Supply Chain Management (Lean SCM Black Belt) (PG Dip)


Programme Description

The Postgraduate Diploma/Master of Supply Chain Management (Lean SCM Black Belt) is a part-time course. It is designed to teach you how to improve supply chain processes, while also providing cost reductions and added value for you and your organisation.

If you are a career-minded person who works in supply chain, manufacturing, quality, financial or related functions and you also have responsibility for continuous improvement within your organisation, this course is for you.

Successful supply chain management (SCM) requires strategic and operational alignment, and this is why the course includes:

  • a strong emphasis on strategy
  • information systems
  • responsiveness
  • leadership
  • integrated project management

Adopting a Lean philosophy, you will apply Lean tools and complete a Lean SCM Black Belt project that achieves organisational and supply chain improvements. 

The Postgraduate Diploma/Master of Supply Chain Management (Lean SCM Black Belt) is a practitioner-oriented course. It provides a structured approach to the key elements of supply chain design and management in order to maximise your work experience. The course is informed by best international practice and it includes contributions from our applied partners the Leading Edge Group, as well as from national and international guest speakers.

The course is delivered over two stages:

  • Part 1 The duration of Part 1 is 18 months and it leads to a postgraduate diploma qualification.
  • Part 2 Part 2 is for a further period of six months. If you achieve a 2.1 grade in Part 1, you may progress/convert to a master’s degree.

It consists of seven modules (as outlined below) and the outcome of each module is a workplace assignment contributing to the development and implementation of a substantial organisational and SCM improvement project. This course is examined wholly by continuous assessment and there are no written examinations.

Year 1 (Semester 1)

  • MG6202 Strategic Planning and Implementation in Supply Chains (10 credits; 3 classroom days)
  • MG6200 Advanced Lean Tools and Practices in Supply Chain Management (10 credits; 3 classroom days)

Year 1 (Semester 2)

  • MG6203 Leadership and Change Management in Supply Chains (10 credits; 3 classroom days)
  • MG6201 Driving Operational and Supply Chain Excellence through Lean Leadership (10 credits; 3 classroom days)
  • IS6401 Information systems and technologies in supply chain process design and improvement (one and a half days in classroom and e-learning)

Year 2 (Semester 1)

  • FE6201 Supply Chain Management: Globalisation Issues
  • MG6204 Capstone Module Seminars, Workshops and Lean Black Belt Project (15 credits; 4.5 classroom days)

Year 2 (Semester 2) – Optional

  • Master’s (Dissertation)

Progression: If you achieve a 2.1 or higher in the Postgraduate Diploma in SCM, you will be eligible to enter Part 2 and this course leads to a Master of Supply Chain Management. A master’s (MSc) will be awarded on the satisfactory completion of a dissertation.

Please see attached Brochure for further information CKJ03 PG Diploma in SCM Brochure.

Why Choose This Course

This Postgraduate Diploma/Masters in Supply Chain Management will allow you to progress your education while you also further your career. At the same time it will provide benefits and opportunities for the organisation where you work.

For testimonials: Graduate Testimonials.

Skills and Careers Information

Leadership and analytical skills to drive organisational change. Focuses on hard/technical skills associated with Lean implementation. Develops soft skills to support and use organisational systems/processes across a range of industries with transferable skills, including:

  • communication skills
  • research skills
  • conceptual skills
  • organisational/management skills.

Our career-minded students come from many business environments, including:

  • healthcare
  • medical devices
  • food and drink
  • financial services
  • life sciences.
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Learning Outcomes

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

  • Describe supply chain concepts and how activities interact within supply chains.
  • Identify the principles and benefits of Lean Thinking and how these are applicable to supply chain management.
  • Apply tools and techniques to achieve optimal value improvements in supply chain processes.
  • Employ best practice Continuous Improvement deployment methodologies in Lean SCM Black Belt project work.
  • Assess competition drivers and evaluate their impact on supply chain strategy and configuration.
  • Evaluate strategic alignment at intra and inter-organisational levels.
  • Assess the implications of leadership and change management approaches and techniques and how they impact on any lean implementation and supply chain management.
  • Resolve the complexities inherent in organisation-wide/supply chain projects and lead Lean teams.
  • Develop a suitable strategy for implementing Lean to achieve sustainable supply chain improvements.
  • Reflect on, evaluate and apply learning in work/practice contexts.


