Postgraduate Diploma in (Bio) Pharma Processing (Postgraduate Diploma in (Bio) Pharma Processing)

University College Cork (PDBPP)
Key Programme Details

Postgraduate Diploma

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

This level-9 Postgraduate Diploma will provide students with knowledge and experience on (Bio)Pharmaceutical industrial processes - from the development of biological drugs, to the manufacture, purification and formulation of active drug substance. It will produce graduates who have a fundamental understanding of the (Bio)Pharma industry, and the critical-thinking skills required to meet increasing demands for research and optimisation. The course will improve the skillsets of those already employed in the industry and provide a much-needed boost in the talent pool available for employment.

The 60 credits of content are designed to facilitate science or engineering graduates who hold sufficient educational or professional experience to transition into the (Bio)Pharmaceutical sector. The core programme contains nine modules that provide foundational material on sterile manufacturing, as well as applied modules relating to validation and regulation. Critically, the Postgraduate Diploma course has additional content compared to a related 30-credit Certificate course. This reflects the emerging need for graduates that can manage and analyse large data sets (eg. associated with in-process-testing), along with an enhanced ability to critically evaluate and improve the manufacturing process.

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

Students will complete 60 credits as follows:

PF6603 Introduction to the Principles 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) PF6612 Research Methods in (Bio) Pharma Processes and in the Development of Novel BioTherapeutics (10 credits)
PF6611 Biologics: Formulation and Dosage Form Design (5 credits)
PF6612 Research Methods in (Bio) Pharma Processes and in the Development of Novel BioTherapeutics (10 credits)
PF6613 Introductory Statistics for the (Bio) Pharma Industry (5 credits)
PF6614 Advanced (Bio) Pharma Technology and Data Analysis (10 credits)

Ongoing engagement with local companies ensures that the course meets existing and expected needs, and there is a strong focus on the technical and practical aspects of upstream and downstream processing in the manufacture of drug substance (with training sessions delivered in UCC and the Cork ETB BioPharma Training Centre in Carrigaline). Additional Diploma content reflects the changing requirement of local companies to use active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for clinical and non-clinical toxicology research testing, and a need to understand the novel biotherapies that are emerging (ATMP's). Together, it was agreed that the current combination of modules will be of interest and relevance to employees wishing to upskill, and improve the prospects of those wishing to gain employment.

***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 NFQ level 9 part-time course has been developed with input from world-leading companies based in Munster, and has been designed to meet the expected shortage of appropriately skilled employees in the sector in the coming years. It combines flexible on-campus and blended on-line teaching methods to deliver workshops, lectures and practicals to students from a range of disciplines and circumstantial backgrounds. The course features significant engagement with local industry through the provision of site visits, off-campus training opportunities and guest speaker lectures. Students will have the opportunity to avail of Career Services at UCC and take a non-credit bearing module that aims to assist them in transitioning to the workplace and facilitating a placement in a local company.

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

Lectures/workshops will be scheduled on Fridays (09:30-17.30pm) from end-September 2020 to end July 2021.

The programme will be assessed through a variety of formal written examinations, and continuous assessment (written assignments, practical reports, MCQs).

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 - €600. 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**