School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health

MSc in Specialist Nursing for Future Healthcare

Course Code:
DC773 And DC774
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
2 Years
call programme contact
+353 (0) 1
700 5947
Candidates should apply via DC778 -

Our new nursing masters at DCU, the MSc in Specialist Nursing  for Future Healthcare is a two-year, part-time, blended programme that combine theoretical and clinical components offered to all nurses and midwives on the NMBI register*. The programme offers new specialist pathways aligned with, and responsive to, national health policies/strategies such as Sláintecare (2018), the National Maternity Strategy (2016), Shaping the Future of the RNID (2018), Sharing the Vision (2020) and the Children's Nursing Strategy (2021) amongst others.

*NMBI Registrants - This programme is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

The MSc in Specialist Nursing / Midwifery for Future Healthcare is a new blended delivery national programme which will prepare nurses / midwives for specialist clinical and managerial roles. Theoretical modules will be delivered primarily online, and the programme also has a significant practice based component which will be delivered through a supervised clinical practicum combined with tutorials.  

It is unique in that it offers new dedicated specialist pathways in response to contemporary issues arising in Irish healthcare. It will prepare students from public and private settings, in specialist areas of practice in line with national and international policy direction. This MSc programme is practical, contemporary and future-focused and has three exit points as follows:

MSc in Specialist Nursing / Midwifery for Future Healthcare (90 ECTS credits).

This programme is for nurses / midwives who seek dual competencies in both leadership and in their clinical specialist area.

Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Nursing / Midwifery for Future Healthcare (60 ECTS credits).

This is an 18-month, part-time programme that will be attractive to nurses / midwives (all NMBI registrants) from public and private, acute and community settings. 

Postgraduate Certificate in Integrated Healthcare Improvement for Nurses / Midwives (30 ECTS credits).

This is a one-year, part-time programme that will be attractive to senior nurses / midwives who require contemporaneous upskilling at NFQ level 9 QQI in areas such as governance, finance, healthcare leadership and management, health data analysis, digital solutions, change management, and healthcare legislation and ethics. 

Applicants wishing to exit with a postgraduate certificate must register for the relevant MSc programme and all associated year one modules.   Upon successful completion of the following modules (30 ETCS) students are eligible to request to exit with the alternate award of Postgraduate Certificate in Integrated Healthcare Improvement for Nurses / Midwives

  • Business: Leadership, Governance and Management in Modern Healthcare (Year 1; Semester 1) (5 ects)
  • Business: Finance for Modern Healthcare (Year 1; Semester 1) (5ects)
  • Health Data Communication and Digital Solutions (Year 1; Semester 1) (10 ects)

In addition, one Option module must be chosen from the list below:

  • Healthcare Law and Ethics (Year 1; Semester 2) (10 ects)
  • Palliative Care (level 1 and 2)(Year 1; Semester 2) (10 ects)
  • Person Centred Approaches to Dementia(Year 1; Semester 2) (10 ects)
  • Advanced Adult General Physical Assessment and Intervention(Year 1; Semester 2) (10 ects)
The Benefits 

The School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health has co-designed the new programme with input from the Centre for e-Integrated Care and Schools of Business, Law & Government and Communications at DCU. Leading nurses and midwives working in health operations, practice, education and policy have also informed the programme. In line with NMBI proposed policy direction, the specialist pathway will provide a clinical practicum that includes 500 hours of theory and practice supported in clinical sites by nursing manager and clinical supervisors. DCU will support this practicum with innovative technology and simulation. 

