UCD Professional Academy Student Handbook

Dear Student,

We would like to welcome you to UCD Professional Academy. We are delighted that you have chosen an online course with us as part of your professional studies. On a UCD Professional Academy course, you’ll meet like-minded people with similar goals to yours and gain skills which we hope will open you up to new career opportunities and business ventures.

This student handbook will give you information on how our courses are delivered, how you can log into and attend your live online lectures, access the Learner Management System (LMS), as well as some general information, such as our Student Code of Conduct and Methodology Statement.

If you have any questions, please have a look at our FAQs and you might find the answer you are looking for. If not, please feel free to get in contact with us with your query.

We have a dedicated team to ensure you have the best experience and they are always available to help you with any queries or concerns you may have.

We hope that your online learning experience at UCD Professional Academy will open up a rewarding and enjoyable route to professional success.

Best wishes,

UCD Professional Academy

Methodology Statement

The UCD Professional Academy (PA) believes that authentic communication is at the heart of learning. For that reason, lecturers are encouraged to maximize learners’ involvement in lessons and to focus as much as possible on their actual learning needs. Though the course materials and content have been carefully chosen and designed, the PA relies on its lecturers to fulfil the essential role of facilitating student learning, engaging with and challenging learners, and to ensure that attending our online classes is a fun and enjoyable experience for all. The learner is asked to consider their part in this.

To achieve this, the PA aims to put in place conditions where:

  • all lessons have clearly-defined and appropriate learning outcomes, which learners are made aware of

  • there is variety within and between lessons, taking account of learners’ different interest, backgrounds, needs and learning styles

  • all learners in all courses have the opportunity to contribute equally to lesson activities and to interact with other Learners

  • lessons take place in an inclusive and supportive atmosphere, where learners feel confident in participating to the fullest

  • learners’ perseverance and dedication to developing their knowledge and skills is acknowledged and applauded

  • appropriate and up-to-date resources are used to engage and interest learners, in a way relevant to their needs

We hope you will enjoy your time at UCD Professional Academy. Our staff are always here to help so please get in contact with us if you have any queries or concerns. You can reach us through the ‘’Contact Us’’ section on the LMS or by emailing Professional.Academy@ucd.ie

UCD Professional Academy

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland +353 1 716 8755

Academic Delivery

Note on external assessment: 

The regulations described below relate only to courses which are assessed directly by the Professional Academy. In the case of courses which are preparatory for external examinations or assessment (e.g., CompTIA, AWS, Software Development), rules set by the awarding body with regard to grades, assignment submission/resubmission, and course completion requirements will apply. 

All assessments are designed to gauge the extent to which the desired Learning Outcomes of each particular course have been achieved by the Learner. Learning Outcomes for the course will be made clear to you early on, and assignment guidance and feedback will make explicit reference to them.

Individual assessments will receive a grade on the following scale:

  • Distinction

  • Merit

  • Pass

  • Unsatisfactory (Fail type 1)

  • Clear fail (Fail type 2)

Students whose submitted assignments do not meet the passing requirements (receiving Fail type 1 or Fail type 2) will have the opportunity to re-submit an assignment once. Results of re-submitted assignments will be limited to a final grade of Pass (i.e., will not be graded a Merit or Distinction). Students will have two weeks to re-submit their assignments from the point of results being published. 

The right to re-submit an assignment will only apply where a first attempt meeting the minimum length requirements has been submitted within the deadline.

Where there are two or more weighted assignments, all components must be submitted and receive at least a Pass grade in order to pass the course overall. In other words, strong performance in one assessed component will not compensate for other components which fail or are not submitted. 

Certificates are issued via email at the latest within six weeks of assessment completion.


The UCD Professional Academy submission system automatically flags and assigns a percentage to content which is similar to internet sources and assignments already submitted through its database or available online. 

Any sources or content which are not your own work should be clearly cited. Work containing unoriginal content which is not clearly acknowledged will fail if, in the judgment of the assessor, the amount of original work is insufficient to demonstrate achievement of the Learning Outcomes. For the avoidance of doubt, content produced by artificial intelligence, e.g., an AI chatbot, do not constitute your own work

Please note that all assignment work done as part of UCD Professional Academy courses needs to be original and specific to the particular course of study undertaken; assignments done previously for other courses (either at the PA or other institutions) cannot be re-submitted, even if they are the students' own work.

Extenuating Circumstances

If unforeseen personal circumstances (such as illness, bereavement etc.) make it difficult for you to complete assignments, please fill in the Extenuating Circumstances Application form and attach any relevant supporting documentation. Extenuating Circumstances applications can also be considered retrospectively, i.e., after the submission date has already passed. The introductory page of the Application Form explains the basis for decisions. Depending on the circumstances, a determination will be reached and communicated to you.  

When citing extenuating circumstances, you should provide relevant documentation at the point of submitting a request, as applications cannot be updated subsequently. Please note that documentation should be limited to official documents that relate to the provided circumstance e.g. a medical document / doctor’s cert / RIP link / letter from an official body. Personal images/photographs that contain images of the student/family members are not accepted as supporting evidence.Since only unforeseen circumstances will be taken into account, pressure of work is not accepted as an extenuating circumstance.

Students are asked not to direct queries regarding Extenuating Circumstances to individual lecturers.

