Course Overview

Diabetes is a global health emergency with over 600 million people expected to have the condition by 2030, representing 10% of the world’s population. Therefore the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classed diabetes as an epidemic requiring urgent action for both prevention and management. This has been echoed in Irelands Health Service Executive national policy and clinical strategy for diabetes. It is a chronic metabolic condition that can cause significant cardiovascular morbidity and mortality if not managed correctly. Central to this management is controlling key physiological indices such as blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipid levels, as well as promoting health behaviours such as regular exercise, healthy eating and not smoking. Unfortunately achieving these biological targets and lifestyle goals is extremely challenging. Therefore given its growing prevalence and resulting impact on health care resources, there is an urgent need to provide specialist training in diabetes for clinicians and in particular nurses who are an integral part of the Diabetes Multidisciplinary Team. 

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate ethically sound decision making in relation to the care of patients living with diabetes        
  2. Demonstrate evidence based knowledge and skills in the care of patients with diabetes     
  3. Demonstrate the ability to contribute to the professional body of knowledge related to diabetes
  4. Advocate with other health care professionals for patients with diabetes    
  5. Assess risk and promote a safe environment and quality patient care          
  6. Contribute in multidisciplinary team planning          
  7. Contribute to the multidisciplinary team in the delivery of quality care for patients with diabetes

Scholarships Available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

All prospective candidates will be interviewed by telephone or Skype. Selection will be made by the program director in consultation with the head of school, on the basis of the applicant’s written application. To be considered for admission to the programme, applicants must meet the admission criteria outlined above. Applicants will be evaluated on the:

  • Applicant’s academic record
  • Applicant’s level of motivation and suitability based on his/her Personal Statement (submitted as part of the application)
Medical Diabetes Master’s

Please note, if you are interested in pursuing the Medical Diabetes Master’s, click here.

Course Application Closes Wednesday 28th August 2019

Who Teaches this Course

In addition to the faculty of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS), the Programme Board for the Masters of Health Sciences Diabetes play an active role in teaching on this course including:

Programme Director:
Prof  Derek O’Keeffe Consultant Endocrinologist UHG HSE, Professor, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway 

Programme Board:
Ms Helen Burke, ANP Diabetes, University Hospital Galway, HSE
Dr Maura Dowling, Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway
Prof Sean Dinneen, HSE Clinical Lead Diabetes, Consultant Endocrinologist UHG
Dr Eva Flynn, General Practitioner, Lecturer, School of Medicine, NUI Galway

Requirements and Assessment

Documentation required to complete application

  • A copy of current NMBI registration
  • Copies of academic transcripts from completed educational courses
  • Copies of official awards (parchments) from completed educational courses
  • Written commitment/memo of understanding or equivalent from the director of nursing/employer to support the student during the clinical practicum

The programme is delivered using a blended learning format, combining on-line learning and face-to-face workshops. In addition this course has a core clinical requirement. The course assessments therefore reflect this approach by using a combination of continuous assessment through examining the students’ online e-tivities, traditional essays, formal module exams, clinical portfolio review and assigned project activities.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

To be considered for entry to the programme applicants must meet the following entry requirements:

  • be registered as a general nurse
  • hold an active general nursing registration
  • have a minimum of one year’s post-registration experience

Applicants who do not hold an honours degree or postgraduate diploma (Level 9) may apply but must clearly demonstrate their capacity to complete a programme at this level, and must successfully undertake a minimum of one 10ECTS module (Level 9) offered as a Professional Credit Award. 

Candidates coming to Ireland from abroad or who do not have a degree from Ireland or the UK will be asked to provide evidence of an acceptable result in one of the recognized English language proficiency tests, e.g., IELTS total score of 6.5.

Additional Requirements


2 years, full-time

Next start date

September 2020

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

Please refer to the review/closing date website.

