MSc (Preventive Cardiology)
Postgraduate Diploma (Preventive Cardiology)

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

Course overview

Croí bursaries (scholarships) now available for this programme. Read more here.

This course equips students with the knowledge and skills required to make meaningful contributions to the discipline of preventive cardiology. The taught modules address the pathophysiology of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and its complications, the development and practical use of cardiovascular disease risk estimation tools, implementation of healthcare policy, behavioural change strategies, lifestyle approaches to risk factor modification and medical management of risk factors including hypertension, dyslipidaemia, diabetes mellitus, obesity and smoking. Students have the opportunity to actively engage with patients participating in various preventive cardiology programmes at the National Institute for Preventive Cardiology in the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre adjacent to the NUI Galway campus. Small group case-based discussions, workshops and clinical activities supplement the didactic lecture programme. The course has excellent online learning and guided self-directed learning dimensions as well as residential elements, enabling students to adapt their learning to their professional lives. Students completing the Masters track are supervised in designing an original research project which addresses a specific research question in any aspect of preventive cardiology. Contributors are drawn from clinical departments at Galway University Hospitals, scientific and healthcare disciplines at NUI Galway, the Croí clinical team, and the International Centre for Circulatory Health at Imperial College London.

Key facts

Entry requirements

Successful applicants will possess at least a Second Class Honours, Grade 1 degree in an appropriate life science, biological science, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, dietetics, sports science, or psychology. For those who do not hold a primary degree at the required level, a special case will be made if they have demonstrated aptitude for the course material through at least three years of high quality work experience in a relevant field of cardiovascular health. Entry to the Masters programme is conditional upon achieving at least 60% in the core compulsory module Fundamentals of Preventive Cardiology. 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 recognised English language proficiency tests, e.g. IELTS total score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.5 in each band. Prospective candidates may be interviewed by Skype or in person to confirm their suitability.

Duration: 12 months (Masters), 9 months (PDip)

Next start date: September 2015

ECTS weighting: 90 (Masters), 60 (PDip)

Average intake: 30

Closing date: Please see the review/closing dates.

Course outline





MCQ, written papers, essays, assignments, poster preparation, practical examination, dissertation

 Core Compulsory Modules:




End of Module

Fundamentals of Preventive Cardiology



Research Methods



Reflective Clinical Practice




Research Project and Dissertation (MSc only)



Elective Advanced Modules:





Health Promotion Approaches in Preventive Cardiology Practice



Medical Risk Factor Management



Lifestyle Risk Factor Modification



Who teaches this course?

Dr. Gerard Flaherty, Physician and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education, NUI Galway

Dr. Jenni Jones, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Health Promotion, NUI Galway (Physiotherapist)

Ms. Irene Gibson, Honorary Clinical Fellow, NUI Galway (Nurse)

Ms. Claire Kerins, Honorary Clinical Fellow, NUI Galway (Dietitian)

Ms. AnneMarie Walsh, Honorary Clinical Fellow, NUI Galway (Nurse)

Ms. Jane Windle, Physiotherapist, Croí, West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation, Galway

Ms. Caroline Costello, Exercise Therapist, Croí, West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation, Galway

Prof. Kieran Daly, Honorary Clinical Professor in Medicine, NUI Galway

Dr. James Crowley, Consultant Cardiologist, University Hospital Galway

Dr. Faisal Sharif, Consultant Cardiologist, University Hospital Galway

Dr. Yvonne Finn, Lecturer in Clinical Methods and Clinical Practice, NUI Galway

Prof. Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Translational Medicine, NUI Galway

Prof. Timothy O’Brien, Professor of Medicine, NUI Galway

Dr. Francis Finucane, Consultant Endocrinologist, University Hospital Galway

Ms. Gloria Avalos, Lecturer in Medical Statistics and Research Methods, NUI Galway

Find out more

Dr Gerard Flaherty
Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education
School of Medicine
NUI Galway

T +353 91 49 54 69 

PAC code

GYM02 (Masters)
GYM03 (PDip)

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,500 for M.Sc.; €5,000 for PG Dip. (inclusive of levy)
 - Tuition: €€6,276 for M.Sc.; €4,776 for PG Dip.
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2014/15
Non-EU (Total): €14,000 p.a. 2014/15

EU fee for M.Sc. = €6,500

EU fee for P.G. Dip. = €5,000

Past students

Eleanor McIntyre

Staff Nurse, Cardiothoracic Ward, University Hospital Galway

Why did you take up the programme?
I took up the programme because preventive medicine is an area which I am very interested in and this course appealed to me hugely. I work in Cardiac surgery therefore gaining knowledge into the deeper cause and prevention of heart disease is something I am passionate about. Helping people to gain control over their health is also very important in this day and age.

Did it meet your expectations?
Absolutely! All the lecturers were excellent and could not have facilitated my learning more. It was a very tough 12 mths but I must say the course co-ordinator and lecturers went over and above to ensure we were guided in every way possible. I learned practical skills which I did not expect to learn which also makes this course excellent.

