MSc Leadership, Innovation & Management for Healthcare

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

This interdisciplinary programme is taught by faculty from the UCD IRIS Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, Innovation and Health Systems and takes a systems and design thinking approach to develop your capabilities in leadership, strategy, innovation, management, quality and process improvement across a range of healthcare settings. 

How will I benefit?

The programme will contribute to your personal and professional development by enabling you to identify, analyse, critique and evaluate the ways in which you and your colleagues currently lead and manage. You will acquire the capacity to locate ways of leading and managing within relevant conceptual frameworks and to situate them in systems, policy, organisational and team contexts.

You will be prepared to be a more responsive, effective and resilient leader and manager who thinks and practices strategically and innovatively to improve patients' and colleagues' experiences of the health system.

You will be equipped with theories, concepts, models, frameworks, tools, techniques and research findings that will enable you to develop a deep appreciation of how the health system works and how you can maximise yours and your colleagues' contribution to it. 

Careers & Employability

The knowledge, understandings and skills acquired throughout the programme will prepare you to make a significant contribution as a leader and manager in a number of areas and at many levels in the health system, including:

  • Organisational development
  • Strategy design and implementation
  • Policy design and implementation
  • Quality and service improvement
  • Clinical leadership and management
  • Innovation 
  • Practice development
  • Education
  • Management and administration

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's interdisciplinary, applied and experiential focus will appeal to healthcare professionals at all levels and in all settings within the health system who wish to think and practice strategically and innovatively to foster collaboration across traditional boundaries to deliver safe, high-quality, responsive, integrated and person-centred care.

Graduates of the UCD Graduate Certificate in Process Improvement in Health Systems can complete the MSc by taking an additional 50 ECTS credits of study over two years.

Graduates of the UCD Professional Certificate in Process Improvement can complete the MSc by taking an additional 80 ECTS credits over three years.

If you wish to discuss the programme in advance of application, you are welcome to contact the Programme Director, Professor Martin McNamara

The programme aims to:

  • enhance awareness of the ways in which you and others practice leadership and management
  • develop an appreciation of the contribution of systems and design thinking to your practice
  • enable you to acquire and apply knowledge to improve the systems and processes that underpin the delivery of safe, high-quality, responsive, integrated and person-centred care
  • enhance your understanding the nature of health policy formulation and implementation nationally and globally 
  • develop and strengthen your strategic sensing capabilities in order to enhance strategic capacity, engagement and alignment in your organisation
  • develop and strengthen your creative, innovative and knowledge management capabilities
  • enhance you capacity to develop colleagues leadership and management potential 

View All Modules Here

The MSc in Leadership, Innovation and Management is a 90 ECTS credit, QQI Level 9, part-time, modular and interdisciplinary programme taken over three years. 

Download the 2024/2025 Timetable.

For students commencing the programme from September 2024.

YEAR 1 (2024-25)

Trimester 1 (Sept to Dec):

  • NMHS 32280: Improving Processes in Health Systems
  • NMHS 42700: Quality, Patient Safety and Outcomes 

Trimester 2 (Jan to April):

  • NMHS 43830: Collective Leadership and Effective Teamwork

YEAR 2 (2025-26)

Trimester 1 (Sept to Dec):

  • NMHS 44200: Health Policy and Health Systems 
  • NMHS 44190: Global Health Landscape and Leadership

Trimester 2 (Jan to April):

  • NMHS 44210: Enhancing Strategic and Innovative Capacity in Health Systems

YEAR 3 (2026-27)

  • NMHS 43400: Managing Process Improvement Theory & Principles 


  • NMHS 43810: Implementing a Process Improvement Project (year long) 


  • NMHS44020: MSc Dissertation: Evidence Synthesis or Translation

Graduates of the UCD Graduate Certificate in Process Improvement in Health Systems can complete the MSc by taking an additional 50 ECTS credits of study over two years.

Graduates of the UCD Professional Certificate in Process Improvement can complete the MSc by taking an additional 80 ECTS credits over three years.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The programme is delivered through blended learning, entailing face-to-face and online learning supported by Brightspace, UCD's virtual learning environment (VLE).

There is a particular emphasis on experiential learning and on the application of learning to students' professional practice contexts through a range of activities. To optimise student engagement and participation, class sizes are limited to 25 students. Therefore early application is recommended.

The teaching and learning methods include tutorials, workshops, faculty and peer-led seminars, and group work.  Continuous assessment methods include project work, class presentations, student-led seminars, posters and assignments. There are no examinations.

MSc Leadership, Innovation & Management for Healthcare (X839) Part Time
EU          fee per credit - € 167.5

***Fees are subject to change

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

• EU fees information

• Non-EU fees information

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:

• General information about UCD Fees

  • Applicants will normally hold an NQF Level 8 academic award but consideration will be given to applicants with relevant and appropriate qualifications and experience working in the health system
  • Experience in a management and/or leadership role is desirable
  • A willingness to explore your own leadership and management practices and their impact on the systems in which you work is essential.

You are welcome to contact the Programme Director, Professor Martin McNamara ( to discuss the programme and its suitability for you before you make your application.

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.

Since they began in 2017, our programmes in Leadership, Innovation and Management have received consistently positive evaluations from students.

