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Master in Science in Palliative Care

Key Facts

Course Code: DPTNM-PCAR-1P09

Duration: 2 years part-time

Next Intake: September annually

Closing date for applications: 30th June

Location: 24 D'Olier Street

Fees: Further information on course fees can be found at Academic Registry.


The aim of this interdisciplinary course is to facilitate students to develop a comprehensive academic and evidence-based approach to their practice, to critically explore and critique palliative care service provision. It is run in partnership with St. Francis Hospice, Dublin, with design and delivery input from the TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery; TCD School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the TCD Discipline of Occupational Therapy. The course is open to a wide range of professionals.

Structure & Delivery

Year One

Commences with a full week in September and thereafter one or two days per week for the remainder of the academic year

Year Two

Attendance at workshops throughout the academic year

Students undertake a total of 105 hours of supernumerary clinical placements in various care settings relevant to the speciality of palliative care. They may be required to attend additional teaching sessions at associated service provider sites as well as at the student’s practice base during Year One of the course. A blended learning approach is utilised in the delivery of theoretical content which includes lectures, group discussions and self-directed learning. The assessment process is a combination of written and practical assignments.

Course Content

Postgraduate Certificate in Specialist Practice

Year One

Postgraduate Diploma in Palliative Care

Year One

and a choice between one of the two following modules:

Master in Science in Palliative Care

Year One

and a choice between one of the two following modules:

Year Two

Clinical Placement

Practice is an integral component to the MSc Palliative Care course and as such, students are required to engage in critical analysis of their practice in relation to applying the principles of Ethics and Law in Healthcare, Research, Palliative care philosophy, concepts and debates, Palliative approaches to pain and symptom management and psychosocial, spiritual and therapeutic issues in palliative care. Students engaging in this course will concurrently be providing care to persons with Palliative Care needs and their families, at their usual (or base) clinical site. In addition, and in order to expand on students' knowledge and experience in Palliative Care, a total of one hundred and five hours of supernumerary clinical placements will be established with the co-operation of clinical sites within and beyond St Francis Hospice services. The difference in client caseload that each site offers will further enhance the richness of clinical exposure for the student and challenge their ability to adapt their clinical skills to match a variety of client groups. These placements will take place across a variety of clinical placement sites and may include:

  • Specialist Palliative Care
  • Paediatric Palliative Care
  • Palliative Care of Individuals with Intellectual Disability and/or dementia

Clinical Allocations

Clinical Skills Centre

Entry Requirement

The criteria for admission are that the candidate must

  • Have a minimum of one years clinical experience in palliative care practice within the last two years
  • For the duration of the course, candidates must be employed in Ireland in an area where the principles of palliative care are operationalised when caring for individuals with life threatening illness, and their families
  • Hold an honors degree in a health professional or related subject area, or otherwise satisfy the selection panel that they have the ability to complete and benefit from the course
  • Nurses or midwives undertaking this course must be currently registered on the appropriate division of the live register held by The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland

Documentation required to complete application

  • 2 Academic reference
  • Copies of academic transcripts from completed educational courses
  • Copies of official awards (parchment) from completed educational courses

Flexibility in Progression from P.Grad.Cert. and P.Grad.Dip. to M.Sc.

All students register on the M. Sc. programme in the first instance.

Upon successful completion of three specialist modules, each of 10 ECTS credits, totalling 30 ECTS credits, students may opt to be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate (P.Grad.Cert.*) or may progress further on the Master (M.Sc.) programme.

Upon successful completion of six modules, each of 10 ECTS credits, totalling 60 ECTS credits, students may opt to be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma (P.Grad.Dip.) or may progress further on the Master (M.Sc.) programme.

Students who are eligible for the award of Postgraduate Diploma may progress to undertake a M.Sc. within four years of first entering the programme.


All applicants to the School of Nursing and Midwifery whose first language is not English or who have not been educated through the medium of English must present one of the following qualifications in the English language:

  • IELTS: Grade 6.5 overall with a minimum of grade of 6 in each category
  • TOEFL: 88 internet-based, 570 paper-based, 230 computer-based. The test taken here should be TOEFL IBT
  • University of Cambridge: 
    Proficiency Certificate, Grade C or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2) 
    Advanced Certificate, Grade C or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2)
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) - PTE Academic: a minimum score of 63 to be eligible (with no section score below 59)
  • An award certificate with a minimum II.1 overall score from Trinity's Centre for English Language Learning and Teaching's Pre-sessional Pathway Programme

Please note that test scores are only valid for two years.

For further details on these English Language Proficiency Tests, please contact the appropriate organisation directly.