GradDip Public Health Nursing

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 60)

The Graduate Diploma Public Health Nursing helps you to develop valuable knowledge and skills in the areas of primary healthcare and community nursing leading to registration on the Public Health Nursing Division of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland.

You will sharpen your analytical and critical thinking and develop knowledge and skills that will help you assume the role of a public health nurse.

Course objective
The programme is designed to expand students’ knowledge, competencies and critical engagement in the care of multiple client groups in the community.

How will I benefit?
The programme will enhance your career prospects and give you the building blocks for lifelong self-directed learning.  It will provide you with they key knowledge and skills in public health nursing.

Highly focused on enhancing clinical practice
The programme is focused on developing practical, usable skills in the multiple contexts of community nursing. Students will develop specific critical skills in the area of community nursing which will lead to the ability to engage with multiple client groups effectively and efficiently.

Innovative modules
Each of the modules in the programme is designed for experienced nurses and in combination provide a comprehensive learning experience and opportunities for acquiring new skills.  The emphasis throughout the programme is on the practical application of knowledge and skills in the specific context of community.

The student body is drawn from a wide variety of clinical specialisms and organisations, enabling the sharing of learning and experience between you and your class members, as well as from the academic staff.

The public health nursing programme is a partnership with colleagues in the clinical areas (Local Health Authority). Together, students will engage in intra and inter-disciplinary collaboration which will facilitate a solid foundation for clinical practice as a public health nurse.

Careers & Employability

Following successful completion of the programme, students may register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) as RPHN and practice as public health nurses. You may wish to extend your learning and complete a Master’s degree.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

This programme is designed for nurses who are interested in expanding their knowledge base in the domain of public health nursing. An applicant must be registered on the General Division of the Nursing Register as maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

The purpose of the Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Public Health)  (GDPHN) is to prepare the student to register as a public health nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. A student in pursuance of the GDPHN will be prepared to promote health, wellbeing and dignity across the lifespan through skilled, ethical and careful practice based on the best evidence and professional judgement. This is achieved through the development of lifelong learning skills for the personal and professional development of knowledge, skills/competencies and attitudes over the duration of the programme, leading to level 9 award and professional registration as a public health nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. The UCD GDPHN programme facilitates the learner to be active, reflexive, autonomous, and motivated through engagement in innovative teaching and learning activities throughout the duration of the student experience. The curriculum is student-focused, research-led and research informed, with a scholarly approach to programme design, aimed at inspiring a passion and excellence in the learner’s discipline. This is realised through the formation of identity, resilience, integrity, leadership capability, commitment and curiosity for the provision of holistic, safe, ethical, compassionate evidence based public health nursing practice. The curriculum is developed with stakeholder involvement to ensure that it meets the current and future needs of learners, and a complex and evolving community healthcare system.

The Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Public Health) is designed with the learner and the service user at the centre. A wide variety of innovative pedagogical and technologies ensure that, teaching, learning and assessment approaches encourage the  incremental development of learning . Teaching and learning takes place in multiple environments across the university and in a variety of community and hospital settings. A major strength of the programme is the partnership with our clinical public health nursing colleagues and allied health professional partners across the healthcare sector. Learning is designed to enhance students adaptive capacity to meet emerging personal, professional and health system needs.  This commitment to curricular innovation ensures that there is alignment of programme learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities and assessment. In addition to enhancing the learner experience, programmes are delivered by experts in the fields of public health nursing, education and primary care. This ensures that learners experience a coherent, cumulative, research-based educational programme that meets all academic and professional regulations, standards and requirements

