean SCM Black Belt) will be awarded on the satisfactory completion of a Dissertation (roughly 12,000-15,000 words).

Eligible Postgraduate Diploma in SCM students who wish to complete a Masters degree will convert their university award from a Postgraduate Diploma to a Masters Degree.

For further information on the MSc (Supply Chain Management - Lean SCM Black Belt) please click here.

Participant Companies

Below are companies who have participated in the Postgraduate Diploma in Supply Chain Management (Lean SCM Black Belt) since its launch in 2008.

Participant Companies in the Diploma in Supply Chain Management

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have: 

  1. Minimum: Honours (Level 8) Primary degree at 2H2 level in a relevant area and at least 4 years relevant industrial experience (including cross-functional team lead and Lean experience).


    A portfolio of professional experience, deemed appropriate by the Academic Programme Director, containing the following:

    (i) at least 6 years of relevant management experience, including responsibility for teams and cross functional/supply chain teams,

    (ii) recognized professional qualification in a relevant area and/or applied Lean SCM experience (equivalent to a Green Belt level)

    (iii) application of learning or competence such as involvement in cross-functional projects, reports, reflective papers or journals.


  2. Testimonials of learning or competence through sign-off by an appropriate signatory within the candidate's organization. Applicants must be in a position to affect organizational change.


Note: A foundation module (FE5201) to the value of 5 credits may be provided to candidates who do not have a pre-requisite background in Lean (for an additional fee of €300).


For further information, please download the PG Diploma/MSc in SCM (Lean SCM Black Belt) Brochure.


The total fee per participant is €10,760*,  payable in three instalments.

Fee breakdown:    

Year 1 = €7,130 (2 installments: Semester 1 (Sep) = €3,565 + Semester 2 (Jan) = €3,565)

Year 2 = €3,630* (Final installment: Semester 1 (Sep))

Total = €10,760*

Eligible students progressing to the Masters phase of the programme will have to pay a further €3,630*.

* These figures are based on 2021/22 fees. Please note that fees may increase by a small percentage annually. For a current list of EU Postgraduate Programme Fees click here.


Tax Relief

This programme is included in the list of postgraduate courses eligible for tax relief under Section 473A, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. Students should make their own enquiries from their relevant Income Tax Office.

How to Apply

Applications for all postgraduate courses in UCC are now made though the online application system - this application facility is now available.


Closing Dates for EU Taught Postgraduate Applications:

For further information on the online application process, please see: How to Apply?

* Students who are required to take the Lean SCM Foundation Module (at an additional cost of €300) will need to commence their studies before the beginning of the Programme.

Contact Us

General Queries


Academic Programme Director

Dr. Seamus O'Reilly
Department of Food Business & Development | Room 2.34 | O'Rahilly Building | University College Cork | Ireland. 
T: +353 21 490 2763 

Programme Administrator

Ms. Aoife Sammon
Department of Food Business & Development | Room 2.37 | O'Rahilly Building | University College Cork | Ireland. 
T: +353 21 490 1833

Testimonials: PG Diploma/MSc in SCM (Lean SCM Black Belt)

"This programme was well delivered by experience passionate lecturers where opportunities to question and challenges were welcomes and used as part of the learning experience. Understanding our supply chain is critical to all businesses and this was evident by the broad spectrum of industries present on the course, As well as the information delivered through the course, there were opportunities for the different industries to learn from each other also.

 Prior to taking part in the programme we had to hire lean consultants to train and coach our site leadership team on how to successfully implement a lean culture. Once I graduate, the knowledge is now in-house, which is far more effective and cost beneficial than using consultants."

- Joseph Grace (Continuous Improvement Leader - Wright)

"To be able to complete this programme part time  in a way that works with having a full time job and benefits both the person taking the course and the company they work for is an incredible achievement and all involved in the programme and UCC should be commended for it.

- Raymond Spillane (Senior Materials Planner - ON Semiconductor - SensL Division)

"What started with the initial objective to develop a lean expertise within a small group of Manager, UCC’ suite of lean SCM programmes have evolved into a key pillar of Kepak’s internal leadership development programme over the last decade.

With the Kepak “way of work” developed largely based off the learnings the initial team acquired through UCC’s Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in SCM (Lean SCM Blakc Belt) programme, there exists a common language, approach, and understanding of the key principles and tools covered through UCC. Participation in this programme continues to be a key pillar of the personal development plan of many of our future Managers."

