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DCU Institute of Education

Postgraduate Programmes


Transforming Education, Transforming Lives

We offer a range of taught and research programmes to doctoral and masters level and have a distinguished record in providing continuing professional development. The Institute courses are delivered in a context characterised by innovation and development, scholarship, research and excellence in teaching and learning. Embedded in our programmes is a deep commitment to equity, social justice and inclusion. Students who undertake our courses will have a formative impact on development within schools, workplaces and the broader education community. We see this as both a responsibility and a privilege, and work hard to ensure that our programmes meet your needs.

Initial Teacher Education

Professional Master of Education (Primary Teaching)

This programme equips students with the principles, curriculum knowledge and pedagogical understanding with which to begin their teaching careers as competent professionals. The programme is responsive to the changing contexts of primary education, offering student teachers opportunities to engage critically with the interface between society and education. As with any professional course, the Professional Master of Education is intensive and requires a considerable commitment from students. It is also a rewarding and interesting experience and you will find that you have been comprehensively prepared for your teaching career.

Course Information » PAC Code DC970

Professional Master of Education (Post-Primary Teaching)

The Professional Master of Education (Post Primary) is a full-time teacher education qualification delivered through evening and flexible learning modes for those who hold an approved undergraduate degree and wish to become a teacher in a post-primary school. The PME programme in DCU provides graduates with the knowledge and skills required for twenty-first century classrooms. The programme prepares teachers to respond to current curricular developments at second level and promotes teacher autonomy and collegiality in the design, delivery and assessment of curriculum. A wide range of teaching strategies and methodologies are used to encourage an equitable, student-centred and creative approach to teaching and learning.

Course Information » PAC Code DC905

Certificate and Diploma

Certificate in Religious Studies

The aim of the programme is to equip teachers with the necessary knowledge and skills to teach religious education in Catholic primary schools. Boards of Management in Catholic primary schools will normally require a qualification to teach Religious Education. The Certificate in Religious Studies (CRS) fulfils this condition of employment. As well as being a recognised qualification in Ireland, the CRS is also accepted by most Catholic elementary school in the UK, North America and Australia.

Dates Delivery Modules
22-23-24 Aug 16 Summer Programme*, Face-to Face and online content Religious Education 1 and Christian Foundations
Oct/Nov 16 Online Liturgy and Sacraments
Feb/Mar 17 Online Moral Theology
21-22-23 Aug 17 Summer Programme*, Face-to Face and online content Religious Education 2 and Creed and Trinity

*EPV days normally apply (subject to DES sanction)

Course Information » PAC Code DC996

Graduate Certificate in the Education of Pupils on the Autism Spectrum

The philosophy underlying the Graduate Certificate/Diploma is embodied in the overall aim of the course:
to develop the knowledge, skills and expertise of teachers thus enhancing the provision of appropriate education for children and young people with special educational needs. This is a one-year, part-time programme consisting of three modules, delivered through distance learning modes and on-site learning at St Patrick’s Campus. The programme is based on participants being released from their schools to attend the course venue for up to three weeks over the academic year. The Distance Learning elements of the course include online lectures and a Discussion Forum. Content of the course will focus specifically on theory and practice related to Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
DES Circular will issue in January giving eligibility criteria and application form.
The closing date for receipt of Applications will be advised on the Circular.

Funding is provided by the DES and no fee or registration charges will apply for eligible applicants. Teachers will continue to receive their salary in the usual way and substitution will be covered. Graduates of this Certificate may be eligible to progress onto the Graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education, Learning Support and Special Education and subsequently onto the Masters in Special Educational Needs.

Course Information » | GCEAS DES Circular and Application Form

Graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education, Learning Support and Special Education

The School of Inclusive and Special Education offer a Graduate Diploma in Inclusive, Learning Support and Special Education. It runs from September to June and involves a blended model of delivery incorporating block release from school/centre for eight weeks, on-line learning and attendance on four Saturdays during the year. In order to participate in the programme, teachers will need access to a computer and broadband internet access. Particular expertise has been developed within the programme that relates to the inclusion of students in primary, post-primary and special schools (for example, those with severe and profound general learning disability) and other education centres.

Funding is provided by the DES and no fee or registration charges will apply for eligible applicants. Teachers will continue to receive their salary in the usual way and substitution will be covered. Those who successfully complete the Post-Graduate Diploma, and who meet entry requirements, are eligible to seek admission to the Masters in Special Educational Needs.

Indicative Modules
Principles and concepts of inclusive and special education
Assessment, profiling and planning
Teaching, planning and learning for all
Learner identity and educational implications
Collaboration and leadership
Reflective practice and enquiry
Choice of elective modules

Delivery of the Programme

The course is a one-year, part-time postgraduate diploma programme delivered in a blended model eight weeks of block-release during the academic year at the course venue, four Saturdays of face-to-face tuition and online learning.

Provisional Calendar for 2019-2020

The programme will include three sets of block release from your school/centre during the year:

Lecture Blocks - Provisional

  • Block 1: Monday 23rd September to Friday 18th October
  • Block 2: Thursday 23rd January to Friday 7th February
  • Block 3: Wednesday 18th March to Friday 27th March

Saturdays: 16th November 2019, 7th December 2019, 8th February 2020 & 7th March 2020.

In addition, there will be some live, online classes, further details of which will be made available throughout the programme.

Course Information » | Apply Here

Professional Certificate/Diploma in Special and Inclusive Education

The Professional Certificate/Diploma in Special and Inclusive Education is designed to equip mainstream teachers to respond effectively to the diverse needs of pupils in today’s inclusive schools and classrooms. Serving the needs of pupils with diverse special educational needs is now the responsibility of all teachers and all schools and no longer the sole remit of specialist teachers. This flexible online course facilitates access regardless of geographical or other constraints. Having completed a foundation module on special and inclusive education, teachers will then choose from a range of specialist elective modules, which includes topics such as Understanding Autism: Effective Management and Teaching Strategies, Dyslexia, Mild General Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviour.

Course Information » PAC Code DC841(Sept) / DC842(Jan) | Frequently Asked Questions

Professional Certificate and Diploma (Ethical and Multidenominational Education)

Programme Page »

Masters Level

Master of Education in Autism

The Masters of Education in Autism (MEdA) is a unique, part-time, blended, two-year programme focusing on the needs of educators working with children and young people with autism. Open to educators working in primary and post-primary schools, in special schools, classes or in other recognised educational centres, this part-time course is delivered in a blended format to make it accessible and sustainable for practicing teachers working in schools.

  • Learners will develop a deep understanding regarding the strengths and profiles of pupils with autism, with an understanding of the role of whole school approaches in supporting inclusive education.
  • Gain practical support and expert guidance in using assessment to inform accurate pupil profiles and facilitate individualised planning to support inclusive education.
  • Learners will master a range of relevant research methods and complete a level 9 dissertation.
  • Fee scholarships available for entrants and graduates of relevant postgraduate qualifications may be considered to enter the 2nd year.

Course Information » PAC Code DC972

MA in Chaplaincy Studies and Pastoral Work

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 above contexts who seek to enrich their skills in the areas of Faith Development, Chaplaincy and Chaplaincy Coordination.

Course Information » PAC Code DC980 (Full-time) | DC981 (Part-time)

MA in Religion and Education (Post-Primary)

As a graduate programme, participants will develop research skills in specific topics in religion and education. Upon successful completion of this programme the graduate will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of current issues in Religion and Education
  • Demonstrate a capacity for in-depth research in specific topics of RE
  • Develop complex analytical and interpretative skills in the spheres of Religion and Education
  • Assume responsibility for work within professional and pastoral contexts, with individuals and groups
  • Investigate and reflect on educational, religious and theological values and thereby contribute effectively to change in society.

Course Information » PAC Code DC991 (Full-time) | DC992 (Part-time)

Master of Education

The Master of Education is designed for educators who wish to pursue in-depth study in education for both professional and personal development. This programme offers the opportunity to educators to expand their knowledge within a special option. It combines educational theory and applied studies and assists learners in the development of up-to-date knowledge in a chosen area of specialisation and beyond. The programme incorporates current educational thinking and the most effective pedagogical practices within a wide range of contemporary educational issues. The key focus of the programme is that it offers students an opportunity to develop expertise in a chosen field, to critically reflect on your own practice and thinking, while also engaging with educational research and theory. The on-going commitment is to provide our students with the highest academic standards in teaching, learning and research, while supporting and fostering differing learning styles and needs.

The MEd is a two year part time programme. In the first year students undertake three core modules and three modules in their chosen special option, In the second year of the programme students undertake a thesis with the support of a supervising tutor.

2019/20 Special Options

On Campus

Literacy Studies in Education

This Master’s degree with an option in Literacy Studies in Education is designed to expand the knowledge and skill base of those with an interest in literacy policy, theory, research and practice. It is particularly suitable for primary and second level teachers who wish to develop their understanding of issues relating to literacy at theoretical and practical levels including word-level processes, comprehension, writing, digital and multimodal literacies, prevention and early intervention of literacy difficulties, and addressing literacy in diverse contexts. The course includes an emphasis on conducting research in literacy learning and on preparing teachers to use research-based teaching methods to improve the quality of their teaching. The course also encourages students to become literacy leaders in their schools and school systems.

Module 1: Literacy in the Early Years
This module focuses on literacy in the early years of primary school. The foundations of early literacy are explored from theoretical perspectives and a range of models and processes examined. How these perspectives influence classroom instructional models is also an important element. Key components of high quality early literacy programmes and the essential skills and strategies to be developed in these programmes are also analysed. How teachers may help children develop into lifelong readers, writers, thinkers and communicators is a key consideration as is developing the agency and creativity of the child

Module 2: Literacy at Upper-Primary and Lower-Secondary Levels
This module focuses on literacy in upper-primary and lower-secondary schooling. It covers both theory and practice in reading, writing and communication. Both ‘traditional’ and ‘new literacies’ are considered, and links are established between the two. The critical role of assessment in effective teaching and learning is examined. Special attention is paid to the understanding the needs of English language learners.

Module 3: The Changing Contexts of Schools: Promoting Equity and Access
This module focuses on prevention, early intervention, and remediation of literacy difficulties. It seeks to build on students’ understanding of the processes underpinning reading, writing and communication, and on their understanding of research methodology, by providing opportunities to examine and evaluate early intervention and support programmes. Particular attention is paid to addressing the literacy needs of pupils with specific learning disabilities/dyslexia, and those attending school in economically-disadvantaged communities. Finally, how schools may become agents of change and promote collaborative environments that support teachers as creative and critical practitioners is examined.

Co-ordinator: Dr Eithne Kennedy

Maths Education

This special option aims to provide teachers with the opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs about mathematics and their attitudes to mathematics and mathematics teaching in the context of their classroom and school practices. Participants will engage with different theoretical viewpoints and trends in mathematics education and the bodies of research supporting them. The development of students’ thinking within different mathematical domains will be explored. There will be a particular focus on the development of a community of inquiry and analysis of classroom practice over the three modules. The option is suitable for primary and post-primary teachers.

Module 1*: Development of Mathematical Thinking
An important component of this module is that participants will be encouraged to explore their own mathematics and to engage in mathematical problem-solving. They will be introduced to current trends in and different theoretical perspectives on mathematics teaching and learning. They will also be presented with a framework – the Knowledge Quartet – that will facilitate reflection on mathematics teaching in practice. There will be a focus on the development of mathematical thinking within the strands of Geometry and Algebra. Participants are expected to engage in reading of relevant research literature and, in seminars, to discuss and critique key findings.

On completion of this module, students will

  • articulate their own mathematical experiences and dispositions;
  • evaluate personal professional assumptions about mathematics teaching and learning;
  • interrogate and interpret the findings of national and international assessments of mathematical achievement;
  • analyse classroom practices from the perspectives of teacher knowledge and mathematical principles.
  • identify key issues in the teaching and learning of mathematics and locate them in the relevant literature.

Module 2: The Practice of Teaching Mathematics
This module focuses on the development of mathematical thinking within the strands of Number, Data-handling/Statistics and Measures. Participants will engage with current research and issues in these mathematical domains. Consideration will also be given to various tools that support the learning and teaching of mathematics. An important component of this module is that participants will be encouraged to explore their own practices, to design innovative mathematics lessons, to try them out with students and to discuss outcomes. In follow-up seminars, they will discuss constraints and affordances in mathematics teaching and learning.

On completion of this module students will

  • consider how different philosophies of mathematics education influence school and classroom practices;
  • identify key issues in the practices of teaching of Number, Data-handling/Statistics and Measures and locate them in the relevant literature;
  • apply a range of methodologies in the teaching of mathematics with a particular emphasis on inquiry-based processes;
  • analyse classroom practices from the perspectives of teacher knowledge and mathematical principles.

Module 3: Engaging in Lesson Study
The particular focus of this module is the practice of Lesson Study. Participants will collaboratively design ‘research’ mathematics lessons and try them out in schools. The research lesson will be taught by one of the participants and observed by others. It will also be video-recorded and, in follow-up seminars, will be analysed from the perspectives of the development of mathematical thinking, classroom interaction and equity issues. If feasible, an opportunity will be given to reteach the lesson. In this module, participants will also consider research methods in mathematics education in order to facilitate preparation for thesis work.

On completion of this module students will

  • collaborate in the design and analysis of mathematics lessons focused on developing learners’ mathematical powers;
  • analyse mathematics teaching from the perspective of classroom interactions and issues of empowerment;
  • critique current policies and practices in relation to mathematics education;
  • anchor their own research interests in relevant theoretical and methodological literature.

*Content of modules 1, 2 and 3 may be interchanged or altered in accordance with needs identified by the group of MEd (Mathematics Education) students.

Lecturers: Thérèse Dooley; Lorraine Harbison, Siún NicMhuirí, Maurice OReilly, Miriam Ryan, Aisling Twohill and visiting lecturers
Co-ordinator: Thérèse Dooley

Religious Education

This special option in Religious Education offers participants the opportunity to engage with the questions raised by the intersections between religion and education so as to enhance their ability to respond to the changing contexts within which religious education is situated. Participants will be invited to critically reflect on the theory and practice of religious education in schools under a number of interrelated themes: Religious education in contemporary schools; inter-religious education and the diverse classroom; using digital pedagogy to enhance the learning experience; promoting wellbeing and resilience; resourcing, creating and promoting inclusive classroom practice; curriculum developments in religious education; cultivating leadership in religious education.

This special option is suitable for post-primary and primary teachers.

ED8100 Religious Education in a Globalising World
In a globalising, secularising world traditional assumptions about the place of religion in society have come under pressure. Consequently, in many contexts the relationship between religion and education needs to be renegotiated. This module reflects on how contemporary religious education understands itself in light of globalisation, plural worldviews, human rights discourse, and multiculturalism. The module views the plurality of religions and worldviews as opportunities for interreligious and intercultural learning, where religious education has the potential to be a place of encounter and dialogue between different convictions. Through a number of case studies participants will be invited to engage with the questions of religious education from a variety of perspectives and evaluate how a number of religious traditions address the issues.

ED8101 Critical Issues in Education & Religious Education
The module explores critical issues that are emerging in education and religious education and especially those at the intersection of religion and education. This exploration takes place within the context of the profound changes that are taking place in Irish education. The module examines developments in curricula, policy, and the place of religious education in the public square. Participants will analyse and critique relevant literature and research on pertinent issues, such as assessment and wellbeing, in relation to education and religious education. The module is designed to enhance and foster critical awareness and reflective practice by enabling participants to reflect on their own professional practice.

ED8106 Virtual Environments for Learning and Teaching
A number of types of ‘virtual environment’ have gained increasing attention and popularity in recent times, particularly in the case of immersive, interactive and online environments. It is not surprising that educators have sought to utilise these environments for purposes of teaching and learning. This module will explore a number of such environments for these purposes through a practical ‘hands on’ approach underpinned by contemporary theory, and will enable participants to consider the pedagogical implications for such facilities and possible methodologies for their use.

Coordinator: Dr. Sandra Cullen

Online/Distance Education

Teaching and Learning

The MEd special option provides three complementary perspectives on teaching and learning that enable practitioners to gain a deeper understanding of their everyday work in schools. First, the sociological lens prompts teachers to consider the issues presented to them in their classroom that may be within or outside their locus of control. Psychology provides the second avenue to teaching and learning, and addresses how teachers may apply psychological theories to implement transformational strategies in their classrooms and schools. Finally, the module on teacher identity requires teachers to consider how their personal experiences, relationships and societal influences shape who they are and consequently, how they teach.

Co-ordinator : Dr Regina Murphy

Course Information » PAC Code DC984 | Overview Document »

Master of Education in Literacy Professional Practice

The Master of Education in Literacy Professional Practice is designed for classroom teachers who are seeking to develop deep expertise in literacy theory, research and evidence-based practices. The programme of study draws on a wide variety of theoretical models and processes, perspectives, instructional models, curricular frameworks (including the New Primary Language Curriculum), and policies in relation to literacy. The course provides opportunities for participants to develop the capacity to critically analyse, synthesise, evaluate and reflect on this body of knowledge and to use it to design and implement developmentally appropriate and engaging reading and writing workshops that develop children as readers, writers and thinkers within the inclusive primary school and classroom. In addition to international research, examples of practices and professional development processes developed nationally in the Write to Read Literacy Project and the Séideán Sí Programme will also be shared. Opportunities will be presented to participants throughout the course to focus on Literacy Professional Practice in the Irish language if they wish to do so.

There is a particular emphasis on preparing participants to take on leadership roles in literacy, on developing participants’ capacity to evaluate school plans for literacy and to lead literacy planning and professional development within schools.

Modules address:

  • Theoretical perspectives underpinning literacy development and instructional models to develop the cognitive, creative, aesthetic and affective dimensions of literacy in L1 and L2 (opportunities to focus on literacy trí Ghaeilge for participants who wish to)
  • Modules on disciplinary knowledge, practice and perspectives on developing literacy across the curriculum
  • Prevention and early intervention of literacy difficulties
  • Development of literacy leadership skills to support schools in developing effective and culturally responsive whole school approaches to literacy
  • A focus on an inquiry stance to literacy planning, teaching, learning and assessment and research skills required to engage in inquiry
  • Research-to -practice Professional Portfolio (PPP) in Year 2.

Flexible Delivery

  • Face-to-face: Friday evening/Saturdays (approximately one weekend per month)
  • Blended/online: one module (research methods)

Queries Contact:

Course Information » PAC Code DC921 (Part-time) | Frequently Asked Questions

Master of Education in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia)

The Master of Education in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) provides teachers with a high-quality level of professional knowledge and understanding, which enables them to teach students with dyslexia as well as carry out assessments for students who have a specific reading or writing difficulty and may have dyslexia. On completion of course requirements, students are also eligible for associate membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA). The programme addresses three core areas of knowledge and practice:

  • understanding the development of language and literacy learning
  • identifying and assessing specific learning difficulties/dyslexia
  • managing curriculum-based interventions and evidence-based practice and support.

Course Information » PAC Code DC732 | Frequently asked questions

Master of Teaching

This qualification is designed for serving teachers seeking master’s level accreditation for the highest standards of structured, evidence-based teaching, reflection and action in their own classrooms and schools. The MTeach provides a learning opportunity in which the study of teaching, and in particular, the study of one’s own teaching, can be an evolving, fulfilling and collaborative experience where practitioners theorise their practices, generate personal theories of practice, and learn to articulate the importance and significance of doing so.

The overall outcome of the MTeach is to ensure that educational practitioners are better equipped to address the challenges of pedagogy in the 21st century whilst the principles that underpin the MTeach mean that schools will be better placed to meet individual pupils’ learning needs as teachers take a practice-based qualification that is tailored to their personal and professional needs.