NFQ level

Mode of study

Blended learning (online and face-to-face workshops)

ECTS weighting



Course code

1DIN1 (MHSc); 1DIN9 (PDip)

Course Outline

This programme aims to prepare nurses to effectively contribute to diabetes nursing practice.  The essence of diabetes nursing is the provision of individualised care to patients with diabetes. Caring for patients with diabetes requires nurses to have specialist knowledge and skills that meet the physical, psychological, mental and social needs of patients and their relatives. The multi-faceted nature of nursing in diabetes care settings encompasses the whole spectrum of care, from prevention to diagnosis to treatment and chronic disease management and this course encompasses that ethos. 

The course is delivered through blended learning (online content and face to face workshops), with an attendance requirement of approximately 10 days per 4 month semester (please note some workshops may be scheduled at weekends). 

Year 1 is theoretical-/clinical-based and represents 60 ECTS credits which is equivalent to a Postgraduate Diploma Diabetes at completion (which students can exit with, if they wish, at the end of Year 1). Year 2 is research thesis based which builds on the knowledge and skills learned in Year 1 and represents 30 ECTS credits, thus providing a total of 90 ECTS (Year 1 & 2) which is the requirement for the awarding of a Masters Health Sciences Diabetes. 

Semester 1
GPN10            Diabetes (10 ECTS)                                                                                           
NU623            Clinical Governance: Supporting Safe Practice (10 ECTS)    
NU605            Recognising & Responding to Client Deterioration (10 ECTS)    
NU921            Clinical Competence 1 (0 ECTS)         

Semester 2
NU502            Advanced Research Methods (10 ECTS)                                             
NU6439         Service Improvement (10 ECTS)                                                               
HP 6101        Cardiovascular Health and Diabetes Prevention (10 ECTS)    
NU922           Clinical Competence 2 (0 ECTS) 

(Optional exit opportunity with PDip Diabetes or continue on for MHSc Diabetes.) 

Year 2

Semester 1 & Semester 2
NU6515          Research Dissertation (30 ECTS)                                                                     

Students’ clinical competency will be assessed by a practice portfolio (submitted end of Year 1 Semester 2).  Students also complete practice focused assignments throughout the whole of Year 1 programme [September to June]. In order to be eligible for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Diabetes) students must pass each module at 40% and pass the clinical practice portfolio.

The clinical practice component forms an integral part of the programme.  Students are required to attain at least 1,000 hours specialist practice experience of working and caring for patients with diabetes in a variety of environments over the programme. This includes consolidating the experiences and opportunities that are available in their own clinical environments. The student will be expected to engage in the assessment, planning, delivery and evaluation of care to patients with diabetes with the support of designated preceptor agreed on with the programme director.  To successfully meet the requirements of 1,000 hours of practice, the student will be required to work, for the duration of the first year of the programme, within practice settings that manage care for diabetes patients. If required, it may be possible to arrange clinical placements with the Diabetes Service at the University Hospital Galway which will cover the full spectrum of Diabetes Care.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
A module you may choose to study.
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (60 Credits)

Required GPN10: Diabetes

Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Diabetes is a postgraduate module offered to health care professionals as a component of Masters in Diabetes, Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Primary Care and also as a stand alone module.The main learning objective of this module is to improve the management of patients with diabetes. This course has been developed so that the tutors and teachers involved are local experts and specialists in the area and involves a multidisciplinary approach. The aim of the course is to offer an excellent learning resource and also offer an opportunity to build support with specialists in secondary care. This module has been developed for allied health professionals including general practitioners, practice nurses, hospital and community nurses and dieticians and is aimed to address the learning needs of those managing patients with this condition. This course is ICGP accredited.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. • Demonstrate competency in diagnosis, screening and classification of patients with diabetes
  2. • Critically analyse the challenges of diabetes control, monitoring and self-management education
  3. • Implement appropriate structure of care for patients with diabetes
  4. • Integrate health behaviours methodology in the care of patients with diabetes
  5. • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the appropriate use of therapeutics in diabetes
  6. • Demonstrate the ability to recognise and manage acute and chronic diabetes complications
  7. • Implement appropriate screening and pathways of care for pregnancy and diabetes
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "A Practical Guide to Integrated Diabetes Care" by n/a
  2. "Additional recommended and supplemental references per weekly unit." by n/a
The above information outlines module GPN10: "Diabetes" and is valid from 2019 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU921: Clinical Competence 1