Academic Appeals

UCD Professional Academy is committed to providing an excellent training experience for all students, and considers a robust and consistent approach to assessment to be an integral part of that commitment. However, the Professional Academy also recognises that, from time to time, situations may arise where a student considers they have grounds to appeal decisions related to assessment of their academic work.

Students wishing to appeal assessment decisions must do so within one week from receiving notification of their grade by filling in the Grade Appeals form. Please refer to the Professional Academy’s procedure for submitting appeals (the procedure is detailed on the second page of the form). Please note that supporting documentation should be included with the application in the form of a document which details the appealed sections and should act as evidence to your appeal. Students are asked not to direct queries regarding grades to individual lecturers. 

Once the appeal has been considered, a determination will be reached by the Academic team and the outcome communicated to you. 

Learner Satisfaction

We want to ensure that learners are satisfied with their learning experience and that they will be able to make satisfactory progress.

Learners will be given the opportunity to feedback via survey during their learning with Professional Academy. The results of such surveys will be anonymized and feedback will be taken into account when considering training needs and improvements to all aspects of our delivery.

Learners are welcome to contact the Student Services team at any time with any comments or concerns via the LMS (Learner Management System). The Student Services team will endeavour to respond to your message within 24 hours during the working week.

Audio & Video Recording

All of the UCD Professional Academy online lectures are recorded. You are not obliged to appear on camera, however if you do have your camera and your microphone enabled you may feature in the recording. Live class recordings are used for Quality Assurance and subsequently deleted, in line with GDPR. Any unauthorised sharing of the recordings and course resources is prohibited.

Learners who wish to defer their commencement date may do so only in extenuating circumstances. Each learner is only able to defer twice.
Deferral prior commencement date:

  • First deferral may only be applied to learners who have paid at least 50% towards course fees.

  • Second deferral may only be applied to learners who have paid the course fees in full.

Deferral post commencement date:

  • Deferral may only be applied no later than two weeks after the course commencement for part time courses and one day for full time courses.

All deferrals are at the discretion of the UCD Professional Academy.

Course Changes
Learners who wish to change their course of study may request a change in writing to the UCD Professional Academy. Course changes will not be facilitated after the course commencement. If there is a cost difference associated with the course the additional fees (where necessary) must be paid by the learner.

Joining Your Course

UCD Professional Academy UCD Professional Academy will register you on our LMS so you can access your course resources, assignment details and Zoom login details.

You will receive a separate email from learn.ucdpa.ie with your log in details to register for the Learning Management System (LMS) with the subject line: New User Account. Please be aware this email may end up in your junk/spam folder.

A temporary password will be issued to you and you will have to change this when logging in for the first time. Your username is always your email address.

There is an option to interact with your lecturer at the end of the lecture with any questions you have.

If learners are having difficulty signing into their lectures PA staff are available each evening to assist you. You can chat to us through the Contact Us button through the LMS or by emailing Professional.Academy@ucd.ie

Using the Learning Management System (LMS)
The Professional Academy has an online LMS which is used to record all relevant data relating to your learning.

Login here: https://learn.ucdpa.ie

Just access the LMS to:

  • Join your on-line lectures

  • Access all course resources

  • Access recorded lectures or Revision Videos

  • View your weekly timetable

  • View assessment details and submit your assignments

  • Contact the Student Services team to raise a query or concern

  • Participate in the Community and Extras section and find webinars, events, additional readings and tips on taking the next step in your professional education journey.

Students will have access to the LMS or Student Portal and all course materials for a duration of 6 months from the end date of their course before access is restricted.

Code of Conduct

In order to maintain a happy and safe environment for all members of our community, and to engender an atmosphere of respect and dignity, all learners, lecturers and staff are asked to observe certain standards of behaviour and professionalism while studying or working with us.

These are set out below:

  • Punctuality: Learners and lecturers should login to their online lectures in plenty of time to begin their lesson.

  • Preparation: Both lecturers and learners should ensure that they have prepared adequately for their online lecture, to ensure class time is used as productively as possible.

  • Cooperation: Learners are expected to cooperate and communicate with their colleagues in a mutually supportive manner, sharing ideas and resources, while respecting the privacy and integrity of others.

  • Personal well being: Learners should try to ensure that they are able to take a rest during the breaks scheduled during the lecture. Neither learners nor lecturers should be under the influence of any substance during their online lecture.

  • Dress Code: Both staff and students are expected to be respectful of the online classroom environment and wear clothing that is appropriate for the virtual classroom. 

  • Politeness: Learners and lecturing staff should be spoken to and interacted with in an appropriately friendly, polite and encouraging manner at all times.

  • Cultural sensitivity: All members of the community are responsible for maintaining an atmosphere of mutual respect for diverse cultures during their online lectures. Topics, situations or discussions which present a risk of causing offence (e.g. politics, religion, contentious interpretations of historical events) should be avoided.

  • Inclusiveness: Learners should endeavor to ensure that all individuals they encounter during their online lecture are treated with respect regardless of any aspect of personal identity, such as ethnicity, cultural background, gender, disability or sexual orientation.

  • Communications between learners and lecturers: Learners should not use Lecturers’ personal contact details or online presence to communicate with them outside the context of the course itself. Where outside contact is necessary the Student Support team Professional.Academy@ucd.ie will be happy to relay a message to the lecturer on behalf of a student. Lecturers should also follow proper GDPR practice in communications to students. In cases where ‘opting in’ to a method of group communication is offered, students who opt out must not be disadvantaged in any way.