DC985 Standard Route

The Standard Route through the MTeach provides opportunities for teachers and other educators to consider their work as dynamic, reflective practitioners from a broad perspective throughout each of the modules. The programme begins with the core modules: 1, 2 and 3 where the focus lies on the teacher as an inquiry-oriented, reflective practitioner and self-directed professional who seeks to improve his or her practice. In Modules 4, 5 and 6 stimulating explorations of curriculum theory, assessment, and the workplace as a learning community encourage the practitioner to consider aspects of teaching from theoretical vantage points that are then applied to classroom contexts in accessible ways. Thus, the everyday work of teachers in their planning, interactions with curriculum documents or textbooks, assigning of homework, engaging with parents, assessing and reporting on pupil progress are all topics for exploration and discussion. Lastly, modules 7 and 8 concentrate on the teacher as a practitioner-researcher. Participants take a course in research methods and complete a dissertation that is located primarily in their own teaching context and based on a topic of their choice. .

Course Information » PAC Code DC985

Masters in Special Educational Needs

The Masters in Special Educational Needs (MSEN) is a blended programme open to qualified experienced teachers working in primary and post-primary schools, in special schools or classes or in other recognised educational centres. Applicants must already have completed a recognised postgraduate diploma programme of continuing professional development for teachers involved in learning support, inclusive or special education. The aim of the programme is to develop teachers' knowledge and skills in analysing, critiquing and applying research literature in the area of special and inclusive education and in carrying out research relevant to children and young people with learning difficulties or special educational needs.

Course Information » DC994 | PAC Application for Year 1 | Apply for MSEN Year 2

MSc in Education & Training Management (e-Learning)

The MSc. in Education and Training Management (eLearning) is a two-year part-time programme. Current participants on the programme are drawn from the widely varying fields of education (primary, post-primary, third level, adult education), corporate training, industry, health, professional organisations, NGO's, government departments and state agencies.

Previous participants, who took part in a recent programme survey, highlighted the safe and collaborative learning environment; a supportive structure enabled participants to flourish creatively and become leaders of change in their organisations. The practical and student-centered approach to learning was also revealed insofar as the course is tailored to meet practitioners' needs in the workplace.

Return on Investment

Past graduates have highlighted the following benefits:

  • Career development i.e. promotions or opening up of new career opportunities
  • Application of multi-media and digital skills
  • Specialist knowledge: theories of learning, philosophy, implications of brain research to learning, instructional design, change management, reflective practice and computational thinking
  • Personal development i.e. increased confidence and sense of well-being

Participants are invited to participate in the research activities organised by the International Centre for Innovation and Workplace Learning.

Course Information » PAC Code DC902

MSc in Education & Training Management (Leadership)

DC900The Institute offers the two-year part-time M.Sc. in Education and Training Management Leadership programme. . It is suitable for those working as, or aspiring to be, leaders in education and training contexts. In the current context the strategic leadership of education and training will be vital to the economic and social goals that have been established for Ireland. Current participants on the programme are drawn from the widely varying fields of education (primary, post-primary, third level, adult education), corporate training, industry, nursing, government departments and other state agencies.

Course Information » PAC Code DC900

MSc in Guidance Counselling

The overall aim of the M.Sc. in Guidance Counselling two year part-time programme is to provide students with a standard of excellence in the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary for practice in the field of personal, education and career guidance and counselling. This professional programme will suit those already working indirectly in these three areas, without a recognised qualification and those seeking to establish a career and therefore need to undergo initial education and training. Students come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including second level teaching, adult education and HR.

Course Information » PAC Code DC906

Professional MA in Healthcare Chaplaincy

The Professional MA in Healthcare Chaplaincy offers students a multidisciplinary approach to Healthcare Chaplaincy. It provides academic, pastoral, spiritual, personal and professional education for people who wish to work in Healthcare settings. The programme is designed for those wishing to pursue a career in Healthcare Chaplaincy in a variety of approved healthcare contexts including: Hospitals, Hospices, Rehabilitation Facilities, Nursing Homes and Care Facilities

Course Information » PAC Code DC982 (Full-time)

Professional Development

Induction Course for Teachers of Pupils with Severe/Profound Learning Disabilities

The aim of the course is to help teachers to plan and deliver effective education for these pupils and to feel confident about their work.

Programme Page »