Courses in

Nursing Health Sciences and Social Care

Master of Science in Palliative and End of Life Care

A 60 credit masters programme designed for professionals working in areas that cater for people with palliative and/or end of life care needs. We are now accepting applications for the September 2021 intake.

Discipline: Nursing Health Sciences and Social Care

Location: Mayo

NFQ Level: 9

Mode of Study: Flexible Learning

Application Route: Apply direct to GMIT

Entry Requirements: See "Essential Information" below


Current fees are listed on our Fees Page

This is NMBI approved.

Why Study?

This programme provides for those who wish to develop competence in caring for persons and their families requiring palliative and end of life care.

The suite of modules are designed for all professionals who are working in areas that cater for persons with palliative and/or end of life care needs.

Who can apply?

Applications are welcome from all professionals such as;

  • doctors
  • nurses
  • pharmacists
  • physiotherapists
  • social workers
  • occupational therapists
  • speech therapists
  • health care assistants
  • receptionists
  • therapists
  • psychologists
  • social workers
  • managers
  • support staff

Applicants do not have to work in a specialist palliative care area to apply.


***Download our brochure here*** (PDF, 450KB)

Programme Modules

Year 1, Semester 1:

  • Principles of palliative and end of life care
  • Psychosocial, ethical and spiritual care
  • Effective symptom management in life limiting conditions or reflective practice or End of life care for the person with dementia

Year 1, Semester 2:

  • Bereavement and loss
  • Applied research: theory
  • Clinical practice placement (for registered nurses only) or Creative arts in palliative care

Year 2:

  • Research Dissertation



The programme is designed around four key themes

  1. Towards improved interdisciplinary professional understandings, principles and innovations in palliative and end of life care.
  2. Improving person centred care within the context of palliative and end of life care.
  3. Developing a systematic approach to enhancing the comfort and quality of palliative and end of life care.
  4. Developing professional and ethical practice in the context of palliative and end of life care.

Programme Pathways

All students are invited to choose electives* relevant to their practice area.The suite of electives provides for this choice thus respecting the diversity of palliative and end of life care environments.

There are module choice requirements specific to medical and nursing professionals undertaking the programme.

There are also Clinical Nurse Specialist career pathways offered as part of this programme.

*Not all electives may run


Practice Focus

A key feature of the programme is the strong focus on ‘real practice' for the purposes of skill development, assessment and confidence building.

This will enhance understanding of the palliative care focus and approach to person care.


Lecture Structure

Lectures consist of discussion groups, presentations, debates, MS Teams etc. Guest lectures from practice experts is a key feature of this programme.


Online Teaching

Much of this programme is completed online. Lecture notes and reading material are provided. Blogs and discussion groups occur online which is very flexible for adult learners.


How often do I have to attend college for lectures?

This programme is specifically designed for busy professionals who cannot commit to weekly college attendance.

Instead, you attend college on four residential weekends in semester one and semester two only. This involves lectures all day on Friday and until 1pm on Saturday in GMIT Mayo. B&B for the residential weekend is provided. (In light of COVID-19, this may change)

Career Opportunities

Having completed this programme graduates will have developed enhanced contextual, cultural and professional insights into palliative and end of life care and will be equipped with a set of skills that will have a direct impact in the quality of care offered to persons and families in need of palliative and end of life care in your work area. These roles vary across the spectrum of health and social care.

Graduates of this programme will advance their career prospects in terms of promotion eligibility and post-graduate training. This may be in areas of management, practice development and/or specialist clinical areas such as palliative care.

On completion of the programme, registered nurses who meet the criteria may be eligible to apply for clinical nurse specialist in palliative care.

Follow-on Studies: 

The programme has been structured so students can progress to this Masters qualification over two years:

  • Year 1, Semester 1: Certificate in Science in Palliative and End of Life Care, GMIT Mayo (30 credits)
  • Year 1, Semester 2: Postgraduate Diploma in in Science (PgDip) in Palliative and End of Life Care, GMIT Mayo (30 credits)
  • Year 2: Master of Science (MSc) in Palliative and End of Life Care, GMIT Mayo (30 credits)

Essential Information: 

Entry Requirements

The entry requirements for undertaking this programme are:

  • Honours Degree (H2.2) in any health or social care discipline or recognised cognate professional qualification.
  • A minimum of one year's experience in delivering a palliative care approach within practice within the last two years.
  • Be employed for the duration of the course in an area where the principles of palliative care are operationalized when caring for individuals with life threatening illness and their families. An example of such may be; Acute Hospitals, community hospitals, care homes, private practice, hospice and community health centers. 
  • Applicants other than nurses, must be employed in a practice area which allows interaction with patients who have palliative/end of life care needs and, where appropriate, be registered with their respective professional body.

Additional entry requirements specific to nurses:

  • Current registration on the appropriate division of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland live register;
  • Currently working a minimum of 78 hours per month.
  • Be employed in a clinical area that is approved by NMBI.


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Applicants may use RPL as a means of accessing the programme. They can also use RPL to gain exemptions.  RPL can either be certified or experiential.

GMIT will assess individual applicants on a case-by-case basis, in line with the RPL Policy.  RPL application is via the website.


***How to Apply***

Applicants are invited to apply at:

This application route is for the Certificate programme, the Postgraduate Diploma programme and the Masters Programme.


For Registered Nurses Only

An additional checklist needs to be completed by the applicant's Director of Nursing.

This checklist relates to mentoring support within the practice placement module and organisation support for the applicant.

Click here for the Certificate/PG Dip/Masters in Palliative and End of Life Care checklist. ****It is an essential requirement that this checklist is completed.


Closing date for receipt of completed applications is 5pm on Friday, 28th May 2021


Residential Dates

Download indicative residential timetable here.



Current fees are listed on our Fees Page

Contact Us

Dr Maura Fitzsimons

Programme Chair
Department of Nursing, Health Sciences & Social Care