Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Quality in Health Systems

The Graduate Certificate in Leadership & Quality in Health Systems is one of a number of programmes offered by the UCD IRIS Centre for Interdisciplinary, Research, Innovation & Education in Health Systems. 

It is a 30-ECTS-credit, QQI Level 9 interdisciplinary programme. The programme is offered every two years.  The next intake is in September 2024.  

The Graduate Certificate is a pathway programme that can contribute to the MSc in Leadership, Innovation and Management in Healthcare. 

Who is the programme for?

The Graduate Certificate in Leadership & Quality in Health Systems will appeal to healthcare professionals seeking a rigourous and comprehensive introduction to important principles and concepts to inform their leadership and management practice. 

The Graduate Certificate is a pathway programme that can contribute to the MSc in Leadership, Innovation and Management in Healthcare. 


Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • enhance awareness of the ways in which you and others practice leadership and management
  • enable you to acquire and apply knowledge to improve the systems and processes that underpin the delivery of safe, high-quality, responsive, integrated and person-centred care
  • enhance you capacity to develop colleagues leadership and management potential 
How will I benefit?

The programme will contribute to your personal and professional development by enabling you to identify, analyse, critique and evaluate the ways in which you and your colleagues currently approach quality and process improvements. 

You will be equipped with theories, concepts, models, frameworks, tools, techniques and research findings that will enable you to develop a deep appreciation of how health systems work, nationally and globally, and how you can maximise yours and your colleagues' contribution to improving processes and the quality of care that service users receive. 

Careers/Where can I go?

The knowledge, understandings and skills acquired throughout the programme will prepare you to make a significant contribution as a leader and manager in a number of areas and at many levels in the health system, including:

  • Organisational development
  • Quality and service improvement
  • Process improvememnt
  • Clinical leadership and management
  • Practice development
  • Management and administration
Teaching, learning and assessment

The programme is delivered through blended learning, entailing face-to-face and online learning supported by Brightspace, UCD's virtual learning environment (VLE).

There is a particular emphasis on experiential learning and on the application of learning to students' professional practice contexts through a range of activities. To optimise student engagement and participation, class sizes are limited to 25 students. 

The teaching and learning methods include tutorials, workshops, faculty and peer-led seminars, and group work.  Continuous assessment methods include project work, class presentations, student-led seminars, posters and assignments. There are no examinations.

Programme structure & Timetable

The Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Quality in Health Systems is a 30 ECTS credit, QQI Level 9 interdisciplinary programme that is offered every two years, commencing in September 2022.  The next intake is September 2024. The  time to completion is one academic year.

The programme structure is as follows:

Trimester 1 (Sept to Dec 2024):

  • NMHS32280: Improving Processes in Health Systems 
  • NMHS42700: Quality, Patient Safety & Outcomes

Trimester 2 (Jan to April 2025):

  • NMHS43830: Collective Leadership & Effective Teamwork




Student testimonials
Entry requirements
  • Applicants will normally hold an NQF Level 8 academic award but consideration will be given to applicants with relevant and appropriate qualifications and experience working in the health system
  • Experience in a management and/or leadership role is desirable
  • A willingness to explore your own leadership and management practices and their impact on the systems in which you work is essential.

Please contact the Programme Director before you make your application. Contact details can be found in the Key information section of this page

Recognition of prior learning

RPL may be granted in respect of individual modules if applicants can demonstrate that the modules' learning outcomes have been achieved through prior credentialled or experiential learning. 

Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) applications must be submitted online through your SISWeb account.

There are two instances in which you can apply to have recognised prior learning taken into account when applying for a programme in UCD.

1. RPL for admission to a UCD programme

If you are a prospective student seeking admission to UCD and you do not meet the required admissions criteria as set down for a particular programme of study in UCD, you may apply to be admitted based on prior learning.

2. RPL for exemption from a module or modules on a UCD programme

If you have been accepted onto a UCD programme and wish to have credit transferred towards the requirements of the UCD programme of study, you may apply for RPL from a module or modules.

When applying for RPL, please note the following:

  • You must submit your application for RPL as early as possible and preferably before you commence the relevant module/stage/programme.
  • An application for RPL relating to a particular module should be submitted before the third week of the trimester in which it is offered. Applications made after this date will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances.
  • Your application will be reviewed by the Taught Graduate Standing Committee and Programme Board. You can expect to hear of the outcome or status of your application typically within four to six weeks of submitting it (depending on committee schedules).
  • Please note that in some cases your application may not be successful or you may not receive RPL for the amount of credit for which you applied, therefore you must register for, attend and participate in the module or modules until you have been informed of the decision of the School Programme Board.
  • If your application is not successful, you are responsible for all assessments associated with the module.


Please read the UCD Policy on Recognition of Prior Learning at this link: UCD Policy on Recognition of Prior Learning

How to apply

Application is now open for this programme and you can apply at


The fees for your programme can be found at the links below. Search using your major code (the four-digit code beginning with 'X' which can be found in the key information box on this page).

• EU fees information

• Non-EU fees information

Please note that UCD fees are subject to change annually. The fees shown include the student centre levy which must be paid by all students. 


If the fees for your programme are being paid by a third party (full or partial), please ensure your funding organisation/sponsor/hospital contacts Please note this is not a student facing email address. 

Student Queries:

If you have any queries about your fees, please contact the Student Desk: 

Application Fee:

Please note that all applicants are required to pay the €50 application fee. Your application cannot be processed fully unless the application fee has been paid.

More information about fees is available on the UCD website at the link below:

• General information about UCD Fees