Course Overview

This MSc in Orthopaedic and Musculoskeletal Medicine is delivered on a part time basis over two years. It offers a University Masters level qualification, with options at both Certificate and Diploma level.

The course is open to doctors, and allied health professionals interested in developing expertise in the area of musculoskeletal medicine. This may include those working in General Practice, Emergency Medicine, Radiology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Rheumatology, Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine.

Training is offered in the diagnosis and management of the full range of musculoskeletal conditions. The course is delivered by consultants in Orthopaedic Surgery and Rheumatology and emphasises a practical approach. Students will be expected to develop applicable clinical skills, including expertise in musculoskeletal examination, first-responder management of pitchside and roadside trauma, and administering musculoskeletal injections using anatomic and ultrasound guided techniques.

Programme Options

Code Description
X899 Graduate Certificate Option
X900 Graduate Diploma Option
X875 Masters Programme

"Since completing this masters programme, I have found it was hugely beneficial regarding improving my clinical knowledge and had great variation, including clinical placements. The staff were also very helpful and supportive throughout the entirety of the programme. I am very glad I undertook this program and feel certain I will continue to regularly refer to my learnings from the course, in the future."

Ronan Henry, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, HSE

MSc Primary Care (Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Medicine), Class 2022

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Mr Seamus Morris

Role: Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery UCD, Postgraduate Trainer in Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery RCSI, Faculty member and Course Chairman on numerous national and international courses in Orthopaedic Trauma and Spine surgery.

Expertise: I graduated from UCD in 1995 and completed basic and higher surgical training in Trauma and Orthopaedic on the Irish National Training Program. I then undertook Fellowship training in Spine and Scoliosis Surgery in the Hospital for Special Surgery / Weill Cornell Medical College, New York before undertaking further training in Complex Trauma Reconstruction in St Georges Hospital, London. I served as joint clinical lead in the National Pelvic & Acetabular Trauma Unit from 2007-2013 and subsequently as Director of the National Spinal Injuries Unit. I have been clinical secretary to the Irish Institute for Trauma and Orthopaedics and am a Regional Clinical Lead. My clinical interests include spinal trauma and spinal cord injury, spinal tumours and complex trauma.

Contribution to the Programme: I am responsible for developing the curriculum, appointing and briefing the faculty, ongoing academic governance and oversight, liaison with clinical sites, assessment, student feedback, and course evaluation. I look forward to helping students during their time at UCD with their clinical and research activities. 

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Mr Marcus Timlin

Role: Consultant spinal surgeon practising at the National Spinal Cord Injuries Unit, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh.

Expertise: Following graduation from the Royal College of surgeons in Ireland in 1995 Mr Timlin completed his basic and higher surgical training in trauma and orthopaedic surgery in Ireland. He attained a combined orthopaedic and neurosurgical Fellowship in complex spinal surgery in Toronto at the Toronto Western Hospital.(2007-2008)

He has been in practice as a consultant spine surgeon in Ireland since 2008. He was appointed as consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the National Spinal Cord Injuries Unit, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in 2014. He has a busy surgical practice performing over 500 surgeries and interventions for patients with spinal conditions every year.

Mr Timlin is the director of the National spinal cord injuries unit since 2019.

Mr Timlin was appointed as the clinical lead for back and neck pain referral pathways by the HSE and RCSI in 2018. He is a trainer for the orthopaedic higher surgical training programme and responsible for teaching junior trainees in all aspects of spine surgery. He has a strong research history with multiple peer-reviewed papers, abstracts presentations, and book chapters. He is a member of the Irish spine Society, the Irish Institute of trauma and orthopaedic surgeons, the AO spine organisation and Euro spine.

Contribution to the programme: Mr Timlin will be lecturing on Cervical Radiculopathy and Myelopathy and will be demonstrating hands-on clinical examination techniques at the spinal practical workshop.


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Prof David Kane MB BCh BAO BA PhD FRCPI

Role: Consultant Rheumatologist and at Tallaght University Hospital Dublin and Beacon Hospital Dublin. He is Clinical Professor in Rheumatology at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

Expertise: His special interests are musculoskeletal ultrasound, spondyloarthopathy and synovial biology. He is a member of the European Working Party on Musculoskeletal Ultrasound, the OMERACT special interest group on musculoskeletal ultrasound and a faculty member of the EULAR ultrasound course since 2004. He organised the British Society for Rheumatology Introductory Musculoskeletal Ultrasound course in Glasgow in 2002 and in Newcastle in 2005, has been a trainer on the British Society for Rheumatology basic and advanced ultrasound courses, organised the Irish Society for Rheumatology Ultrasound Training Programme since 2006 and has been an invited trainer on the American College of Rheumatology, Asia and Pacific League Against Rheumatism ultrasound courses. 

Clinical interests: Medical Education including Musculoskeletal Ultrasound, Power Doppler Ultrasound in Immune-Inflammatory Disease, Interventional Rheumatology and Ultrasound, and Management of Sports Injuries with Ultrasound. He has given over 50 invited international lectures and published over 100 peer reviewed publications and book chapters with the majority concerning musculoskeletal ultrasound and inflammatory arthritis.

Contribution to the programme: Prof. Kane is delivering learning material on Osteoarthritis


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Prof.Turlough O’Donnell

Role: Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with a special interest in Upper limb surgery, Limb deformity correction, Joint replacement surgery and Early intervention techniques for osteoarthritis of the knee. Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery in University College Dublin (UCD) and supervisor of postgraduate research for the STAR MD program in RCSI.

Expertise: Having completed his orthopaedic training in Ireland, including a fellowship in trauma surgery in the National Trauma Centre in Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, he gained further subspecialty experience in Australia.

Prof. O’Donnell has an international reputation in his field, has published peer-reviewed articles, lectures at international meetings on a regular basis, is heavily involved in clinical research through his role in UCD, and runs a surgeon reference training centre, training international surgeons techniques in joint preservation surgery (Unicompartmental, Patellofemoral, Bicompartmental and Bicondylar unicompartmental). He has pioneered the use of Focal Articular Surface Replacement (FASR) techniques for the treatment of focal chondral defects of the knee.

Prof. O’Donnell has extensive experience in the field of biological regeneration, with techniques such as cartilage transplantation, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment, and more recently has been pioneering the use of Autologous Adipose-Derived Stromal Vascular Fraction Therapy (Stem cells) for the treatment of cartilage lesions.

He has a keen interest in orthopaedic trauma, and holds several global patents in relation to plates that he had been the lead clinical designer for osteosynthesis of fractures of the clavicle, elbow, forearm, wrist, hand, ankle and foot, as well as plates for maxillofacial surgery and arthrodesis of the big toe. He also holds global patents for novel bone reduction and holding forceps, including the “Lag forceps” and “Bridge forceps”.

Contribution to the Programme: Prof O Donnell will be teaching practical clinical examination and injection techniques for the knee joint and lecturing on clinical examination of the shoulder, and degenerative conditions in the older patient.

Mr John Lunn

Role: Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Expertise: Mr Lunn graduated University College Dublin in 1994. He underwent higher surgical training in orthopaedics in Ireland and studied in France for his fellowship year dealing with all aspects of shoulder problems and shoulder surgery. Presently he works primarily as a shoulder surgeon dealing with all aspects of shoulder problems ranging from instability to rotator cuff problems and shoulder replacement. His practice covers both elective surgery and from working in the public health system a lot of fracture problems from the simple to the complex.

Contribution to the Programme: I will be giving lectures and tutorials on practical shoulder anatomy, clinical examination, rotator cuff issues and management of shoulder pathology.

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Mr Keith Synnott

Role: Consultant Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, National Clinical Lead for Trauma Services, HSE.

Expertise: I am an orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in spine, arthroplasty and trauma. I also lead the national program for the development of the trauma service for Ireland.

Contribution to the Programme: I will be giving lectures and tutorials on clinical examination, spine, hip and knee care.


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Ms Grainne Colgan

Role: Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon in Mater Hospital and Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospitals Dublin

Expertise: Grainne graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2000 and completed her Higher Surgical Training in Orthopaedic Surgery in 2017. She went on to complete a novel interface fellowship in hand and wrist surgery with both Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgeons, in Dublin. At the end of her fellowship she successfully passed the European Board of Hand Surgery Diploma exam.

