Prospective Students

MSc in General Health Care Practice (PAC Code: DC709)


Fact File

Duration: 18mth -2 Years part time
Contact: Nursing Admin Office
Fee informationClick Here
Indicative Timetable(Weeks 1-12)

Degree Information:

In response to the changing needs of educational provision in healthcare practice and stakeholder consultation, the School of Nursing and Human Sciences has developed a postgraduate educational framework for nurses and other healthcare practitioners.
The programme includes modules predominantly focused on practice embedded elements. It is anticipated that students will normally be working a minimum of 20hrs per week in an area related to their intended focus of study, e.g. recovery oriented practice, the management of long term illness, community/primary care, intellectual disability & concurrent mental health problems, care of the older person or care of the child and adolescent.
This programme will further develop your analytical skills, and provide an educational framework to deliver optimum care to individuals, families and communities, as well as improving the quality of healthcare practice in the Irish healthcare system.

Aims and Objectives:

  • To initiate and lead practice developments in your area.
  • To demonstrate clinically effective practice through critical engagement.
  • To demonstrate advanced research skills, which enable you to appraise research design and effective practice, and develop the requisite research knowledge and skills to implement best practice.
  • To engage in effective intra and inter professional working with healthcare colleagues.
  • To advance practice in your profession and designated area through effective leadership and innovation.
  • To demonstrate a critical engagement with decision-making frameworks and processes in health and social care contexts.
  • For those continuing to complete the MSc. component it is expected that you will be able to plan, undertake and disseminate an original piece of healthcare practice research upon completion.

Programme Structure:

The programme, which has Category 2 approval from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) (November 2013), is at Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications / Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) /. It allows students to obtain a Masters Degree over a two year period, with the option of exiting after eighteen months with a Graduate Diploma in their specified area of Practice.

There are eight specific awards available under the umbrella title of the MSc in Nursing/ Healthcare Practice, as follows:

  • M.Sc. in Child and Adolescent Nursing Practice (DC701)
  • M.Sc. in Child and Adolescent Healthcare Practice (DC707)
  • M.Sc. in General Nursing Practice (DC708)
  • M.Sc. in General Healthcare Practice (DC709)
  • M.Sc. in Mental Health Nursing Practice (DC711)
  • M.Sc. in Mental Healthcare Practice (DC710)
  • M.Sc. in Intellectual Disability Healthcare Practice (DC713)
  • M.Sc. in Intellectual Disability Nursing Practice (DC712)

The MSc programme requires students to take three core modules and three option modules,(each with a credit rating of 10 credits at Level 9). Additionally students undertake a research dissertation module with a credit rating of 30 credits. The modules are logically structured to enable the student meet the aims and outcomes of the programme. Option modules are chosen from a suite of optional modules available through the School of Nursing and Human Sciences at DCU. The normal timeframe for completion of the MSc programme is 24 months (four semesters in total). Students are permitted to apply to exit the programme with a Graduate Diploma after eighteen months (completed over three semesters). A maximum credit achievement of 60 credits must be undertaken in DCU to facilitate exit with a Graduate Diploma award and in compliance with DCU Marks & Standards. For students wishing to take a more flexible approach to the MSc programme it is possible to extend the timeframe in which the programme is completed to four years in total commencing from date of initial registration on the programme.

The programme is delivered part-time (two semesters per year, 12 weeks per semester) using a mixed mode approach. There are online weeks embedded into the course structure of the MSc programme where students engage with interactive online learning activities and are not required to attend DCU. They comprise 4/5 weeks of each semester divided proportionally with attendance mode of one day per week in DCU for 7/8 weeks. Each student undertaking the programme will have a practice supervisor, an academic supervisor and, for the dissertation, a research supervisor.

Certain awards within the MSc programme are open to healthcare professionals who are not registered nurses. To apply for programmes with Nursing in the title you must already hold a registered nursing qualification. Please note our programmes will not enable additional entry / dual qualification on the nursing register of the NMBI i.e. if you are a Registered General Nurse interested in pursuing the MSc in Mental Health Nursing Practice you will not be eligible (upon completion of your award) to seek registration as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse. The programme will however further develop student's analytical skills, providing an educational framework where they can advance their interpersonal and practice skills to enable them to deliver optimum care to individuals, families and communities and simultaneously progress their career prospects in a dedicated area of healthcare.

View the subjects currently taught on this course (2016 - 2017)

Why DCU:

  • The unique tri-partite model of practice, supervision and assessment focuses on the development of practice with modular learning and expected outcomes directly embedded in your practice environment.
  • You will have the capacity to specialise in your chosen area and tailor the programme to your needs.
  • Each programme is delivered within a blended learning framework, which ensures there is a mixture of online, face to face, and practice based learning.
  • Students are allocated a practice/clinical supervisor from their practice area, to provide support and guidance.

Career Prospects:

This programme will support healthcare professionals who wish to further their career in a particular area of practice, e.g. where there are opportunities for developing new services, models and roles, or for specialist and advanced practitioner roles in healthcare provision. It will also help professionals gain valuable postgraduate clinical/practice education, thereby helping them to progress in their chosen career.

Entry Requirements:

Direct entry to the programme will be considered for candidates who hold a primary degree, with a minimum of second-class honours, grade two, in a relevant discipline. Where a prospective student has not attained the required academic level prior to their application, and in keeping with University policy on equality of access and opportunity, additional opportunities for entry to the programme will be available. These are offered through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Candidates will normally be expected to be working in the area of practice which they hope to study over the course of the programme. The programme will incorporate a separate external practice placement.

Dates for Submission of Applications 2016

EU Applicants

Applications will be made online through the Postgraduate Applications Centre ( before 31st July 2016

Non-EU Applicants

Applications will be made online through the Postgraduate Applications Centre ( before 15th July 2016.

Applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of gaining entry into Ireland are advised to apply as early as possible.

Queries on completed applications can be made by email to

Fee information

Indicative Timetable
(Weeks 1-12)