M.A. Course in Personal Leadership and Pastoral Care

In September 2017 the National College of Ireland (NCI) will be delivering a M.A. course in Personal Leadership and Pastoral Care. This is the first time that NCI will be providing this course which is a part-time course being run over a two year period and which is aimed at people who aspire to work in jobs and roles which involve leadership and pastoral care or are already involved in these jobs and roles. It is likely that the course will be of particular interest to people and organisations already engaged work areas such as community work, youth work, homelessness, addiction, social care, work with prisoners, work with disabled people, work with refugees and asylum seekers, work with Travellers. The MA course in Personal Leadership and Pastoral Care aims to build upon the existing skills which people have in these work areas and to develop additional competencies around leadership and pastoral care in order to enhance their effectiveness and the contributions which they will make to the lives of people to whom they provide services and supports.

The MA course in Personal Leadership and Pastoral Care is awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) at Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). This award allows transfer to Level 9 research degrees and, in some cases, progression to Level 10 Doctoral courses on the NFQ. In order to be eligible for the MA course, applicants will need to have an honours degree (Level 8 on the NFQ) or professional education in work areas related to pastoral care – these work areas could include education, social work, nursing, theology, youth and community work, social care. Evidence of current or previous pastoral experience will also be taken into account when assessing applicants to the MA course on Personal Leadership and Pastoral Care. NCI operates a Registration of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) arrangement whereby relevant work/life experiences are considered in relation to applicants who do not meet the normal academic qualifications for the MA course.

The MA course in Personal Leadership and Pastoral Care has been organised in such a way that it will facilitate the participation of people who are unable to attend a full-time academic course on account of other work/life commitments. Much of the work on the course will take place at weekends and for block periods during the week. This should enable people who are working in areas aligned to pastoral care (with young people, with prisoners/offenders, with homeless people, with drug users, with disabled people, in disadvantaged communities etc.) to be able to combine their working life with participation on the MA course in Personal Leadership and Pastoral Care. This will be of benefit to the applicants (who will acquire new knowledge and skills, who will secure a MA qualification) and to the employing/sponsoring organisations (which will have employees who are more competent in leadership and the provision of pastoral care as a result of their participation on the MA course).

This Information Note on the course aims to provide applicants and organisations within the community and voluntary sector in Ireland with some insights into pastoral care (what is it? what makes it different to other related work areas?) as well as providing more basic information about the MA in Personal Leadership and Pastoral Care (what skills and competencies will I gain through the course? how is the course organised and structured?).

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