Semester 1 | Credits: 0

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module NU921: "Clinical Competence 1" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU623: Clinical Governance: Supporting Safe Practice

Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Errors are inevitable in healthcare systems (Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance, 2008). It is estimated that medical errors would rank 5 in the top 10 causes of death in the United States, ahead of accidents, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, if included on the National Centre for Health Statistics’ list (Joint Commission, 2005 p.7). In Ireland, the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance (2008) acknowledge that healthcare will never be risk free but argue that it is critical that the systems in place are as safe as possible, that the right ‘checks and balances’ are in place and that learning results from mistakes. To ensure this happens it is important that programmes prepare nurses to promote and enhance clinical safety. The module is guided by the National Patient Safety Framework (The Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care, 2005) and the WHO Patient Safety Curriculum Guide for Medical Schools (World Health Organisation, 2009).
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critique the concepts of ‘safety’ and ‘risk’ in context of their practice setting.
  2. Examine the concept of ‘clinical governance’ in the Irish healthcare system
  3. Identify and evaluate the factors that determine the quality and safety of healthcare from the perspective of (i) the nurse or midwife (ii) the client (iii) the multidisciplinary team and (iv) the wider healthcare system
  4. Identify local policies and procedures to improve clinical safety and apply safety principles in practice.
  5. Debate the tensions between ‘managing risk’ and ‘client autonomy
  6. Explore their role in promoting and enhancing safety as a member of the multidisciplinary team
  7. Complete a risk assessment relevant to their practice setting.
  8. Evaluate their contribution to quality improvement in their practice setting
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module NU623: "Clinical Governance: Supporting Safe Practice" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU605: Recognising & Responding to Client Deterioration

Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Hartigan et al. (2010 p.294) cite an experienced nurse who is commenting on the aspects of competence that new graduates require to manage challenging acute care episodes: “(it’s about) … knowing that there is something wrong, be able to pick up the difference between somebody deteriorating and somebody just … unwell”. This comment illustrates the thinking behind this module. The module aims to provide nurses with the specialised knowledge and skills to assess, prioritise, respond to and manage challenging acute care episodes. Supporting students to broaden and deepen their knowledge and skills has the potential to enable them to identify client deterioration more quickly and minimise avoidable emergencies.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Analyse challenging acute care episodes and evaluate the appropriateness of different clinical interventions.
  2. Critically analyse client data and prioritise client problems
  3. Demonstrate the ability to observe, interpret and appropriately respond to the signs and symptoms of deterioration.
  4. Implement appropriate nursing interventions that meet the individual client’s needs.
  5. Integrate technology to provide safe and effective care to acutely ill clients.
  6. Integrate research findings in the provision of evidence based care to acutely ill clients.
  7. Use S-BAR to communicate clearly and effectively with other members of the multidisciplinary team
  8. Demonstrate sensitivity to the needs of clients or relatives under stress.
  9. Demonstrate competency in the technical/clinical skills addressed in this module.
  • Continuous Assessment (50%)
  • Department-based Assessment (50%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module NU605: "Recognising & Responding to Client Deterioration" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU502: Advanced Research Methods

Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module focuses on developing further students understanding of the theoretical foundations of research, research methodologies and methods of data collection. The module has two major goals. Firstly, to provide students with the required knowledge and skills to interpret and implement research findings in their practice and secondly, to prepare students to undertake a piece of research. Students will be given an opportunity to recap on methodological approaches to quantitative and qualitative research. A key skill in promoting students independence is preparing students to complete their own research project under the supervision of a supervisor. Therefore, this module has a specific focus on providing students with the knowledge and skills of “doing” research.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate that they have an understanding of what ‘evidence’ is and how to ssystematically search for evidence
  2. Discuss theoretical perspectives on research methodology
  3. Explain clearly the origins, underpinning philosophical assumptions, key characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies
  4. Articulate a research problem and formulate a research question or hypothesis as appropriate to guide the conduct of the study
  5. Justify the use of appropriate data collection, sampling, and data analysis methods for qualitative and quantitative research
  6. Create a plan with clear rationales for data collection, sampling, data analysis and rigour to be used when conducting a qualitative or quantitative study
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module NU502: "Advanced Research Methods" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU6439: Service Improvement

Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module will allow the student the opportunity to plan and implement, with their manager, and an academic facilitator, a service improvement initiative. The project will focus on an issue of relevance to client care or service improvement and must be supported by the student’s line manager and/or clinical facilitator. Examples of the types of projects include: completion of a defined literature review supporting some aspect of unit work, preparation of a patient education leaflet (supported by an evidence based rationale presented separately), development of a patient education pack (supported by an evidence based rationale presented separately), development of a strategy to reduce waiting time, an initiative that will improve patient/staff safety, development/implementation of guidelines/policies, an initiative that improves the quality of patient services or the work environment, an initiative that saves time/money or any issue/problem/change that can be addressed through action. This work must be completed within a calendar year.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically examine a practice issue and contribute to service improvement
  2. Integrate and apply learning from other modules
  3. Work collaboratively with peers and clients
  4. Become an autonomous and independent learner
  5. Develop the skills and knowledge needed to implement a change in clinical practice
  6. Develop their skills of analysis, critical thinking, problem-solving and reflection
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module NU6439: "Service Improvement" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required HP6102: Concepts, Principles & Practice of Health Promotion

Trimester 3 | Credits: 10

This module provides a theoretical background to concepts, principles and practice of Health Promotion as a foundation for policy and practice. It references evidence-based practice and the development of Health Promotion interventions. The module also incorporates effective communication for health and consideration of mass media approaches.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate critical understanding of theoretical concepts, principles and practice of Health Promotion and health communication.
  2. Apply critical understandings of theoretical concepts, principles and the practice of Health Promotion to the promotion of Health in specialist area.
  3. Understand how and why health is a contested concept and critically discuss implications for communicating good health practice.
  4. Design, implement and evaluate good evidence interventions for Health Promotion.
  5. Critically understand challenges and ethical dilemmas facing health practitioners.
  6. Demonstrate effective communication skills and understanding of group dynamics.
  7. Critically analyse the contribution of mass and electronic media in health communication.
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Promoting Health - A Practical Guide" by Angela Scriven
    ISBN: 9780702066924.
    Publisher: Elsevier
  2. "Understanding Health: A determinants approach" by Keleher, H., & MacDougall, C.
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
  3. "Foundations for Health Promotion" by Naidoo, J., & Wills, J.
    Publisher: Elsevier
  4. "Health Promotion: Planning and Strategies" by Green, J., Tones, K., Cross, R. & Woodall, J.
    Publisher: Sage
The above information outlines module HP6102: "Concepts, Principles & Practice of Health Promotion" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU922: Clinical Competence 2

Semester 2 | Credits: 0

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module NU922: "Clinical Competence 2" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Year 2 (30 Credits)

Required NU6515: Research Dissertation

Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 30

Students will be required to undertake a piece of primary research on a topic of relevance to their specialism. Students will be assigned a research supervisor who will support them in undertaking this work
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Developed a research question of significance to their specialist nursing practice.
  2. Identify the appropriate methodology to suit the research question and/or hypothesis
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of ethical requirements within the study
  4. Demonstrate the ability to review and analyse relevant literature
  5. Identify the most appropriate method for data collection to answer the research question
  6. Demonstrate the ability to draw a significant and meaningful conclusion from the data analysis
  7. Prepare a scholarly report, which will demonstrate accurate expression, analysis and synthesis of ideas
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module NU6515: "Research Dissertation" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

On completion of the Postgraduate Diploma/Master of Health Sciences Diabetes, which are Level 9 NFQ awards, a registered nurse would be eligible to apply for clinical nurse specialist registration in diabetes. Please note that this course is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,700 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Tuition

€6,476 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Non EU

€15,450 p.a. 2020/21

Find out More

Programme Director
Prof  Derek O’Keeffe
Consultant Endocrinologist UHG HSE 
Professor College of Medicine,  Nursing & Health Sciences, NUI Galway
Clinical Science Institute, NUI Galway
T: + 353 91 494 213


  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020 PDF (21 MB)