GradCert Strategy, Leadership & Innovation in Healthcare

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 30)

The next intake is in September 2025. 

The Graduate Certificate in Strategy, Leadership & Innovation in Healthcare is one of a number of programmes offered by the UCD IRIS Centre for Interdisciplinary, Research, Innovation & Education in Health Systems. 

It is a 30-ECTS-credit, QQI Level 9 interdisciplinary programme. The programme is offered over one academic year, every two years.  

These modules contribute 30 ECTS credits towards UCD's MSc in Leadership, Innovation and Management for Healthcare. Holders of the Graduate Certificate can complete the MSc by successfully completing a further 60 ECTS credits of study. 

The programme will contribute to your personal and professional development by introducing you to ways of identifying, analysing, critiquing and evaluating 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, organisational and team contexts.

You will be prepared to become 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.

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 Graduate Certificate in Strategy, Leadership & Innovation in Healthcare will appeal to healthcare professionals seeking a rigorous and comprehensive introduction to important principles and concepts to inform their leadership and management practice. 

Holders of the Graduate Certificate can complete the MSc by successfully completing a further 60 ECTS credits of study. 

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

  • Strategy design and implementation
  • Clinical leadership and management
  • Innovation 
  • Practice development
  • Education
  • Management and administration

The Graduate Certificate 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
  • 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

View All Modules Here

The 2025/2026 Timetable will be available in April 2025.

The programme comprises three 10-ECTS-credit modules:

Trimester 1 (Sept to Dec 2025):

NMHS 44200: Health Systems and Health Policy

NMHS 44190: Global Health Landscape and Leadership

Trimester 2 (Jan to May 2026):

NMHS 44210: Enhancing Strategic and Innovative Capacity in Health Systems

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 so early application is advised. 

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.

GradCert Strategy, Leadership & Innovation in Healthcare (X872) Part Time
EU          fee per credit - € 167.4
nonEU    fee per credit - € 323.33

***Fees are subject to change


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."

"From 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:

Grad Cert Strategy, Leadership & Innovation in Healthcare PT (X872)
1 Years
Part Time

This programme runs every two years and the next intake is September 2025. You may be interested in X964 Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Quality in Health Systems as an alternative.

Does this programme have an official conferring ceremony?

Please note there is no online or in-person conferring ceremony for this programme. Your parchment will be posted to you by UCD Conferring.