A Wealth of Opportunity with UCD Micro​-​credentials and Advance Centre

University College Dublin (UCD) has long enjoyed a stellar reputation, and this shows no sign of changing any time soon as opportunities for students to further grow and develop are constantly improving.

Prof. Jason Last (UCD Dean of Students), Sorcha Mulcahy (Former UCD Micro-credentials Project Manager), Minister Simon Harris, Sophie Bonheim (Senior Marketing & Communications), and Dererca Ní Chianáin (Educational Technologist).

Its micro-credential​​ courses are provided by the UCD Micro-credentials department alongside a large suite of STEM and digital transformation modules provided by the Advance Centre.

The primary aim of these short, flexible, and industry-aligned courses is to provide learners with highly specialised, fully accredited and quality assured upskilling opportunities at university level. And students are increasingly impressed with the study options available to them, which include online and hybrid delivery, with courses designed and taught by leading academic faculty in UCD - one of Europe's leading research-intensive universities.

Siobhan Mac Sweeney (Head of Research Higher Ed sector), Irish Law and Legal Procedure, is full of praise for the many options available to students. “I would highly recommend UCD micro-credentials to anyone interested in broadening their knowledge in a field of interest via flexible learning that fits into a busy life,” she said.

When it comes to the Arbitration Law and Procedure course, Surveyor, Rory Lavelle, would highly recommend it: “Lectures are held online and in class, and also recorded, which is a great tool for revision or if you are unable to attend,” he said.

Dr Xavier Velay ATU Sligo, James Wright TU Dublin, Professor Jason Last, UCD Acting President Professor Mark Rodgers, Minister Simon Harris, and TU Dublin President Professor David Fitzpatrick. (F) Dr Barry Twomey Advance Centre, UCD Acting Registrar and Deputy President Professor Barbara Dooley, Mary-Anne Culhane Advance Centre, Louise O’Gorman Advance Centre ATU Sligo, Minister Josepha Madigan, Joanna Kozielec Advance Centre UCD, Professor Ken Stanton UCD, and Associate Professor Chris Bleakley UCD. Picture: Fennell Photography

Indeed, Micro-credentials aim to address many of the barriers to life-long learning and their flexible design enables learners to successfully balance further study with other commitments. Similarly, the Advance Centre is working with multiple Schools to make their programmes more accessible through enabling the delivery of individual course online, or in a blended manner.

An extremely popular course, Concussion: An Overview for Amateur Sport​s​, Brian McGovern, was incredibly positive and would encourage representatives from clubs from all sports across the country to consider taking part.

“It is an excellent course and at least one person in every club should attend, no matter the sport,” said the Personal Trainer and Ex-Professional Soccer Player. “Even if one person got the benefit from it, it would be worth it.”

With more than 90 micro-credentials to choose from, the array of short, flexible, and industry-aligned courses not only allow learners to upskill in highly specialised areas, but they also earn credits in the form of ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) which are globally recognised all over the world. In some cases, these credits can be used towards larger UCD awards such as a postgraduate diploma or a Master's.

There is a growing portfolio of courses on offer through the UCD Micro-Credentials and the Advance Centre sites in the areas of: Agriculture, Engineering, Ethics, Food Safety, Law, Nutrition, Radiation Safety, Psychology and more - and information for all is easily accessible online.

But UCD is not the only academic body involved in helping learners to develop, as the Micro-Credentials project, and the Advance Centre are only two of 24 projects funded under the HCI Pillar 3 initiative. Funding of up to €300 million has been provided to HEIs across the country by the HEA to increase capacity in higher education to provide skills-focused programmes designed to meet priority skills needs. The Advance Centre: Professional Education for Digital Transformation, was founded in 2020 by UCD, ATU Sligo, and TU Dublin and brings together academic experts and industry leaders from across the high-tech sector with the common goal of delivering a portfolio of relevant modules and full programmes addressing Irish industry’s future skills needs in the digital transformation arena.

A key goal of the Centre is to support upskilling for professional learners seeking flexible study options alongside full-time students. And it offers a wide range of industry relevant, QQI accredited modular and full course options (QQI Levels 6-9) in Digital Transformation.

There are three course admission intakes per year (September, January, and May), across a wide range of areas in AI for Medicine, Data Science, Data in Context, Health Data Analytics, Quantum Engineering & Computing, Software Engineering, Advanced Electronic System Design, Financial Maths, Digital Manufacturing, Cyber Security and Digital Agriculture.

Flexible study options include individual modular study, part-time and full-time degrees at certificate, diploma, and master’s degree level, with a variety of study options including online, blended, on campus, part-time and full-time learning. Accredited, or credit bearing, courses can be stacked towards awards (e.g., Certificates, Diplomas and Masters) over a longer period than if learners were taking the programmes in a traditional full or part-time way.

Further details are available at info@advancecentre.ie or visit www.advancecentre.ie

And for information on UCD Micro-Credentials visit www.ucd.ie/microcredentials/ or email microcredentials@ucd.ie to learn more.