Diploma in Emergency Medical Science

Training for Emergency Medical Care Providers


UCD Centre for Emergency Medical Science are planning an Honours Degree -  Bachelor of Science EMS (BSc EMS). The  start date is yet to be finalised. Entry paths for school leavers, mature students and exisiting emergency services staff, and recognition of prior learing are also being determined at this stage. The syllabus and admission criteria will be posted on this website as soon as it is available. Please check back regularly.

CURRENT PROGRAMME: The Diploma in Emergency Medical Science (Paramedic Programme) is run jointly by HSE National Ambulance Service College and the School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin.  

The aim of the Dip EMS (Paramedic) course is to provide the level of education and training necessary for modern emergency medical care providers to become safe, competent and effective practitioners in the pre-hospital environment.

This course develops a sound theoretical base to support the student’s competencies in clinical decision making, patient assessment, clinical care and professional practice.

The course also serves as a foundation for further professional study:

  • Graduate Diploma in EMS
  • MSc (Advanced Paramedic)
  • MSc (immediate Care)

Course Structure


The programme duration is two years. Year one focuses on distance learning, classroom learning and clinical placements. Year two comprises an internship.

Year One Details

  • Introduction to the anatomy and physiology of the major body systems
  • Recognition of illnesses and injuries that affect those systems
  • Assessment and management of a range of illnesses and injuries
  • Common medical conditions encountered in paramedic practice
  • Key features of paediatric and maternity emergencies
  • Meeting the needs of patients with specific health problems such as mental health issues or disabilities

Year 1 includes taught components, supervised clinical placements in Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetics, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and General Practice and supervised clinical placements with the National Ambulance Service. In summary, Year 1 provides the core knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to manage medical and trauma emergencies in both adults and children in the pre-hospital phase of care.   

Year Two Details 

Year 2 includes clinical placements which involve the supervised delivery of pre-hospital emergency care, including:

  • Assessment and management of trauma
  • Approach to and management of hazards encountered in the pre-hospital environment
  • A range of emergency and non-emergency patient care assessments and interventions under supervision
  • Completion of professional functions of a Paramedic Practitioner
  • Safe and competent use of relevant PHECC Clinical Practice Guidelines (www.phecc.ie)

Successful completion of Years 1 and 2 will lead to the award of Diploma in Emergency Medical Science.

Learning Outcomes


  • Demonstrate primary and secondary patient assessments in common illness and injury situations
  • Conduct structured patient assessments in a range of settings, including basic examination techniques
  • Conduct primary and secondary patient assessments in common illness and injury situations, with special reference to children, the elderly and those with disabilities
  • Identify and implement appropriate patient handling and transportation strategies
  • Safely and effectively administer and monitor appropriate medicines
  • Be familiar with relevant PHECC Clinical Practice Guidelines

Applying Knowledge

  • Competence in the wide range of skills relevant to pre-hospital emergency care
  • Integrating clinical assessments with available treatment options to select the appropriate care strategy
  • Ensuring that the highest ethical and professional standards are maintained
  • Collecting accurate data for continuous personal and service audit purposes
  • Ensuring that patient care is at all times the primary objective of the service provider
  • Develop corrective action plans to minimise or eliminate risks occurring the pre-hospital environment


  • Clinical assessment of a wide range of conditions encountered in an urgent care setting
  • Initial decision making on every problem presented
  • Effective use of patient records and service information systems
  • Demonstrate professionalism at all times


  • Ability to work competently under pressure
  • Excellent teamwork, record-keeping and communications skills
  • Working in unfamiliar settings and groups
  • Interaction with other healthcare agencies and emergency services
  • Knowledge of the range of inter-facility transfers in use


  • Commitment to Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
  • Principles of clinical audit
  • Principles of literature searches and review
  • Integrating new science and healthcare developments to the field


Year One

Year one will involve continuous and end of module assessments including multiple choice questions (MCQs), shortanswer questions (SAQs), objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) and project components

Year Two

Year two assessment will include supervised clinical practice, portfolio and final panel exam components.

Admission Criteria

  • Minimum grade D3 in at least six subjects at Ordinary or Higher Level in the Established Leaving Certificate
  • Mathematics and Science must be two of the six subjects
  • Science subjects are Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Agricultural Science
  • A Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) EMT Certificate is acceptable in lieu of a Science subject, where the applicant already possesses six subjects 
  • Leaving Certificate Applied or Leaving Certificate Vocation Programme will not be accepted
  • Subjects taken at Foundation Level or Link Modules will not be accepted
  • A primary degree awarded by an accredited third level institution will be accepted in lieu of Leaving Certificate, subject to approval by UCD Admissions Office
  • Candidates who completed secondary school education in other jurisdictions must have a recognised school leaving qualification. Please note that vocational qualifications are not accepted
  • Currently, there is no mechanism whereby applicants who do not meet the exact criteria above can be admitted to the Dip EMS Course
  • Please direct any queries to: Ms Jacintha Vallely, Programme Manager, UCD Centre for Emergency Medical Science: centre.ems@ucd.ie / 01 716 6665

How to Apply

Access to the Dip EMS is available only by direct application to the HSE (www.hse.ie) in response to advertisements online. 

Contact Us

UCD Centre for Emergency Medical Science, Health Sciences Centre, Belfield, Dublin 4

Email: centre.ems@ucd.ie | Tel: 01 716 6665 / 01 716 6666