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Developing professional skills in palliative and end of life care.


Study Palliative Care at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

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.

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About this course

In this section


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.

Start dates

  • September 2016
How to apply


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.

In this section

Year one

Loss, grief and bereavement

Year: 1

This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with theories of loss, grief and bereavement and to apply this knowledge into practice. The content focuses on loss and bereavement across the life span and explores appropriate interventions to facilitate grief and complicated grief. It will encourage the development of evidence based strategies to promote person centred-care. Assessment is by 100% coursework..

Therapeutic Communication Skills for Health and Social Care Professionals

Year: 1

This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with theories of communication and to apply this knowledge to the development of advanced communication skills within health and social care practice. It will encourage the development of evidence-based communication strategies to promote compassionate person-centred care. Assessment is by 100% coursework.

Principles of Palliative & End of Life Care

Year: 1

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.

Person Centered Practice

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module focuses on person-centred nursing as a form of practice that holds central the personhood of everyone involved in health and social care ? staff, service users and care partners. This module focuses on how person-centred concepts and theories are applied in nursing, public health and palliative care contexts. The module will be underpinned by the Person-centred nursing Framework of McCormack & McCance (2010), a theoretical framework that will enhance understanding of person-centredness and its translation into practice.

Year two

Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care

Year: 2

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 practice development. In particular, it examines quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research designs for collecting, recording, analysing and interpreting data with the ultimate goal of further developing their research and development skills.

Leadership in Professional Practice

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with theories of leadership and to apply this knowledge to leadership in healthcare practice. It will encourage the development of effective leadership strategies, based on best evidence to meet the challenges faced by healthcare professionals and promote the development of cultures of compassionate leadership. Assessment is by presentation, discourse and coursework

Professional Decision Making and Accountability

Year: 2

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 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.

Advanced knowledge in symptom management in Palliative Care

Year: 2

This module is optional

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.

Year three

MSc research project

Year: 3

This is a required component of a programme leading to a MSc. The student completes, under supervision, a research proposal with successful submission to appropriate ethics committee/s and completes a research project which makes a contribution to the knowledge base for professional practice. This is assessed by coursework.

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.

In this section

Entry 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.

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

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.


How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Tuition fees shown are for last years entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing and may be subject to an annual increase. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study. Read our Tuition Fees Payment Policy

Northern Ireland & EU:

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

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 wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course. 

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees. 

Please contact the course team for more information.


Faculty contact regarding admissions and application process:

Karen McCarroll

T: +44(0) 28 9036 8983


Course Director:

Dr Wendy Cousins

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6185