Skip to main content

UCC Postgraduate courses

Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy (HCI Pillar 1)

Course Fact File
CodePDCGT
Duration12 Months
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsPG Dip
NFQ LevelLevel 9
EU FeesFree or 90% funded.
See Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Credits60
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

2023 HCI Pillar 1 Logos

 

Our Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy at UCC is a one-year programme designed to provide you with the theoretical and practical skills for employment in the rapidly developing field of advanced therapeutic medicinal products. This industry-informed curriculum is delivered by academics and scientists studying, developing, and manufacturing new biological medicines, to provide you with the necessary skills required by employers in the biomedical research, biopharmaceutical, and biotechnology sectors.

On this programme, you have the opportunity to participate in training at the state-of-the-art Cell and Gene Therapy Training and Research Facility at the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT). This will expose you to a realistic simulated training environment that prepares you for real-life work situations. With this course, we aim to broaden your professional development by challenging you to use critical thinking to overcome industrial problems and develop transferable skills.

A key aspect of the programme is our partnership with the NIBRT which provides valuable insight, skills and knowledge that bridge the gap between academic teaching and industry practice. Our active cooperation with industry in curriculum design and delivery will enhance the learning experience and prepares you for employment in this sector.

The Advanced Cell & Gene Therapy diploma is a level-9 programme consisting of ten modules, totalling 60 credits, including career development workshops, and significant laboratory training experience.

Modules
  • BT6004 Skills-based Education and Training in Biotechnology (10 credits)
  • BC6005 Introduction to Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (5 Credits)
  • BC6006 Gene Editing, Therapy and Manipulation (5 credits)
  • BC6007 Stem Cell Biology and Tissue Repair (5 credits)
  • BC6008 Fundamentals of Vaccines (5 credits)
  • BC6009 Cell-Based Immunotherapy for Human Diseases (5 credits)
  • BC6010 Clinical and Ethical Applications of ATMP (5 credits)
  • BC6011 Genetic and Applied Genomics (5 credits)
  • BC6012 ATMP Manufacturing Science and Technology (5 credits)
  • BC6013 Laboratory-based Technical and Analytical Skills (10 credits)
MSc Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy

Graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy, who have passed all modules within the PG Diploma, and have received an aggregate mark of 50%, will be eligible to progress to the MSc Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy. Eligible graduates will be contacted by the course director to confirm eligibility, and can then apply for the MSc Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy via UCCApply.

The MSc will not be funded as part of the HCI Pillar 1 initiative and applicants will be required to self-fund this Master’s (MSc) degree. The cost for the 30-credit MSc component is €3,000.

The MSc Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy is a full-time programme which comprises a work-related research project (BC6014), worth 30 credits, carried out primarily in an industry or academic research laboratory over six-month period during one academic year.

Course Practicalities

The Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy (Level 9) will be delivered across 3 semesters during the academic year (September to June) in a blended manner and will include a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous online content with delivery to include on-campus, hybrid, blended and fully online elements.

We draw our faculty from NIBRT staff and UCC academics and scientists studying, developing, and manufacturing new biological medicines. Student workload will be up to 20 hours per week, with 8-10 contact hours (including pre-recorded material, online and recorded workshops, directed study and tutorials).

Attendance Information

During semesters 1, 2 & 3, lectures will be delivered online. Recordings of lectures and course notes will also be available online, giving students the flexibility to cover the material at their own convenience during the week. Workshops, tutorials and continuous assessments will be delivered live online and will require students to be present online at a particular agreed time. To try and accommodate people in employment, these live online sessions are generally after 6pm on weekday evenings.

During semester 1 all students will be required to attend a 3-day training session at the University during one of two consecutive weeks in November or December.

During semester 3, all students will be required to attend a 5-day training session at the University during one of two consecutive weeks in June.

In addition, during semester 3 students participate in 2 days of on-site practical training at the Cell and Gene Therapy Training Facility at NIBRT, Dublin, during one of two consecutive weeks in June.

Assessment

Examination and assessment will be by continuous assessment and will consist of in-person and online Canvas assessments as per UCC Marks and Standards.

 

Why Choose This Course

Why study Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy?

Lead by advances in research and medicine, there is an ongoing revolution that is changing how we prevent, treat, and cure, many previously incurable, life-altering conditions and diseases. Research in advanced therapeutic medicinal products (ATMPs), including cell therapies, gene therapies, mRNA-based medicines and novel vaccines, contributes to the development and manufacture of new advanced therapeutics, which offer better medicinal and treatment opportunities for patients. 

It is predicted that ATMPs represent the next wave of biopharma innovation and growth. In Ireland, many new and established biopharmaceutical companies are rapidly expanding into ATMP research and development, and manufacturing. This rapid growth has led to a shortage of skilled personnel and an increased demand for trained personnel in such a quickly evolving area. We are collaborating with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), Dublin, to offer a programme specifically designed to expand Ireland’s expertise in ATMP and vaccine manufacturing by both upskilling those already in the industry and providing training to individuals seeking to gain employment in ATMP and vaccine research, development, and manufacture.

Who should apply?

The Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy suits those wishing to pursue a career in the biopharmaceutical, and/or healthcare industries. It is designed for graduates in relevant science, engineering, or medical health sciences interested in upskilling and gaining employment in either clinical and academic research areas, or in the development and manufacture of advanced therapeutics in the biopharmaceutical sector.

