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New postgraduate programmes at DCU’s School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health

After restructuring in December 2019, the School set about reviewing and renewing its postgraduate curriculum to meet the challenges facing health and social care services

“The School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health at DCU recently reviewed and renewed its postgraduate offerings and is delighted to add three new taught postgraduate programmes,” says Dr Mary Rose Sweeney, Head of School. These are aligned with professional, societal and healthcare needs and will run from this September 2022.”

The MSc in Specialist Nursing for Future Healthcare is a blended delivery, national programme offering new specialist pathways in response to contemporary issues arising in Irish healthcare. The programme responds to national health policies and strategies and offers dual competencies in leadership and in clinical specialisms.

The two-year, part-time programme will be attractive to nurses at all career stages. It provides a clinical practicum that includes 500 hours, supported by clinical supervisors.

This programme offers three specialist pathways this year, including Chronic Disease Management; Health: Promotion, Prevention and Protection; and Ambulatory Gynaecology. Additional specialisms will be added in subsequent years.


The programme recognises the international context and demand for the nursing workforce, addressing the challenges of both communicable (eg pandemics) and non-communicable diseases (eg diabetes and heart disease). The design of the programme is tailored to prepare nurses to work to their full potential and scope of practice.

Co-designed with input from the Centre for e-Integrated Care ( and Schools of Business, Law and Government and Communications at DCU in addition to senior nurses and midwives in practice, the modules cover health education/promotion, disease prevention, and subjects such as governance, business, finance, digital solutions, data analysis, law, ethics and clinical decision-making.

The combination of clinical and interfaculty transversal knowledge and skills acquisition will result in the development of contemporary, agile thinking nurses with the clinical capability required to implement the Sláintecare principles. By 2030, the nursing profession will look vastly different and will be caring for a changing population worldwide.

The need to address the predicted shortage of the nursing workforce supports the development of specialist educational programmes, which have the potential to enhance career progression and attract and retain nurses in the profession. Recent international reports identify the impact that nurses educated to a higher degree within a clinical pathway can have on positive patient outcomes.

Responding to urgent issues

Also new to our postgraduate offerings at DCU is the MSc in Health and Social Inclusion (MHSI), which responds to two of the most urgent issues facing us today: social exclusion and healthcare inequity.

People experience health and social marginalisation as a result of poverty, ethnicity, gender, age and addiction, non-normative behaviour, illness and disability. Inequity and exclusion have severe and lasting effects on the health and social wellbeing of many individuals and communities. Health and social inclusion practice involves interdisciplinary/integrated approaches and active involvement/collaboration with individuals and communities.

The programme developed in the School, is a unique, interdisciplinary programme based on the recognition of these health and social disparities and the imperative of developing skilled practitioners, researchers and academics in this area.

The MHSI is a flexible (part-time or full-time) programme incorporating online and face-to-face teaching methods from subject specialists. In the MHSI, students will:

  • Identify and analyse the factors that influence social and health engagement, inclusion and exclusion.
  • Evaluate interventions and policies aimed at promoting health and social equity.
  • Develop leadership in designing and implementing initiatives to improve social and health engagement and inclusion.
  • Develop research skills to make a positive impact on health and social inclusion practice and policy.

This programme will enhance students’ employability in a range of sectors, including interdisciplinary health and social care practice, welfare rights and advocacy, community development, health and social activism, health promotion, inclusion health, research and academic contexts, governmental departments and policymaking.

Promoting holistic health

The MSc in Child and Family Health and Wellbeing is also an exciting new programme on offer in the School, commencing in September 2022. It will provide students with an opportunity to complete an interdisciplinary programme of study focused on promoting holistic child and family health and wellbeing. This will be achieved by reviewing contemporary issues in child, young person and family health and wellbeing, and will examine current and future child health societal challenges.

The programme has a strong interdisciplinary foundation. It is a two-year, part-time, blended-learning programme that includes six days on the DCU Glasnevin campus each year and online evening classes twice a week during the semester. Programme content covers areas such as child and family-focused wellbeing, children’s rights, global child health, community service provision, contemporary issues in child and adolescent mental health and research.

The programme will appeal to anyone working with children, young people and their families in multiple fields across community, hospital, voluntary and non-governmental sectors. Applications are now open.