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Practicalities & Assessment

Adopting a Blended Learning Approach, on-line resources will be provided prior to workshops, with further on-line resources provided after workshops. Each module will be supported by a 3-day workshop. 


  • You will be examined wholly by continuous assessment on this course. There are no written examinations.
  • In each module, you will have to complete an applied written project.
  • A 10-credit module will consist of approx 4,500 words.
  • A 5-credit module will consist of approx 3,000 words.
  • A Lean SCM Black Belt project has to be implemented at the end of the Postgraduate Diploma.
  • The Capstone Module will allow you to present your findings through oral presentations, a poster session, and a written report.
  • If you progress to the master’s stage of the course, you will be required to complete a dissertation (13,000-15,000 words).

Who teaches this course

Our core teaching staff have extensive experience of teaching to a wide variety of students including undergraduates, postgraduates, mature students, and post-experience/adult learners. This course is delivered in conjunction with practitioner partners, and hence it combines academic and practical expertise. The course also benefits from the involvement of best-in-class practitioners, both national and international, which enhances our overall interaction with industry.

Full module information is detailed in the section below.

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Entry Requirements

You should have:

Minimums  Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in a relevant area and at least 4 years relevant industrial experience (including cross-functional team lead and Lean experience)


A portfolio of professional experience, deemed appropriate by the Academic Programme Director under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), containing the following: (i) at least 6 years of relevant management experience, including responsibility for teams and cross-functional/supply chain teams, (ii) recognized professional qualification in a relevant area and/or applied Lean SCM experience (equivalent to a Green Belt level) (iii) application of learning or competence such as involvement in cross-functional projects, reports, reflective papers or journals.


Testimonials of learning or competence through sign-off by an appropriate signatory within the candidate's organization. Applicants must be in a position to affect organizational change.

Note: A foundation module (FE5201) to the value of 5 credits may be provided to candidates who do not have a pre-requisite background in Lean.

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 online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal 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 items requested for your course.

Please log into the online application portal for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

Questions on how to apply?

Please use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning and professional training relevant to this programme.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

  • What is your current occupation/speciality?
  • Please describe your portfolio of work or achievements. Enter N/A if this is not applicable to you.

Deferrals: Deferrals are not permitted on this course.


Non-EU Applications

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

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who should I contact if I have a query about applying?

Any queries relating to applications can be directed to [email protected] or Ms Aoife Sammon (Programme Administrator) on [email protected] or 021-4901833 OR Dr. Seamus O'Reilly (Academic Programme Director) on [email protected] or 021-4902763. Alternatively, in the situation of annual leave, application queries can be directed to the Graduate Studies Office on 021 4902876 or [email protected]

When will I find out about registration?

Information on registration, fee payment and start dates will be sent out in early September.

When should I expect a response to my application?

You will be able to check on the status of your application at all times by logging on to Postgraduate Application Centre and entering your PAC number and date of birth. Usually offers are made approximately two weeks after the closing date for applications for taught programmes. In this case, offers should be sent out in mid-August. Applicants are requested to check the status of their application on a regular basis.

What documentation do I need to apply?

If you are a UCC graduate you will need your UCC student number to apply. This means the Graduate Studies Office can access your UCC examination results. If you are not a UCC student you will need to send in official evidence of any third level and/or other professional or vocational qualifications. For this programme you are also required to complete a Supplementary Form, which assesses your Portfolio of Experience. This Supplementary Form should be requested after you online application has been processed. However, applicants can view this Supplementary Form in advance of applications: please click here. Copies of transcripts, official certificates/parchments and the Supplementary Form should be forwarded to the Postgraduate Applications Centre, 1 Courthouse Square, Galway.

When is the closing date for applications for this programme?

University College Cork is currently accepting applications for this programme.

Applications will open in January for a September intake.

Do I have to pay an application fee?

The online application fee (using a debit or credit card) is €50. The online application processing fee is payable to PAC and is non-refundable.

Note that your application will not be processed until the date the Postgraduate Applications Centre receive your application fee payment (please ensure you secure a certificate of postage when posting your application fee). Payments by Postal Order and Bank Draft should be made immediately after submitting your online application.

