Graduate Diploma Gerontological Nursing

Meeting the healthcare and social care needs of older people requires expert assessment and careful planning by a range of disciplinary experts with specialist knowledge of ageing and altered health. If you are a nurse working in an older persons’ care setting, and you are committed to the provision of excellent care, the Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing offers an exciting and innovative way to further your career and enhance your professional development. This programme is designed to provide nurses with an opportunity to develop, enhance and maintain the specialist skills required to care for older adults in a variety of acute and community care environments.


Who is the programme for?

The Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing is designed for nurses who are involved in the care of older persons in acute, community or long-term care settings.

Programme Aims & Information

The UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems provides graduate programmes to prepare nurses and midwives to excel as caregivers and as leaders. Many of the School’s graduates have gone on to assume key clinical and leadership positions in their discipline, both nationally and internationally. This programme will provide you with an opportunity to develop, enhance and maintain the specialist skills that are required to care for older persons.

The Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing aims to provide students with the requisite knowledge and discipline-specific skills for their specialist role in gerontological nursing in a range of care settings. The Programme will build on students’ prior knowledge and experience in either older person’s care services or in tertiary care. The Programme will:

  • provide an advanced educational experience which will develop the student’s capacity for independent judgement and problem-solving skills.
  • provide an educational framework to support the development of analytical and critical skills for an enquiring and creative approach to the theory and practice of gerontological nursing.
  • develop the student’s capacity to respond to changing needs in gerontological nursing.
  • develop the student’s capacity to identify and integrate best evidence into gerontological nursing practice.
What will I learn?

The Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing will be awarded to students who have completed six ten-credit modules providing them with the knowledge and skills to act as clinical nurse specialists in gerontological nursing:

  • NMHS44040: Ageing And Health (10 ECTS)
  • NMHS43980: Advanced Health Assessment (10 ECTS)
  • NMHS44050: Reablement of the Frail Older Person (10 ECTS)
  • NMHS43270: Research Methods Applied To Healthcare (10 ECTS)
  • NMHS44060: Integrated Care – Leading and Developing Quality Services (10 ECTS)
  • NMHS44070: Clinical Practicum In Gerontological Nursing (10 ECTS)
How will I benefit?

Successful participants in this programme will be awarded a Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing. Credits obtained from this programme will readily contribute to an MSc degree for those who wish to pursue that option in the future.

You will be taught by academics who have strong links with local and regional health service providers, including major hospitals and community-based health services and clinical staff who are experts in the field of health care and gerontological nursing.

Possessing a broad and deep understanding of the theory and skills required for caring for older adults, you will be well positioned to work in a variety of settings specialising in this area both nationally and internationally. The programme is particularly aimed at preparing nurses to assume senior and specialist roles in gerontological nursing.

Teaching methods

We use a range of teaching methods including lectures, workshops and seminars. A blended model of teaching and learning is a deliberate part of the programme to facilitate flexibility and accessibility. Clinical teaching is undertaken by specialists in the clinical area with particular emphasis on assisting students in applying theory to practice.

Information technology

It is essential that you have access to a personal computer as Brightspace, a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that supports students’ online learning and teaching, is used extensively.

Programme structure

The Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing consists of 6 modules which are delivered on a part-time basis over 2 years (3 modules per year).

Core Modules:

  • NMHS43980- Advanced health assessment (Spring Trimester)
  • NMHS43270 - Research methods applied to healthcare (Spring Trimester)

Specialist Modules:

  • NMHS44040 - Ageing and health (Autumn Trimester)
  • NMHS44050 - Reablement of the frail older person (Autumn Trimester)
  • NMHS44060 - Integrated care – leading and developing quality services (Spring Trimester)
  • NMHS44070 - Clinical practicum in gerontological nursing (Autumn & Spring Trimester)
Entry requirements

Specific requirements:

  • Hold a minimum of a BSc honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. Applicants not holding an honours bachelor’s degree may apply for Recognition of Prior Learning.
  • Be currently registered in one of the following divisions of the Register of Nurses maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI): General Nursing; Psychiatric Nursing; Intellectual Disability Nursing
  • Have a minimum of twelve months’ post-registration experience
  • Be currently employed in an older persons’ care setting, such as an older person’s clinical department in a hospital, the community setting, a residential care setting or a day hospital and provide written evidence that they will be supported in completing the minimum required hours of practice, including the clinical practicum
  • Applicants not currently employed in an older persons’ care setting may apply; however, they will be required to be employed in an older persons’ care setting upon commencing the programme.
  • Applicants must be employed for a minimum of 19.5 hours per week or 0.5 FTE.
Documents to be submitted with your application
  • Original transcript(s) including date and grading of degree award (non UCD Graduates only) and notarised English translations where relevant
  • A current photocopy of Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) registration
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or Personal Page of Passport
  • Signed Declaration Form from Employer (original form)
  • Completed Professional Reference Form (original form)
  • Completed Clinical Competence Assessor Nomination Form signed by the nominee
  • Evidence of proficiency in English language (applicants whose first language is not English).
How to apply

Applications are made online through UCD Applications.

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


The fees for this programme can be found at:

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 you are being funded to do your programme, please make sure your organisation gets in contact with 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:

If you have any queries about your fees, please contact

Recognised Prior Learning

Prospective students applying to complete the 60-credit Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing will be awarded up to 30 credits in recognition of prior learning which may have been accrued through:

  • the successful completion of prior accredited learning from a higher education institution or from a diploma or certificate awarded by bodies other than universities (e.g. professional bodies, industry, the HSE, workplace-based continuing professional development) AND / OR
  • professional and clinical practice, as evidenced by submission of a professional practice portfolio

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