MSc Palliative Care

The MSc Palliative Care programme is an interdisciplinary programme designed to enhance your existing knowledge and skills in caring for patients with life limiting illness. Possessing this enhanced level of expertise will enable you to: become a valuable member of the multidisciplinary team providing palliative care and further enhance the care provided to patients in your current area of practice who have a range of complex symptoms that need impeccable assessment and management.

Who is the programme for?

This course builds on the healthcare professionals' repertoire of knowledge and skills for professional practice in the care of persons with life limiting illness. The programme is aimed at health professionals who have completed a Graduate Diploma (Level 9) in Palliative Care.

Programme objectives
  • To create an interdisciplinary learning environment in which students are encouraged to critically reflect on, evaluate and implement where possible, evidence-based practice to the enhancement of palliative care practice, research, and policy
  • To develop academic and clinical leaders who embody the values, principles and philosophy of palliative care for the future progression of contemporary health care in Ireland
  • To promote innovation in inter-disciplinary learning, translation of theory into practice and enhancement of palliative care for patients, their families, the wider healthcare team and society. 
How will I benefit?

On successful completion of the programme, you will receive a Master of Science in Palliative Care from the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems.

What will I learn?

The Master of Science Palliative Care programme is aimed at advancing the health professionals' repertoire of knowledge and skills for palliative care practice. 

Programme strengths
Particular strengths of the programme include:

  • Strong working relationship between UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems and clinical partners in Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross
  • A long history of producing high quality graduates (over 200 to date) many of whom are now working in CNS/Clinical/Educational Facilitator and CNM roles
  • Clinical and university-based lecturers (multidisciplinary teaching team) with national and international expertise from clinical, research and educational perspectives
  • Modularised programme with some modules being taught using a blended approach
  • Clinical Placements in a variety of palliative care settings which enable students to learn from leading experts in oncology
  • Extensive use of IT in supporting the teaching environment of the programme
  • Access to excellent facilities for lectures
  • Flexibility to pursue the programme over a longer period of time
  • Access to applicants who have not had the opportunity to pursue third level education before (RPL Recognition of Prior Learning)
Teaching methods

A range of teaching methods including lectures, workshops and seminars are used.

Information technology
It is essential that you have access to a personal computer and an email account as communication with students is primarily undertaken by email.
Lecture handouts/announcements are made available to students via Blackboard (a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that supports online learning and teaching) and/or via email. Messages from the university regarding examination policy and procedures are also sent via email. The Master of Science Palliative Care enables students to gain a broad and deep understanding of subjects relevant to caring for patients with life limiting illness who require impeccable assessment and management of complex symptoms. Particular emphasis is placed on recent national and international research findings and/or evidence-based guidelines and recommendations aimed at ensuring optimal outcomes for patients with cancer.

Programme structure

This is a one (academic) year programme, broken down into three trimesters. Assessments are varied (assignments and completion of a Dissertation).

You will complete one module (additional 30 credits added to Grad Dip):

NMHS44020 Master's Dissertation: Evidence Synthesis and Translation (Graduate taught minor thesis) 2 Trimester (Sep-May)

Careers/where can I go?

The Master of Science Palliative Care will enhance your research knowledge and skills in the context of palliative care.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have completed the Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care or equivalent (NQAI Level 9)

Documents to be submitted with your application


  • Academic Transcripts including date and grading of Degree award (non UCD only)
  • Nurse applicants must provide copy of current registration and Pin with An Bord Altranais
  • Other healthcare professionals must provide copy of registration with a recognised professional body
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or Personal Pages of Passport (non UCD only)
  • Professional Reference Form
  • Evidence of proficiency in English language (applicants whose first language is not English)
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).

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:


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