Has it changed your practice, and if so in what way?
The knowledge I gained from this MA has given me deeper insight into cardiac disease but also has enabled me to facilitate the change in people to address their risk factors and lifestyles and ultimately reduce their heart disease. I can now confidently counsel my patients in a holistic way , having learned the necessary skills to compliment and accompany the knowledge.

Would you recommend this programme and why?
I would recommend this programme to anyone with an interest in preventive medicine, or working in the area of heart disease. It is very broad course so therefore appeals to an array of disciplines. Not only has it given me a huge knowledge which adds to my years of nursing practice but it has given me huge confidence in myself gaining such an achievement and successfully completing the course was worth all the study!!

Nicola Fahy

Staff Nurse, HSE West

Why did I take up the programme?
My background is in cardiac nursing and I had worked in an interventional facility for a few years meeting many patients who have either been diagnosed in the past or were newly diagnosed with CAD. I have always been interested in empowering patients to take control of future risk through lifestyle modification and was looking for a course to enhance and improve skills to better inform and educate. I was also interested in moving from intervention to a role in primary/secondary prevention and felt this course looked to be the ideal way to prepare me for that transition.

Did it meet your expectations?
Everything regarding this course exceeded my expectations from the organised structure and layout to the enthusiasm of course directors and lecturers. Studying and working a full time job is a stressful balancing act, however this was taken in to consideration at all times and made the journey smoother. From start to finish I enjoyed the course, the content was practical and clinically relevant.

Has it changed your practice and if so in what way?
Absolutely, whilst I always had a strong support for lifestyle modifications now more than ever do I feel empowered to encourage behaviour change. Through use of motivational interviewing skills learnt I now have the confidence to promote healthy lifestyle changes to reduce risk of CAD. Also the process of risk stratifying patients and becoming up to date with latest international guidelines have improved my clinical practice.

Would you recommend the programme?
I would definitely recommend this programme. Whilst preventive medicine is starting to gain momentum, now more than ever is a critical time for clinicians to update their practice and utilise preventive measures to improve patient outcomes. It is very manageable with full time work as most lectures are weekend based. The whole programme is relevant not only to management of cardiac patients but to general population as many of the subjects taught relate to overall health improvements and general disease prevention.

Sharon Collins

Staff Nurse, Cardiothoracic Ward, Galway University Hospital

I signed up to do the Masters in preventive cardiology as a course to further my education that was in an area I am extremely interested in. Whilst it was a challenging and busy year, it also greatly widened my comprehension of preventive cardiology methods.  The modules covered were very relevant to my work practice in advising patients on ways to live a healthier life and reduce cardiovascular risks.   

The modules delivered were further enhanced and endorsed with knowledge from expert lecturers. This course is a comprehensive course on preventive cardiology and  ways to enhance a healthy living and I would recommend it for all who work in areas that endorse healthy lifestyles to their clients/patient.  

Laura Tobin

I decided to apply to the MSc in Preventive Cardiology in 2013 as I felt the time was right for me to pursue a post-graduate course and the blended learning style really appealed to me. This course is very well designed for those who are working full-time and it is possible to complete the required workloads and assignments while maintaining a work/life balance! As a senior physiotherapist working in cardiac rehabilitation, I felt that I needed an academic qualification to support me in my practical, patient-focused role and to ensure I was meeting best standards and using evidence-based practice.

I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed every module of this course and I’m so delighted that I undertook it. After ten years working clinically since my undergraduate time in university, this masters has re-invigorated my love of learning and research. It has reminded me of all those skills of literature appraisal and scientific writing which I haven’t used in so many years. The atmosphere in Croi house is very supportive, we had an excellent comradery between the students and staff and the facilities are top-class. Working online using the college ‘blackboard’ and library sites allowed for very efficient home study and I never felt that I missed out on any articles or advice etc, despite not living in Galway.

This masters programme is extremely well taught and I feel so competent and knowledgeable now in my specialist field. I can stand over my treatment choices and service plans with scientific rationale. I particularly feel that it has expanded my knowledge base beyond physiotherapy and exercise prescription and aided in a much more holistic approach to my patient care. The modules on medical management of risk factors gave me real understanding into the drug therapies for diabetes and hypercholesterolemia for example, something which I feel was lacking from my undergraduate education.  Also, we received world-class instruction in communication and behaviour change techniques- an essential tool for all healthcare professionals in my opinion.

I would have no hesitation in recommending this programme to any of my physiotherapy colleagues, regardless of a background in cardiac rehabilitation. It will provide a wide perspective on management and prevention of cardiovascular disease, giving skills and knowledge which can be adapted for many varying patient population groups. This course has given me the confidence to broaden my scope of practise and to use my skills in a multi-disciplinary environment as a more rounded professional.