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Health Systems Management

The Health System is a complex dynamic environment where the distinct interdisciplinary skill sets of a large variety of health and other professionals are harnessed to provide an integrated, interprofessional service that meets a diverse range of healthcare needs. The effective management of any part of this system requires an understanding of the interdependencies of the various departments, services and organisations and a knowledge of systems theory and organisational change. Managers also need to understand the wider healthcare environment including policy formulation, healthcare financing, economics, knowledge mobilisation and information systems and healthcare regulation.

This programme, taught by the Health Systems Group at UCD, takes a systems approach, enabling students to compare and contrast key components of different types of health systems in order to develop the knowledge and skill set to be effective and innovative healthcare leaders and managers. The programme also includes contributions from experienced policymakers and senior managers in healthcare, thus providing a practical focus for learning and ensuring that students are kept up-to-date with the latest developments in the health system. The interdisciplinary focus of the programme helps develop health systems managers who are capable of collaborating across professional and organisational boundaries to provide high quality, integrated, person-centred care.

Who is this programme for?
The programme is aimed at all health and other professionals who are in a position to influence system-wide improvements in healthcare, regardless of their managerial or professional level. However, preference will be given to applicants who have a broader range of health service experience and to those who have already held leadership, policy and planning, strategy development or organisational change positions. The programme aims to change how participants think about and deliver healthcare, enabling them to take a long-term systems perspective that leads to better decisions and more innovative solutions to challenging and complex health system problems.

Programme objectives:
The aim of this programme is to increase participants understanding of health policy, health financing, and healthcare delivery models nationally and internationally. Through comparative analysis and learning from evidence and best practice, the programme encourages participants to consider alternative approaches and models for delivering healthcare and promoting population health and wellbeing. The programme is underpinned by systems theories that enable participants to appreciate the relationships and interactions between the elements that are the basis of all health systems. It explores micro, meso and macro-level examples of system problems and the design and implementation of evidence-based interventions to address such problems. Through critical analysis of cases and leader’s experiences it addresses key questions such as: What works? How and why does it work? How can we replicate, scale up and sustain policies and practices that work?

How will I benefit?
The programme will increase your knowledge and understanding of how health systems work and equip you with the skills to take on senior/strategic roles within the health system. The MSc Health Systems Management programme covers the fundamentals of professional management within a complex healthcare environment.

Entry requirements

Applicants must be employed in a management role while undertaking the programme.

Applications are made online through UCD Applications. ​Applicants may be required to undertake an interview (either face-to-face or via telecommunication) as part of the admission process.


2 years part-time

Number of credits

Total = 90

Careers or further progression

With your newly developed management and leadership skills, you can work in a health care environment in a number of areas including:
•Information Systems
•Human Resource Management
•Organisation Development/Change Management
•Practice Development

Further enquiries

Bernadette Manley
 Senior Executive Assistant
 B213, UCD Health Sciences Centre
 Tel: +353 1 716 6499

Academic Enquiries to:
Professor Thilo Kroll,
Professor in Health Systems Management
Programme Director
B225 UCD Health Sciences Centre
Tel: +353 1 716 6675

Subjects taught

This is a two academic year part time programme, with two semesters in Year One and two semesters in Year Two. Assessments are varied (assignments, short examination questions, MCQ, case presentation, practical examination) and occur at intervals throughout and at the end of the semesters.

Year 1 (50 ECTS):

Semester 1:
•Leadership and Organisational Dynamics (10 ECTS)
•Budgeting & Finances in Healthcare (10 ECTS)
•Health Policy & Health Systems (10 ECTS)

Semester 2:
•Information Systems and Security (10 ECTR) OR Clinical Governance (10 ECTS)
•Health Economics (10 ECTS) OR Management in Action (10 ECTS)

Year 2 (40 ECTR)

Students can chose Pathway 1 or Pathway 2.
Pathway 1

Semester 1:
•Health Policy and Systems Research 1 (10 ECTS)
•Empirical Study (30 ECTS)

•Action Research (20 ECTS) AND Implementation Science and Researching Change (10 ECTS)

Semester 2:
•Cont. Empirical Study (30 ECTS)

•Cont. Action Research (20 ECTS) AND Implementation Science and Researching Change (10 ECTS)

Pathway 2

Year Long:
•Empirical Study (30 ECTS)

•Action Research (20 ECTS) AND Implementation Sciences and Researching Change (10 ECTS)

Semester 1
•Quality and PT Safety and Outcomes (10 ECTS)


Semester 2
•Management in Action (10 ECTS)

Application date

• Academic Transcripts including date and grading of Degree award (non UCD only)
• Copy of Birth Certificate or Personal Pages of Passport (non UCD only)
• Professional Reference Form
• Evidence of proficiency in English language (applicants whose first language is not English)

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: September 2017

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