School of Human Development header
School of Human Development


Primary Department
School of Human Development
Head of School
Phone number:
01 700
St Patrick's Campus
Room Number
SPC M 109

Academic biography

Dr. Sandra Cullen is Associate Professor of Religious Education and Head of School of Human Development at the Institute of Education, DCU.  She teaches a  variety of modules under the broad heading of religious education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She completed a BRelSc,(Mater Dei Institute of Education), MEd (Boston College) and PhD (DCU). Sandra taught RE and English for 14 years in two Dublin schools. During these years she was actively involved in a number of adult education and teacher education programmes. In 2001 she was appointed to the staff of Mater Dei Institute where she taught RE and Theology and subsequently joined DCU in 2016.

Sandra's PhD explored the question of what constitutes an appropriate religious education for future teachers of RE. This question underpins much of her ongoing research and publications. She has supervised six doctoral theses to completion and is currently supervising five research students in a wide area of questions pertaining to religious education and related disciplines. She is currently the lead for RE Area of Professional Focus on the IOE's EdD programme and is developing a MEd Special Option in RE. 

As Director of the ICRE (Irish Centre for Religious Education), Sandra has a public profile in engagement with policy developments in RE, supporting teaching and learning in RE in a variety of contexts, and building international research networks. She has been invited to speak at a number of national and international conferences and symposia. She serves on the Board of Members of CEIST, CESC and is on the Executive of EFTRE (European Forum for Teachers of Religious Education). She is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Religious Education and the Greek Journal of Religious Education

Research interests

The religious education of the religious educator, developing a conversational role in religious education, the place and identity of religious education in the second level school, European approaches to religious education, the relationship between theology and religious education, theological education, teaching theology and religious education in local community settings, international knowledge transfer in RE