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Palliative Care

Develop your professional skills in palliative and end of life care. This course will enhance your knowledge, skills, and competence for caring for patients who have palliative and end of life needs. Learn how to provide compassionate and personcentred care and get the confidence to help advance professional development to address the constantly changing palliative care demands.

The PGCert is awarded after completing 60 credits and the PGDip after completing 120 credits.

For the PGDip there are four compulsory modules: Principles of palliative and end of life care; Loss, grief and bereavement; Therapeutic communication skills for health and social care professionals; and Advanced methods in research and development in health and social care. You can then choose optional modules including: Personcentred practice; Leadership in professional practice; Professional decision making and accountability; and Advanced knowledge in symptom management in palliative care.

To gain the Masters award, a further 60 credits must be completed in the form of a dissertation project.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold a primary degree, or equivalent, or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.

In addition to the above, applicants should normally have:

a. successfully completed an undergraduate research module (or equivalent learning)

b. an appropriate qualification relevant to the programme; health professionals must hold UK Registration

c. current experience with patients relevant to the palliative care programme;


d. provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.



This course is delivered part-time.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Successful completion of the programme would enable individuals to advance within

their chosen field of palliative and end of life care. It would also be helpful for those seeking to develop their existing professional practice and to take on leadership roles.

Further enquiries



Karen McCarroll

T: +44 (0)28 9036 8983


Dr Wendy Cousins

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6185


Subjects taught

Year one

Loss, grief and bereavement

This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with theories of loss, grief and bereavement and to apply this knowledge into practice. The content focuses on loss and bereavement across the life span and explores appropriate interventions to facilitate grief and complicated grief. It will encourage the development of evidence based strategies to promote person centred-care. Assessment is by 100% coursework..

Therapeutic Communication Skills for Health and Social Care Professionals

This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with theories of communication and to apply this knowledge to the development of advanced communication skills within health and social care practice. It will encourage the development of evidence-based communication strategies to promote compassionate person-centred care. Assessment is by 100% coursework.

Principles of Palliative & End of Life Care

This module aims to develop students' knowledge in palliative and end of life care, enabling them to gain a wider strategic understanding in order for them to provide quality person-centred care. It emphasises the principles and philosophy of palliative and end of life care and the need for an inter-disciplinary approach to service delivery. The module incorporates a variety of teaching approaches. Method of assessment is 100% coursework.

Person-centered Practice

This module is optional

This module focuses on person-centred nursing as a form of practice that holds central the personhood of everyone involved in health and social care - staff, service users and care partners. This module focuses on how person-centred concepts and theories are applied in nursing, public health and palliative care contexts. The module will be underpinned by the Person-centred nursing Framework of McCormack & McCance (2010), a theoretical framework that will enhance understanding of person-centredness and its translation into practice.

Year two

Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care

This module builds upon previous study of research methods and enables students to develop and apply theoretical and scientific knowledge and problem solving skills, extending their understanding of the philosophical and practical aspects of research, service evaluation and practice development. In particular, it examines quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research designs for collecting, recording, analysing and interpreting data with the ultimate goal of further developing their research and development skills.

Leadership in Professional Practice

This module is optional

This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with theories of leadership and to apply this knowledge to leadership in healthcare practice. It will encourage the development of effective leadership strategies, based on best evidence to meet the challenges faced by healthcare professionals and promote the development of cultures of compassionate leadership. Assessment is by presentation, discourse and coursework

Professional Decision Making and Accountability

This module is optional

This module develops students' understanding of the major components and complexities of professional decision making and accountability and the central role this plays in the design, delivery and evaluation of safe and effective compassionate care for people within services in hospital and community settings. Within the module. students will critically analyse the relationships between professional decision-making, accountability, governance and patient safety within an interdisciplinary context. Assessment is by coursework.

Advanced knowledge in symptom management in Palliative Care

This module is optional

This module will develop the capacity to critically engage with complex symptom management and to apply this knowledge and skills to the development of advanced symptom control from a pharmacological and non-pharmacological perspective. lt emphasises the palliation of pain and other symptoms and the application of an evidence based holistic person centred approach. The module Incorporates a variety of teaching approaches.

Year three

MSc research project

This is a required component of a programme leading to a MSc. The student completes, under supervision, a research proposal with successful submission to appropriate ethics committee/s and completes a research project which makes a contribution to the knowledge base for professional practice. This is assessed by coursework.

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 20 February 2020

Register at:

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