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Health Services Management

Health Services Management

Course Title Health Services Management (M.Sc.)
Qualification MSc
Duration Two years (Part-Time)
Next Intake September
Application Deadline 18th August 2021

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Overall the standard of the programme seems very high. The lecturers are very good and endeavour to tailor their material as much as possible to course participants. Commitments re deadlines etc are honoured and there is clarity around course requirements. The 3 block days are beneficial in that it is much easier to concentrate than at evening lectures after a day’s work

The M.Sc. in Health Services Management is a two year part-time programme that provides health professionals with the knowledge and competence to effectively plan and manage health services. It aims to provide an understanding of management principles and their application to the complex environment of the health services. It is beneficial to those who have responsibility for planning the organisation and delivery of health and social care services, and the mix of clinical and non-clinical participants enriches the learning experience. If you aspire to be a future leader in healthcare we would welcome an application from you.

In addition to contributions from leading academics across the Schools of Business and Medicine within the College, 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 programme has an interdisciplinary focus. We deliberately select participants from diverse health system backgrounds and provide a small class setting where learning, class discussion and peer debate form an essential part of the learning experience.

The programme is continually updated to reflect developments occurring within our rapidly changing healthcare environment. A key feature of the programme is the relatively small class size, which enables us to optimise learning for individual students.

Learning Objectives

The programme seeks to:

  • Present principles and practices of management relevant to the organisation and delivery of Irish healthcare services.
  • Discuss current issues in the management of health services.
  • Explore comparative aspects of health services delivery in Ireland and abroad.
  • Emphasize the advantages of collaboration between professional practice and health services management objectives.
  • Analyse the change process within health services and develop strategies for managing in this current climate of change.
  • Analyse health policies and their implementation at organisational level.
  • Encourage and support students to be innovative in problem solving.
  • Provide the necessary supporting research methodology and demonstrate its application to practical problems.
  • Create opportunities for students to share knowledge and experience and learn from each other.

Course Structure

The programme commences in September and extends over two full calendar years (i.e. students are expected to complete coursework related to their dissertation over the summer periods following each academic year).  Course attendance comprises three-day blocks each month to facilitate work release.

The course comprises 90 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits in total: 30 credits for the coursework component in each academic year and 30 credits for the dissertation.

Details about the module/credit structure are summarised below:

Module ECTS Credits
Understanding the Healthcare Environment: Population health, law and an introduction to the Irish health policy landscape 5
Managing People in Healthcare Organisations 10
Financial Management 5
Health Economics 5
Information and Operations Management 5
Total 30
Module ECTS Credits
Health Policy 5
Strategic Management 10
Comparative Healthcare 5
Research Methods and Healthcare Ethics (years 1 and 2) 10
Dissertation 30
Total 60


Year 1 Modules

Understanding the Healthcare Environment (5 ECTS credits)

This module comprises 3 subject areas: Population Health, Law and Marketing. It includes an introduction to epidemiology and population health principles, and examines the relationship between health and law especially in the context of Ireland. Students will also explore the contemporary social and cultural contexts in which healthcare consumption takes place. The seminars will encourage active participation of students through questions, and comment on the application of a population health approach in the light of their own professional/managerial experience of health and social services.

Managing People in Healthcare Organisations (10 ECTS credits)

This module comprises 3 subject areas: Management and Organisational Behaviour, Human Resource Management, and Organisation Development. It describes the organisational behaviours common to most organisations and provides insights into the role of managers and leaders in modern day organisations. The synergistic relationship between individual and group behaviour and organisational functioning and organisational culture is central to the module. Its aim is to ensure that participants fully appreciate the role, scope and importance of the strategically managed employment relationship in organisations, with particular emphasis on health services management. The module aims to stimulate and encourage individual inquiry into how organisations change and to promote a community of inquiry in the class as the group inquires in the shared experiences of the participants.

Health Economics (5 ECTS credits)

This module looks at the role of economic principles in understanding behaviour of users and providers of healthcare, in setting priorities and in financing access to care.  It starts with some examination of economic concepts and goes on to consider how these can be used to improve health and provision of efficient and effective health care.  Key issues include: the ways in which individuals respond to incentives and changes in these, how we can best set health care priorities by evaluating the costs and effectiveness of health care interventions, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of different ways of financing health services.

Information and Operations Management (5 ECTS credits)

This composite module combines insights into two key organisational processes in modern-day healthcare organisations: those relating to the management of information and those relating to the management of operations. Those seeking to improve the performance of healthcare organisations devote considerable time to collecting, analysing and using information. The combination of information, systems and skilled people have revolutionised the concept of management. However, the potential of technology has outstripped the ability of organisations to understand and make use of information. Under Information Management, the class will use a management rather than a technical perspective to investigate the application of information systems in healthcare organisations.

Financial Management (5 ECTS credits)

This module is designed to provide students with theoretical and practical financial foundations. The module provides an overview of the nature and structure of a financial management unit within a medium-to-large organisation, and covers the work of internal audit and of casemix funding within the Irish Health system. Students will be actively encouraged to participate in debating practical and topical issues facing the funding of the Irish Health system. Students will be challenged to apply financial management techniques via course work and asked to consider the implications of using such techniques as part of their ultimate involvement in the management of aspects of the health system in future.

Research Methods (10 ECTS credits in total over 2 years)

This module spans both years of the M.Sc. programme, and comprises teaching in both principles and practice of healthcare management research. The course is focused on helping students develop an appreciation for the variety of health services research available and how research  can enable healthcare managers make better decisions in both policy and practice; whilst the practical component is geared towards helping students complete their research dissertations in partial fulfilment of the M.Sc. degree.

Year 1 of the module focuses on the principles and process of research, as well as providing an overview of the research designs relevant to the field of healthcare management. The aim is to help students develop a viable research proposal that demonstrates an understanding of the fit between research objectives, questions, methodological design and anticipated research outcomes. The module is delivered via a mixture of lectures and workshops to help students engage with research design on both theoretical and practical levels. Students are taught how to conduct a literature review on their chosen topic, which they work on during the summer period.

Year 2 Modules

Health Policy (5 ECTS credits)

This module explores the nature of public policy and the environment in which it is practised.  It provides frameworks, processes and techniques for public policy formation. Interpretation and implementation of public policy in health and social services are examined.  Implementation of policy for the health services is explored at the macro and micro levels.

Strategic Management (10 ECTS credits) 

This broad module introduces students to key concepts, contemporary models and techniques for strategic management.  Lectures and case studies on organisation theory, strategic planning, change management, quality management, operations management and risk management are included. It aims to help students develop a clear understanding of the dynamics of the healthcare environment and the importance of a partnership approach amongst healthcare agencies. It provides managers with the tools to analyse change and develop effective strategies for managing in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. 

Comparative Healthcare (10 ECTS credits)

This broad module compares the health systems of a number of countries with the Irish health system. The aim is to provide the tools to critically compare and analyse similarities and differences in the approaches to planning, financing and delivering healthcare. In addition health outcomes are compared across countries and the relationship between outcomes and system types is explored. Participants will be introduced to the concept of Comparative Analysis in healthcare, including health system classification frameworks and the indicators used in drawing comparisons between systems. Students are also guided in navigating the myriad of comparative statistics and healthcare data available on the web.  Different models of healthcare financing and resource allocation will also be presented and discussed. Innovations in service delivery in international healthcare systems will be highlighted and their applicability considered in the Irish context.

Research Methods Part 2 and Healthcare Ethics (10 ECTS credits in total over 2 years)

Year 2 of the Research Methods module focuses on the refinement and execution of the research proposal that the students have developed at the end of the first year of the course, and carries forward by focusing on practical training on specific methods. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods are covered, including the use of specific software packages. On the basis of the Literature Review that students complete during the summer and the Refined Research Plan that they submit at the beginning of year 2, the module is tailored to individual students’ chosen research designs for their dissertations. The class is divided into specific research design groups for hands-on workshop sessions, in order to equip students with practical research skills to fulfil the research component of the programme. Special sessions on research ethics will assist students in applying for ethical approval from both university and local research ethics committees.

In the Healthcare Ethics sessions we will also examine the present state of Research and Clinical Ethics Committees in Ireland and their future development.  It explains how a Clinical Ethics Committee is set-up in a healthcare system and how it operates at the level of planning and policy development.


Guest Lectures

Each year, during the final teaching week of the second year programme, the Centre for Health Policy and Management organises a series of Guest Lectures to promote interaction between our students and leading policymakers and practitioners on a key issue facing the Irish health system.

The Guest Lectures are organised primarily for current students and recent graduates of the TCD M.Sc. in Health Services Management programme, as well as to academics and researchers associated with the Centre for Health Policy and Management and the School of Medicine, and more generally to academics within Trinity College Dublin. 

A full programme, including updated lecture titles and speakers' biographies, will be circulated to all registered attendees via e-mail prior to the event.

If there is spare capacity on a particular day, a small number of places may also be made available to health and social care professionals applying for our M.Sc. programme.

For more information, contact


Candidates will be assessed by a combination of critical papers submitted throughout the programme and a dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words in length.

Students must pass the required coursework in the first year and their dissertation proposal must be deemed acceptable prior to progression to the second year. The dissertation will involve the conduct of research in health services management and should add value to the service or organisation that is researched.

Students will be allowed one re-submission in the event of a failed assignment. Students must successfully complete all assignments and the dissertation within 4 years from the date of registration on the programme in order to be eligible for the award of the M.Sc. degree. Students must register for the year in which submission is made.  Students who submit their dissertation after the end of academic year 2 must apply to re-register for the academic year in which they are submitting. If a student does not pass the dissertation, but successfully passes the taught components, a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded.

The M.Sc. Health Services Management degree will be awarded as either pass or pass with distinction
In order to achieve a distinction for their master degree, students must satisfy all of the following conditions:

  • Achieve a pass in all assessed modules in both Year 1 and Year 2; and

  • Achieve a final overall average mark of 70% or above for all assessed modules in Year 1 and Year 2; and  

  • Achieve a Pass with Distinction for his/her dissertation.


The minimum admission criteria for entry into the M.Sc. Health Services Management programme is a recognised third level qualification at the Bachelor’s degree level or above* in a professional discipline.

(*Potential candidates with Irish nursing qualifications dating before 2002 might be exempt from this otherwise strict entry requirement of a Bachelor’s degree. Other candidates with non-degree qualifications due to the grading structure of their disciplines, are advised to contact the course coordinator directly.)

Due to the limited number of places available in each academic year, a Selection Committee makes the final admission decisions according to a predefined scoring system that takes into account, amongst other things, the candidates’ career aspirations and academic track records. Occasionally we may invite short-listed candidates for an interview before making the final place offers.

For potential applicants who do not have English as their first language, and/or whose primary degree was delivered in a language other than English, they are advised to check with the Graduate Studies Office (+353 1 896 1166) regarding the documentation they need to submit to demonstrate their English proficiency for pursuing a course at the Masters’ level at Trinity College Dublin.

Applicants are required to apply online .

In addition to the online application form, candidates are also required to upload the following documents:

  • Passport photograph
  • Curriculum Vitae: in the format described in the Trinity CV Guidelines (PDF 84 kB)
  • Two references (one academic reference and one employer reference): to be submitted in the TCD Reference Form (PDF 67 kB)
  • Official transcripts of degree results
  • Photocopies of qualifications
  • Letter of funding (if applicable)


Up-to-date information about course fees can be found at the Academic Registry.

Contact Us

M.Sc. Health Services Management
Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin
3-4 Foster Place
College Green, 
Dublin 2.

Course Director: Dr Sarah Barry

Course Administrator: Michelle Hendrick e: t: +353 1 896 2665