Theology - Healthcare Chaplaincy

St Patricks Pontifical University Maynooth

Theology - Healthcare Chaplaincy

The Master's Degree in Theology (Healthcare Chaplaincy) is a two-year full-time (or equivalent part-time), professional award (120 ECTS credits).

This is a two-year full-time (or equivalent part-time), professional award (120 ECTS credits). It follows the introduction of the level 8 Higher Diploma in Healthcare Chaplaincy in September 2019, and marks a significant expansion in the Pontifical University’s suite of pastoral programmes, which are dedicated to the professional formation and training in pastoral ministry.

The programme is designed for theology graduates considering healthcare chaplaincy as a profession. It may also be attractive to existing Healthcare Chaplains who wish to develop their theological competence and research skills, deepen their reflective practice, and enhance their pastoral capability for exercising clinical leadership.

The structure of the programme combines interdisciplinary academic study, clinical practice in an acute healthcare setting, and practical theological reflection. Under the supervision of a member of the Faculty of Theology, Master’s students are given the opportunity to develop their research literacy and capacity by conducting an evidence-based research project on an area of healthcare chaplaincy practice. The Pontifical University anticipates that by helping Healthcare Chaplains to develop their research competency, this will advance the evidence-based approach to chaplaincy, while also contributing in some way to the body of chaplaincy research. It will enable graduates of the Master’s programme to exercise the highest quality pastoral care in clinical practice and be effective leaders in the future development of the profession.

Both the Higher Diploma and Masters in Healthcare Chaplaincy are pathways for those pursing certification in Healthcare Chaplaincy. Graduates can apply for certification from the Healthcare Chaplaincy Board (HCB).

Subjects taught

Year One

Pastoral Practice 30 Credits
PT 430: Pastoral Practice

Prayer Leadership 7.5 Credits
PT 431: Prayer Leadership

Caring and Spiritual Accompaniment 5 Credits
PT 432: Caring and Spiritual Accompaniment in Community

Theology and Pastoral Ministry 7.5 Credits
PT 434: Theology and Pastoral Ministry

Organisational Leadership in Ministry Contexts 5 Credits
PT 435: Organisational Leadership in Ministry Contexts

Healthcare Chaplaincy: Leadership Ministry of Healing and Justice 5 Credits
PT 436: Healthcare Chaplaincy: Leadership Ministry of Healing and Justice

Year Two
Theological Reflection on Practice 10 Credits
PT 439: Theological Reflection on Practice

Required Module - 10 Credits:
PG 523 ‘Emancipating’ Practical Theology

Elective Module - 10 Credits:
Choice module from Postgraduate Seminar options

Dissertation - 30 Credits:
Evidence-based research project 25,000-30,000 words

Summer Intensive Placement

Students will undertake a second placement in a clinical setting to consist of 10 weeks, with 35 hours of clinical practice each week. Assigned clinical areas will include critical care: intensive care unit, trauma care, stroke care, emergency department, oncology, and haematology care. The placement will include 3 night’s rostered work and 3 rostered weekends. Small-group, peer-support, theological reflection sessions will take place at the placement site, facilitating a deepening of the student’s reflective practice.

A Summer School will take place in Maynooth over 3 Saturdays, covering areas such as: understanding and managing oneself, leading and managing others, leading change, organisation leadership, leadership and management skills for the future, developing a culture of research and development in best practice, and the integration of learning in preparation for Certification as Catholic Healthcare Chaplains.

This Summer Intensive Placement is a qualifier for the completion of the Masters in Pastoral Theology (Healthcare Chaplaincy), and is a prerequisite for satisfying the certification standards for the Catholic Healthcare Chaplaincy Board.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement for the programme is a primary degree in which Theology comprises at least an equal joint component. Candidates should normally have obtained at least a Second Class Honours, Grade I overall, and Second Class Honours, Grade I in Theology. Candidates should also have significant experience in ministry practice. The Faculty of Theology may also accept applicants whom it deems to have achieved an equivalent standard.

Application dates

Application Deadline: 02nd August 2024
For EU & those living on the island of Ireland (Late applications may be considered).
31st May 2024 For non EU


2 years full-time (or equivalent part-time years).

Enrolment dates

Course Start Date: September 2024

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