Postgraduate Certificate in (Bio) Pharma Processing (Postgraduate Certificate in (Bio) Pharma Processing)

University College Cork (PCBPP)
Key Programme Details

Postgraduate Certificate

NFQ Level

Level 9 About NFQ

Delivery Method

Online, Classroom


Part Time

ECTS Credits



School of Pharmacy

General Information

Lorna Moloney





Adult Continuing Education,
University College Cork,
The Laurels,
Western Road,



UCC Springboard+ Programme Coordinator

Important Dates
Application Deadline


Start Date


End Date


About this Course

The Postgraduate Certificate in (Bio)Pharma Processing is designed to facilitate science or engineering graduates who hold sufficient educational or professional experience to transition into the BioPharmaceutical sector nationally.

Development and delivery of this level 9 course in the Munster area, where comparatively high numbers of Pharmaceutical companies are situated, will provide participants with experience in the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients and their formulations. Students will be given technical and practical knowledge of the key upstream and downstream processes associated with the industry, as well as sterile fill-finish, API and formulation production. This combination of modules, which spans both the drug development and drug manufacturing processes, and has been designed to meet the existing and projected needs of the industry, will help produce confident graduates that are technically competent for employment in the (Bio)Pharmaceutical sector. It will improve the skillsets of those already employed in the industry, and provide a much needed increase in the talent pool available for employment.

Entry Requirements

A candidate must have obtained at least a Second Class Honours primary degree in a relevant Pharmacy, Science or Engineering discipline (NFQ level 8).

In exceptional cases applicants not meeting the above criteria will be considered for entry based on an interview and successfully demonstrating that they hold an equivalent professional qualification, or significant industrial experience relevant to the course.

All applicants whose first language is not English are expected to have a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with no individual section lower than 6.5.

Places are limited and will be awarded on a competitive basis. Candidates may be invited to interview by the programme team to assess their suitability for the programme.

Long Description

The The Postgraduate Certificate in (Bio)Pharma Processing, which is composed of five modules (30 credits), was designed with significant input from local industries. It will provide students with foundational material relating to the (Bio)Pharmaceutical sector, as well as applied modules relating to validation and regulation that were expanded and developed at the time that Springboard+ courses were extended to include those in employment. Following industrial consultations, it was agreed that these would be of greatest assistance to employed individuals wishing to broaden their employment opportunities within the workplace, and improve the prospects of those wishing to gain employment.

Students will complete 30 credits as follows:
PF6603 Introduction to the Principle of Formulation and Dosage Form Design (5 credits)
PF6605 Microbiology and Sterile (Bio) Pharmaceutical Processes (5 credits)
PF6607 Pharmaceutical Process Design and Verification (5 Credits)
PF6609 GXP – Regulatory and Best Practice Standards in the (Bio)Pharmaceutical Industry (5 credits)
PF6610 BioPharmaceutical Technology and Processes (10 credits)

The programme will be delivered as a combination of online distance learning, classroom, laboratory teaching and site visits that will give participants a strong practical and theoretical understanding of the processes involved in the manufacture of drug substance and drug products. Participants will be provided with teaching materials (online notes and videos) in advance of attending classroom and practical sessions. This approach to content delivery, which will enable students to work through topics in advance of attending weekly classroom sessions, or revise material post-delivery, is aimed at facilitating the learning needs of the diverse group of students that we expect to have on the course (returners to the workplace, previously self-employed, unemployed and those in employment). Practical sessions will be delivered in the state of the art pilot scale facilities in the School of Pharmacy, UCC and the Cork ETB BioPharma Training Centre in Carrigaline, Co.Cork.

The unemployed and returner student cohorts will also be expected to register for an optional module that provides training in professional career management skills: PF6615 Transitioning into the Workplace and Placement (5 credits). This module involves career coaching by UCC's Career Service, and, where possible, an experiential work placement with a local company. It is assessed on a pass/fail basis and is not counted toward the final award. The result obtained in PF6615 will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

***Please note that places are limited and will be awarded on a competitive basis. This course may be closed prior to the application deadline if all places are filled early.***

Why Choose This Course

This part-time programme provides participants with technical expertise for career progression in both the Biopharma-Pharmaceutical manufacturing sectors.

Key programme aspects include:
• Hands-on practical experience of unit operations at lab scale facilities in the School of Pharmacy, University College Cork and the Cork Education and Training Board facilities in Carrigaline.
• Practical application of the theory relating to pharmaceutical processing both Biopharma, Pharmchem and Drug Product.
• Delivery online and in-classrooms allowing flexible contact hours; On-site teaching at UCC for Fridays only in semesters 1 and 2.
• Career coaching and job readiness workshops.

Career Opportunities

As is referenced in the EGFSN’s recent report “Future Skills Needs of BioPharma Industry in Ireland’ (2016), as the BioPharma sector continues to grow, many companies are experiencing difficulties in sourcing individuals with relevant experience. Key skills identified in this report, and addressed in modules for this programme, include:

*Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
*Aseptic and sterile manufacturing
*Upstream/downstream processing
*Clean utilities
*Good Lab Practice
*Documentation management
*Quality person duties
*Regulatory filings.

Following consultation with some of our industrial collaborators, it is envisaged that applicants with a suitable primary degree, who upskill and graduate from this programme, would be in a position to apply for a variety of positions in local companies including, but not limited to:
*Process Technician
*Production Supervisor
*Quality Assurance Specialist
*Technical Services Scientist
*Validation Science
*Scientist (BioPharma)
*BioProcess Engineer
*Process Scientist (Manufacturing Support).

A dedicated UCC EMPLOYABILITY AND WORK PLACEMENT COACH will work with students on this programme and provide a tiered approach to supporting the participants with the development of their job readiness and their transition into employment. The activities of the Coach will be structured to meet the differing needs of the 3 categories of eligible applicants for the 2020 Springboard+ call: those unemployed/ previously self-employed; returners; and those in employment. Main activities will include:

1. ONE-TO-ONE CAREER COACHING to formulate Individual CAREER ACTION PLANS leading to employment: Individual career coaching will be provided for each participant to reflect on:
* Where they are now in their careers;
* Where they want to be;
* Strategies for gaining employment on completion of their Springboard+ course.
These individual coaching sessions will be customised to the needs of the student within the three categories of Springboard+ 2020 applicants.

2. JOB READINESS WORKSHOPS to complement individual coaching sessions will be built into the programme as outlined below:
* Positioning oneself for job readiness (4 workshops): Setting realistic career objectives; Understanding strengths and skills; Learning from successful role models; Developing a career management strategy.
* Moving forward into a job (4 workshops): Taking action by developing career goals and implementing them;
* Creative job-hunting both on-line and off-line; Written applications, CVs and interview preparation and Implementing career plans.
* Small Group Workplace skills training will also be delivered to help individuals with barriers to employment to gain confidence, develop the people skills and the insights needed to transition to the world of work.

3. Participants will be given the opportunity to MEET EMPLOYERS by
* Attending UCC organised recruitment fairs, jobs roadshows and other events where employers will be invited on campus to meet students;
*Attending employer-led events on building workplace competencies.
*Meet with employers for informational interviews.

Timetable Info

Students are required to attend classes at the university 1 day per week during each 12 week semester (Sept- Dec and Jan – April). For the 2019/2020 programme the classroom/practical/site visits are scheduled for Fridays 9.30a.m - 5pm. Pre-reading for classes will be delivered online.

Delivery Location

UCC & Online

Delivery Notes

* Given the current public health advice around social distancing, this programme will likely be delivered in a blended manner comprising live online classes, online recordings, and face-to-face teaching where possible.

Admissions Contact Details
Contact Person

Lorna Moloney




RPL Information

RPL may be used by Springboard participants applying to this course to gain admission to the programme where an applicant many not otherwise reach the standard educational qualification entry requirements.

Application Procedures

Apply online at Candidates are advised to apply early as high demand is anticipated and places are limited.

Applications will NOT be assessed until all supporting documentation has been received. Please ensure that you have the following documentation available at the time of application:

* Copies of transcripts and parchments for any previous relevant educational qualifications

* Current CV

* References where applicable

*Application statement (in no more than 500 words, please outline why you wish to study this course at UCC and explain how you meet the programme entry requirements)

* Copy of IELTS/TOEFL certificate for non-native English speakers

PLEASE NOTE: Documents must be combined into one zip file and uploaded. Uploading of multiple documents is currently not facilitated.


No fee applicable for jobseekers (unemployed and formerly self-employed) and returners (homemakers, carers, etc.).

Fee applicable for those currently in employment - €315. This fee will be collected by UCC prior to the commencement of the course.

**Please note that this course may be closed prior to the application deadline if all places are filled**

UCC Postgraduate Certificate in (Bio)Pharma Processing