Core College

Become a Master Herbalist

Study traditional herbalism in a progressive environment with a focus on clinical training in a working herbal clinic

Herbal Medicine Practitioner

Course Delivery

Online with Site Based Clinical Training


4 Years

Start Date

September 2024

The Licentiate is designed to prepare the student for clinical practice as a Medical Herbalist in the tradition of Master Herbalism. As such it covers the subject of herbal medicine in depth with a particular emphasis on the use of herbs that grow in Ireland.

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The Herbal Medicine Programme

There is a growing demand for this kind of professional service, as people are increasingly seeking safer, more effective, and less invasive forms of healing. While the primary focus of this course is on herbalism, it also covers natural healing protocols, vitalist nutrition, and detoxification regimes.

Master Herbalists use Iridology as a health assessment tool, and students become qualified in this modality during the first two years of the course. Iridology is a non-invasive natural diagnostic tool. It is used to suggest a particular healing regime for each patient. This assessment tool highlights the key areas of a person's emotional and physical health that may require attention and suggests specific methods of treatment.

Most participants in this course are mature people, often in full-time employment, raising a family, or both. With this in mind, the academic content is delivered entirely through online learning, allowing for the face-to-face experiences of the student to be entirely dedicated to clinical training.


Clinical Training

The college places great emphasis on clinical training, and the course is essentially built around the apprenticeship model. Clinical training is currently provided by the college at its busy herbal clinic at the Old Rectory in Portlaoise, as well as in the Maynooth University Conference Centre.

Clinical training is by far the most important component of any professional training in medicine or natural healing. It allows the student to experience the reality of working in a clinic and dispensing herbal medicines.

Apart from the required subjects, such as plant chemistry, botany, and human and clinical sciences, 'vitalist' nutritional principles, or the belief that plant based and living food is optimal for health is central to the teaching of Master Herbalism.

Alongside clinical training at the college clinic, students attend workshop-style clinical training at Maynooth University Conference Centre. These take place over two to three weekends each year. 

Clinical training also includes a proportion of hours offered in the herbal gardens in the new College premises, located in the old convent in Castlecomer County Kilkenny.

Upon completion of the first two years of the Herbal Medicine Programme, students can be awarded the Vitalist Nutrition Diploma, allowing them to start practising as a Nutritionist and Iridologist. This means that they can also use the herbal knowledge they have gained to recommend herbal products available in health food stores, to their patients, alongside specific dietary and lifestyle advice.

In order to be qualified to prepare and dispense herbal medicines and practise as a Master Herbalist, students must complete the full four-year programme.



Course Format

The Master Herbalist Programme is part-time in terms of attendance. In terms of study, however, it is equivalent in commitment to a full-time course.

The academic content of the course is entirely delivered online. The course is designed with the maximum use of online resources, including podcasts, videos, and discussion forums. Students are assigned a personal tutor who is in charge of moderating student groups and online activities and is always available to deal with students' queries.This helps the student to feel part of the larger academic community and to be in touch with other students on a daily basis.

Because of the online nature of the course delivery, attendance at the school's clinic, at the conference centre in Maynooth, and in the herbal gardens at the convent in Castlecomer, is dedicated to the completion of the 600 clinical training hours required by the programme.

Each academic year, a student is required to attend an average of twelve days in the college clinic in Portlaoise, with a possible two days in the herb gardens, and three weekends in Maynooth University Conference and Accommodation Centre. Overseas students who travel a long distance can attend in two blocks of clinical training, which take place directly before or after the Maynooth University weekends.

Module Schedule


On successful completion of the course, the examination, and clinical training, students will receive a Licentiate in Master Herbalism from the Irish School of Herbal Medicine. Graduates can join The Irish Association of Master Medical Herbalists.



Application Procedure

To register for a place on the course, applicants should first arrange an interview with the Course Director. Places are allocated based on this interview/discussion, during which students can also have further questions answered.

To progress with this process, please complete the online application form, which can be accessed through the green button.

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Study fees are ‚ā¨3,850 per year. This includes full clinical training each year. An optional payment plan is available on request.¬†


Start Date

Courses start twice yearly. The next course commences in September 2024. 


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