- Brian Tormey (Chief Operations Officer - Kepak)

 "As a graduate, I have found this course hugely beneficial to me in my professional role. Going forward, I will continue to be an advocate for the programme, as I have seen first hand the benefits this programme can deliver for our business."

- Patrick Sweeney (Operations Excellence Manager - DePuy Synthes)

"Having recently complete the MSc SCM I have benefited greatly. The relevance of this course put into word what I was experiencing and grappling with as a project manager. I now have the tools and confidence to fulfil my role effectively.

This was achieved in three ways:

  1. Course content, structure and experience of lecturers, in tune with current industry trends.
  2. Inviting influential people from industry to the campus, coupled with offsite visits.
  3. The cross section of people in the course, representing all areas of industry and commerce. The atmosphere created during lecture time, meant we all felt free to contribute to proceeding and learn from each other."

- Jimmy Farrell (Supply Chain Program Manager - Wright)

"This course has helped me to change my career path from a primarily Quality based role to a much broader & expanded Supply Chain role. It taught me how to think from an end to end perspective, and provided me with the tools to critically assess my business for improvement opportunities. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this course."

- Olivia Sheehan (Capacity Planning Lead - Janssen Sciences Ireland)

"An outstanding programme that very successfully integrates academic and practical delivery. The outcome provides enhanced levels of learning and strategic thinking, a deep insight into global supply chain issues and leadership challenges, and immediate organisational benefits in terms of operational and cultural transformation."

- Bernard Gould (Change Management Consultant)

"This programme had changed the way I conduct myself as a manager. It has encouraged me to make management decisions based on Big Data and hard facts rather than opinion and provided me with a systematic approach for improving my company's Supply Chain."

- Eamonn Cahill, Irish Defence Forces

"This is not just a course but a journey. Do not make the mistake of believing Lean is just for operations - it is for everyone. In today’s competitive environment this experience will help you find a strategic competitive advantage, one your customers will truly value."

- Sean Coffey (Head of Sales), Kepak

"I was particularly impressed by the course content and the quality of guest speakers. The course format was flexible enough to allow me to honour work commitments while gaining an invaluable qualification. My participation in the programme most definitely had a positive influence on my career."

- Siobhan Slevin, European Procurement, Kellogg Europe.

"An excellent programme, well delivered with a good mix of speakers with both the theory and practical elements well represented. The pace and format suit people who have full time roles."

- Liam O' Flaherty (Head of Supply Chain), Dairygold Food Ingredients

"A very worthwhile course providing great insights into current supply chain management practices with an introduction to the available body of knowledge. The Lean Black Belt provides practical skills that can be applied to a variety of situations to delivery value to your customer and organisation."

- Mike Dorney (Demand Planner), PepsiCo

"Supply Chain is not just logistics and procurement, as many people think when you tell them you are doing the course. It is in fact the basis of all daily ’goods and services’ interactions. The course offers an excellent educational and learning platform for expanding your capability for real impact in day to day life and work."

- John Lordan (Program Manager - NPI), Genzyme

"This course gave me a greater understanding of the vastness of a company’s supply chain, and also provided me with the tools to become an exponent of Lean Values."

- Michael Hanrahan, Component Engineer, Boston Scientific

"Inspiring, the course provided me with the confidence to change role and become a real lean champion."

- Paul Finnegan (Program Manager), DePuy Synthes

"It was the variety of the modules along with the diverse backgrounds of the participants that made this such a worthwhile endeavour."

- John O'Sullivan (Program Manager), EMC

"I had a great experience during the program and developed myself both personally and professionally. The layout of the program was good and the blended learning approach suited me."

- Breda Geoghegan (Business Unit Manager), Janssen Pharmaceutical

“The best thing about this programme for me has been the industry lessons learned from other supply chain professionals on the course. Not only has this programme given me the Lean tools and skills to undertake a large change initiative within PepsiCo, the real life Lean journeys of my fellow class mates have helped me adapt and adopt these experiences to my everyday work life. As someone who has worked for the same company all their professional life, this programme has broadened my knowledge of supply chains and given me industry best practices that help me on my journey towards professional development within PepsiCo. It’s also important when a company like PepsiCo invests in your education that you can give them a return on their investment through continuous improvements and this course delivers the Lean skills to do exactly that.

