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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 31 July 2022

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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 MSc 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. In addition to Trinity Faculty, 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.

If you aspire to be a future leader in healthcare we would welcome an application from you.

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 Management) 5
Managing People in Healthcare Organisations 10
Financial Management 5
Health Economics 5
Information and Operations Management 5
Research Methods 5
Total 35
Module ECTS Credits
Health Policy 5
Strategic Management 10
Comparative Healthcare 5
Research Methods and Healthcare Ethics 5
Dissertation 30
Total 55


Year 1 Modules

Understanding the Healthcare Environment (5 ECTS credits)

This module examines how healthcare systems can organise to address some of the key challenges faced by healthcare management today by applying a population health management approach. Key perspectives in healthcare are considered along with the fundamental concepts of population health management. This approach organises healthcare according to the needs of the population. This module also focuses on how research methods can be applied to examine relevant population health management queries in healthcare. Students will be equipped with the skills to analyse current healthcare challenges and use evidence-based frameworks to design effective solutions to deliver on the goals of population health and address health disparities.

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 brings together two key management processes in healthcare organisations and settings: i) managing projects that can inform operations or organisational change; ii) information and knowledge management for decision-making and organisational practice. The first part of the module introduces participants to project management language, practice, and processes. This provides a foundation for students to use project management techniques to support the effective implementation of change in their organisation or setting.  

The second part moves on to explore information and knowledge management. Focused on the ‘evidence-policy-practice’ interface, this second part of this module introduces participants to knowledge management concepts and frameworks. Participants will also gain insights into current practices of information and knowledge management in public institutions, drawing lessons for consideration in participants’ organisation or healthcare settings. 

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)

An understanding of health policy is required in order to influence better health system decision making and change which results in improved health, reduces health inequalities and provides equitable access to universal, quality care. Health policy defines health goals at the international, national or local levels and specifies the decisions, plans and actions to be undertaken to achieve these goals according to the World Health Organisation‘s definition. This module explores theories, concepts and frameworks relevant to health policy analysis. Lessons will be drawn from and applied to different country and health system contexts to understand: why history, power and politics matter in health policy; how contextual factors influence policy change; and, the varied interests and actors involved. Students will be exposed to a range of real world cases in order to better understand the challenges of critiquing, analysing, influencing and implementing health policies.

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 module examines the principles and practice of health system analysis and comparison, including conceptual frameworks for assessing the organisation and relative performance of different healthcare systems. The course aims to provide an overview of the structure and components of healthcare systems and how they function. Students will be equipped to describe and contrast key functions of healthcare systems across OECD and other nations. 

Research Methods Part 2 and Healthcare Ethics (5 ECTS)

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 12,000 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 Carlos Bruen

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