Course Features

This one-year, full-time MSc Programme equips graduates with

  • Clinical biochemistry knowledge including technical and scientific skills aimed at developing clinical judgement. Providing them with a comprehensive overview of biochemical pathways and their relevance in health and disease states;
  • Quality and accreditation of the clinical biochemistry diagnostic service; including experience of clinical translational research and development.
  • Applied knowledge and understanding of diagnosis and management of patients from a clinical and scientific perspective;
  • Techniques utilised in the practice of diagnostic clinical biochemistry, endocrinology and toxicology;
  • Understanding of clinical areas and interpretation of results profiles in common and complex disease categories;
  • Critical results reporting.

Applications are currently being accepted for September and can be made via the UCD applications page

This pre-entry career MSc is designed to equip students with excellent core scientific skills and facilitate them in developing a broad knowledge of clinical biochemistry and how it is integral to patient diagnoses, management and outcome. 

This course is designed to provide training in clinical biochemical diagnostics and will equip a student for a career in clinical laboratory biochemistry or for a career in the diagnostics or related industries. Following completion of the successful MSc, a number of intern placements in hospital laboratories will be available, on a competitive basis, for those graduates wishing to pursue a career in laboratory diagnostics.

This course is primarily targeted towards:

  • Those holding a minimum 2:1 honours degree in a Biochemistry related discipline, including biochemical genetics. See (details)
  • Those holding a Postgraduate Degree in a relevant discipline (Minimum 30% Biochemistry content)

The course is delivered on-site (lectures) and Clinical Placement in Dublin and Regional Hospitals. Students must be prepared to take up places in regional hospitals.

Some part-bursaries are available on a competitive basis.

The Masters course will run for 1 calendar year and will be divided into 3 Semesters as follows;

Semester 1: (Sept to December 14-week intensive lecture modules as detailed below)

Semester 2: (January to April inclusive) students will be placed in a clinical biochemistry services in one of the major academic teaching hospitals. (Note some placements will be in regional academic hospitals, Cork, Galway, Limerick)

Examinations will take place at the end of April in the format of a written essay paper (2 long answer questions and 25 short answer questions in a 3 hour examination) Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) (1 hour) and OSPE style examination;

Semester 3: May to August – experimental project work with 4-week period protected for project write up.

Final examination 

Oral and Poster presentation followed by viva voce will be final exit examination in early September.

During Semester 2 each student will take a 1-week specialist placement in one of the following areas; toxicology, metabolic or paediatric laboratories. For this week the student may be based in NI or UK.

Masters thesis proposals will be Principal Investigator led and the topics for projects with be presented to students in Semester 1. This will be in the form of a 1-page project proposal and abstract.

There will be ongoing assessments of progress with Faculty members in each semester.

Autumn Trimester

MDCS42090 Clinical Diagnostic Tools and Techniques:

28 Taught/Supervised sessions

5 credits =140 hrs = 3.5 weeks (28 hours lectures)

Module Lead: Dr Graham Lee, Consultant Clinical Biochemist, Mater University Hospital

Module Description

Introduction to Health Care Science and diagnostic medicine (organisation of pathology/hospital/networks)

Learning Objectives

A main focus of this Module is to provide a broad overview of the instrumentation and the quality of pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical phases of testing in clinical diagnostics.

MDCS42080 Clinical Biochemistry in physiology, disease pathogenesis and management

1 X 5 and 1 X 2.5(7.5) credits = 156 hours = 4weeks (36 hours lectures)

Module Lead: Professor Maria Fitzgibbon, Clinical Professor, School of Medicine, UCD.

Major Organ/Systems Disease and Dysfunction

Learning Outcomes

Basis for pathophysiology of disease and how to identify, diagnose, monitor and prevent disease through biochemical testing.

MDCS42070 Biochemistry Through the Ages

5 credits = 120 hours = 3 weeks (24 hours lectures)

Module Leads:  Dr Sean Costelloe, Consultant Clinical Biochemist, Cork University Hospital/Dr Ophelia Blake, Consultant Clinical Biochemist, Limerick University Hospital

Pregnancy, neonatal, paediatric and medicine for the elderly

Use of genetic vs traditional diagnostic investigations.

