MSc Advanced Pain Management with Prescriptive Authority

Programme Not Running 22/23

The MSc Advanced Pain Management with Prescriptive Authority is a programme comprised of nine taught modules and one integrated clinical practicum and one advanced clinical practicum.  The programme consists of 110 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits positioned at Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (Quality and Qualification Ireland [QQI] 2014) 

This programme was developed in collaboration with Mater Miserciordiae University Hospital (MMUH) and the specialist pain modules will be facilitated by Professor Laserina O’Connor and colleagues in the Department of Pain Medicine, MMUH.

The programme is about learning opportunities in the delivery of high quality pain care across a variety of multifaceted clinical contexts. The MSc has been developed in a spirit of partnership with a variety of health service providers, including pain experts.  The programme is also about the education and training of nurses/midwives for prescriptive authority in pain management at the point of qualification.

The American Society Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) has awarded international affiliate to this programme. The Irish Pain Society (Chapter IASP) has provided a scholarship for the student with the highest academic achievement.

Who is the programme for?

This programme is for nurses/midwives who wish to provide the highest quality of care by deepening and broadening their knowledge base in the field of pain management across communities. The MSc Advanced Pain Management with Prescriptive Authority programme builds on appropriate undergraduate level study to progress the student’s power of understanding for becoming more effectively, skillfully and humanely engaged in advanced pain practice across a variety of complex environments.

Aims of the programme
  • To foster leadership in pain practice.
  • • Enable practitioners develop advanced skills in the emerging scholarship within the field of pain management aligned with the wider academic, technological and intricate environments in which advanced pain care takes place.
  • To ensure the nurse/midwife is equipped with the knowledge, skills and competence to prescribe safely and effectively.
What will I learn?

You will develop a sophisticated questioning approach and practical experience of the scientific method in the context of diagnostic challenges pertinent to acute, chronic and cancer pain and pain survivorship.  In addition, you will gain a broad understanding of prescribing practice and interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary team working.

How will I benefit?
This programme will support individuals who wish to make pain care an advanced part of their portfolio and in addition, plot their career development as an advanced nurse/midwife practitioner and nurse/midwife prescriber.  

Teaching methods

A wide range of diverse and student-centered learning processes are used to create an exciting interactive environment of thinking and learning. Brightspace, a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that supports online learning and teaching, is used. Students attend multidisciplinary lectures, problem-solving discussion groups, seminars, and peer group presentations. The clinical practicums will ground students in actual pain practice across a variety of multifaceted environments.  Practice placements pertinent to prescriptive authority will enable students meet the professional competence required.

Programme structure

This is a two year programme, with two trimesters in year one and three trimesters in year two. Assessments are varied (Algorithm, Case Studies, MCQ, OSLER, Dissertation) throughout the programme. In addition, students complete pain placements in year one and across varied clinical settings as part of their Advanced Clinical Practicum, trimester one in year two. Students also maintain a clinical portfolio, which outlines the learning goals and objectives for personal development towards advanced practice. 

Year One

  • Leadership & Organisational Dynamics (Autumn Trimester)
  • Pain Management (Autumn Trimester)
  • Acute and Persistent Pain: Mechanisms to Treatment (Autumn Trimester)
  • Advanced Health Assessment (Spring Trimester)
  • Research Methods Applied to Healthcare (Spring Trimester)

Year Two

  • Advanced Clinical Pain Practicum (Autumn Trimester)
  • Applied Research-Evidence Translation (Autumn Trimester)
  • Pharmacology-Nursing & Midwifery Prescribing (Spring Trimester)
  • Prescribing Practice Context (Spring Trimester)
  • Clinical Practicum Prescribing (Spring & Summer Trimesters)
  • Dissertation:  Evidence Translation (Autumn & Spring Trimesters)
Entry requirements
  • Hold active registration on a division of the professional register maintained by the NMBI  or be eligible for such registration as required for individual pathways
  • Applicants must have acquired a level 8 academic award in health or allied health care discipline.
  • Applicants must be currently engaged in clinical practice with patients/clients.
  • Have a minimum of 3 years post-registration clinical experience (within the past 5 years) with at least one year in the area in which prescribing is proposed
  • Be in possession of competencies recognized at level 8 of the NQAI framework
  • Provide a signed Site declaration form for prescribing modules
  • Provide a site audit form for prescribing modules
  • Nomination and confirmation of a designated medical practitioner mentor who will support the student in skills training
  • Seek support from an employer to undertake the programme
  • Demonstrate continuous professional development
  • Possess IT competencies
  • The RPL for Admission process can be considered for those applicants who do not have a level 8 qualification.
Documents to be submitted with your application


  • Academic Transcripts including date and grading of Degree award (non UCD only)
  • Current photocopy of NMBI registration and pin
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or Personal Pages of Passport (non UCD only)
  • Professional Reference Form
  • Evidence of continuing professional development
  • Evidence of proficiency in English language (applicants whose first language is not English)
  • Site Declaration Form Prescribing of Medication signed by the Director of nursing/Midwifery and Medical Mentor (Prescribing).
How to apply

Applications are made online through UCD Applications. ​Applicants may be required to undertake an interview (either face-to-face or via telecommunication) as part of the admission process.

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.

Apply online


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).

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 (RPL)

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