I would like to thank Seamus and his team for all their help and I wish every success to all the companies of my class mates involved in this programme.”

Vincent Goggin (Supply Chain Manager – Optimisation), PepsiCo

“What motivated me initially to sign up for this course was the chance to get qualified as a Lean Black Belt, having Green Belt experience in implementing projects within Abbott I thought this was a great opportunity to bring back fresh ideas to my job.

The split in learning between supply chain and Lean is a great mix and keeps you motivated throughout the course. Even though each assignment brings a new challenge I found by the end of each paper I had learned a huge amount about each topic. The course is designed to give a holistic view on supply chain management and the insight on supply chain strategy is invaluable and is relevant to all industries. What I never envisaged was the learning I got from my fellow class mates, in every class the amount you learn about different experiences from your fellow class mates was an added bonus.

Today graduating with an MComm has given me the opportunity to progress to the next level. I have left Abbott to pursue a career as a Lean Consultant in the UAE, and completing the masters programme opened the door for this opportunity. My advice to anyone considering completing this course would be to do it, it is a great for your career and is very rewarding.?”

- Brendan O’Grady (?Lean Consultant) Four Principles, Dubai

 “Within my role as a Lean Facilitator in Depuy, it is easy to get immersed in all things internal from a Lean perspective, whilst not realizing the impact Lean has on the overall Supply Chain.  The Postgraduate Diploma and subsequently the Masters programme in Supply Chain Management in UCC, broadened my knowledge base to encompass end-end supply chain thinking and the interaction Lean methodology and supply chain strategy has in industry thinking today.

The course is practitioner based and covers modules which allowed me to apply the teachings to our own organization. The modules were sprinkled with Industry leaders and guest speakers which were hugely informative and demonstrated the relevance of the subjects covered and how their application can have a direct impact on industry thinking and company strategy in today’s economic climate.

Trying to organize a Work/Family/Study life balance can be a challenge, however the reward of completing the course, be it to Post-Grad level or subsequently to Masters level (which I completed and which I would encourage all to do if possible), I found hugely satisfying and has allowed me to progress with confidence in my career with a significantly enhanced and universally acknowledged qualification & skill-set which will ultimately be of benefit to the company.”

- Patrick Sweeney (Lean Facilitator), Depuy

“This programme has given me the tools and confidence to execute Lean and continuous improvement projects within DePuy Ireland and beyond. Since participating in this programme it has been a roller coaster ride of learning and personal development. This programme has aided in my advancement within my professional career within DePuy. But more importantly it has cascaded in to my family life as I guide my children’s mindset towards third level education. This programme has enhanced my understanding of both Lean and supply chain and has shown working examples of their interaction. I would like take this opportunity to thank my fellow class mates for their open and honest interaction during debates which has enhanced my overall learning of other industries and their supply chains."  

- Paul Deasy (Team Leader), DePuy J&J

"Having many years of experience in Lean Six Sigma, I was intrigued by the offer of gaining an academic qualification for continuous improvement activities within my organisation. I found that the blended learning approach allowed me to put new knowledge and skills into practice for the benefit of the organisation while earning my Degree. My interest the application of Lean in Supply Chain activities was peaked during this programme and this opened new possibilities for me within my company.

While the Masters is a challenge, the on-line resources, workshops, site visits, along with the support of classmates and lecturers made this a really enjoyable educational process. My classmates were from multi-national and indigenous companies, crossing a variety of industries. This provided for rich discussion during lectures and deeper understanding of various supply chain strategies. I would highly recommend the Masters Programme in Supply Chain Management."

- Ian Howard (Director of Supply Chain Solutions (EMEA)), Merck, Sharp & Dohme

"This programme is very relevant in the current environment where Irish companies like Musgrave are competing on a much more competitive global stage, and in many cases are affected by external factors. This programme highlighted to me that by working together to eliminate waste and add value to the end customer, companies would have greater control over their own destiny. The programme also highlighted that people can have a significant impact on a company’s continuous improvement journey when given the rights tools and the right environment. The Black Belt project undertaken as part of the programme has identified many ways in which Musgrave can further eliminate waste and add value to the business, making it even more fit to compete and succeed. I would like to thank Musgrave for being supportive of me during this programme. I would also like to compliment UCC for developing an excellent programme that can deliver truly sustainable results for any industry.”

