The Ulster Palliative Care Postgraduate Diploma/ MSc is a multi-disciplinary programme which aims to develop and enhance the knowledge, skills, and competence of health and social care professionals who come into contact with patients who have palliative and end of life care needs. Students will develop the knowledge, skills, and competence to provide compassionate and person-centered care and will be provided with the capacity to take responsibility for advancing professional development to address constantly changing palliative care demands.
This programme leads to the academic awards of PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Palliative Care. The Postgraduate Certificate is awarded after completing 60 credits and the Postgraduate Diploma after completing 120 credits.
For the Postgraduate Diploma there are four compulsory modules: Principles of Palliative & End of Life Care (30 credits), Loss, Grief & Bereavement (15 credits) Therapeutic Communication Skills for Health and Social Care Professionals (15 credits) and Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care (30 credits). Students then choose optional modules to the value of 30 credits including: Person Centered Practice (15 credits), Leadership in Professional Practice (15 credits), Professional Decision making and Accountability (15 credits) and Advanced knowledge in Symptom Management in Palliative Care (30 credits).
To gain the master's award, a further 60 credits must be completed in the form of the masters Dissertation Project module.
This course is delivered part-time.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
A range of teaching and learning methods are used to enable students to develop knowldege and understanding. There is a continuous focus upon how theory is linked to and informed by practice through the use of lectures, seminars, discussions, guided reading, reflection, creative methods and debate. Online material may be used to support this. All assessment is via course work.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
Advanced Knowledge in Symptom Management in Palliative Care
This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with complex symptom management and to apply this knowledge and skills to the development of advanced symptom control from a pharmacological and non-pharmacological perspective. lt emphasises the palliation of pain and other symptoms and the application of an evidence based holistic person centred approach. The module Incorporates a variety of teaching approaches.
Principles of Palliative & End of Life Care
This module aims to develop students' knowledge in palliative and end of life care, enabling them to gain a wider strategic understanding in order for them to provide quality person-centred care. It emphasises the principles and philosophy of palliative and end of life care and the need for an inter-disciplinary approach to service delivery. The module incorporates a variety of teaching approaches. Method of assessment is 100% coursework.
Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care
This 30-credit module is compulsory for the student to achieve their MSc award. This module builds upon previous study of research methods and enables students to develop and apply theoretical and scientific knowledge and problem-solving skills, extending their understanding of the philosophical and practical aspects of research, service evaluation and project development initiative. Students are required to write an identified research question relevant to research, service evaluation or a project development initiative. This module is assessed by 100% coursework.
Ethics and Professional Decision Making
This module is optional
This module develops students' understanding of the major components and complexities of professional decision making and accountability and the central role this plays in the design, delivery and evaluation of ethically safe and effective compassionate care for people within services in hospital and community settings. Within the module. students will critically analyse the relationships between professional decision-making, accountability, governance and patient safety within an interdisciplinary context. Assessment is by coursework.
Transforming Practice Through Person-Centred Collective Leadership
This module is optional
This module encourages students to lead small step change contributing to quality improvement initiatives leading to transformation of services through person centred practice. It focuses on the development of strategic leadership skills in nurses in order to meet the global challenges facing todays healthcare systems.
This 60-credit module is compulsory for the student to achieve their MSc award. Students are allocated an MSc supervisor. The student completes either a traditional research project or a service evaluation or a project development initiative. Students must write a project proposal, apply for ethics, collect data, analysis the data and the write the final report. This module is assessed by 100% coursework.
Standard entry conditions
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
Applicants must hold a primary degree, or equivalent, or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.
In addition to the above, applicants should normally have:
a. successfully completed an undergraduate research module (or equivalent learning)
b. an appropriate qualification relevant to the programme; health professionals must hold UK Registration
c. current experience with patients relevant to the palliative care programme;
d. provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Successful completion of the programme would enable individuals to advance within their chosen field of palliative and end of life care. It would also be helpful for those seeking to develop their existing professional practice and to take on leadership roles.
Fees and funding
Our postgraduate fees are subject to annual increase and are currently under review. See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2022/23 entry.
Additional mandatory costs
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.