Positive Health

Why study positive health at RCSI Dublin?

RCSI is one of the world’s leading educational institutions in medicine and the health sciences. Today, the University is ranked in the top 250 universities worldwide and is in the top 50 for 'Good Health and Well-being Impact' (Times Higher Education Rankings 2022).

The RCSI Centre for Positive Health Sciences, established in 2019, is the first of its kind globally that integrates the emerging scientific discipline of positive psychology into lifestyle and integrative medicine. The Centre provides evidence-based resources to help enhance understanding of the critical role that behaviour plays in optimising health and well-being. In particular, we are interested in how the mind, brain and body interact in the context of maintaining health and wellness.

The Centre’s faculty are actively engaged in research to understand brain-body systems in health and disease and to apply the principles of positive psychology to optimising well-being and health. We are particularly interested in optimising health through public and academic education and by assisting organisations in the healthcare, educational and corporate sectors to foster well-being in their workforces. The faculty are also experienced in research and practice in psychology, immunology, pharmacology, physiotherapy, coaching, and lifestyle and integrative medicine.

Course details

Diseases of lifestyle are the leading causes of death in the modern world. According to the World Health Organisation, heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes are the world’s largest killers, accounting for an estimated 38 million deaths annually, with 16 million of these being premature. Lifestyle factors are heavily implicated in all these diseases and individuals can do a lot to prevent the development of such conditions. Research has increasingly focused on the role of psychological and behavioural factors in lifestyle-related diseases and has provided new opportunities for understanding and intervention in such conditions.

The Professional Diploma in Positive Health is a new accredited, interdisciplinary Postgraduate programme designed for health and allied professionals in the rapidly developing area of positive health. In this context, positive health relies on research outputs from the emerging disciplines of lifestyle/integrated medicine, as well as the emerging fields of positive psychology and positive organisational research. The Diploma is designed to complement your prior training and experience by introducing you to cutting-edge theory and research in the disciplines underpinning positive physical and mental health. You will consolidate your learning by directly applying your new knowledge and analytical skills to the work environment via practice-based module assignments.

Accredited by the National University of Ireland and RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, this level 9 programme is delivered over nine months using a blended learning format of online lectures, interactive webinars and group work, and is suitable for healthcare professionals and other professional groups, such as teachers, lawyers and managers, who need to develop an evidence-based understanding of positive health.

Subjects taught


• Module 1: Emerging Approaches to Health, Healthcare and Well-being

This module aims to introduce you to important new approaches to understanding and dealing with lifestyle-related diseases, with a particular emphasis on the emerging role of psychological factors in preventing and minimising disease and in maximising health and well-being. The module also aims to increase your self-awareness about the importance of psychological factors in relation to your own health and well-being. Credits: 10 ECTS

• Module 2: Prevention, Treatment and Sustainability in Health and Healthcare

This module is designed to provide you with an introduction to the pillars of lifestyle medicine (diet and nutrition; physical activity and sleep; mental health (including stress and psychosomatic illness, healthy relationships, and substance abuse) and how they relate to empirically-based practice designed to prevent lifestyle-related disease. The module also develops your capacity to critically evaluate research literature. Credits: 10 ECTS

• Module 3: Positive Health in Practice

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the major theories of behaviour change and self-management. It also explores the relationships between mind and body and considers a range of approaches and methods that can be used to foster individual and organisational practices conducive to optimising health and well-being. Credits: 10 ECTS

Entry requirements

To be eligible for the programme you must:

- Hold a level 7 or level 8 degree, or equivalent.

- Be working in a relevant sector (e.g. healthcare, allied health, education, law, HR, management or equivalent). As there is an emphasis on well-being of self and others, you should ideally be working in a setting where you can apply your learning.

If you do not hold a primary degree but have relevant prior learning or experience, there is a recognition of prior learning (RPL) pathway outlined below:

Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is defined as the process by which prior learning is given a value. It is a means by which prior learning is formally identified, assessed and acknowledged (NQAI, 2005).

RPL involves the assessment of knowledge, skills and competence previously acquired. Learning occurs in many contexts which include work, involvement in social and community activities, or learning through life experience generally. RPL does not give credit for experience as such; rather it considers the learning that was acquired as a result of the experience.

RPL may be used to gain:

- Admission to courses/programmes where a person may not have obtained the standard entry requirements

- Exemptions from course modules which duplicate the learning outcomes an individual has already demonstrably acquired through prior learning

- Advanced entry into a programme of study (i.e. into Year 2 or Year 3)/between programmes where normal entry would duplicate the learning outcomes an individual has already demonstrably acquired through prior learning.

If you believe that you qualify for RPL, you must first contact the programme director to discuss why you believe you qualify.?If the programme director agrees, you will need to submit an online application for your chosen programme.

If you wish to apply for recognition of prior learning, please complete the essay requirement as per assignment descriptor outlined on our website.


Delivery: Part-time

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time,Daytime

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    Course provider