Learning Outcomes

Develop understanding of more complex biochemistry.

Understanding of differences in biochemistry in neonates, pregnancy and in elderly subjects.

MDCS42060 Endocrinology and Metabolism

5 credits = 140 hours = 4 weeks (26 hours lectures)

Module Leads: Dr Paula O’Shea, Consultant Clinical Biochemist and Dr Jennifer Brady, Consultant Clinical Biochemist, Children’s University Hospital, Temple St and Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin

Introduction to endocrine, overview of Axis including Pit disease; Thyroid

Adrenal, Male Reproductive, Female Reproductive  

Learning Outcomes

Develop an understanding of the importance of biochemical diagnoses in endocrine conditions.


Spring Trimester

Spring trimester will commence with the following taught module (5) and will be followed by placement in clinical diagnostic laboratory.

MDCS42050 Research Ethics (Clinical Biochemistry)

2.5 credits = 1 week = 40 hours (2nd week in January)

Facilitated by Professor Maria Fitzgibbon

Lectures/Workshop 20 hours

Code of practice for clinical research studies, clinical audit, Institutional Research Board applications. Learning outcomes

The students will be introduced to clinical translational research and will develop an understanding of the benefit of their project work to patient outcomes.

MDCS42040 Clinical placement

20 credits = 12 weeks = 480 hours 

Co-ordinators: Professor Maria Fitzgibbon, Dr Graham Lee, Dr Paula O’Shea, Dr Ophelia Blake, Dr Sean Costelloe, Dr Jennifer Brady

Placement in a Clinical Biochemistry service in one of the academic teaching hospitals nationally.

(Please note 3 placements are out of Dublin; in Cork, Galway and Limerick)

The students will be required to rotate through the clinical diagnostic service and gain knowledge of the pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical processes involved in laboratory medicine.

Early in the Spring Trimester the students will prepare and submit their Institutional Research Board application, so that it is in place for them to proceed with their research project work, which will commence in April/May.

An Additional 20 credits of learning to be drawn from Optional Modules offered in related disciplines.

Total credits for Modules 40


Summer Trimester

MDCS42030: Practical work and August Thesis write-up (16 weeks)

15 credits = 12 weeks Practical work

10 credits write up 4 weeks  

Undertake research project under the nominated Principal Investigator/Consultant

This will involve review of the relevant literature, recruiting study subjects and patients, validating methodologies, analysis of data and applying statistics.

August (4 week) Write-up period

Project write up and submission date in early September. Assessment of project will be via oral and poster presentation and an exit viva voce (Faculty and external assessors).


Eligibility criteria

Important dates & information

Applications to include an expression of interest (no more than 100 words) in the career trajectory to be submitted through the UCD on-line applications system.

Apply Online

  • Click on the link and follow the steps outlined.
  • The “Application Type” is Graduate Taught Courses, and “Admission Term” is September 2023.
  • Fill in your personal details, and when asked about the “Programme Choice”, select MSc Clinical & Diagnostic Biochemistry FT X874.The corresponding fee will be applied.
  • Next, enter details of any third level institutions you have attended and professional qualifications you have attained in the “Academic Background” section.
  • 100 word expression of interest.
  • Having paid the application fee and received an e-mail receipt, you must continue to complete the application process by pressing “submit”. An e-mail confirming successful application will be sent to you within 24 hours. A detailed, step-by step guide to the online application process is available here.
  • You can track the status of your documentation online. Log in to your account & click on your submitted application. This will bring up an application summary. The application requirements are listed at the end of the summary.
  • If you have any problems or queries with the online application process, email: applications@ucd.ieor telephone: + 353 1 716 1142 or 1476.


Academic Course Directors

Programme Administrator

Dr Graham Lee

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

Eccles St

Dublin 7

Key Information:

  • Major Code X874
  • Duration 1 year
  • Schedule See below

Ready to take the next step?

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