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Loss & Bereavement - Counselling

Since 2004 the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has supported bereavement education programmes convened at the Irish Hospice Foundation. These are a level 9 bereavement studies programme and a Professional Certificate in Children and Loss. During 2016/17 we revised the MSc Bereavement Studies and now open applications for two MSc variants – the MSc Loss & Bereavement and the MSc Loss & Bereavement (Counselling) with accreditation pending.

These programmes aim to impact on health, social and community systems and ultimately to enhance quality of life. They are rooted in contemporary scientific research about loss and bereavement as well as being designed against a policy and professional regulation backdrop. There is an increasing impetus in Irish policy on developing competence in loss/ bereavement and discussions about dying; these programmes address some of the associated educational needs.

The programme attracts participants from health, education, private and community sectors and aims to promote competence, understanding and application of research findings to bereavement care in Ireland and to develop expert educators.

This programme aims to promote critical inquiry into the place of loss, death and bereavement in Irish society and in health and social care systems. Through this process we aim to equip practitioners and managers to promote and provide a range of appropriate supports in their communities, work places and professional practices.

Programme Learning Outcomes:

1. Critically debate and contribute to theoretical understanding and knowledge about loss and grief across the lifecycle and grief support structures relating to health, community and work organisations and in the voluntary sector

2. Evaluate different contemporary perspectives on death, dying and loss in society – including social history, cultural issues, cause and circumstance of death in contemporary Ireland, death education, loss through the life cycle, family bereavement, cultural issues, gender issues, research and ethical issues

3. Critically appraise, apply and design bereavement research, audit and evaluation

4. Critique, select and utilise support and counselling skills in the context of loss and bereavement

5. Develop and utilise advanced bereavement counselling skills as part of professional counselling practice [MSc Loss & Bereavement (Counselling)]

6. Analyse the organisation of bereavement support and formulate strategic and systematic developments in bereavement care in different settings

7. Design models for self-care and staff support in environments where people are consistently working with or meeting dying, death and bereavement

8. Manage and evaluate changes in work practices relative to an area of bereavement care.

9. Reflect on personal development and personal growth through the educational experience

10. Display an integrated value-based and evidence-based approach to the support of bereaved people

The programme will be directed by the professional staff of the Irish Hospice Foundation with core modules and inputs from the academic, hospice, and community sectors in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Entry requirements

Applicants must possess counselling/psychotherapy accreditation through a national body and a Level 8 degree in relevant area (or equivalent as demonstrated through RPL). RPL involves demonstration of formal training in counselling/ psychotherapy; significant professional experience in loss/bereavement related work; evidence of personal insight into loss and bereavement. All candidates must fulfil the NUI entry requirements or be eligible for matriculation. An academic transcript will be requested.

An academic transcript lists your complete academic history: programmes attended, a breakdown of marks/grades achieved, the degree awarded, your overall grade and conferring date.

International degrees’ equivalency are to be verified by using the service at the following link:

English Language Requirement
Prospective students applying for the MSc Loss & Bereavement and MSc Loss & Bereavement (Counselling) for whom English is not their native language may need to arrange a test to confirm proficiency in English with the International Language Testing System (ielts). For more detailed information on requirements, exceptions and test centres: This is the link:


Part-time over two years.

All classes, tutorials and seminars will be held at the training rooms of the Irish Hospice Foundation, 4th Floor, Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2. The Irish Hospice Foundation also houses the Thérèse Brady Library, a specialist library for a niche collection of bereavement books, journals and resources.

Further enquiries

For general enquiries contact:

Maura Dunne
Education Administrator
Irish Hospice Foundation, Morrison Chambers,
32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: (01) 6793188 Fax: (01) 6730040

Course content enquires
Enquiries on course content to Orla Keegan, Course Director,
Morrison Chambers, Irish Hospice Foundation, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 01 6793188

Subjects taught

This is a part-time course, over two years. There are 7 modules in year one (5 at 10 credits, two at 5 credits) and a dissertation in year two. A 10 credit module consists of 250 hours of learning including lecture time, self-directed learning, course preparation, examination time, and supervision. The two year programme equates to 90 credits and it is devised to support Level 9 learning outcomes.

Module Title(s) Programme Type of module Credits Year Delivery

Module 1: Loss, grief and bereavement models through the lifespan Core 10 1 Classroom/ blended learning

Module 2: Counselling in Loss and bereavement Core 10 1 Classroom/ blended learning

Module 3: Applied bereavement practice; preparing the self to work with loss Core 10 1 Classroom/ blended learning

Module 4: Loss, death and bereavement in society Core 10 1 Classroom/ blended learning

Module 5: Research appraisal Core 5 1 Classroom/ blended learning

Module 6: Advanced counselling and practitioner self Core 5 1 Classroom/ blended learning

Module 7: Policy and management in bereavement care Core 10 1 Classroom/ blended learning

Year 2
Module 8-9: Dissertation Core 30 2 Classroom/ blended learning

All modules must be successfully completed before a candidate can progress to the subsequent year of the programme.


The course is convened by the Irish Hospice Foundation and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Accreditation is pending through the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the National University of Ireland.

Exit Awards
Candidates who are unable to progress in their studies but who have completed and passed a minimum of 30 ECTS, can exit the programme and are eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Certificate Loss & Bereavement/Postgraduate Certificate Loss & Bereavement (Counselling)

Candidates who are unable to progress in their studies but who have completed and passed a minimum of 60 ECTS, can exit the programme and are eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma Loss & Bereavement/Postgraduate Loss & Bereavement (Counselling).

It is not possible to use the same ECTS for more than one award.

Assessment method

A range of assessment methods will be applied. These include written coursework, reaction papers and a dissertation/ work based project in year two.

Application date

Closing date for application is Thursday, July 13 2017

Applicants MUST APPLY ON LINE. Applications can be accessed and completed on the RCSI website through the following link:

Applications will be processed through the Irish Hospice Foundation and final selection may be based on interview.

In completing your application form please provide full details of your experience and potential to apply learning in your work or volunteering role. This application form will be used for selection purposes.

For MSc Loss & Bereavement (Counselling) applications are invited from qualified, accredited psychotherapists and counsellors.

Course fee

Fees for EU students (non EU students, please contact for rates)

A non-refundable deposit of €500.00 is required on acceptance of a course place.

Year 1 Fees: €5,000
Year 2 Fees: €5,000

This includes an IHF supplement of €50 for display, photocopying & printing of downloaded electronic material.

The balance of the annual fee may be paid in two instalments. The first instalment of fees must be paid prior to Registration - payable to The Irish Hospice Foundation. Fees are eligible for tax relief.

Cancellations up to three weeks prior to the course commencing will be given a full refund, minus a cancellation fee of €400 - thereafter no refunds will be made.

Enrolment and start dates

The programme funs from October 19, 2017 to June 2019. Classes for Year One are held in three-day blocks once a month (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays). Class time is 9.15am to 5.30pm. Dates are as follows for Year 1 2017: October 19, 20, 21; November 16. 17.18; December 14, 15. 2018: January 18, 19, 20; February 15, 16, 17; March 15, 16; April 19, 20, 21; May 24, 25, 26; June 7, 8

Classes for Year Two are held in two-day blocks once a month (Mondays and Tuesdays)

Class time is 9.15am to 5.30pm. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and to devote time to the self-directed learning and assignments associated with the programme. This course is designed relative to the QQI and ECT systems. A guideline of 250 student hours per module to include contact time, course work preparation, self-directed learning and reading is suggested although individual students may very in the time commitment required

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