With a special interest in complex paediatric hand surgery – she has spent time in Texas Scottish Rite, Dallas as a visiting hand fellow, and was the Congenital Hand Surgery Fellow in Great Ormond Street Hospital, London 2018-2019. She also trained with Caroline Le Clercq in Institute De La Main, Paris specialising in the surgical treatment of spasticity – cerebral palsy, and surgical reanimation of the upper limbs in spinal cord injury.

Contribution to the Programme: Ms Colgan will be lecturing on clinical examination, bone and joint pathology, and neuropathy of the Hand and Wrist




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Mr David E O’Briain


  • Consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon
    • Mater Misericordiae University Hospital
    • National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh
  • Associate professor and adjunct clinical lecturer to UCD School of Medicine

Expertise: Mr O’Briain’s specialist interests include the open and arthroscopic management of trauma and elective conditions affecting the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. He graduated with honours from UCD in 2004. He holds a masters degree in science from UCD and in surgery from NUI Galway and became a fellow of the RCSI in 2014.

He undertook 2 years of ACGME and AOA accredited fellowship training in Australia and the USA. He trained in shoulder and elbow surgery in the Sydney Shoulder Research Institute in Australia and in sports and upper limb surgery in the University of South Florida, Florida Orthopaedic Institute and Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education in Tampa, Florida.

He has published 15 peer reviewed scientific articles and is actively involved in further research. He has presented his research nationally and internationally in the USA, Australia, Spain, Austria, England and Ireland.
He is involved in surgical training and has been an invited trainer on surgical courses for consultants in Paris, Germany and the UK and has established and run surgical approach technique courses for orthopaedic trainees in the Mater Hospital.

Contribution to the programme: Mr O’Briain will be lecturing on soft tissue pathology in the shoulder and practical shoulder anatomy. He will also lecture on, and host a webinar on elbow instability, arthritis and tendonopathies. He will provide practical teaching for shoulder examination and injections at a workshop event during the course.

  • Prof S Donnelly 
  • Mr M Neligan
  • Mr J Nagaria 
  • Mr J Butler 
  • Mr J Queally 
  • Mr P Moroney 
  • Mr A Laing
  • Mr M Mara 

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Ms Ruth Whelan

Role: Physiotherapist and Manager UCD Beacon Hospital Academy

Expertise: I am a Musculoskeletal Trained Physiotherapist with a special interest in Clinical Education.

Contribution to the Programme: I have enjoyed sitting on the steering board of this Masters Programme and being involved in the development of the curriculum design. My role will predominantly pertain to the integration of Beacon Hospital Consultants and Staff contributors to the programme. I will be responsible for the clinical placements at Beacon Hospital and will also support the students as they complete their research modules.


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Prof Walter Cullen

Role: General Practitioner & Professor of Urban General Practice, UCD School of Medicine

Expertise: I am a general practitioner with an interest in medical education. I have been delighted to be part of the multidisciplinary team who developed this programme.

Contribution to the Programme: I am responsible for academic governance and oversight, liaison with clinical sites, assessment, student feedback, course evaluation. I look forward to helping students during their time at UCD and especially with their audit and / or research activities.


This course is targeted towards:

  • Doctors working in clinical practice wishing to develop a special interest in musculoskeletal medicine
  • Physiotherapists working in clinical practice wishing to enhance their knowledge and skills in musculoskeletal medicine
  • Physicians Assistants, Advanced Nurse Practitioners and other relevant Allied Health Practitioners working in clinical practice wishing to develop a specialist interest in musculoskeletal medicine
  • All candidates may be subject to an interview process once all necessary documents are submitted. 

Semesters 1 and 2

Distance and Online Learning

Distance and online learning allow students to develop their expertise in the full range of musculoskeletal medical conditions in these semesters. In addition, full day workshops held every six weeks allow students to put into practice their examination techniques, develop expertise in MSK injections using anatomic and ultrasound guided techniques and to develop proficiency in early trauma management.  

Online resources allow students to work at their own pace during the semester. This flexible, practitioner-focused approach to course delivery takes account of and caters for time and work pressures experienced by busy clinicians.

