Professional Diploma in Education Studies (Leadership)


Level 9 Professional Diploma

Qualification Points:

Diploma – 30 credits – equivalent to 3 modules

Duration: Minimum 1 year, maximum 2 years
Start Date: September 2014
UCD Academic Expertise:

This Professional Diploma is offered, delivered and supported by academics in the UCD School of Education

Fees: €2700

Fees should be confirmed by visiting UCD fees webpage.
Contact us: You can contact us by email using the form at the end of this page or by phone as follows:

Contact Name: Lorraine Heffernan
Contact Number: +353 1 716 7968


The Leadership Professional Diploma in Education Studies (PDES) is an online/ blended PDES in Leadership aimed at teachers with some teaching experience who would like to either move into a leadership position or challenge the way they think about their work in a variety of ways. The concept of leadership employed is broad and can be applied to teachers at different stages of their career within schools as organizations.

Our course will include some face-to-face sessions and we believe that these combined with the online dimension will provide a dynamic and transformative learning experience for all students. We are committed to developing our students’ critical voice through reading, discussion, peer learning, presentations and critical review and that these participative learning experiences will ensure that high quality learning outcomes are achieved. This is the first in a series of Professional Diplomas in Education Studies in the School of Education at UCD; a number of others are well advanced and will be coming on stream over the next few years. These will include a PDES in Children with Additional Needs and a PDES in Language and Literacy among others. It is intended that this series of diplomas will be a significant contribution on the part of the School of Education at UCD to Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in Ireland and the ongoing need for professional renewal and transformation of schools as learning communities.

Developing a community of learners is a key principle in the design of this Professional Diploma. Ideally, therefore, students should try to work through the full diploma as part of a single cohort over one academic year. There is some flexibility in relation to this – please contact the course administrator.

What will I study?

This Professional Diploma comprises three modules:

  1. Leadership and Quality – this module critically explores various theories and research on school leadership both nationally and internationally
  2. Contemporary Issues for School Leaders; This module will critically analyse policy trends and developments with a view to ensuring that graduates have a highly sophisticated knowledge of the main issues in impacting the education environment and their implications for teaching, learning and leading.
  3. Module three is an individual or groups school focused study that will deepen, consolidate and extend the learning outcomes in the previous two modules by supporting students in making sense of their learning in the context of the reality of school life. This independent and systematic enquiry is also intended to be a contribution to evidence-informed practice within the school community in which participants are serving.

How will I study?

The course is delivered in a blended manner. There will be a weekly online lecture-discussion forum for one hour per week based on assigned readings on selected topics on a designated evening. Students are also expected to attend the university on three Saturdays over the course of semester one- (September to end of November) when they will complete the first two modules. Students will also attend college on two Saturdays during semester 2 (Jan- April) when they will be working on their final school based study. The overall course is also supported by a combination of—life and pre recorded online lectures, assigned readings and tasks and group based discussions.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment includes continuous assessment of contributions to online discussions and a final written paper/ and or group presentation.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

  1. Clearly articulate the shaping international influences on contemporary national policy agenda, particularly regarding autonomy and accountability
  2. Interrogate national policy documents from the perspective of autonomy and accountability
  3. Create a constructive critique of dominant policy agenda from a practice perspective
  4. Identify and locate the issue of self-evaluation within wider discourses of accountability and professional responsibility
  5. Indicate possible futures for teacher professional responsibility and their agency in creating that future for the benefit of learners and the teaching profession.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have a primary degree - normally an honours degree but relevant experience is taken into account in the assessment of applications. Candidates should have in excess of three years experience in an education related field of practice.

Are there any additional costs?

Students are not required to make any payments other than their tuition fees. All materials used are freely accessible.

Download PDES Prospectus

You can download the School of Education PDES Education Prospectus here.

Get in touch with our course team...