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Diploma Programmes

Diploma Programmes

The School of Education offers a range of professional diploma programmes.

The Graduate Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education one-year course empowers teachers in Irish Primary, Special and Second level schools, to be effective and reflective practitioners who can work with a diversity of students in the most inclusive environment. Through research-informed lectures and site visits, it enhances and develops participants’ awareness of new approaches in the definition, assessment, provision, education and support of persons with additional / special educational needs, whether in mainstream or special educational settings. Primary and post-primary teachers from mainstream schools, special schools and other education providers in Ireland who are in a full-time, recognised LS/RT position are eligible to apply.

The Graduate Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education will run from September 2023 to May 2024 and incorporates block release from school/centre amounting to a total of eight weeks, four Saturdays of collaborative workshops and seminars and ongoing supervised work in the participant’s own school/centre.

Please note that there are two pathways for entry to this programme. Pathway One is for Department of Education funded applicants and Pathway Two is for Self-Financed applicants. Details of both pathways are outlined below.

Pathway One: Department of Education Funded Applicants

Applications are now open for the September 2023 intake of the Graduate Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education. Please see (opens in a new window)the Department of Education circular 0013/2023 which contains the application details and information on eligibility as well as the closing date. The circular is now available to download from the Department of Education's website and will be distributed to Schools and Teaching Unions.

UCD has a limited number of Department of Education funded places on this programme annually where Department of Education funded substitution cover is provided for the eight week block release time.

Applicants for Department of Education funding must read this year’s Department of Education circular (opens in a new window)(0013/2023) prior to submitting the UCD Application Form. Prior to submitting the UCD Application Form please also ensure that your principal and your Board of Management Chairperson are familiar with the Department of Education circular governing these courses (especially in relation to eligibility).

Please note that the closing date set by the Department of Education for funded applications to this course is 5pm on March 24th, 2023. Applications received after this date will not be considered. Please answer all questions on the application form and ensure that the form is fully signed by the relevant parties as incomplete applications may not be considered.

Guidelines for completion of UCD Application Form

  • Applicants must fully complete the UCD Application Form electronically and email it to UCD ((opens in a new window)educationenquiries@ucd.ie) on or before the deadline published on the Department of Education circular (5pm, March 24th, 2023). Please note that there are two separate sections of this form, one for teachers in post-primary (and other education sectors) and a separate section for teachers in mainstream primary or special school settings. Please only complete the section relevant to you.
  • UCD applications for Department of Education funding on this course is via the above process, please do not edit the circular document and send it to UCD as this will be deemed an invalid application.
  • Postal applications to UCD will not be accepted.
  • Handwritten applications will not be accepted.
  • Applications must be completed electronically and submitted in .doc or .pdf formats. JPEGS (digital images) will not be accepted.
  • Please ensure that you answer ALL QUESTIONS in each section of the form which you are completing, do not leave questions unanswered as it may result in the application not being considered. Ensure that you sign the application form (typed or electronic signatures are both accepted).
  • Please ensure that your School Principal completes ALL QUESTIONS in their section of the form, do not leave questions unanswered as it may result in the application not being considered. Please ensure that your principal has signed the form and that the form has also been signed by the Chairperson of your school’s BoM.
  • Please note that as UCD only has 25 Department funded places on this course annually, we can only accept ONE APPLICATION PER SCHOOL. Please ensure that your principal is aware of this when completing the application.

Pathway Two: Self-Financing Applicants

A number of places on the course are reserved for self-financing teachers. Applications will open for those who are self-financing (ie paying their own course fees and not being subsidised by the Department of Education) once all Department of Education funded places have been filled. These self-financing applicants can apply online via www.ucd.ie/apply when applications open. Fee information for self-financing students is available on our fees webpage.  Applications for self financing applicants will remain open until all places have been filled, early application is advised. Please only apply to the course via www.ucd.ie/apply if you are a self-financing applicant. Department of Education funded applicants must follow the application instructions in the above paragraph.

Students who obtain a 2.1 honours grade in the Graduate Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education have the option to apply to the part-time one-year Masters in Inclusive Education which focuses on research skills. This pathway is only recommended for graduates of the Grad Dip ISE W424 who have completed the course in the last five years.

Further queries on the Graduate Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education and the Masters in Inclusive Education can be directed to (opens in a new window)educationenquiries@ucd.ie

Full details on the programme can be found on the Graduate Admissions page.

The Professional Diploma in Education (Leadership) deploys a broad concept of leadership that can be applied to teachers and school leaders at different stages of their career within schools as organisations.

The Professional Diploma in Educational Leadership (PDEL) is aimed at primary and post-primary teachers in the Irish education system. Applicants must hold an honours degree at undergraduate level (or equivalent) from a higher education institution, a recognised teaching qualification and should ideally have a minimum of three years’ teaching experience in either the Irish primary or Irish post-primary sector.

Programme participants will be  motivated to move into a leadership position as well as to 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 organisations. The programme draws on a wide-ranging international literature to focus on contemporary policy, practice and leadership challenges and opportunities.

The programme includes some face-to-face sessions (typically on Saturdays to accommodate travel and attendance from all corners of the country). Our experience is that the combination of on campus days and online teaching and learning 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. These participative learning experiences have been tried and tested by us and ensure that high quality learning outcomes are achieved.

Applications for the September 2024 intake are now open and typically close in June (Exact Date To be Confirmed). Applications must be made online via www.ucd.ie/apply

Please note that this course tends to be oversubscribed annually so unfortunately not all applicants who apply will be offered a place. Late applications will not be considered.

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Full details on the programme can be found on the Graduate Admissions page.

The programme is fully funded by the Department of Education for any SNAs currently working within the Irish education system. SNAs do not have to be in a permanent role within their school but need to be employed by the Department of Education on a full-time or part-time basis to be eligible to apply. SNAs who are currently subbing in a school are welcome to apply for this programme. 

Full details on the programme can be found on the SNA page.

School of Education

University College Dublin Belfield Dublin 4 Ireland
T: +353 1 716 7777