How to apply?

Applications for the Postgraduate Diploma in SCM are made online through the Postgraduate Applications Centre(PAC). The full procedure is outlined here and PAC FAQs can be found here.

Who do I contact if I have a query regarding fees?

General queries will be answered by [email protected] . Otherwise, the UCC Fees Office will answer any specific queries you may have regarding your fees status, fee payment methods etc. The office is located on the first floor, North Wing, Main Quadrangle. Phone +353 21 4903255 E-mail queries may be made to [email protected] 

How can the fees be paid?

Fees can be paid either by credit card or by bank giro. For further information on fee payment click here.

Fees for Postgraduate Diploma in SCM (Lean SCM Black Belt)?

The total fee per participant is €10,500 payable in three instalments. This is the cost of fees for the full 18 months.

Fee breakdown:

Part 1 = €7,000* (payable in 2 installments: Y1 Semester 1 + Y1 Semester 2)

Part 2 = €3,500* (final installment: Y2 Semester 1)

Total = €10,500*

Eligible students progressing to the Masters phase of the programme will have to pay a further €3,500*.

* These figures are based on 2019/20 fees. Please note that fees may increase by a samll percentage annually. For a current list of EU Postgraduate Programme Fees click here.

Does an eligible student undertake a Dissertation or a Thesis?

Students will undertake a Dissertation, which consists of 12,000 to 15,000 words.

Are both programmes awarded, Diploma and a Masters?

No, students will convert their Postgraduate Diploma into a Masters Degree, and hence be awarded the MComm (Supply Chain Management - Lean SCM Black Belt).

Does a student have to attend any MSc SCM seminars?

On identifying the area of research to be undertaken, a student will be assigned a supervisor who will provide one-to-one mentoring. Depending on the research area and the number of students undertaking similar topics, group sessions may be provided.

How does a student attain their Masters (MSc) in SCM?

To achieve the Masters Degree, students who have successfully completed the Postgraduate Diploma students are required to complete and submit a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation related to supply chain management, utilising principles and analytical techniques learned during the Postgraduate Diploma in Supply Chain Management. 

What is the progression path leading from the PG Diploma in SCM?

Students who achieve a Second Class Grade I Honour (60%) or higher in the Postgraduate Diploma in SCM are eligible to enter Part 2 of a Masters Programme in Supply Chain Management.  A Masters (MSc Supply Chain Management - Lean SCM Black Belt) will be awarded on the satisfactory completion of a Dissertation. For further information on the MSc Supply Chain Management - Lean SCM Black Belt, please click here.

In what subject areas can the Lean SCM Black Belt project be based?

The Lean SCM Black Belt project will be based on the principles, tools and techniques learned during the Postgraduate Diploma in SCM. The project can be based on a number of areas within the student's organisation deemed appropriate by the student, programme teaching staff, and also, by the student's organisation themselves

What is the purpose of completing the Lean SCM Black Belt project?

The purpose of completing a Lean SCM Black Belt is to develop and implement a Lean project that achieves significant sustainable operational and supply chain improvements within the organisation. Hence, the completion of the Lean project delivers significant benefit to the student and their employer.

What modules are delivered in the programme?

Five modules are delivered in the first year of the programme. The first year is divided into two phases: autumn and spring.

Year 1 (Semester 1):

  • Strategic Planning and Implementation in Supply Chains
  • Advanced Lean Tools and Practices in Supply Chain Management

Year 1 (Semester 2):

  • Leadership and Change Management in Supply Chains
  • Managing Lean Projects in Supply Chains
  • Information Systems and Technologies in supply chain process design and improvement

Two modules are delivered in the second year of the programme. The second year consists of one phase: autumn.

Year 2 (Semester 1):

  • Globalisation Issues
  • Capstone Module Seminars & Workshops.

For further information on module content, please click here.

How is the Distance Learning Approach delivered?

The Distance Learning programme will be supported by on-line resources including tutorials, e-mentoring and discussion forums. We are currently not running the Distance Learning format.

How is the Blended Learning Approach delivered?

