Masters Programmes

‌The UCD School of Education delivers a wide range of taught programmes at graduate level. Our programmes are intended to bring students to a level of knowledge and understanding where they can confidently begin to study modern research literature and can prepare to embark on a research project of their own (under supervision). 

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The MA in Education degree course provides graduates who have academic, professional or personal interests in education with an opportunity to pursue these through study and research at postgraduate level.

  • The programme offers a number of elective modules in Educational Sciences and Professional Development.
  • Students are exposed to a range of research skills and techniques which enable them to engage with, and produce, high quality educational research

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The Masters in Education (Leadership) is a designated stream in the existing Master in Education programme aimed at those who have already successfully completed the online/ blended Professional Diploma in Education Studies (Leadership). Prospective students will carry their 30-credits from the Diploma into the Masters Programme and complete the remaining 60 credits.

Both the PDES and the Masters (year 2) deploy a broad concept of leadership that can be applied to teachers at different stages of their career within schools as organizations. Each of the programmes will include 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. Furthermore, these participative learning experiences will ensure that high quality learning outcomes are achieved.


  1. Leading a Learning Organization (10 credits).  This module examines the role of school leaders in organisational development with respect to two main areas of inquiry (i) leading and managing structures and systems and (ii) leading and managing staff. Key perspectives underpinning this module are the concept of the school as a learning organisation and the idea of schools as professional learning communities as a framework to support school development.
  2. Qualitative Research Methods (10 credits). This module will explore different qualitative research methods, including research interviews, focus groups, discourse analysis, visual analysis and ethnography. At the same time, it will reflect upon theoretical and intellectual issues relating to the practice of doing qualitative research. The module will address key issues, debates and controversies relevant for the way we design and evaluate qualitative studies, while also addressing issues about how such studies are intended to function vis a vis the reader.
  3. Quantitative Research Methods  (10 credits). This module provides an introduction to quantitative research techniques with a view to participants’ having a clear understanding of the key concepts that relate to quantitative inquiry. This module aims to develop a critical appreciation of the key methods including the generation and interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistics, such as cross-tabulations and chi-square. The evaluation of existing research instruments and the development and design of new questionnaires are discussed, as are the conceptual and contextual factors determining the meaning and value of quantitative data.
  4. Research Thesis (30 credits).  Completion of a minor thesis of 15, 000 - 20,000 words on a leadership related topic forms the final programme requirement. This will be undertaken under supervision, and will seek to bring together all elements of your learning but with a particular focus on leadership within your school or cluster with the intention of gaining new insights and understanding as well as seeking to impact the quality of teaching, learning and leading in your own and other’s schools.

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The MA in Educational Psychology (MAEP) Course is a professional training course, designed to prepare students to work as educational psychologists. The course is full-time and is conducted over two academic years, carrying a total of 120 ECTS credits (60 credits for Year 1 and 60 credits for Year 2), leading to the award of the MA in Educational Psychology. The course is accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI). It involves attendance at lectures and tutorials, engagement in supervised professional practice and the completion of a research project. 

Course Code                         W334/W335

Major Code Duration

2 years, Full-time

Closing date of Entry

Tuesday 7th February 2017


Sarah Walshe;


Dr William Kinsella


Professional training in Educational Psychology is generally available at two levels, Master's level and Professional Doctorate level, and both options are available at UCD School of Education. The MA in Educational Psychology is the standard professional qualification in many jurisdictions. However, within the Irish context, the professional placement experience available within the MA in Educational Psychology programme is unlikely to enable graduates to avail of the full range of available career options post-qualification, such as in Irish healthcare settings. The MA in Educational Psychology programme is, therefore, more likely to be applicable to international applicants rather than Irish applicants. 

The MA in Educational Psychology (MAEP) Course is a professional training course, designed to prepare students to work as educational psychologists. The course is full-time and is conducted over two academic years, carrying a total of 120 ECTS credits (60 credits for Year 1 and 60 credits for Year 2), leading to the award of the MA in Educational Psychology.  The course is accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI). It involves attendance at lectures and tutorials, engagement in supervised professional practice and the completion of a research project.

Learning Outcomes

The course aims to provide trainee educational psychologists with the theoretical framework and the practical experience necessary to work as professional psychologists within a variety of educational contexts. 