In addition to the clinical course content, students will also complete a module of medical scholarship allowing them to:

  • Develop their research skills, allowing them to successfully complete a research project (review literature, plan and enact a project, analyse and interpret findings, disseminate their work).
  • Review own practice and improve patient care through clinical audit and quality improvement initiatives
  • Critical thinking, analysis and problem solving

Semester 3 & 4

Clinical Placement

Students will have the opportunity to undertake clinical placements (80 hours over 14 weeks) with Consultants in Orthopaedic Surgery and Rheumatology in the out-patient (OPD) setting, allowing them to broaden their clinical exposure and hone their diagnostic skills. In addition, students will gain a deeper understanding of the use of diagnostic modalities, clinical decision making and treatment options at secondary and tertiary levels of care.

Module Options include:

  • Sports
  • Spine
  • Joint Replacement : Hip & Knee
  • Shoulder & Upper lImb
  • Hand
  • Foot and Ankle Surgery
  • Paediatrics

Research Dissertation

Students undertake to plan, enact and disseminate an original piece of research in the area of primary care orthopedics, under the supervision of faculty. The dissertation should demonstrate:

  • Enhanced critical thinking, analysis and problem solving
  • Ability to review their own practice and improve patient care through clinical audit and quality improvement initiatives

The MSc programme is delivered over two years part-time and is designed to include both theoretical and professional practice elements, with significant emphasis on expertise in clinical practice. The course is designed for medical practitioners, but some modules may be open to other disciplines within primary care.

The 90-credit programme will lead to a MSc in Primary Care (Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Medicine) with exit options at Graduate Certificate (30-credit) and Diploma (60-credit) level.

Prospective students will be awarded up to 30 credits in recognition of prior learning which may have been accrued through the successful completion of diplomas / certificates awarded by bodies other than universities (e.g. professional bodies, industry, HSE, workplace-based training, etc) AND/OR professional and clinical practice (as evidenced by submission of a professional practice portfolio)

An award of Graduate Certificate (30 credits) will be given to students who have completed three core ten-credit modules which will provide them with knowledge / skills / competences that equip them to competently manage common musculoskeletal problems in a primary care setting.

A Graduate Diploma (60 credits) will be awarded to students who have completed six ten-credit modules that will allow them to be a clinical expert in the management of patients with common musculoskeletal problems in a primary care setting.

The award of Masters (90-credit) will be made to students who have demonstrated their clinical expertise in musculoskeletal medicine and in addition successfully completes scholarly activities such as literature reviews, clinical audit, quality improvement in practice and research .

Have relevant clinical experience in orthopaedics, primary care or physiotherapy, and be working in active clinical practice.


Hold an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in Medicine, and be in good standing with the Irish Medical Council; or

Hold a BSc in physiotherapy and are registered with CORU.

Applicants who do not meet the above academic or experience requirements may also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) following a review of their individual qualifications and experience by the faculty of the school of medicine.

Please note that Garda Vetting may also be required.

To participate fully in this online programme, we recommend that participants have:

  • PC or a laptop with an up to date operating systems
  • High Speed Broadband (a minimum of 4MB download speed and 1MB upload speed)
  • Access to a modern standards compliant web browser.
  • Camera for virtual classroom

To apply for this programme, please submit a direct application. A detailed, step-by step guide to the online application process is available on the registry page

The course programme codes are:

  • X899 for the Graduate Certificate 
  • X900 for the Graduate Diploma 
  • X875 for the Masters MSc

The School welcomes applications from eligible international applicants. 

For more information on studying at UCD as an international student please see the UCD Global website.

If you have any problems or queries with the online application process, Email: or Tel: + 353 1 716 1476

For more information on course fees please visit UCD Fees & Grants Office website. 

Academic Course Directors Programme Administrators

Prof Walter Cullen
UCD School of Medicine
UCD Health Sciences Centre
Belfield, Dublin 4.

Ms Sinead Gillen

Programme Administrator
UCD School of Medicine
UCD Health Sciences Centre
Belfield, Dublin 4


Assoc Prof Seamus Morris
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and UCD Associate Clinical Professor
Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and
Beacon Hospital, Sandyford, Dublin 18


Key Information:

  • Major Code X875
  • Duration 24 Months
  • Schedule Part Time
  • Next Intake September 2024