Trauma Studies

Course Outline
The Postgraduate Diploma in Trauma Studies is delivered by Criminology at UCC in conjunction with WAVE Trauma Centre Belfast. The overall aim of the WAVE Trauma Centre as a cross-community, voluntary, regional organisation is to offer care and support to anyone bereaved, injured or traumatised through the 'Troubles' of Northern Ireland. Since its establishment in 1991, WAVE has offered direct support to over 5,000 individuals. WAVE service delivery includes Advocacy & Casework Services; Complementary Therapies; Counselling & Psychotherapy; Outreach Support and Welfare Advice. Other services include Trauma Training; Transgenerational / Youth services and Truth, Justice & Acknowledgement. By bringing the expertise of the WAVE team together with the programme staff in UCC, we aim to deliver a course that will allow students to develop their knowledge and understanding of trauma, both in a theoretical but also in an applied manner.

This course focuses on both the individual and societal implications of trauma and draws on examples and experiences from individuals who survived, and societies emerging from, violent political conflict; however, this is only one aspect of the curriculum that informs our approach. The course deals with trauma as a universal process and the experience of the WAVE team, both in Northern Ireland, in the Balkans and in the UK informs the content and the delivery of this programme. This programme will run subject to number of successful applicants.

Course Practicalities
The course will begin with an orientation week. This involves engaging with tutors online, completing a library tutorial online, and familiarising yourself with the online learning platform. Throughout the duration of the course, students will have access to both academic and pastoral support via both ACE and their module tutors.

As a guide, five credit modules will involve students engaging with:
-Self - Directed Study (self-directed learning with online programme materials)
-Online moderated activities - personal online tutoring and online group discussion
-Written assignments
-Reading and reflective practice

Usually we recommend that students set aside approximately 10 - 15 hours a week over the course of a 12 week semester (depending on if the module is 5 or 10 credits).

This course is not a practise based course, but does address issues that some participants may find upsetting and triggering. Given this, it must be noted that the course is not delivered in a therapeutic environment and students should be mindful of the impact engaging in some topics may have for their own well-being.

Entry requirements

-Candidates must hold an honours (NFQ level 8) primary degree with a minimum 2H2 in a relevant discipline. Relevant disciplines include, but are not restricted to: psychology, sociology, criminology, social work, counselling, conflict studies, womens studies, epidemiology, medicine and nursing
-Candidates without an NFQ level 8 award are eligible to apply, subject to the approval of the programme Academic Director, if s/he can demonstrate at least three years' professional experience in a related field – examples include (but are not restricted to) therapeutic practice, community work/engagement experience, government/policy experience and medical/para-medical experience
-English Language Requirement: All applicants whose first language is not English must have attained IELTS Level 6.5 or the equivalent TOEFL score with no individual section lower than 6.0
-Technical Requirements: To access and interact with the course content, assignments and assessments etc. students will require access to at least a PC/ Laptop running Windows 7 or later and Mac OSX 10.7.4. Common plug-ins such as Microsoft Silverlight, Java and Flash will also be required. Students must have access to MS Office or an equivalent suite of applications such as Libre Office. They must also have access to a modern standards compliant web browser. UCC recommends either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox
-To engage productively and successfully with the content, basic technical computer skills such as familiarity with word processing, web browsing, and email -recommended.


24 months

Number of credits


Further enquiries

Programme Coordinator: Natasha Dromey
+353 (0)21 490 3176

Programme Academic Director: Dr. Orla Lynch
021 490 2807

Subjects taught

Students will complete 60 credits as follows:
CR6801 Trauma and Victimology: Key issues, methods and structures (5 credits)
CR6802 Research Methods (5 credits)
CR6803 Trauma and Addiction: Key issues, methods and structures (10 credits )
CR6804 Trauma and Post-traumatic Growth (10 credits)
CR6805 Complex Loss: Grief, Trauma and Social Context (10 credits)
CR6806 Social Approaches to Trauma: Family, society and international (10 credits)
CR6807 Public Health Challenges in Post Conflict Societies (10 credits)


Why Choose This Course
This course is designed and delivered by University College Cork and WAVE Trauma Centre Northern Ireland. WAVE is a grassroots, cross-community, voluntary organisation formed in 1991 to support people bereaved of a spouse as a result of violence in Northern Ireland. It was expanded later to incorporate the needs of children and young people and anyone injured or traumatised through 'the Troubles'. WAVE have also worked in international conflict contexts. This course is academically grounded in trauma theory, however it draws heavily on the research and experiences of its teaching team who have worked extensively with conflict-related trauma. Although there is primarily a focus on conflict trauma, this is set in the context of wider trauma theories within the field of trauma studies. The course focuses on a psycho-social framework for understanding trauma which captures the breadth of responses to trauma in situations of complex, repeated and/or enduring traumatic experience.

Trauma is so often assumed to be an individualised experience. The true cost of trauma is however much higher as the relatives of those suffering with trauma also experience the impact of the phenomenon. Trauma provokes ill health, it disrupts family relationships, it impairs functioning, it leads to substance abuse and in some cases when grief becomes intolerable, leads to suicide. This course brings together an experienced team of academics and practitioners in order to address the complexity of trauma and investigate the means through which both the individual and society can be relieved of its impact.

Assessment method

All modules on this course are based on a continuous assessment model. Assessments will include essays, reflective work, case studies and research projects.

Application date

Closing Date 30th August 2019

Course fee


Enrolment and start dates

Start Date September 2019

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