Course Content

The MSc in Specialist Nursing / Midwifery for Future Healthcare offers 3 specialist pathways in the first year of this new postgraduate programme. Students must choose one of of the following pathways:

  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Health: Prevention, Promotion and Protection
  • Ambulatory Gynaecology

And, complete the following core modules:

  • Business: Leadership, Governance and Management in Modern Healthcare
  • Business: Finance for Modern Healthcare
  • Health Data Communication and Digital Solutions 
  • Research Methods for Modern Healthcare
  • Organisational Development Project

In addition, one option module must be chosen from the list below:

  • Healthcare Law and Ethics 
  • Palliative Care (level 1 and 2)
  • Person Centred Approaches to Dementia
  • Advanced Adult General Physical Assessment and Intervention

Improve health service delivery and leadership through the integration of shared interfaculty core modules on offer.

  • The specialist pathways on offer are currently not available in HEIs in Ireland.
  • The programme is unique in that it ensures graduates from the programme are eligible for clinical specialist or management posts within services. This removes existing barriers in practice for nurses and midwives moving from one pathway to another.
  • The programme greatly enhances the selection of modules on offer to nurses and midwives in Ireland at this time.
  • The HSE National Clinical Care Programmes require many Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) posts to implement new models of care. This course will enable nurses to apply for the many integrated specialist positions becoming available in the HSE’s enhanced clinical care programme.
  • The programme aligns with the health policy direction of national government, health services, World Health Organisation (WHO) and International evidence.
  • The programme enables working nurses and midwives nationally to study flexibly using virtual and digital approaches. T
  • This programme provides enhanced transversal skills to link with other disciplines such as business, governance, health intelligence and digital solutions raising the quality of nursing knowledge within the profession.


Applicants will typically hold a (NFQ) Level 8 Honours Degree with a H2.2 or equivalent. Candidates will generally hold a primary degree in a relevant discipline.

Nurses who are registered with the NMBI are eligible to apply for this programme - MSc in Specialist Nursing for Future Healthcare (DC773) from September 2023.

Please note that MSc in Specialist Midwifery for Future Healthcare (DC774) will not be running in September 2023.

In addition, candidates must: 

  • be currently registered in one of the following divisions of the Register of Nurses maintained by NMBI: General Nursing; Psychiatric Nursing; Intellectual Disability Nursing; Children’s Nursing, Midwifery.
  • have a minimum of 12 months post registration experience, which should be 12 months full-time experience OR 24 months at minimum of 19.5 FTE.
  • be currently employed in the specialist area/setting and provide written evidence, using this template, from their line manager that they will be supported in completing the minimum required hours of practice, including the clinical practicum.
  • applicants must be employed for a minimum of 19.5 hours per week or 0.5 FTE.
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Year One part-time: €7,200

Year Two part-time: €2,200

Next Steps

All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal which is available here

The closing dates for receipt of completed applications are as follows:

  • Programme not running in September 2023.

Here's a quick step by step guide if you need help with your application.

Alongside the application form candidates must also provide the following as part of their application on the Student Application Portal: 

  • Academic transcripts for each and every year of study with English translation if applicable, this must be a primary degree of nursing/midwifery.
  • CV - Please indicate that evidence of employment in the Irish Health System is required.
  • A personal statement detailing experience and interest in the course, (400-500 words) the personal statement may be used as part of the selection process to determine candidate suitability.
  • Letter from employer, template provided
  • If relevant, evidence of competence in English Language (see below).
  • Proof of current NMBI registration.

If relevant, applicants will be asked for evidence of competence in English Language. In line with DCU’s (2019) Recognition of Prior Learning Policy, candidates who do not have the appropriate level of academic attainment for direct entry may apply for access via the Recognition of Prior Learning process (RPL) (the policy is available at: Prior learning may be formal accredited learning or experiential/uncertified learning which includes the knowledge, skills and personal qualities acquired through life, work experience and study which are not formally attested. Prospective students may apply through the RPL route if they meet one or more of the following entry 5 requirements: 

  • Relevant learning, qualifications and experience within their RPL application 
  • Holding a position or role related to health or social care, health and social inclusion promotion, or a related area 
  • Holding an appointment or professional position in the domain 
  • Professional qualifications in the domain, with clear articulation of intention to progress to work in the domain.