Below are extracts from students' evaluations

"Expands concept of innovation and belief in your own innovation capacity

"Enjoyable, real eye-opener, highly recommend" - "Everyone should take this course"

"Opens the mind to new learning, gave me a language to voice my learning" - "Good class interaction and comradeship"

"Good team learning, high trust developed within group" - "Interesting materials and discussions"  - "Interactive learning, not traditional lecturing"

"Thank you for taking me on this amazing journey"

"Great course to open the mind to new ways of thinking, has made me think more positively about strategy and future"

"I look at my practice differently now" - "Everyone should be involved in strategy so everyone should take this course"

"Makes you think!" - "Broad coverage of topics, challenges assumptions, useful frameworks for future use"

"Good networking, great group, benefit of multidisciplinary group membership" - "The diversity of group was good. Different grades and professions brought different perspectives to discussions"

"Positive educational experience that can be used in practical terms" - "Great discussions"

"I have really learned so much in this course, which has changed the way I work and I approach work in a different way now"

"I learned the true concept of innovation and the tools needed to apply learning" - "Really interesting content, thoroughly enjoyed"

"Interactive, engaging and challenging module" - "Very interesting course, stimulating" - "Very good course, well presented"

"Relevant to practice" - "Opportunity to network and learn from other students"

"Lots of fun along the way!" - '"Course allows you to think outside the box and be really innovative"

"Challenges you to think differently, look at processes, services, dilemmas in a different way. Gives structure, tools to support innovation."

"Have met some great people on this course" - "I developed a really in-depth learning of key concepts...unlocks potential"

"Learned some very interesting concepts"

"Makes you broaden your thinking" - "Has opened my eyes to systems thinking, challenged my thinking"

"Thought-provoking, applicable to real world, new ideas and theories"

"Learned a new way of communicating using theories and concepts learned in class, empowered to back up plans and ideas"

"This course helped a lot in terms of looking at the organisational system, by understanding the theory and putting it into practice"

"Important subject matter that addresses a huge gap in the health system - huge learning"  - "Content very interesting"

"Blended learning approach much more engaging than didactic teaching approach" 

"Interesting concepts explored, have gained a good understanding of strategy, stepped outside my comfort

zone with class presentations and discussions"

"Opens up dialogue and strategic thinking, recommend module, sets out the tools for change and transformation"

"The teaching and reading provided during this course has changed my perspective on leadership, and particularly strategic leadership, forever."

"During the process of learning this course, I have come across various concepts which I believe if introduced and appropriately applied to healthcare organizations would result in positive long-lasting changes in the system"

"The programme dealt with key leadership concepts that can help to address and combat barriers to improved care and if adopted and applied could radically impact and transform the way healthcare systems operate leading to a future of multiple far-reaching transformative possibilities and opportunities."

"One of the most powerful lessons gleaned from the study of strategic leadership was to understand myself and my role within the organisation. My attitudes, values and beliefs have the ability to impact on how others react within the organisational environment.  How I carry myself, respond to others and situations in context will determine how objectives will be met and goals achieved.  Perceptions of myself and how others perceive me will also impact on leadership style. I must acknowledge that my values and habits have the capacity to limit my leadership style.  The ability to reflect and get a sense of perspective in the midst of change will assist with persistence and resilience."

"As a health care professional studying this course, I was able to understand my individual contribution through engagement and collaboration with other members of the health system. Moreover, studying the concepts in this course broadened my perspectives as an individual and views myself in others’ context, my dynamic roles in my organization and the complex and diverse healthcare system."

"I feel that I have learnt a lot from engaging with the materials and readings, and am committed to introducing the lessons learned into my own organisation and practice as a strategic leader."

"This module has really challenged me to think differently about my leadership."

"So much learning that took place in the classroom environment where open and sense-making dialogue occurred during each workshop. The course leader role modelled facilitation of 360° view and not just our own narrow perspective through questions, journals, books, web sites, videos and encouraged me to be innovative in my thinking and application of my learning."

"The course provides practical guidance on how we can improve relationships with each other, ultimately resulting in increased organisational success, avoidance of stress and burnout, while improving job satisfaction."

"Personally, I feel that the greatest lesson I have learned from this course is awareness of the many facets involved in strategic leadership as a concept and as a practice."

"The concepts have given me a more in-depth understanding of the demands of leadership in an organisation. They have also increased my consciousness of the various reactions I, or my colleagues, may have to certain situations and this has allowed me to pre-empt possibly negative responses and adapt to and overcome these challenges."

"Fom my engagement with this course, I came to realise that our greatest needs within the healthcare system are visionary, effective, and wise leaders."

"Ever since the engagement of my studies, it has become more evident that every day can be a powerful opportunity to show others the leadership behaviours and values that we believe in"

"This course helped me to acquire extensive information about strategic leadership which aided me to improve my leadership style, while also coaching and mentoring teams to promote individual and organizational changes."

"The course on Innovations in Healthcare- Local and Global was an eye-opening learning experience for me that innovation creates opportunities and is critical for the survival, economic growth, and success of an organization."

"Many thanks for a well-resourced programme...I found it both invigorating and frustrating studying and working in an organisation that could benefit from  some of the material we covered."

"I am confident as a result of this course… that some of my learning … can be consolidated into a constructive platform for a more client-centric service."

"Now that we know what we can achieve in a time of a crisis and given the concepts that have been explored in this programme an opportunity now presents itself to us to redesign our model of healthcare through innovation at its core and to view the future of healthcare in a more optimistic light."

"Taking on this course, made me realise that innovation is not just a simple change of practice, it has wider aspiration for a wider vision, goals and objectives as a thinker, worker and professional with an aspiration to deliver services of a high quality especially in my profession as a healthcare provider."

"Prior to commencing this programme, I believed that my area of work was forward thinking and open to innovation, however I can now see that it is a forward-thinking area that has not developed strategy to carry out innovation initiatives."

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Leadership, Innovation & Management for Healthcare PT (X839)
3 Years
Part Time

We advise early application as only 25 places are available on most MSc modules.

Applications are made online through UCD Applications. ​

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