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MSc in Leadership in Healthcare

The application process is now closed for the MSc in Leadership in Healthcare

A Guide to Submitting Your Application may be helpful to read for those who intend submitting an application in the future. It explains what the application process involves.

The MSc in Leadership in Healthcare is currently operating as a virtual programme.


The MSc in Leadership in Healthcare is a programme for those who are looking for development and stimulation to rapidly improve their service and enhance their leadership capability. The programme is open to clinical and non-clinical colleagues.

It is aimed at those who:

  • lead teams or complex projects
  • lead services or systems of care
  • aspire to be responsible for a broader role and contribute to the wider organisation
  • would like development support to improve their leadership practices
  • are seeking to apply new skills and behaviours to real-time work-related improvements
  • are willing to commit to at least 15 hours learning per week over a 24 month period
  • are willing to commit to full attendance at all face-to-face aspects of the programme

The eighth cohort of this two year programme commenced in September 2023.

Should it be decided that any elements will take place face to face, we will advise you accordingly.


To be eligible for the programme you must hold a minimum of:

  • 2.2 undergraduate degree, or
  • an equivalent professional qualification, or
  • relevant experience leading teams or services

You must also:

  • be an employee of the HSE, TUSLA, a Section 39 hospice, or a body which provides service on behalf of the HSE under Section 38 of the Health Act 2004
  • satisfactorily complete the application process

Selection criteria will include:

  • your personal statement
  • your experience leading teams or complex projects or leading services or systems of care
  • your senior line manager's supporting statement
  • previous leadership/management development programmes you’ve undertaken
  • creation of the best possible mix of participants from eligible applicants

To maximise the learning within each cohort, the Health Service Leadership Academy seeks to create the best possible mix of participants from eligible applicants.

This will include having a mix of:

  • clinical and non-clinical participants
  • disciplines and professions
  • locations and types of health service organisations

Eligible applicants who do not get offered a place on the next cohort due to oversubscription, will be added to a waiting list for subsequent cohorts.

You may be contacted by the programme director or a member of the Health Service Leadership Academy if clarification is required on any aspect of your application.

Programme overview

Time commitment

At least 15 hours per week, and 100% attendance at all elements

Programme title: MSc in Leadership in Healthcare
Qualification: MSc in Leadership in Healthcare (awarded by University College Cork)
Length of programme: 24 months, part-time
Time commitment: at least 15 hours per week
Faculty: delivered by the IMI
Modes of learning: work-based application (50%)
online learning (35%)
learning set meetings and residential workshops (15%)
delivered virtually at present
Attendance requirements: 4 virtual residential sessions totalling a minimum of 12 days over the programme. A minimum of 11 virtual action learning set days over the programme
Attendance: 100% attendance

The MSc in Leadership in Healthcare is designed to meet healthcare challenges now and into the future. It will enable you to bring about change and real improvement, providing opportunities to put your new skills into action where you work.

The focus of the programme is firmly on patient experiences and outcomes. Whether you work on the frontline or you indirectly focus on patient care, patients and service users will benefit as a result of your learning.

The programme involves providing work-based evidence, meaning you can start making a difference to patients and services immediately rather than having to wait until after you graduate.

The programme supports you in your role and future career by:

  • providing you with intensive personal leadership development
  • improving your personal impact and helping you drive progress with your team and organisation to build a culture of patient-focused care
  • enabling you to make a real difference to patients, staff and services
  • helping you to take up your leadership role and lead others more effectively
  • helping you develop quickly by immersing you in innovative and intensive leadership development
  • helping you make an immediate and tangible difference to your workplace by applying your learning to develop practical innovations for immediate use
  • helping you build a powerful national support network within the healthcare system who are all driving to achieve real change for patients

Programme structure, modules and assignment information can be found in the applicant guide

Learning methods

Learning is via virtual campus, residential workshops, face-to-face meetings and online tutor support. All elements take place virtually at present.