The Blended Learning Approach is a blend of classroom activity and on-line resources. In this format on-line resources will be provided prior to workshops in the classroom, with further on-line resources and text books provided after workshops. In total 18 classroom days will support the modules, as outlined below. We are currently running the Blended Learning format.

How is the programme delivered?

This programme is delivered part-time over 18 months and is available in two delivery formats: a Blended Learning Approach and a Distance Learning Approach. The programme consists of three phases. The outcome of each phase will be a set of workplace assignments contributing to the development and implementation of a substantial Black Belt Lean SCM project.

Who delivers this programme?

University College Cork, in conjunction with The Leading Edge Group, delivers this Postgraduate Diploma programme – blending academic and practical expertise. The programme is fully accredited by University College Cork.

What level is this programme on the NFQ?

This programme meets Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications. (Please see the NFQ diagram).

What is the National Framework of Qualification (NFQ)?

The National Framework of Qualifications, the NFQ was proposed through the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999 and launched in 2003. It is a system of ten levels that incorporates awards made for all kinds of learning, wherever it is gained. The NFQ, through its ten levels, provides a means of comparing and contrasting national and international education and training qualifications. It helps learners to plan their education and training and employers to identify the qualifications they require. For further information and to see the Framework in action please click here.

Is the programme Part-Time or Full-Time?

This programme is a part-time programme delivered over 18 months. Students who are deemed eligible to enter the Masters programme (MSc Supply Chain Management - Lean SCM Black Belt) will have a further 6 months of study

What are the benefits of this programme?

Supply Chain Management (SCM) has emerged as a major element in global business, with considerable investment in systems and processes. The opportunities to develop soft skills to support and use these systems and processes exist across a range of industries and organisations. The need for effective and efficient coordination of key business processes is common to all businesses and cuts across functions and operations. While process design and improvement concepts and tools have been traditionally associated with manufacturing operations, considerable opportunities exist in the development of efficient and responsive Lean supply chains. In recent years, many companies in Ireland have expanded their perspective beyond the traditional factory to organisational-wide activities including supply chain management. This programme places a strong emphasis on strategy, leadership, change management, information systems and integrated project management that provides an holistic approach that responds to an ever increasing demand for cost reduction, enhanced service and value-add in the business environment. With a practical application of Lean tools and techniques within the organisational environment, participants will be able to drive the changes necessary for a successful Lean transformation

What is a Black Belt?

A certified Black Belt is a professional who has demonstrated an expert knowledge of Lean enterprise concepts, tools, and practices; and possesses proven team and project leadership, problem solving, and change management skills. A Black Belt understands effective project team dynamics and has the ability to assign relevant team member roles and responsibilities for continuous improvement initiatives. They have a proven ability, use basic and advanced Lean principles to drive improvement, and demonstrate measurable results. A Black Belt has a basic knowledge of Six Sigma philosophies and principles, and can apply the DMAIC model as part of an effective Lean implementation.

What is Lean SCM?

Lean is a philosophy and a systematic approach to eliminating process waste and non-value add activities in core processes. The term Lean popularised the Toyota Production System (TPS). TPS revolutionised process design and management through the use of tools and techniques to systematically reduce waste and add value. Thus Lean does not refer to a ‘lean mean’ approach to business but rather Lean Thinking represents a philosophy, a set of principles and the appropriate use of tools and techniques to reduce waste and add value.It challenges organisational and inter-organisational culture and thus requires a change in thinking along the supply chain (vision and capability). The development of efficient and responsive/agile supply chains, or what is popularly known as Leagile supply chains, has resulted in new innovative business models and challenges organisational-bound processes and systems. Lean supply chain management represents an innovative approach to inter-organisation process design and improvement. Lean programmes seek to educate staff within organisations in the principles and techniques of Lean, so that they are empowered to implement sustainable continuous process improvement.

Who is the programme aimed at?

The Postgraduate Diploma in Supply Chain Management (Lean SCM Black Belt) is aimed at career minded practitioners who work in either Supply Chain, manufacturing or related functions such as quality, engineering, finance, and who have responsibility for continuous improvement within their organisation. It would also suit those who have some experience in Lean or Supply Chain Management, and wish to develop knowledge and skills in these areas. Participants should be in a position to affect organisational change.

Participant Companies - PG Dip SCM

Below are companies who have participated since its launch.