- Michael Twohig (Continuous Improvement), Musgrave Retail Partners IE

"DePuy Ireland embarked on their Lean Transformation about 3 years ago. I had the privilege of being part of the Team leading this change. Although I had some knowledge of Lean, I quickly realized that I needed to expand it. I also realized that I needed to have a better understanding of supply chains, in order to truly transform our entire business.  After researching different courses I finally selected the Masters course in Lean Supply Chain. I felt the course contents were designed and structured to maximize my learning of Lean thinking and how it could be integrated into the whole supply chain.

The structure of the course complemented my busy work schedule. This was really important because I did not want one to interfere with the other. Overall, I was surprised with the level of knowledge I gained. I initially thought that I would learn more about Lean and Supply Chains. In fact, I gained a lot more. The course has given me more confidence in my abilities and it has given me a hunger to learn more.

I would recommend this course to anyone. In fact I have recommended the course to others within my company and to date eight people are either in their first year or second year of the Masters."

- Mick McAuliffe (Business Transformation Specialist), DePuy Ireland

"The MComm in SCM has provided me with a great understanding of all aspects of supply chain management. The wide range of lean tools and supply chain areas that we worked on gives each student the flexibility and confidence to work in a wide range of diverse business roles in various sectors such as pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and food business. This course was topped off the chance to complete a thesis on a chosen subject area, further enhancing our knowledge base within a supply chain context.

Skillset:  The numerous hands on projects that were completed over the two years focused on the flexibility and applicability of the lean tools, to our own business environments. We were afforded the opportunity to apply the skills we learned to the organizations we worked in. This experience proved invaluable to our respective organisations which benefitted from process improvements. We, the students, definitely benefitted from taking the opportunity to implement the skills we learned during the course in a tangible and concrete way. A key feature of the course was the chance to complete our black belt certification which helped to solidify the lean skills and techniques we learned during the course.

Overall satisfaction with the course: I have very fond memories of my time spent studying for the MComm in SCM. The small class size and close relationship with the lecturers helped us to achieve our full potential in our studies. The helpful and co-operative atmosphere that existed enabled each student to participate fully in the course and benefit form the excellent tuition and guidance provided by the lecturers and presenters who directed us on this journey."

- Bernard O'Connell (Supply Chain Planner), GSK

"I have gained a lot from accomplishing the PDSCM/Masters in SCM both from an overall supply chain and a Lean perspective. I can now use my practical experience and the skills and knowledge developed through the participation in this program in my current and future roles in Molex. With many different industries represented in the programme (electronics, pharma & food) it was a great mix of knowledge and experience to gain new insights. Overall my participation in the programme has been very good from a training and experience perspective, and for me personally and professionally."

-   Mark Purcell, ( Supply Chain Manager – Global Industry Group), Molex

“Completing the Master in SCM has helped broaden my skill set and improve my knowledge base across the entire supply chain. Firstly, the qualification for the Lean SCM Black Belt allowed me to introduce Lean methodology into the company. The completion of the Master thesis helped me to better understand my own industry and to be able to make a positive contribution to the process. The interaction with personnel from other companies/industries in the course is of great benefit where one can share knowledge and experiences from all areas of the Supply Chain. I would have no hesitation in recommending the Master in SCM to anyone interested in furthering their business education.”

 - John Horgan (National Fleet & Logistics Manager), Tedcastles Oil Products

“The reason this course was chosen was because we felt that it had a good fit with our strategic objective of instilling a culture of continuous improvement in the organization. In my opinion the course has delivered on this because it goes to great lengths to deliver the theory and tools needed to convert your Company into LEAN practices. The course also taught us methodologies in problem solving and project management, which I found extremely useful in my Black belt project. Through this project, we improved the productivity of the production process by 19% over a 12 month period and now use the DMAIC process (Lean tool) on all improvement projects. A real bonus we have achieved from this new approach is that we have become more skilled at discussing problems with our staff and uncovering the solutions together. In conclusion this course has broadened our minds greatly to a new approach to managing our operation for the future and we are going to continue to invest in training staff at all levels in the principles and tools of Lean Manufacturing.”

- Gerard Brickley (Operations Manager), Kepak Group

Discipline of Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management Programmes, 2nd Floor, O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork