Chaplaincy Studies & 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 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.

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.

Subjects taught

To view the current course structure please visit the Provider's website.

Entry requirements


General Entry Requirements
The general criteria for entry to this taught postgraduate programme is:

An honours primary degree (any discipline) or equivalent
60 ECTS credits in Theology

Applicants must have secured a suitable placement

Applicants must submit an Academic/Professional Reference

Applicants with appropriate combinations of professional qualifications and experience may also be considered (Irish / EU applicants only)

International candidates who are non-native speakers of English must satisfy the University of their competency in the English language.

Applicants will be required to undertake an interview before any offer is issued for this programme.

Note: All candidates who are accepted to this programme must undergo Garda Vetting. All offers will be conditional until successful completion of the Garda Vetting process.

Application dates


Make an Application

To apply for this programme:
All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal.

Provide a personal statement of not more than 300 words outlining the journey that has led you to apply to this programme.

Provide confirmation that you have secured a suitable placement (18 hours per week for 12 weeks in both semesters (432 hours)).

Placement Form for DC980 (Full Time), Placement Form for DC981 (Part Time) to be fully completed and uploaded to DCU's Student Application Portal.

Provide an academic reference attesting to your suitability for this Postgraduate study. Reference form DC980 (Full Time), Reference form DC981 (Part Time) to be fully completed and uploaded to DCU's Student Application Portal.

Provide a Pastoral reference attesting to your suitability to work with vulnerable persons.

If applicable, evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements. Please see link

Please note if you are a non EU student and require a study visa, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.

Application Deadlines
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the programme is full or until the following dates:

Note applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of studying at DCU, are advised to apply as early as possible.

All entry requirements should be met before the commencement of the programme.

Queries from EU applicants should be directed to

Queries from non EU applicants should be directed to

Closing date for non EU applicants is 1st July 2022.

Closing date for EU applicants is 15th August 2022.


Full Time 1 Year; Part Time 2 Years. DC980 (FT), DC981 (PT).

Enrolment dates

The programme commences in September 2022.

Post Course Info

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.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider