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Economics - Health Economics Practice (Online) (PG Dip)


Programme Description

The Postgraduate Diploma in Health Economics Practice is a practice-oriented course, designed to give students an excellent grounding in the use of economic decision-making in the health sector.  Economic decision-making is becoming increasingly important in the health area, with scarce resources being available for ever-increasing needs.  This course provides students with transferrable skills that can be used in a healthcare business or policy environment.  The course recognises that healthcare is as much a business as a policy area, and this is reflected in modules on health care markets and health care innovations.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Health Economics Practice (Part I of the MSc) includes 60 credits of taught modules.  The core modules examine economic decision-making in health, in terms of financing, resource allocation, distribution and delivery of healthcare.

The other modules relate to evaluating health outcomes, health services resourcing, research skills and methods for health economics, healthcare markets and innovations in health practice.

The course is examined entirely through continuous assessment, including written assignments, participation in online discussions, reflective learning logs, and presentations.  Emphasis is placed on transferrable skills and the personal, professional and intellectual development of students.

The course has numerous links with healthcare practitioners and businesses, and this is reflected in guest lectures and online live cases, where students are set a real-life problem by a healthcare practitioner or organisation and asked to develop solutions to this problem.

Students who successfully complete the Postgraduate Diploma and achieve a minimum of 60% average in their assessment may transfer their registration onto the MSc Health Economics Practice, which involves a six-month placement in the healthcare sector.  (Those already working in the sector may continue in their positions.)  During this six months, students will be expected to address a problem in the organisation for which they are working, using economic decision-making techniques.

Why Choose This Course

This course is a practice-oriented course, delivered online, designed to prepare students for applying economics in the healthcare sector. It also provides transferrable skills, which help to develop the student in a personal, professional and intellectual capacity. Graduates of the programme have gone on to work in healthcare providers and insurers as well as health policy research positions. Industry practitioners have been attracted to the course from both private and public sectors, including healthcare providers (both practitioners and administrative functions) and pharmaceutical companies.

"In such a difficult economy, decision making in the HSE has become much more difficult.  This course gives us the necessary tools and skills to allow us to make the best possible decisions to benefit the people who have the most need.” – Sinéad Ní Bháicéir, Clerical Officer, Cork University Hospital

Skills and Careers Information

This course focuses on equipping graduates with the economic decision-making skills to improve efficiency and/or equity in the healthcare sector. Graduates will be attractive to employers in the private, public and voluntary sectors. Previous graduates have found employment in a mixture of all three settings and those who were in employment prior to beginning the course have found that it has greatly enhanced their career prospects.

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Communicate and work effectively to a high professional standard;
  • Demonstrate advanced analytical and problem solving skills associated with effective practice;
  • Engage in advanced application of frameworks and techniques in organizational settings;
  • Apply economic decision-making to health-related issues;
  • Demonstrate personal and professional development.
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Practicalities & Assessment

The course will be delivered predominately online, facilitating self-directed learning.  Field trips, guest lectures and live cases may be organised for times that suit both full-time and part-time students.


The taught modules are assessed entirely via continuous assessment, including a combination of written assignments, online discussions, reflective logs, and presentations.

The placement is examined via a combination of reflective learning logs, a written report on the placement and a presentation of that report.

Who teaches this course

This course is taught by a number of leading experts in the area of health economics in Ireland, as well as having an input from the business perspective.  The teaching team are all qualified to PhD level.  Members of the team have published in national and international journals and contribute to national debates in the broadcast, print and on-line media.

The teaching team comprises:

Dr. Jane Bourke

Dr. Lee-Ann Burke

Dr. Ann Kirby

Dr. Brendan McElroy

Dr. Aileen Murphy

Dr. Brian Turner 

Dr. Edel Walsh

Full module information is detailed in the section below.

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Entry Requirements

To apply for this course, you will need:

  • A degree in business and/or Economics


  • A degree with at least a 2H2 grade in a health related discipline


  •    For those with degrees or equivalent outside the above categories, applicants should have a minimum of 4 years' experience as health sector practitioners or professionals in which case they may be accepted on the basis of recognition of prior experiential learning.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests. 


View the grades comparison table

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. To verify if you meet the minimum academic requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website .

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Application Process

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to three courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a €50 application fee.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to PAC in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary forms requested for your course.

Please log into PAC for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application system PAC opens for applications in early November of each year.

Questions on how to apply?

EU students contact

International students contact

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note that you will be asked to fill in a supplementary form as part of the application process for this programme.  A copy of this form is available here: CKC07 Supplementary Questions

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can also apply online at PAC.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students.

**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

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