Higher Diploma in Midwifery

The UCD Higher Diploma in Midwifery programme is an 18 month programme for registered general nurses and is provided in conjuction with our clinical partner, the National Maternity Hospital. On this programme, you will be thoroughly prepared to provide high quality, reflective, compassionate and evidence based midwifery care to all childbearing women and their babies.

Upon successful completion of the programme students are eligible for registration as a Midwife (RM) with An Bord Altranais and the award of Higher Diploma in Midwifery from University College Dublin.  The duration of the programme is 78 weeks with 26 weeks of structured learning.  Students will obtain clinical education and experience at The National Maternity Hospital.  Students are given an outline of the programme upon commencement of the course.  Assessment is through a variety of approaches including practical and written examinations and assignments.  Midwifery skills and competencies are assessed throughout the programme.

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Why is this programme for me?

The process of pregnancy and giving birth to a baby is one of the most important events in the life of a woman and her partner. Midwives provide support, information, skilled and compassionate care during this process, and prepare the woman and her partner to care for their baby confidently after the birth. While many women have a completely normal childbearing experience, some women and their babies have more complex needs. All women benefit from the care that a skilled and compassionate midwife provides.

If you are a good communicator and team player, with an interest in childbirth and the newborn, and committed to learning and professional development in a fast paced environment, this is the course for you.

What will I study?

The Higher Diploma in Midwifery programme is designed to provide registered nurses with education and clinical practice experience in the art and science of midwifery. The programme is highly structured, and progressive, building on the knowledge and experience you have already gained as a registered nurse, and helping you to adapt your skills to the maternity care environment. When you commence the programme you are initially prepared with foundational midwifery modules which provide you with a firm base for further development. Subsequent modules enhance your knowledge, confidence and clinical practice abilities. During the programme you also learn about the wider social, regulatory and quality assurance dimensions of maternity care, the place of research in developing a quality service, how to provide safe and effective midwifery care, working collaboratively and effectively in teams, and the importance of developing good communication and interpersonal skills in order to work effectively in partnership with women and their partners during the maternity care cycle.

The programme is fully modularised and semesterised. When you commence the programme, you are provided with the sequence of theory and clinical practice for the duration of the programme. All theory modules are provided in UCD, and a variety of teaching and learning strategies are used, such as lectures, group work, simulation and tutorials, which enable you to link knowledge and practice. A variety of module assessment strategies are employed, to cater for different learning styles.

The following modules are provided during the programme, enabling you to develop the knowledge and skills required to become a safe and effective Registered Midwife at the end of the programme.

  • Physiology and Psychology applied to Midwifery Practice 9
  • Midwifery Practice Part A
  • Midwifery Practice Part B
  • Midwifery Clinical Placement Part A
  • Midwifery Clinical Placement Part B
  • Complications in Childbearing, Parts A and B
  • Promoting Health in Midwifery Practice
  • Research Methods in Midwifery Practice
  • Professional Midwifery Practice
  • Specialist Midwifery Clinical Placement
  • Complications in Childbearing, Part C
  • Care of the Sick Neonate
  • Promoting Normal Birth
  • Midwifery Clinical Placement Part C
Clinical Practice Experience

All clinical practice experience is gained at the National Maternity Hospital, one of the leading maternity hospitals In Ireland. You have the opportunity to gain experience in all areas of midwifery practice, including community midwifery. You are provided with a preceptor during each of your clinical practice placements, and you are also supported by a programme specific Clinical Midwifery Tutor who provides clinical teaching at the bedside and in tutorials.


On successful completion of and 100% attendance at all theory and clinical modules, you will be awarded a Level 8 Higher Diploma in Midwifery and can then proceed to register as a midwife with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI). In the year following registration with NMBI, you may then work as a midwife in Ireland. If you wish to register in any other EU country, you will need to gain a further years' experience as a Registered Midwife in Ireland as all aspects of midwifery care.

UCD Registration, Fees and Salary Payments

Please note that there is a non-refundable administration fee of €45.00. Once you have accepted a place on the programme fees are paid on your behalf to the university by the NMH/HSE. You will also receive UCD registration information when you accept a place on the programme. You must be fully registered with UCD before you can commence the programme.

As a student midwife you are a paid employee of the National Maternity Hospital. You will therefore receive a salary plus increments. It is important to note, however, that the HSE may request repayment of fees, in the event that a student withdraws from the course.

Entry requirements

In order to be eligable to apply for a place on the programme, you must be currently registered as an RGN with the NMBI. It is preferable you have at least six months acute nursing experience.

How to apply

Please email your interest to Anne.McMahon@ucd.ie


Your programme fees are available at the links below. You can search by programme title, keyword or major code. Please note that fees published on the links below are inclusive of the student levy, which must be paid by all students. 

EU Fees

Non-EU Fees

General information about UCD Fees