GradCert Dairy Herd Health

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 30)

Grad Cert Dairy Herd Health consists of modules in herd health skills, dairy herd fertility, nutrition and production disease, milk quality and mastitis, calf health and heifer rearing, and bio-secure/infectious diseases.
  • distance programme that is delivered on-line through the use of problem-based learning with current herd problems providing the necessary material.
  • innovative online-learning activities coupled with hands on teaching of herd based clinical skills at the UCD Lyons Farm or the UCD Veterinary Hospital.
  • practical sessions  that will teach students a range of skills invaluable to cattle practitioners, for example body condition scoring, locomotion scoring, teat scoring, recent developments in reproductive ultrasonography for cattle.

Curricular information is subject to change

Part Time option suitable for:

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

The programme is designed to offer busy veterinarians the opportunity to participate in part-time education and enjoy the benefit of:

• Studying online at a time and place that suits your needs,
• Joining an online community to exchange knowledge and ideas,
• Working in groups online to solve a range of current herd problems,
• Applying new learning experiences to professional practice.

The Irish dairy industry currently enjoys a reputation for good standards of animal welfare, an environmentally friendly production system and safe food products.  In order to ensure good standards of dairy cow welfare, safe food products and profitable production systems are sustained in future, it is important that cattle veterinary practitioners continue to educate themselves in the area of dairy herd health.  This is even more important when it is considered that Irish dairy producers are currently advised to increase in scale following the abolition of milk quotas in 2015.  The aim of the programme is to equip bovine practitioners with the necessary skills to implement Herd Health and Production Management programmes on dairy farms.  This programme has been developed in response to requests from practising veterinarians in Ireland, but it is also taken by some international students.  The development of this programme is also in keeping with the forthcoming mandatory requirement of the Veterinary Council of Ireland for all registered veterinary practitioners to engage in Continuing Veterinary.  The programme is run 95% online with a 5% face to face element.

  • Assess the role of disease in milk quality including the microbiology and pathophysiology of mastitis, the interaction with milking machine function / technique and mastitis control principles
  • Compare and contrast the principal factors contributing to dairy cow lameness
  • Conduct and critically evaluate a dairy herd health investigation or monitoring exercise in any relevant area
  • Critically discuss and debate the principles involved in preventing enteric and respiratory diseases of calves
  • Critically discuss and debate the role played by herd health and production management in sustainable, profitable dairy farming systems that produce high quality safe food in a manner consistent with good dairy cow welfare
  • Design and evaluate costings of a herd health problem
  • Discuss and assess the role played by dairy cow nutrition in disease prevention and producer profitability
  • Discuss relevant infectious diseases and compare and contrast their control strategies in dairy cattle
  • Discuss the multifactorial nature of periparturient disease and infertility

View All Modules Here

Each week students will be expected to contribute to a range of online-learning activities; this will require approximately 10-12 hours of work per week.

The learning activities will involve contributing to an online community to discuss relevant topics in the area of Dairy Herd Health e.g. providing examples of farm data, summaries of herd problems, accounts of successful or unsuccessful husbandry protocols (or other relevant information). The use of an online community discussion forum that will have a predetermined tutor input will assist in creating a truly innovative educational experience for participants. The use of problem based learning will ensure that participants are exposed to relevant case study material in an environment where their peer’s views and their own can be discussed to the benefit of all.

Finally, it is envisaged that some material will be taught by e-lectures, these will contain a synopsis of recent information of tried and tested protocols for herd investigations in all key areas that are used routinely by UCD Dairy Herd Health.  

GradCert Dairy Herd Health (X389) Part Time
EU          Year 1 - € 3600
nonEU    Year 1 - € 3600
EU          Year 2 - € 1190 aa
nonEU    Year 2 - € 1190 aa

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2021 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2020/21
***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

Applicants must possess a degree in Veterinary medicine that is registerable with the Veterinary Council of Ireland ( 

Non-UCD Graduates must provide transcripts of degree(s).

International applicants must demonstrate proof of English proficiency. 
If English is not your native language and unless you have completed your primary degree through English, an English language qualification is required (e.g. IELTS/TOEFL). 
IELTS – an overall score of 6.0 IELTS (90-100 Internet Based) 
TOEFL – 550 on the paper-based test TOEFL (213 on Computer Based)

An extensive induction to learning online will be provided, however applicants will also require:
1. Broadband Access
2. Access to a computer
3. Basic IT skills (e.g. the ability to browse the internet, use email and word processing applications etc.)