Course Overview

This newly established masters programme provides a broad and comprehensive curriculum that is clinically relevant and that also has a strong theoretical basis. Obesity is a major health problem, both for affected individuals and for society. There is a growing awareness of the need to provide effective treatments and prevention strategies. Our motivation in developing this programme at University of Galway is two-fold: To inform better, evidence-based, compassionate and dignified care to patients affected by obesity and related disorders and secondly to inform better population level strategies to mitigate the obesity epidemic.

This “two-pronged” approach is a strong theme throughout the programme, reflected in the two distinct obesity modules that form part of the core learning. Our students will develop in-depth knowledge of the various therapeutic strategies available to patients and will understand the factors underlying variations in the obesity phenotype. Students will also appreciate the potential benefits and disadvantages of various population level strategies that can be formulated to address the obesity crisis, and the societal, political and legislative challenges faced in deploying these.

University of Galway is uniquely well placed to deliver this course, which forms part of an integrated suite of masters programmes including cardiovascular disease prevention, diabetes and clinical research. It will be delivered by clinical academic staff attached to the regional bariatric service, providing multidisciplinary medical, nursing, surgical, dietetic and psychological care to patients with severe and complicated obesity.

What Makes This Course Unique...

  • Consolidate your understanding of the causes, complications and treatment of obesity with a flexibly structured course that will suit those based anywhere in Ireland.
  • Study with other students and faculty from diverse academic backgrounds in medicine, nursing, sports science, dietetics as well as health policy, economics, marketing and philosophy.
  • The research project offers an excellent opportunity for multidisciplinary collaboration and for peer-reviewed publication of your scientific work.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online here.

All prospective candidates will be interviewed, usually by telephone or Skype. Selection will be made by the programme director on the basis of the applicant’s written application and interview. To meet the admission criteria for the programme, applicants will possess at least a Second Class Honours, Grade 1 degree in an appropriate clinical or life science degree programme. However, for those who do not hold a primary degree at the required level, a special case can be made if they have demonstrated aptitude for the course material through at least three years of high quality work experience in an obesity-related field (relevant to their background). Applicants will be evaluated on:

  • Their academic record and
  • Their level of motivation and suitability based on his/her Personal Statement (submitted as part of the application).


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

  • Dr Colin Davenport, Consultant Endocrinologist, GUH/ Saolta Group.
  • Professor Carel le Roux, Professor of Experimental Pathology, University College Dublin.
  • Katriona Kilkelly, Senior Bariatric Dietitian, HSE and University of Galway.
  • Dr Mary Hynes, Senior Bariatric Clinical Psychologist, GUH/ Saolta Group.
  • Dr Michelle Queally, Lecturer in Health Economics, Dept. of Economics, University of Galway.
  • Siobhan Foy, Bariatric Nurse Specialist, GUH/ Saolta Group.
  • Tara Kelly, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow (Dietitian), University of Galway.
Dr Jennifer Jones
B.Sc., M.Sc., PhD
Senior Lecturer
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Sonja Khan
B.Sc.,M.Sc, PhD
Lecturer Above The Bar
School of Medicine
NUI Galway
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Requirements and Assessment

The programme is delivered using a blended learning format, combining on-line learning and face-to-face workshops. 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 and assigned project activities. Semester One exams take place in December; Semester Two exams take place in April/May. The research thesis is submitted in August.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Successful applicants will possess at least a Second Class Honours, Grade 1 degree in an appropriate clinical or life science degree programme. However, for those who do not hold a primary degree at the required level, a special case can be made if they have demonstrated aptitude for the course material through at least three years of high quality work experience in an obesity-related field (relevant to their background). 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. All prospective candidates will be interviewed either by telephone or by Skype.

Additional Requirements

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


1 year, full-time; 2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2024

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

Please view the review dates website for information.

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code


Course Outline

Course description:

The range of modules on offer makes the programme uniquely versatile and well placed to meet the needs of healthcare professionals, scientists, policy makers and those working in industry seeking to develop and in-depth understanding of the causes of and solutions to the obesity crisis.

Course content:

Year 1

Semester 1

MD1700   Obesity in the Population (10 ECTS)

MD1701   Obesity in the Patient (10 ECTS)

MD1602   Introduction to Ethical/ Regulatory Frameworks of Clin. Res. (10 ECTS)

Semester 2

MD 578   Lifestyle Risk Factor Modification (30 ECTS)

(Please note student is registered for Masters Research Project Module for Semester 1,2,3)

Semester 3

MD1702   Research Dissertation (30 ECTS) 

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

For doctors this programme will be an adjunct to specialist training (rather than an alternative to it). The appeal will be broad and include general practice, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, public health and occupational health as well as surgery. Similarly, psychology, dietetic, occupational therapy and physiotherapy graduates who will ultimately contribute to obesity multidisciplinary care will need advanced training in obesity. Managers within the health service, hospital groups, policy makers and industry stakeholders are also likely to enhance their career prospects through completion of this programme. While this course is open to nurses, there is a dedicated MHSc in Obesity at University of Galway, delivered through the School of Nursing, which integrates different core modules that are more relevant to advanced nursing theory and practice.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€Full Time 8,340, Part Time 4,205 p.a. 2023/24

Fees: Tuition

€Full Time 8,200, Part Time 4,100 p.a. 2023/24

Fees: Student levy

€Full-Time 140, Part Time 105 p.a. 2023/24

Fees: Non EU

€16,790 p.a. 2023/24

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €4,000 towards your tuition (2023/24).  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay tuition up to a maximum of €6,270. SUSI will not cover the student levy of €140.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = Tuition (EU or NON EU) + Student levy as outlined above.

Note to non-EU students: learn about the 24-month Stayback Visa here

Find out More

Programme Director
Professor Francis Finucane,
Consultant Endocrinologist UHG HSE, 
Professor of Medicine, College Medicine Nursing Health Sciences,
Clinical Science Institute, University of Galway.

Programme endorsements


Susie Birney |   Secretary, Irish Coalition for People Living with Obesity

We the Irish Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ICPO) are delighted to see this Masters course on Obesity being available at NUI Galway. This is a very promising indication that effective clinical solutions for those affected by this chronic disease are beginning to be addressed, by providing advanced education for those who will be involved in treating people who live with this disease.

Kate O'Flaherty |   Head, Health & Wellbeing, Dept of Health

The MSc Obesity is an interesting and welcome development, given the growing recogition of the scale of the problem of obesity in Ireland and internationally, of the associated health, economic and social consequences and burdens, and of the extent to which it is a risk factor of many other chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and mental ill-health.—Kate O'Flaherty, BSc (Pharm), MSc, MA, Head of Health and Wellbeing, An Roinn Sláinte, Department of Health.
in Connect with Kate
Professor Donal

Professor Donal O'Shea |   Clinical Lead, National Clinical Programme for Obesity

Postgraduate learning and education in the area of obesity is crucial for the delivery of appropriate prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity. The curriculum for this masters course will ensure better prepared health professional are equipped to deliver just that.

Tony Cox |   Medical Director, Irish College of General Practitioners

The new MSc in Obesity at NUI Galway promises to be a very interesting course for general practitioners and the fact that it is delivered as a blended learning opportunity with most of the content online is welcome, especially in the situation we now find ourselves with COVID. The modules that are planned make absolute sense.
in Connect with Tony

What Our Graduates Say


Sinead Gormally |   Weight Management Clinic Director

The MSc in Obesity has given me the most thought-provoking insights into the disease that I thought I knew so much about. I have been working with people suffering from obesity for over 12 years, and I wanted to ensure I was providing them with the best possible care. The openness, honesty, and respect nurtured in our class discussions have provided me with much food for thought, and my views on many aspects of obesity have changed enormously because of these.
in Connect with Sinead

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

MSc Diabetes (Medicine)

MSc Preventive Cardiology

MSc (Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation)

PgCert (Cardiac Rehabilitation)

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