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Institute of Education

MA in Chaplaincy Studies and Pastoral Work

MA in Chaplaincy Studies & Pastoral Work

  • PAC CodeDC980 (FT) DC981 (PT)
  • Course Type Postgraduate
  • NFQ Level 9
  • Delivery Modes Full-Time, Part-Time
  • Duration Full Time 1 Year; Part Time 2 Years

The MA in Chaplaincy Studies and Pastoral Work course provides the academic, pastoral, spiritual, personal and professional development for those already working or wishing to work in the contexts below who seek to enrich their skills in the areas of Faith Development, Chaplaincy and Chaplaincy Coordination.

  • Primary Schools
  • Post-Primary Schools
  • Third Level Institutes
  • Prisons / Young Offenders
  • Parish Communities
  • Youth and Young Adult Groups
  • Community / Voluntary Sector


DC980: one year full time programme, Monday evenings and Tuesday lectures and a placement of 18-20 hours per week of the academic year.
DC 981; two year part time programme, Monday evening lectures and a placement of 6 hours per week of the academic year.
Both programmes require attendance on 8 Saturdays during the academic year.

The MA in Chaplaincy Studies and Pastoral Work aims to develop graduates who:

  • Understand, and are able to apply knowledge from theological, and educational disciplines to the work of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work
  • Apply current thinking concerning pastoral work, faith formation, spiritual accompaniment, inter-religious dialogue and interculturalism in different pastoral contexts
  • Exhibit the personal, professional and spiritual skills and sensibilities necessary to work as a chaplain/pastoral worker and as a member of a pastoral team.
  • Manifest the ability to plan, execute and report on a research project of relevance to the work of a chaplain/pastoral worker
  • Engage sensitively in faith formation and faith development initiatives in an invitational and inclusive manner which is appropriate to the characteristic spirit of the pastoral setting and to the cultural and religious diversity present in the community
  • Develop Pastoral Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment skills that are appropriate to the work of the chaplain/pastoral worker in the particular context
  • Exhibit readiness to assume the role and responsibilities of a chaplain/pastoral worker
  • Demonstrate the ability to manage their own work as a chaplain/pastoral worker and to integrate this with the work of others in order to provide an effective pastoral presence
  • Work collaboratively with others in order to enhance the pastoral, religious, spiritual and moral dimensions of the designated community
  • Exhibit competence as a 'Reflective Practitioner' and openness to continuing professional development
  • Exhibit a depth awareness of contemporary culture
  • Will be able to respond creatively, appropriately and sensitively to the 'moments' in people's lives in which there is an openness to the invitation to full human development and religious, moral and spiritual awakening.

View the current course structure »


It is the only course of its type currently offered on the island of Ireland.You will study at the largest and most innovative Institute of Education in Ireland and the UK. Programmes are designed to meet the personal and professional needs of chaplains/pastoral workers and delivered by academic and practising experts. We focus on creating a rich, collaborative and safe learning environment where the student voice is central.

You will have full access to our first class facilities, including an extensive library with remote access for on-line students.

Dr Aoife McGrath - MA in Chaplaincy Studies and Pastoral Work Graduate 2012

'The classroom learning experience enables postgraduate students to grow personally and professionally in a friendly and supportive environment. Students are encouraged to be more culturally aware, to be innovative in planning activities and liturgies, and to reflect personally and theologically on our ministry. The forum provides for sharing our experiences of ministry with other students. The learning experience is integrated and therefore helps enrich my parish placement'.

Stephen O' Hara - MA in Chaplaincy Studies and Pastoral Work Graduate 2012

'The MA in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work in MD was the only course I wanted to do. It offered me the chance to do a Masters over 1 year which I found ideal. Participation in the course encourages you to become tuned into your own faith and your own life story, so that you can be a truly authentic presence for others who require you to listen to their story. This course combines the practical reality of chaplaincy and pastoral work in modern Irish society.'


Graduates of the Master of Arts in Chaplaincy Studies and Pastoral Work are currently employed as chaplains in the post–primary school and university sector, in parishes, prisons and community facilities.


General Entry Requirements

The general criteria for entry to this taught postgraduate programme is a good honours primary degree, minimum H2.2 or equivalent.

  • Applicants must be successful at a pre-admission interview.
  • Part-time applicants must be able to demonstrate relevant pastoral experience.
  • Applicants must have completed a minimum of sixty ECTS credits in the area of foundational Theology or equivalent.
  • Applicants must have secured a suitable placement to upload the : Placement Form for DC980 (Full Time) click here Placement Form for DC981 (PartTime) click here
  • Applicants must submit a the Academic/Professional Reference to upload the reference form DC980 (Full Time) click here   DC981 (PartTime) click here

Students who do not meet the normal criteria may be considered for a place on the programme on the basis of their work experience and other relevant educational achievements.

Applicants seeking Accreditation of Prior (Certified) Learning (APL) for the purposes of entry, module exemptions, or advanced entry, or applicants seeking Accreditation of Prior Experiental Learning (APEL) for the purposes of entry or module exemptions will also be considered.

International Applications

International candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. For further information on international applications click here.

Student Visas

If you need a study visa and are a Non EU student, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.

Applicants who require a student visa for entry to Ireland are encouraged to seek clarification from the relevant Irish embassy regarding the closing date for application for such visas. Applicants who do not secure a study visa in time will be unable to take up their offer of a place on any DCU programme.

How to Apply and Closing Dates

Make an Application

Applying through the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC)

To apply for this programme use the PAC code DC980 (full-time) and DC981 (part-time) .

General Requirements

All Applicants must submit

  • Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study, with certified English translations if applicable

Non Native English Speakers must also submit

  • Evidence of English competency which meets DCU entry requirements - see link


Programme Requirements

All applicants must submit;

1. Placement Form (confirming offer of required placement hours)                  

2. Reference (Academic)                        

3. Reference (Pastoral/Professional)  

*All 3 documents should be presented before interviews are scheduled*

Dates for Submission of Applications

EU Applicants

Please apply through PAC ( ) by 31st July 2018.

Non-EU Applicants

Please apply through PAC ( ) by 30th April 2018.