The focus of the MA is to qualify practicing teachers and other professionals to become qualified guidance counsellors. The professional Guidance Counsellor brings to bear specific skills in counselling individuals in the areas of personal, social, educational and career development. In order to fulfil their roles as Guidance Counsellors effectively, participants on the programme will be educated in a broad range of knowledge, skills and competencies within the context of a lifelong learning framework. The strong focus on personal development on the programme strives to promote self-understanding and insight for a deeper appreciation of the counselling process. Consequently, participants are required to avail of external supervision provided by an accredited counsellor, psychologist or psychotherapist in each academic year. Details of which will be explained to participants on the programme.
The programme is offered over two academic years on a part-time basis (mid-week evenings and weekends depending on location of delivery). It consists of a combination of taught modules across the two years, as well as a professional practice placement and a research dissertation in Year 2. The curriculum includes an off-campus residential weekend in Spring Semester of Year 1 and two Summer School modules in Year 1 (one module per full week). The average tuition contact time per week for each of the first four semesters is six hours, with a reduction to three hours in Semester 2, Year 2 to take account of the demands of undertaking a research dissertation. However, the programme requires a significant level of personal commitment from participants in terms of attendance, contribution, self-directed learning and their own time management.
This programme is recognised by the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. It is approved by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) for the purpose of appointment as a qualified Guidance Counsellor in the education sector. This qualification does not provide graduates with a recognised teaching qualification as required by the Teaching Council.
Programme Centres: University of Limerick and the Carrick on Shannon Education Centre, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Applicants need to state on their application form their first preference location: University of Limerick campus or Carrick on Shannon Education Centre.
The curriculum is underpinned by an andragogical approach that aims to develop graduates who are knowledgeable, self-directed, articulate, collaborative, reflective and ethically aware of professional standards in guidance counselling.