Certifications & Governance Explained

Learning is lifelong. UCD Professional Academy is an independent wholly owned part of UCD designed to address the need for skills development in the workforce. Courses tend to be short, designed and delivered by industry practitioners, and are not part of nor do they lead to a traditional University award such as a degree or a masters.  They are widely accepted by employers and many students are sponsored to study by their organisation.

We've trained the employees of

Ensuring the integrity of your certification

As an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of UCD, the Professional Academy is steered by a Board of Directors appointed by the President of UCD.

The Board appoints an Academic Oversight Board to oversee quality assurance and educational standards for the UCD Professional Academy. This board is chaired by Emeritus Professor Thomas Bolger, a former Head of School and longstanding member of the UCD academic community, and is further comprised of academics drawn from across the colleges of UCD.

Governance and Quality Assurance

UCD Professional Academy certifications are not part of any UCD accredited course, such as a credit bearing degree. Although UCD does not academically accredit the Professional Academy's certifications, structures are in place, such as the Academic Oversight Board, which allow UCD to stand over their quality.

To view the terms of reference of our academic oversight board click here.

Getting ahead with professional credibility

A UCD Professional Academy Award is a relatively short, practical course that gives you up-to-date skills in a professional area – everything from leadership to finance via project management. It empowers you with best practice learning from industry experts, marrying your newfound skills with credibility to help you meet the demands of employers.

Your UCD Professional Academy award is a way to verify your credentials and achieve the career recognition you deserve. By studying with us you’ll not only gain access to career-boosting skills and knowledge in a timetable that works for you, but learn alongside like minded professionals whose collaboration and shared experience support and cement your learning.

Who should study for a Professional Academy Diploma?

Professional Academy Diplomas are suitable for career minded learners wishing to advance their professional skills and prospects rather than their academic credentials.

With their tight focus and duration, UCD Professional Academy Diplomas and Certificates are stand-alone certifications and are not referenced to NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) levels or UCD University academic courses. They are not generally accepted for transfer credit onto academic courses, but are widely recognised and valued by employers. This is not unusual for professional courses of this nature, where the need is for fresh and actionable skills immediately applicable in the workplace.

What our Alumni Say

The UCD Professional Academy Diploma in Office Administration was a valuable experience, which provided me with further opportunities - I’ve changed jobs since completing the course!

Office Administration

I really enjoyed my time doing the Data Analytics course. I think Data Camp was really great and helpful, and my professor was really knowledgeable. The course was very informative and a great jumping off place, so I would absolutely recommend it to others. 

The Professional Academy Diploma in Office Administration was enjoyable, interactive & rewarding. I found the course content extremely applicable. I would implore anyone thinking about joining UCD Professional Academy to go for it. I couldn’t recommend the tutors enough for their encouragement and help. I hope to enrol for another course soon.

Office Administration

I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to take not only their first steps into leading their own sales organization, but also current professionals looking to get a holistic understanding of how end to end sales works in an SMB. The content is up to date, engaging & also delivered in a manner which ensures relevancy to all verticals

Sales Management

The Professional Academy Diploma in Office Administration course was an enjoyable and educational experience. I found the workload to be well broken down and manageable between the weekly online classes. I worked in full time employment while completing the course and found I had more than enough time to complete coursework after working hours.

Office Administration

Studying Data Analytics was a very enjoyable experience - it provided interesting insights which I expect to use as I move into coding down the road.

Certificate in Introductory Data Analytics

The Professional Academy Diploma in Sales Management was well structured and interactive. Having a certification will help me obtain interviews for sales roles, and having knowledge of key sales concepts will set me apart from other applicants. I would recommend the course.

Sales Management

The UCD Professional Academy Diploma in Graphic Design was fantastic! The way it was structured and the clear and easy to follow tutorial were really beneficial and our lecturer was great - so professional and very helpful. UCD Professional Academy is very well organised and run and I'd definitely recommend it to others.

Graphic Design

I thoroughly enjoyed this course and found it extremely interesting and informative. My favourite thing about attending my course was learning about the case studies and real life examples of a company’s social media marketing campaign or strategy.

Social Media Marketing

The Professional Academy Diploma in PR & Marketing Communications was thoroughly enjoyable and enriching from start to finish. The content covered was broad enough to provide a good basis in a range of topics and speak to a variety of different job types. The standard of teaching and class content was excellent, while the lecturer was approachable!

PR & Marketing Communications

I already had experience in eCommerce, and even so, the Professional Academy Diploma taught me new things. It helped me understand how the market works, through different case studies. The course gave me tools and a clear vision of the steps to follow to develop my start-up.


The Professional Academy Diploma in Finance for Non-Financial Managers helped me build up basic financial concepts and knowledge. Reading financial statements has always been challenging for me. I've learned how to measure a company's performance from a financial perspective, as well as how to make an investment decision.

Finance for Non-Financial Managers

Invest in your future with career-transforming certifications

Discover our range of Professional Academy Diplomas and short courses. Prepare to take the next step in your career

Explore Courses