What is a DCU Micro-credential?

The EU Council recommendation on micro-credentials aims to strengthen lifelong learning.  The Council is recommending member states to adopt a European approach to micro-credentials and in particular to apply a common EU definition, EU standards and key principles for the design and issuance of micro-credentials. 

The EU definition of a Micro-Credential, adopted by DCU is as follows,

"Micro-credential’ means the record of the learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a small volume of learning. These learning outcomes will have been assessed against transparent and clearly defined criteria. Learning experiences leading to micro- credentials are designed to provide the learner with specific knowledge, skills and competences that respond to societal, personal, cultural or labour market needs"

Micro-credentials are short, industry-engaged, accredited qualifications for anyone who is looking to gain new skills and competences in a fast and flexible way. In DCU we have identified 8 characteristics which define our micro-credential offerings.

All DCU Micro-Credentials follow designated approval and review pathways as defined by DCU's Education Committee and ultimately DCU's Academic Council. These pathways are underpinned by quality assurance processes and structures in DCU and include the following.

  1. Micro-credential proposal and descriptor reviewed by Director of Micro-Credential Strategy and Innovation against QA criteria including the 8 micro-credential characteristics below along with the Bologna tools
  2. Local School and Faculty Review and Approval 
  3. Central oversight at University Education Committee and Academic Council 

As with all of DCU credit bearing offering, micro-credentials are subject to a wide range of DCU academic policies and standards.  Please visit DCU Registry's  and DCU Academic Affairs  if you need any further information, or contact microcredentials@dcu.ie if you require specific information. 


Characteristic Description
Relevant Topics address in demand knowledge and skills and content is industry relevant and applicable.
Short Length of course is shorter than a traditional degree programme or qualification. Micro-credential accreditation ranges from 1 - 30 ECTS (credits). The workload or time commitment starts at 25 hours (for 1 ECTS) and increases depending on the credit value of the course.
Collaborative Learning experience involves collaboration and engagement with industry to provide participants with relevant, up-to-date, competitive knowledge and skills. Collaboration can take different forms. For more information on our industry engagement models click here.
Flexible Delivery can be online, face-to-face or in a blended modality and takes place at a time and pace which facilitates greater balance with both life and work commitments.
Learner-Centred Course design and pedagogy reflects rigorous learning centred design practices and high-quality production standards.
Formally Assessed Transparent learning outcomes are formally assessed in line with the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
Quality Assured Offering is reviewed and evaluated against institutional and national standards and practices.

Credits earned can be stacked toward larger awards or programmes, forming the basis of bespoke learning pathways.

DCU Micro-credential Approval Process

Step 1 Head of School Approval  Micro-credential Proposals should be approved by the Head of School before submitting to the Central Unit, DCU Studio. 
Step 2 Central Unit Review Micro-credential Proposals are Reviewed by DCU Studio for characteristic alignment.
Step 3 Faculty Approval Micro-credentials are reviewed and approved by faculty teaching and learning committees.
Step 4 Education Committee Noting  Approved micro-credentials proceed to Education Committee for noting and approval. Micro-credentials can then be advertised.