This programme would also be suitable for those of you who have experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and who wish to progress your knowledge and diversify your skills to meet the demand for trained personnel in the fast-evolving areas of cell therapies, gene therapies, mRNA-based medicines, and novel vaccines.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

There are no structured placement or study abroad opportunities provided directly through the PG Diploma, however, candidates spend two days at the NIBRT Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy Training Facility in Dublin.

MSc participants can perform their work-based research project in any location internationally deemed suitable by their academic mentor.

Skills and Careers Information

What is the biopharmaceutical industry like in Ireland?

Over the past two decades, Ireland has established itself as a global leader in biopharmaceutical manufacturing and has been tremendously successful in attracting multinational companies to establish manufacturing operations across the country. Ireland is home to more than 85 biopharmaceutical sites and 9 of the to 10 global pharmaceutical companies have substantial operations in Ireland. In recent years there has been an upsurge in research and growing cell and gene therapy investment.

Nationally and internationally, new and established biopharmaceutical companies are expanding into the development and manufacture of advanced therapeutic medicinal products (ATMPs), including cell therapies, gene therapies, mRNA-based medicines, and novel vaccines. This is paralleled by increased demand for the employment of skilled personnel and increased demand for trained personnel in such a quickly evolving area.

Graduates of our Advanced Cell and Gene Therapy programme are highly employable regionally, nationally, and internationally.

What sort of jobs would this course prepare me for?

This programme ideally prepares you for quality and manufacturing roles in the biopharmaceutical industry. On successful completion of the programme, you should be capable of working in a regulated biopharmaceutical sector, including the development and manufacture of ATMPs.

Will I get exposure to the pharmaceutical industry in this course?

Given that Cork is a global biopharmaceutical hub, this course will have direct input from these companies, via guest lectures and site tours. You will also have the opportunity to participate in on-site practical training at the Cell and Gene Therapy Training and Research Facility at (NIBRT), Dublin.

Are there any career workshops included as part of this course?

In the BT6004 Skills Based Education And Training In Biotechnology module, you are required to complete coursework related to practitioner and professional skills related to the practice of biotechnology including skills in the following areas: teamwork, technical writing, time management, problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership, networking, work placement, presentation and communication, project management, and presentations on current topics and on practices in Biotechnology.

Requirements

Applicants must have a Second Class Honours Grade 2 in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in a relevant science, engineering or medical health sciences programme.

Under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) applicants who do not meet the above academic entry requirements may be considered for admission and will be assessed on a number of factors including: 

  • Academic Achievement 
  • Prior Work Experience 
  • Personal Statement

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency. See our English language proficiency requirements.

Fees and Costs

Places will be subsidised under the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 as follows:

  • Standard EU Fee: €9,300
  • 90% Subsidised Fee: €930 payable by the applicant.
  • 100% Subsidised Fee: No course fee is payable by the applicant.

See What will it cost? on the HCI webpage for more information.

How To Apply

 Applications must be made on Springboard+.  

  • If you already have a Springboard+ account, please apply here
  • If you are new to Springboard+, please create an account here to apply
  • When you log into your existing account or register for a new account, go to the search courses tab and search for the course you are interested in applying for. Further instructions can be found in the 'How to Apply' section of the Springboard+ webpage. 

Applicants are advised to apply early as high demand is anticipated and places are limited. Applications cannot be assessed until all supporting documentation has been received.   

Documentation that you will need for your application

1. Applicants who meet the Academic Entry Requirements will need:

  • Copies of transcripts from all previous relevant educational qualifications. A parchment may also be required in some instances
  • A Personal/Motivation Statement: In 500 words or less, please state why you wish to study this programme
  • An up-to-date CV

Where English is not your first language you are required to submit a copy of a UCC approved English Language Test/Exam.

2. Applicants who apply under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), will need:

  • Copies of transcripts from all previous relevant educational qualifications. A parchment may also be required in some instances
  • Personal / Motivation Statement - In 500 words or less, please state:

- Why you wish to study this programme
- How your experience, professional and educational, equips you for admission to the course despite not meeting the academic entry requirements

  • An up-to-date CV
  • References where applicable

Where English is not your first language you are required to submit a copy of a UCC approved English Language Test/Exam.

3. Eligibility for HCI Pillar 1 Funding

In addition to the above, academic, English language, and RPL requirements, all applicants must provide proof of the following to qualify for HCI Pillar 1 funding:

  • Evidence of living full-time in the Republic of Ireland
  • Evidence of holding a valid Personal Public Service Number (PPSN)
  • Evidence of having lived in the EU/EEA/UK/Switzerland for 3 out of the past 5 years
  • Evidence of meeting the nationality/visa requirement
  • Evidence of meeting one of the following employment statuses:

-Employed

-Unemployed and in receipt of an eligible Department of Social Protection (DSP) payment for 9 out of the past 12 months

-Recent graduate (2023 or 2024)

-Returner

-Self-employed

-Formerly self-employed

The above funding eligibility documentation will be required after acceptance of a provisional offer, and not earlier than 6 weeks prior to course commencement. For more detailed information on what constitutes acceptable evidence please visit the Springboard+ website.

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact

Top