Mary Immaculate College – A Leading Provider in Graduate Education

By | 29th April 2010

Mary Immaculate College is today a leading provider of graduate education at Graduate Diploma, Taught Master’s, Research Master’s and Doctoral levels in both Arts and Education. Graduate education is a key strategic feature of the College’s longstanding tradition of fostering the intellectual, spiritual and professional development of students within a supportive and challenging environment through excellence in teaching, learning and research. In addition to purely academic courses, courses for primary, secondary and teachers and those involved in the caring professions are also available.

A rich heritage of teaching for over a hundred years is the hallmark of the programmes available, which include specialised taught MA programmes in History, Theology, Philosophy and Literature and English. In the Faculty of Education, students in taught MEd programmes develop knowledge and understanding in specialist areas such as special educational needs, information and communication technologies, early childhood care and education, science and technology, adult and continuing education, music education, development education and educational disadvantage, in combination with applied real world research in schools, classrooms, communities and workplaces. According to Rory McCann, a two-time graduate of the College states that “the college is responsive to the ever-changing needs of those who continue to work while furthering their studies, and continually strives to find a balance between appropriate levels of course requirements while at the same time maintaining high course standards.”

According to Dr, Catherine Kavanagh, Director of Graduate Studies in Arts, “Graduate programmes in MIC have been designed in line with best international practices in postgraduate education, research, publication and dissemination. Alumni from these graduate programmes are working in colleges and universities at home and abroad and hold leadership positions in the private and public sectors”. An exciting addition to the numbers of taught programmes is expected to come on stream next September, with the addition of taught doctoral programmes in Education and Theology.

The Faculty of Arts will deliver two exciting new programmes: the MA in Christian Leadership in Education, under the academic leadership of the Department of Theology, in conjunction with the Faculty of Education, together with CEIST (Catholic Education, an Irish Schools Trust), and a structured (taught) Ph.D. in theology. This new MA will provide a professional qualification with a strong theology component for those working in the education sector, with a view to helping them foster and sustain the Christian ethos of the schools where they work.

According to Dr. Catherine Kavanagh, Director of Graduate Studies in Arts, “This programme will provide a combination of training in the development of leadership skills with the acquisition of a high degree of theological literacy, and it is unique in Ireland”. Commenting on the structured PhD in Theology she said “ This PhD will capitalise on the strengths of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in Mary Immaculate College – one of the very few such Departments in the country. Taught MA programmes have recently been offered in Christian Spirituality, Biblical Studies, Liturgical Studies and Theological Studies; the taught Ph.D is a natural development of the existing suite of programmes offered by the Department. It will take full advantage of the extensive international links already in place in the Department of Theology, from which we anticipate students will benefit greatly.” MIC will also deliver an MA in Educational Psychology and a Structured PhD (Education) for the first time in September 2010.

The MA in Educational Psychology is a two year full-time professional training programme which will have a strong applied focus and trainees will engage in professional placement each semester. The programme meets a national training need in the area of educational psychology and Mary Immaculate College is the only institution in Ireland outside of Dublin and Belfast to offer such a programme. Speaking on the Structured PhD, Prof. Jim Deegan, Director, Graduate Studies in Education said, “The Structured PhD (Education) programme is in line with developments in doctoral education stemming from the Bologna Declaration for meaningful, useful and transferrable 4th level education. The programme will include core modules on contemporary paradigms, policies and practices in the field of education, with a wide range of elective modules. A distinctive feature of the Structured PhD (Education) programme will be the inclusion of international master classes and summer schools.”

The postgraduate student body has achieved considerable success in attracting external awards, generating research publications and making conference presentations, according to Dr. Catherine Kavanagh, Director of Postgraduate Studies in Arts. These include the prestigious IRCHSS postgraduate fellowships, with two being awarded to students of the College this year. Mary Immaculate College also offers a number of internal awards, including the Doctoral Award, Studentships and Assistantships. The high level of research productivity on the part of postgraduate students who were in receipt of internal College awards was also significant, which demonstrates the importance of the latter in attracting high-calibre students to the College in both Arts and Education.

Admissions Office, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick 061-204929/204348, e-mail: or visit

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