The programme is delivered:

  • 50% work based-application (where set activities on the virtual campus are put into practice at work)
  • 35% online learning (academic content, assignments and discussion groups)
  • 15% face-to-face residential behavioural development workshops and action learning sets (delivered virtually at present)

Work-based learning

Work-based learning (WBL) is an important part of how the learning methods are applied in practice. WBL focuses on the work you are already doing and uses this as the basis for your learning. Much of your online learning will relate to your work place. It focuses your attention on what is practical and works. It helps to lighten the study workload, as some of the learning is within your day-to-day job.

Action learning set meetings

Your action learning set meetings, delivered virtually, provides a forum to explore the links between individual, group and organisational dynamics. This equips you with the practical skills to craft your leadership role, style and skills. Your action learning set meets a minimum of eleven times, for full day working sessions, during the programme.

Residential experiential workshops

There are four residential workshops during the course of the programme, delivered virtually. The focus of these workshops will be on your personal and behavioural development in context. They take full advantage of face-to-face group work, experiential and simulation learning activities as opposed to any academic theory or knowledge learning.

Online learning through the virtual campus

The Health Service Leadership Academy virtual campus has been designed to feel like an inviting space; delivering what you need in an interactive learning environment. It can be accessed at any time and on any device, at a time and place which suits you

The virtual campus is where you can find all the resources you will need for your studies. It provides a range of different learning formats such as e-learning nuggets, simulation events, webinars, videos, psychometric assessments, surveys, electronic journals, books, tutorial and discussion boards, learning journals and more.

Individual and group tutorials

You will have individual and group tutorials over the duration of this programme. These will take place during specified weeks, but the day and time of tutorials (including evenings and weekends) will be mutually agreed with groups/individuals. Tutorials will take place either online or by telephone.

Key information

Commitment to the programme

You must make a commitment of at least 15 hours per week to programme work. It is up to you to fit this time in. It is likely that most of this will be undertaken in your own time. There is a strong focus on practical application of new learning and you are encouraged to practice developing your range of leadership behaviours in your workplace. We would ask line managers to support you in doing this so that you can become a more effective leader.

Attendance is mandatory at four residential sessions, totalling a minimum of 12 days over the 24 months of the programme. You will also attend a minimum of 11 days at action learning set meetings throughout the programme. Line managers are asked to treat time spent at residential workshops, learning set meetings and tutorials (approximately 1 hour in duration) as time spent at work.

Attendance requirement continues to apply whether these elements are delivered virtually or face-to-face.

Programme costs

While there are no programme fees currently charged for participating on this programme, if the programme is delivered in person in the future, rather than virtually, participants may incur travel and subsistence costs associated with attending residential and face to face components of the programme. Costs for travel and subsistence at residential and face-to-face programmes must be paid by you and recovered through your local travel and subsistence procedures. The Health Service Leadership Academy is not in a position to refund other areas of the HSE, or external agencies for costs incurred in this regard.


All applications for Health Service Leadership Academy programmes must be submitted using the UCC application portal.

To apply for this programme:

  • complete the application form
  • ensure that your senior line manager completes the supporting statement
  • have proof of identity that you can upload (for example, driving licence, passport)

Application form and supporting documents

Follow the Guide to Submitting Your Application to correctly complete and submit your application.

You must upload the 3 documents listed above to successfully submit your application. Your application is incomplete until the 3 documents are uploaded. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

You can only apply for one of the Health Service Leadership Academy programmes. The Health Service Leadership Academy will not accept more than one application per person.

You will receive an acknowledgement that your application will be processed once you have completed the information on the UCC application portal and uploaded the application form, senior line manager statement and proof of identity.

You will receive notification of the outcome of the application process by email in early July 2024.

Application form and supporting documents

Guide to Submitting Your Application

Application form for MSc in Leadership in Healthcare

Applicant guide for MSc in Leadership in Healthcare

Senior line manager supporting statement for MSc in Leadership in Healthcare

Dates for cohort commencing in September 2024 are available in the programme schedule for MSc in Leadership in Healthcare


If you require additional information about MSc in Leadership in Healthcare :


Phone: 087 272 8198 or 087 281 9507

If you need any help with the UCC application portal:


Phone: 01 207 8412 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.