  • Demonstrate the application and integration of best practice informed by national and international research in order to advance public health nursing practice, health promotion and healthcare delivery.
  • Apply critical, creative, reflective, independent thinking and problem solving to ensure clinical decision making and care that is safe, effective, evidence -based, person-centred and community orientated.
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the parameters of professional public health nursing practice within the relevant ethical, legal and regulatory frameworks .
  • Collaborate effectively with health care service users, their families, the public, peers, other members of the community based interdisciplinary team in a competent, compassionate and professional manner that respects autonomy, dignity and privacy
  • Be an independent learner, recognising the value of lifelong learning and is able to use critical questioning, reflection and decision making to build their personal and professional scholarship throughout their career.
  • Students will be motivated to continue their learning, facilitating adaptation to the dynamically altering environment within community, society and healthcare to empower their personal, professional development within variable unfamiliar contexts
  • Demonstrate leadership and effect change in public health nursing practice promoting innovation by managing and delivering evidence based care in a community context.
  • Use technology effectively to facilitate adaptation to a dynamic community, societal and health systems environment.

View All Modules Here

This is a full-time graduate diploma level programme, which takes place over two academic semesters (September-June). Classes take place on Mondays in Semester 1 and the remaining time represents clinical placement in the public heath nursing area or the maternity site. In semester 2, clasess are scheduled according to the availability of clinical placements and schedules vary from year to year. Successful completion of the programme depends on passing all clinical and academic requirements.

The programme is broken down into two semesters (September to December and January to May). Clinical timetabling is dependent on whether the student needs to complete the Maternal and Infant module and clinical placement in the maternity site.

Students take the following modules:

  • Research Methods Applied to Healthcare
  • Maternal and Infant Health (for students who are not registered midwives with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)
  • Public Health Nursing: A Lifespan Approach
  • Public Health Nursing: Principles and Theory
  • Public Health Nursing: Issues in Clinical Practice
  • Public Health Nursing: Clinical Practice
  • Maternal and Infant Health: Clinical Practice (for students who are not registered midwives with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)

The fees for your programme can be found at the links below. Search using your major code (the four-digit code beginning with 'X' which can be found in the key information box on this page).

Please note that UCD fees are subject to change annually. The fees shown include the student centre levy which must be paid by all students. 


If the fees for your programme are being paid by a third party (full or partial), please ensure your funding organisation/sponsor/hospital contacts Please note this is not a student facing email address.

Student Queries:

If you have any queries about your fees, please contact the Student Desk:

Application Fee:

Please note that all applicants are required to pay the €60 application fee. Your application cannot be processed fully unless the application fee has been paid.

More information about fees is available on the UCD website at the link below:


Be registered in the General Nursing Division of the Register of Nurses maintained by the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) or entitled to be so registered AND have a minimum of 3 years post registration general nursing experience.


Be registered in the General Nursing Division and another Division of the Register, including Registered Midwife (RM), Registered Children’s Nurse (RCN), Registered Nurse Intellectual Disability (RNID) or Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) Divisions of the Register of Nurses and Midwives maintained by the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) or entitled to be so registered; AND  have a minimum of 18 months post registration general nursing experience as an RGN, and 18 months post registration experience as an RM or RCN or RNID or RPN.


Meet the academic criteria set by the relevant Higher Education Institute (HEI); Applicants whose first language or primary language of expression is not English must provide evidence that their English language ability meets the required standard for admission. The minimum required score is 7.0 on the IELTS assessment test.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

RPL may be granted in respect of individual modules if applicants can demonstrate that the modules' learning outcomes have been achieved through prior credentialled or experiential learning. In some cases, where an applicant does not meet the prerequisites for entry to a programme, an RPL application may be considered. Further information can be found in respect of this here.

We have many wonderful graduates of the Grad Diploma programme and some have shared their stories with us. Please have a read of some of the inspiring alumni stories linked below:

Caoimhe Goland (BSc General Nursing 2015, Grad Dip PHN 2021)

The following entry routes are available:

Grad Dip Nursing (Public Health Nursing) FT (X035)
1 Years
Full Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised

Note: Applications for this course are made through the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) and not through the UCD application system.

The campaign will be advertised on


Candidates must apply for sponsorship on-line through


* Closing date for on-line applications ( ) is 12 noon on Monday 4th April 2022

* Closing date for receipt of supporting documentation is 12 noon on Monday 4th April 2022