Students will: 

  • Critically examine the discipline of Educational Psychology and the varying roles and responsibilities of educational psychologists.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the main theories of Child Development, including: neuropsychological, cognitive, motor, perceptual, social and emotional, linguistic and numerical development in the context of explaining human functioning and dysfunctioning in a variety of contexts.
  • Examine a range of disabilities/special educational needs in relation to aetiology, assessment and diagnosis, as well as the main educational and therapeutic interventions used to support persons with disabilities/special educational needs.
  • Become familiar with models of curriculum development, with particular emphasis on curriculum modification for students with special educational needs.
  • Examine the discourse, assumptions, policy and legislation underpinning educational provision for students with disabilities/special educational needs, with particular emphasis on inclusive education.
  • Critically examine perceived models of best practice in relation to the organisation of provision for students with disabilities and special educational needs with a particular emphasis on an inclusive whole-school approach to such organisation.
  • Explore a range of issues in the Sociology of Education, such as intelligence, disability, ethnicity, gender and social disadvantage, from a sociological and a social psychological perspective. 
  • Gain an understanding of schools as systems, of school cultures and of systems theory in the context of organisational psychology.
  • Become familiar with the main approaches to counselling and develop basic counselling and communication skills.
  • Acquire the skills to formulate and evaluate holistic individualised education programmes, relating to care, education and behaviour.
  • Become thoroughly proficient in the administration of key tests of cognitive ability, school attainment and social, emotional and behavioural functioning and become aware of the issues involved in administering such tests to persons of various ages, presenting with a variety of disabilities/special educational needs and from a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
  • Become fully aware of the main issues involved in the conducting of psychological assessments and the production of reports of such assessments, including; informed consent, information gathering and the communication of results.
  • Become competent in interpreting psychological profiles, in writing clear, coherent and relevant reports and in formulating appropriate recommendations.
  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the ethical and professional issues involved in the practice of Educational Psychology.
  • Be able to evaluate resarch undertaken in the fields of Education and Educational Psychology, acquire reserach skills and engage in substantive research, wit the aim of producing a research paper in publishable format. 


Modules Delivered on the MAEP Course

Year One

  • Inclusion and Equality in Education
  • Child Development Theory Applied to Practice
  • Psychology Practice 1
  • Foundation Disciplines in Educational Psychology 
  • Psychology Practice 2
  • Research Methods

Year Two

  • Child Development: Assessment and Interventions
  • Psychology Practice 3
  • Psychology Practice 4
  • Research Project


Assessment Procedures

There is a variety of assessment procedures employed on the course including; a debate, essay-based assignments, research assignments, class presentations, reserach assignments, completion of professional placement portfolios, supervised professional practise in schools and in psychological services, and the completion of a research project which is presented in publishable journal article format.

Entry Requirements

The MA in Educational Psychology Course is open to graduates who, prior to application, hold a first or second class honours degree in Psychology or a qualification in Psychology that is deemed to be equivalent, and who meet the requirements for Graduate Basis for Registration with the Psychological Society of Ireland or equivalent. An applicant cannot be considered for entry to the course unless the results of his or her Psychology degree/diploma are confirmed and available. Applicants must also have at least two years professional experience, excluding placement experience gained as part of acquiring professional qualifications. Periods of continuous professional experience of less than three months full-time employment will not be considered as counting towards this two years minimum requirement.

Short-listing of applicants for interview normally occurs. In judging applicants’ suitability, account will be taken of academic qualifications, professional experience, research ability and interpersonal skills, as well as communication and presentation skills. Consideration of overall personal suitability for the role of educational psychologist and the quality of references are also integral elements of the selection process.

Successful applicants will have to go through a Garda clearance procedure prior to final acceptance on to the course. Professional conduct on the course is governed at all times by the Code of Ethics of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).


The Professional Masters of Education (PME) at the School of Education, University College Dublin is a two-year, full-time Level 9 programme which is creative, innovative and a leading model in teacher education internationally. The PME will qualify its graduates to teach two subjects at post-primary level (junior and senior cycles) once they meet the requirements of the Teaching Council. For further information on subject qualification please check the Teaching Council criteria available here.

During the PME, you will study the foundation disciplines of education; methodologies related to your subject specialism; hear from speakers, practitioners and researchers from a wide range of organisations who will inform, support and develop your practice as a teacher; and complete a 6,000 word piece of practitioner research inquiring into one aspect of your practice as a teacher, which may relate specifically to a phenomenon you observe during your school placement. The course is wide-ranging, informative both theoretically and practically, and features cutting-edge, stimulating and interesting contributors who have considerable experience and expertise about Irish schooling and education. 

Applications to the PME are made via the Postgraduate Applications Centre, Applications for 2018 are now open until February 16th 2018  

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