Relationships & Sexuality Education for People with Intellectual Disability

The Graduate Certificate in Relationships and Sexuality Education for People with Intellectual Disability is a unique programme offering specialist educational training in the area of friendships, relationships, sexuality and sexual health. It will reflect issues relating to all sexualities in Irish, European and global contexts.

This one-year, part-time, online programme begins in September, and comprises three core modules.

The programme will equip participants with appropriate, accurate, evidence-based, up-to-date knowledge, free from discrimination, gender bias and stigma. It aims to create and develop competent educators in the areas of friendships, relationships and sexuality and sexual health.

Our strategic aim for this programme is to provide the first Irish Level 9, taught programme in Relationships and Sexuality Education for people with Intellectual Disability.

The objectives are to:
• Train a generation of educators in friendships, relationships, sexuality and sexual health for people with intellectual disability across the lifespan

• Elaborate on sexuality-related literary, artistic and cultural discourses

• Advocate for the implementation and where necessary the creation of social policy on sexuality, sexual health education and sexual education promotion in relation to human rights that shape social justice and diversity

For these reasons, the aims of this programme are to enable students to:

• Develop knowledge regarding the working and diversity of sexuality, sexual identities, gender identities, sexual orientation and formation of sexual cultures

• Engage in socio-political and ethical debates regarding the interaction of cultural, health, disabilities, historical and social influences with human sexuality, at personal and societal levels

• Provide a challenging environment where initiative and creativity will be fostered and where students will be encouraged to share experiences and learn from each other

• Equip students with the skills and sexual literacy to devise and implement work-related strategies

• Develop in students the necessary competencies to measure and evaluate friendships, relationships, sexuality and sexual health related initiatives

• Emphasise in its content and delivery the need to exercise critical judgement in order to select relevant friendships, relationships, sexuality and sexual health educational tools

• Develop negotiating skills to give participants the confidence to promote solutions in the friendships, relationships, sexuality and sexual health environment

• Develop lifelong learning skills

Our teaching is informed by the best available research, an emphasis on engagement in learning partnerships with our stakeholders, and the development of a distinctive Sexuality and Sexual Health Education inquiry-led approach to learning. The DCU academic community and the on-campus support services all advocate sexual literacy and the advancement of knowledge in this growing field.

Subjects taught

This part-time programme begins in September, and comprises three core modules.

Language, Sexuality and Culture
Topics include: Socialisation process; History and theories underpinning sexuality studies; Intellectual disability; Heterosexuality; History of Irish sexuality; Social institutions; Language, media and communications; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI); Power and intimacy.

Intellectual Disability Relationships and Sexuality
Topics include: Personal values and understanding of people with intellectual disability being a sexual human being; Supporting relationships; Intimacy; Communication; Power; Labelling and discrimination; Friendships and relationships for all regardless of level of disabilities.

Pedagogy and Sexual Health
Topics include: Theoretical perspectives on teaching and learning; Theories of learning; Lesson plan development; Facilitating teaching sessions creatively and RSE policy development.

Emphasis on engaging in learning partnerships
Teaching informed by best available research
Distinctive inquiry led approach to learning

Entry requirements


General Entry Requirements
- Normally a recognised primary Level 8 degree with a minimum of a H2:2

- A minimum of two year's post primary degree experience.

- In the case of International applicants, having 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.

- Applicants who do not hold a primary degree (or judged equivalent) will have their prior certified learning assessed through a system of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Application dates

This programme will open to applications in January 2022 - date TBC.


All Applicants Must Submit:
All applicants should apply through

Academic transcripts for each and every year of study with English translation if applicable

Proof of a minimum of two year's post primary degree experience outlined in your personal statement or CV.

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

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

- Closing date for EU applicants is 31st July 2022.
- Closing date for non EU applicants is 1st July 2022.

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


1 year part-time.

This course will be delivered online in 2021-22.

Post Course Info

National Voluntary Organisations
Public Health

Graduates will be well equipped to develop their existing practices and/or take up positions with a multiplicity of stakeholders such as intellectual disability services, secondary and primary schools, local and national government, non-governmental organisations, health settings and private sector positions, for example:

Sexuality/pastoral education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels

Services for the child and adolescent both with NGOs and governmental agencies

Community and primary care workers, social workers, registered nurses (Intellectual Disability, General and Mental Health) and especially those related to sexual health education and promotion and care centres

Reproductive health education, research, training, and prevention facilities and organisations

Service provision and training for service providers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and rape crisis centres

Marriage and relationship counselling services, psychotherapy and other counselling services

More details
  • Qualifications

    Special Purpose Certificate (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider