Specialist Certificate in Health Promotion (Oral Health)

The Specialist Certificate in Health Promotion (Oral Health) is currently on hold. We will update this page as soon as we have more information on the future of the course.


The Specialist Certificate in Health Promotion (Oral Health) is a partnership programme between the Dental Health Foundation, the Department of Health Promotion in the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and the Department of Health. It was initiated by the Dental Health Foundation in response to the Department of Health and Children’s 1994 Dental Health Action Plan. 

The curriculum for the course was developed collaboratively by NUIG, the Dental Health Foundation and Dr. Mary O’Farrell, Principal Dental Surgeon of the Health Service Executive North East. 

Contact workshops take place for students throughout the year. The course is delivered by the NUIG via three modules: two that include workshop participation and distance education materials for home study, and one module consisting of project work. Examinations on each module are by continuous assessment throughout the year, with the submission of a final year project also being required.

The 12-month part-time course aims to provide participants with a professional education and training in the principles and practice of oral health promotion.

The course is open to any individuals who work in a professional capacity in oral health, -  dental nurses, dental hygienists and dentists or individuals who are in a position to promote oral health or simply those who have an interest in oral health. The content of the course seeks to develop in participants a critical appreciation of the current issues and dilemmas in oral health promotion. A professional attitude to practice is also enhanced due to the emphasis placed on the importance of oral health and progressing the participants’ knowledge base and skills for oral health promotion. The course objectives are to ensure that participants acquire the knowledge and skills:

  • To understand the theoretical background to the concepts and principles of health promotion and the application of theory to practice.
  • To describe the contributing factors that affect oral health.
  • To apply a range of different health promotion approaches and strategies across diverse population groups in relation to oral health.

Specialist Certificates in Health Promotion are accredited by the Department of Health Promotion through the Adult and Continuing Education Department and the Arts Faculty within the National University of Ireland, Galway. These stand-alone courses have been designed to meet the needs of health promotion practitioners in specific fields and are run in partnership with specialist agencies to meet the needs of specific practitioners. Specialist courses are available in the following areas: Community Development Settings, Disability Services, Oral Health, Sexual Health and Youth-work, Mental Health, Heart Health. Approximately 240 students have completed the course to date, and since 2015, the Dental Council of Ireland has included the Spec Cert as part of the non-core verifiable continued professional development.

Full course details, including how to apply, please see Specialist Certificate in Health Promotion - Oral Health brochure or visit the NUIG Website https://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/adult-and-continuing-education-courses/health-promotion.html

An 'Evaluation of the Specialist Certificate in Health Promotion (Oral Health)', was carried out and published.

Minister Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher who launched that report congratulated them on their work.

‘Their work has shown that the course participants perceived that their oral health promotion practices changed towards a more holistic, lifestyle changing and client empowering approach following completion of the course. I welcome the findings that those who have successfully completed the course have noticed improvements in their clients’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.’