Health & Society

University College Cork

Health & Society

Course Outline
Health and wellbeing are critical issues in society and at UCC we have addressed this with our MA in Health & Society. This is an innovative joint programme, led by the Department of Philosophy, the School of Public Health, and the Department of Economics, which examines health and its social and policy determinants from a rich interdisciplinary perspective.

Our MA programme is aimed at graduates from a broad range of disciplines in the medical sciences, economics, and humanities and is designed to provide a unique and critical analysis of contemporary discourses on health from an individual, societal and global perspective. This course is about health, but not exclusively healthcare, as health is both a medical and a social issue. We ask you to explore health from a variety of different angles and to this end bring together health experts from a vast range of disciplines and colleges, including medicine, epidemiology, philosophy, economics, sociology, social policy, and law.

Course Practicalities
Please consult the UCC University Calendar (MA Health & Society) for further programme details.

Postgraduate Certificate in Health & Society (NFQ Level 9, Minor Award)
Students who pass taught modules to the value of at least 30 credits (but less than 60 credits) may exit the programme and be conferred with a Postgraduate Certificate in Health & Society.

Postgraduate Diploma in Health & Society (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)
Students who pass taught modules to the value of 60 credits may exit the programme and be conferred with a Postgraduate Diploma in Health & Society.

Course Practicalities
There are be approximately 9 hours of lectures/seminars per week. Students will be expected to conduct on average 20 hours of reading per week, on top of the time spent in class.

Subjects taught

This is a full-time programme running for 12 months or part-time over 24 months from the date of first registration. In total, you choose 90 credits comprising core modules and modules from your chosen pathway:

Public Health

All students take 30 credits of core modules and 10 credits of mandatory modules from their chosen pathway along with elective postgraduate or undergraduate modules. See below for the breadth of modules on offer.

Core Modules (30 credits)

EH6025 Principles and Practice of Public Health (10 credits)
PH6047 Philosophy and Health (10 credits)
EC6049 Healthcare Economics (10 credits)

Philosophy Pathway

With a background in philosophy
PH6053 Professional Ethics: Advanced (10 credits) or PH6054 Measuring Society: Growth, Poverty, Inequality, and Human Capital (10 credits) or PH6057 Philosophy and the Biological Health Sciences (10 credits)

With no background in philosophy
PH2002 Reasoning and Argument (5 credits) and PH2019 Philosophy of Science (5 credits) or PH2028 Applied Ethics (5 credits)

Public Health Pathway
EH6026 Applied Research for Public Health (10 credits)

Economics Pathway

With a background in econometrics
EC2100 Microeconomics: Behaviour and Organisations (5 credits) and EC6062 Applied Econometrics (5 credits)

With no background in econometrics
EC2100 Microeconomics: Behaviour and Organisations (5 credits) and EC3143 Quantitative Methods for Economic Investigation: Empirical Econometrics (5 credits)

Postgraduate Elective Modules

AP6129 Health Psychology (5 credits)
EH6026 Applied Research for Public Health (10 credits)
LW6546 Juvenile Justice (10 credits)
LW6549 International Children's Rights (10 credits)
LW6592 Mental Capacity Law (5 credits)
PH6012 Human Rights I (10 credits)
PH6048 The Philosophy of Death and Dying (10 credits)
PH6052 Advanced Moral Psychology (10 credits)
PH6053 Professional Ethics: Advanced (10 credits)
PH6054 Measuring Society: Growth, Poverty, Inequality, and Human Capital (10 credits)
PH6057 Philosophy and the Biological Health Sciences (10 credits)
SS6019 Critical Public Health (10 credits)
EC6073 Economic Decision Making in Healthcare (5 credits)
EC6619 Scenario Planning for Strategic Decision Making (5 credits)


AP3126 Health Psychology: Models and Applications (5 credits)
EH4005 Health Services (5 credits)
PH2002 Reasoning and Argument (5 credits)
PH2019 Philosophy of Science (5 credits)
PH2028 Applied Ethics (5 credits)
PH3046 Philosophy of Biology (5 credits)
PH3047 Evidence (5 credits)
SC1011 Sociology of Health, Public Health and Health Promotion (5 credits)
SC3025 Health and Scientific Deviance (5 credits)
SS3016 Social Perspectives in Mental Health (5 credits)
SS3024 Social Movements and Health (5 credits)
SS4000 Science, Technology and Public Controversy (5 credits)
EC3157 Public Finance Projects (5 credits)
EC2018 Economics Journey Through Life Decisions (5 credits)

Dissertation Modules (30 credits)

Philosophy Pathway: PH6050 Dissertation in Philosophy and Health (30 credits) or PH6059 Work-Based Dissertation in Philosophy and Health (30 credits)
Public Health Pathway: EH6040 Dissertation in Public Health and Epidemiology (30 credits)
Economics Pathway: EC6074 Dissertation in Economics and Health (30 credits)


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our Book of Modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ Level 8) in either the disciplines of Philosophy, Public Health, Economics, Sociology, Social Science, Geography, Government, Politics, Law, Medicine, Nursing and other health professional programmes.

Candidates who hold less than a Second Class Honours Grade I may also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), following a review of their individual qualifications and experience and based on the information provided in a supplementary statement and/or interview acceptable to the Department selection committee. Admission of such applicants will be subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland
Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants
For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.

Application dates

The closing date for non-EU applications is 30 June 2023

How Do I Apply
1. Check Dates: Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.

2. Gather Documents: Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply Online: Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.
Additional Requirements (All Applicants)
Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning, and professional training relevant to this programme.

Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

Please enter the names and email addresses of two referees.


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
Students will acquire a variety of analytical skills, which will allow them to analyse health from many different perspectives. By the end of the course, students will be expected to demonstrate in-depth expertise in relation to epidemiological, economic, and philosophical factors which contribute to health and well-being.

Our MA will enhance opportunities for you to work in the health sector, at all levels. The MA in Health & Society will potentially educate future decision-makers in health policy, managerial staff working in the health sector, journalists who report on health policies, advocates for people and populations with special health vulnerabilities, and others. Careers in the private sector, especially pharmaceutical companies, is another route that our graduates can take. This MA will also open research opportunities in public health, health economics, and the medical humanities.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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    Course provider