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 University of 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.


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:
Professor Derek O’Keeffe Consultant Endocrinologist UHG HSE, Professor, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Galway 

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

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


2 years, full-time (MHSc); 1 year, full-time (PDip)

Next start date

September 2024

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

No set closing date. Offers made on a continuous basis

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting



Course code


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)                                                               
PO5101: Management of Diabetic Foot disease 
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%)
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%)
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%)
The above information outlines module NU623: "Clinical Governance: Supporting Safe Practice" and is valid from 2023 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 including care episodes relating to COVID -19 and nursing in a pandemic..
  2. Critically analyse client data and prioritise client problems relating to the signs & symptoms of Critical Illness & Client Deterioration, Cardiovascular disorders, Sepsis & Shock, Effective Pain Management, COVID- 19, Renal & Neurological Deterioration
  3. Demonstrate the ability to observe, interpret and appropriately respond to the signs and symptoms of deterioration and knowledge of INEWS V 2.
  4. Implement appropriate nursing interventions that meet the individual client’s needs.
  5. 5. Demonstrate knowledge of current technologies to support the provision of safe and effective care to acutely ill clients, including point of care technology ultrasound in Covid -19, and supportive educational technologies e.g. AHA Guidelines on the Go’ and ‘The Who Academy’ mobile learning resources.
  6. Integrate research findings in the provision of evidence based care to acutely ill clients.
  7. Use ISBAR to communicate clearly and effectively with other members of the multidisciplinary team
  8. Demonstrate awareness of the importance of psychological care as a nursing priority including sensitivity to the needs of clients and/or relatives under stress
  9. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles underpinning the technical/clinical skills addressed in this module – Assessment tools, ABG’s, ECGs and rhythm strips analysis, interpreting blood results, haemodynamic monitoring, CVP, central line management, monitoring consciousness level, High Flow Nasal Oxygen (HFNO) Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (C-PAP), Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP), Continuous Subcutaneous Infusion (CSCI)
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module NU605: "Recognising & Responding to Client Deterioration" and is valid from 2023 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PO5101: Management of Diabetic Foot Disease

Semester 2 | Credits: 10

The management of diabetic foot disease requires a multi-disciplinary approach, expert knowledge and a dedication to service provision and service development underpinned by evidence based practice approach. The increasing pace of change and complexity in management of diabetic foot disease has shaped the design of this module. The focus is to ensure students have the capacity to remain current and are capable of updating themselves on new interventions and approaches to the prevention and management of diabetic foot disease. The goal is to teach for life-long learning. Therefore, the module has been carefully designed in stages (see Stages 1- 5) which build on one another with the aim of ensuring that students have a thorough understanding of and in-depth knowledge of the principles of prevention and management, and how these can be applied to diabetic foot disease. Clinical care will be considered in the context of multi-professional management which will involve an appreciation of National and International Guidelines in addition to a range of strategic healthcare polices and initiatives. Students will develop critical reasoning techniques and problem solving skills which will be verified by evaluation of evidence to enable sound judgements to be reached and effective multi-professional communication to take place. These themes will be developed with particular relevance to the student’s work setting.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically analyse research and evidence underpinning the multi-professional management of manifestations of diabetes in the lower limb and foot
  2. Appraise relevant policy and position documents relating to management of diabetes in the lower limb and foot
  3. Formulate problem solving strategies that relate to assessment, diagnosis and treatment strategies for people with diabetes.
  4. Evaluative and explore areas of uncertainty, ambiguity, limitations of knowledge and current innovations in managing people with diabetes.
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module PO5101: "Management of Diabetic Foot Disease" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU502: Advanced Research Methods

Semester 2 | Credits: 10

. This module is designed to enable students to explore the methodological and practical issues of research. It will help students determine the appropriate research design for research questions in their practice and provides an opportunity for students to debate, challenge and clarify research issues. This module will also help students understand the systematic review process and types of reviews, Finally, the module prepares students to develop a research protocol
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of what is meant by ‘evidence-based practice’
  2. Discuss theoretical perspectives on research methodology
  3. Formulate an answerable clinical question using the PICO approach
  4. Develop a database search strategy
  5. Explain clearly the key characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the main qualitative and quantitative research methodologies
  6. Articulate a research problem and formulate a research question or hypothesis as appropriate to guide the conduct of a study
  7. Justify the use of appropriate data collection, sampling, and data analysis methods for qualitative and quantitative research
  8. Discuss rigour in the context of quantitative and qualitative research
  9. Discuss evidence synthesis of quantitative and qualitative research
  10. Create a plan with clear rationales for data collection, sampling, data analysis and rigour to be used when conducting a primary qualitative or quantitative study or evidence synthesis
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module NU502: "Advanced Research Methods" and is valid from 2023 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%)
The above information outlines module NU6439: "Service Improvement" and is valid from 2023 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU922: Clinical Competence 2

Semester 2 | Credits: 0

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
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.

Optional RPL010: Recognised Prior Learning

Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module RPL010: "Recognised Prior Learning " and is valid from 2020 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 or an evidence synthesis on a topic relevant to their practice area. Students will be assigned a research supervisor who will support them in undertaking this work.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrated knowledge of ethical requirements and procedures by negotiating access to research site/participants by securing ethical approval from the appropriate Research Ethics Committee in the case of primary research. Or in the case of evidence synthesis/secondary data analysis, demonstrate knowledge in the process of negotiating access to full text data not available in the library databases.
  2. Developed a research question(s) of significance to area of of significance to their specialist nursing/midwifery professional practice or a problem statement(s) based on a review of evidence-based literature.
  3. Identified and apply an appropriate method(s) to achieve the objectives of the research question (s)/ hypothesis for primary data collection, or in the case of secondary data analysis, employ valid and reliable method(s) for processing and analysing archived research data
  4. Critically discuss research findings with reference to the methods used, current literature and professional practice.
  5. Prepared a scholarly report (Option A) research article (Option B) ready for publication which will demonstrate accurate expression, analysis, and synthesis of the research subject.
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module NU6515: "Research Dissertation" and is valid from 2023 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

Transferable Skills Employers Value

By the end of this course, students are expected to aqcuire the following skills:
  • Developed skills needed for sustained practice reflection. 
  • Enhanced skills in the area of problem solving through engagement with challenging clinical scenarios
  • Enhanced students’ skills in research, communication, and innovative thinking.
  • Communicated in a clear and persuasive manner, while listening to others and understanding different points of view

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,640 p.a. (including levy) 2024/25

Fees: Tuition

€7,500 p.a. 2024/25

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. 2024/25

Fees: Non EU

€17,000 p.a. (€17,140 p.a. including levy) 2024/25

Year 1: 1DIN9: EU tuition €7,500 + Student Levy €140 = €7,640.

Year 2: 2DIN1: EU tuition €5,250 + Student Levy €140 = €5,390.

Find out More

Programme Director

Dr Maura Dowling

MSc,BNs,RNT,RGN,RM Cert Oncology,PhD

Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery

T: +353 91 493833


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Other programmes also offered within this suite of courses in Preventive Medicine and Cardiovascular Health include:

MSc Preventive Cardiology

MSc Obesity 

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