Course Details

Course Code(s):
Course Start Date:
1 Year
Postgraduate Certificate
NFQ Level 9 Minor Award
Faculty: Education and Health Sciences
Course Type: Taught, Professional/Flexible
Fees: For Information on Fees, see section below.
Application Deadline:


Name: Dr Roisin Cahalan
Email: Telephone: 00 353 (0)61 202959

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Brief Description

The Postgraduate Certificate in Optimisation of Health for Performance in Irish Dancers is a fully online programme aimed at Irish dancing teachers, parents, clinicians and older Irish dancers. The programme will focus on the many factors and issues that impact the wellness, and ultimately the performance, longevity and success of professional and competitive Irish dancers. These include a host of topics including musculoskeletal anatomy, injury risk, prevention and management; nutrition and diet; psychology of training and performance; the adolescent and older adult dancer; planning the dance calendar; sleep and travel; considerations for male dancers, and much more. Sessions will be delivered by international experts in these areas through a mix of live and recorded forums, and students will be encouraged to integrate their learning into class and/or personal practice settings. The programme is led by Dr Róisín Cahalan, ADCRG, former principal dancer with Riverdance, and the world’s leading researcher of Irish dancing health and wellness. Colleagues from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance will also contribute to the programme. If you have been looking for the missing puzzle pieces to build a stronger, better, more robust Irish dancer, this is the course for you.

The Postgraduate Certificate is delivered over the course of one academic year from September to May. There will be one 15-credit module in the Autumn Semester, and another in the Spring Semester. Learning resources will include a mix of live interactive session, recorded lectures, podcasts, videos, and reading materials. The times of live sessions will vary to accommodate the international nature of the student body. All sessions will be recorded and made available on the module BrightSpace virtual learning environment. Peer learning will be an important part of the programme where students will be encouraged to share their knowledge and work with colleagues to enhance their experience. Assignments will focus on reflecting on, and embedding new material into the student’s existing dancer practice. 


Autumn Semester: 15 credits

This module will provide the student with an appreciation of the array of biopsychosocial risk factors for injury in Irish dancers. It will introduce the student to key aspects of anatomy that are important in Irish dancing and discuss injuries that commonly occur at these sites. Guidance for basic injury management is introduced. Fundamental principles of strength and conditioning, balance and stability and flexibility will be explored. The student will understand appropriate load management, as well as guidelines for cross-training, warm-up, cool-down and environmental preparation. The complexity of the dancing adolescent and preparing an injured dancer for a return to dance will also be discussed. Key learnings in the area of emergency preparations for classes and competitive events will be presented. Finally, a dancer-led seminar will provide insights into health and wellbeing strategies for success and longevity in Irish dancing.



Spring Semester: 15 credits

The topics that form this module include an exploration of psychological performance and training issues, both from the perspective of the dancer, as well as the teacher and/or parent. These sessions are tailored to provide strategies to minimise stress, performance anxiety and engender positive behaviour change in stakeholders. Nutrition and diet for Irish dancers, including how to fuel for competition and performance events is discussed. Sleep, sleep hygiene and how to overcome the challenge of jet lag and fatigue when travelling for competitions are explored. The dynamics in the parent-dancer-teacher triad are examined including how to optimise communication and minimise conflicts. The unique considerations of supporting and retaining male dancers are discussed. There are also sessions on specific populations including health considerations of older recreational Irish dancers, and how to prepare for a career as a professional Irish dancer. Presentations on footcare and footwear, including advancements in Irish dancing shoe technology will be facilitated. The complex issue of ethics and legal obligations are discussed. Finally, a panel of eminent Irish dancing leaders will present a seminar on health and wellbeing practices which have supported their success.

Applicants must normally have a first or second class Level 8 honours degree (NFQ or other internationally recognised equivalent) or equivalent prior learning.

Equivalent prior learning may include an Irish dancing teacher /adjudicator qualification awarded by any of the recognised Irish dancing governing bodies internationally, or significant expertise (over 5 years of engagement at elite level) of competitive or professional Irish dancing. Candidates applying via the prior learning policy will be evaluated by a review panel prior to acceptance. Applicants must also satisfy the English Language Requirements of the University. The University reserves the right to shortlist and interview applicants as deemed necessary.


What to Include with your Application

  • Qualification transcripts and certificates
  • A copy of your birth certificate or passport
  • If your qualifications have been obtained in a country where English is an official language this will suffice
  • If this is not available, the following additional documents must be provided:
    • English translation of your qualification(s)/transcripts
    • English language competency certificate

    For more information Click Here

Further information on fees and payment of fees is available from the Student Fees Office website. All fee related queries should be directed to the Student Fees Office (Phone: +353 61 213 007 or email

Please click here for information on funding and scholarships.