GradCert Process Improvement in Health Systems

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 40)

Process and Quality improvement in healthcare using the Model for Improvement, Lean, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, and Person-centred improvement sciences. Enabling you to practice at the level of a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt within the Health System.

Internationally, many healthcare organisations are successfully using process and quality improvement methodologies to streamline processes, reduce cost, and most importantly improve the quality, experience of, and timely delivery of services to patients. When applied rigorously and throughout an entire healthcare organisation, improvement methodologies can have a positive impact on patients, their relatives, and staff. Although many improvement methodologies were developed in industry, health care is, in fact, a service industry, delivering care in extraordinarily complex organisations, with thousands of interacting processes. Many aspects of improvement methodologies, therefore, can and do apply to the processes of delivering care. Graduates of this programme have applied their learning successfully to improve experiences and outcomes for staff and patients in areas as diverse as Stroke Thrombolysis, Stroke Therapy, Patient Scheduling, Procurement, Data coding, ward, and unit design, Rehabilitation, Hip Fracture Pathways, Pharmacy, Pathology, Radiology, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Oncology, and Community Health.

Download Course Brochure here.

Selected Graduate and Faculty Publications

Did you know that a number of students actively publish research in their chosen area from this programme. View a list of the latest Selected Graduate and Faculty Publications here.

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

This interdisciplinary programme, open to all healthcare staff at all levels and in all settings within the health system,  builds on the Professional Certificate Process Improvement in Health Systems and is designed to prepare the student for implementing and leading on a process or quality improvement throughout their healthcare organisation. It lays the groundwork for building a healthcare transformation by training the student in researching, innovating, co-designing, and implementing solutions, and leading on change in their own organisation. The programme focuses on both the theoretical principles of process improvement and the mentored implementation of a Process Improvement Project in their own practice setting.  The programme has welcomed students from over 50 healthcare institutions across all hospital groups and Community Healthcare Organisations in Ireland.

Integral to our approach to improvement is our aim to align our programmes with the principles of Person-centredness that contribute to Person-centred cultures.

Graduates of this programme can choose to top-up their qualification to be awarded a MSc in Leadership, Innovation and Management for Healthcare (90 ECTS credits).

Indicative learning outcomes: on completion the student will be able to:

  • Lead on process and quality improvement initiatives as an engaged and informed process improvement practitioner.
  • Demonstrate and teach process improvement principles, methods, and tools to optimise care delivery and support processes.
  • Utilise advanced improvement methodologies and tools to optimise care delivery and support processes.
  • Be a skilled practitioner of implementation science and researching change in their own organisation.
  • Carry out healthcare research to support and underpin organisational process and quality improvement projects.
  • Manage complex healthcare processes.
  • Evidence knowledge and understanding of problem-solving principles, tools and techniques to deliver project outcomes.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyse and draw conclusions from data using analytical and statistical techniques.
  • Demonstrate, through developing and leading a solo project understanding of the effectiveness of the process improvement methodology in healthcare.
  • Deliver Value Add for patients, staff, and customers.
  • Demonstrate the ability to overcome resistance to change in an organisation through effective communication with and influencing of key stakeholders utilising innovative and robust approaches to process improvement.

View All Modules Here


The programme is currently delivered via blended learning.

  • Half-day Graduate Orientation (Trimester 1) - Online via Zoom
  • 9 days lecture attendance (Trimesters 1-3) - Online via Zoom
  • Time for self-directed learning, research, data analysis and Project development
  • Mentor meetings - Online or in-person by agreement with mentor

Attendance dates 2024/25

The dates for 2024/25 are:

Graduate Orientation: September: Date to be confirmed

Trimester 1 (2024)

(all classes are Monday’s) 10:00-16:00


23rd Sept

30th September

7th October

21st October

4th November

Trimester 2 (2025)


27th Jan

3rd March

Trimester 3 (2025)


19th May

23rd June

Final improvement project submission 25th August 2025

GradCert Process Improvement in Health Systems (X963) 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:

Healthcare Professionals should have completed the Professional Certificate Process Improvement in Health Systems or equivalent with UCD or another accredited provider to Level 8.

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.


Dolores Donegan, Programme Manager, RCSI Hospital Group

"The programme has been a great learning experience. It has provided solid tools to facilitate teams across the organisation to critically examine current practice, enabling the teams to work together to design and implement new ways of working."


Ailish Daly, Director of Education, Innovation and Rehabilitation, Beacon Hospital

"A practical, immersive programme delivering skills to support system wide view of process improvement in healthcare. This programme puts theory to practice with students translating classroom learning to practical service improvement initiatives. Completing this programmme has greatly enhanced my skills in leading improvement projects in an acute healthcare setting."


Dee Shanahan, Electronic Health Record Senior Project Manager (PAS) at Children's Health Ireland

"Participation in the UCD programme has substantially improved my understanding of service improvement. Since completion, the programme has afforded me daily with the knowledge, skills and tools to enable me to carry out a leadership role when assessing with a team the large-scale problems at hand. The confidence I gained from the programme has assisted my facilitating and leading a multi-disciplinary team in systematically removing non value add healthcare waste and reducing variation in some very complex problems."


Maria Creed, Operations Manager, Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Renal, Endocrinology and Diabetes Directorate

"The programme is an excellent opportunity to obtain recognised quality improvement training which is tailored to the pace of staff working in active healthcare roles. The chance to work on meaningful healthcare projects with the availability of UCD expertise to steer project development makes this programme unique."


Kieran McDonnell, Administration Team Manager, Health and Social Care Professions Directorate

"A fantastic opportunity to learn about improvement systems and methodologies. As well as learning principles and theory I have also had an opportunity to lead on a collaborative improvement project. It has been of great benefit to see the theories learned put into practice and see the impact first hand of implementing improvement methodologies on a process."


Erin Daly, Operations Manger, The Pillar Centre for Transformative Healthcare

"A thought provoking and engaging programme that has enabled me to gather the necessary change management tools to generate sustainable and meaningful improvements in a healthcare setting. Through a series of interactive workshops, individual assignments and team exercises I have realised the far reaching applications and everyday uses of improvement methodologies. This effective and motivational learning experience was further enhanced with the supportive mentorship of a dedicated mentor. I would highly recommend the Programme."

The following entry routes are available:

Grad Cert Process Improvement in Health Systems PT (X963)
1 Years
Part Time

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.