Course Overview

This master’s programme is a one-year qualification for candidates who have completed either the PDSL or DGCS leadership Diploma. Course content will focus on qualitative and quantitative research approaches with a particular emphasis on critically identifying perspectives on researching school leadership.

Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

Advanced entry into the Master of Education (School Leadership) and the Master of Education (Special and Inclusive Education) is available to candidates who have successfully completed the PDSL/ DGCS or the PGDSEN. There are limited places on each of these strands so early application is advisable.  Relevant application form is online here. ‌Places are allocated on a first come basis and recruitment will end when all programme places are allocated. Please log onto the School website for additional details. 

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Candidates must have completed the PDSL/DGCS to be eligible to apply for this course. This is a one-year, top-up programme to enable graduates of the PDSL/DGCS to obtain a master’s qualification.

Additional Requirements

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


1 year, part-time (Year 2 entry only)

Next start date

September 2022

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

31 July 2023

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting



Course code


Course Outline

Students will complete a leadership focused dissertation that will provide an opportunity to demonstrate the ability to engage in primary research and consolidate the learning outcomes achieved in other modules on the PDSL/DGCS programme.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
A module you may choose to study.
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required ED6174: Minor Thesis: Master in Education

15 months long | Credits: 30

This is a minor thesis module
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the proposed research topic by providing a clear rationale for the research objectives and design.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of a range of standard and more specialised research or equivalent tools and techniques of enquiry appropriate to the chosen research field.
  3. Demonstrate compliance with recommended ethical guidelines in planning and conducting research.
  4. Demonstrate capacity to select from, scrutinise, reflect upon and critically evaluate data in the context of set research objectives.
  5. Synthesise research findings and critically evaluate in the context of existing knowledge in the chosen field.
  6. Demonstrated insight into the chosen research field by making recommendations that effectively communicate the outcomes and implications of the research.
  7. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge informed by the forefront of learning in their chosen research field by conducting a literature review in the area.
  • Research (100%)
Reading List
  1. "Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation" by Randy L. Joyner,William A. Rouse,Allan A. Glatthorn
    ISBN: 9781544317205.
    Publisher: Corwin
    Chapters: All
  2. "Fieldwork in Educational Settings" by Sara Delamont
    ISBN: 9781317637363.
    Publisher: Routledge
The above information outlines module ED6174: "Minor Thesis: Master in Education " and is valid from 2023 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required ED6176: Completed Postgraduate Diploma Modules (RPL)

Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 50

Exemptions module for completed Postgraduate Diploma with 50 ECTS.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. tbc
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module ED6176: "Completed Postgraduate Diploma Modules (RPL)" and is valid from 2019 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required ED6173: Research Methods

15 months long | Credits: 10

This module aims to encourage a systematic and critical approach to educational research, and to provide insight into the range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies available to the researcher so as to inspire and guide participants’ own research. The module explores the theoretical and methodological issues associated with research design, sampling, data collection, data analysis, and presentation of data/findings across quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies including case study, action research, design-based, and narrative approaches. The module also provides an introduction to statistical analysis of quantitative data using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Adopt a critical stance in their reading of quantitative and qualitative research papers.
  2. Identify and justify appropriate methods (quantitative, qualitative or mixed-methods) for investigating a well refined research question(s) in the context of their thesis project.
  3. Refine research question/s and select appropriate methods.
  4. Design, plan and carry out small-scale quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods research
  5. Conduct basic descriptive and inferential analyses using SPSS and report and present findings appropriately;
  6. Analyse qualitative data using appropriate techniques and report and present findings in an aligned manner;
  7. Reflect on the role of the researcher in the research process.
  8. Understand and explain the key ethical responsibilities they have as a researcher in research involving human participants (especially that involving vulnerable populations).
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "Designing and doing survey research" by Andres, L.
    Publisher: Sage
  2. "On the theoretical breadth of design-based research in education" by Bell, P.L. / Educational Psychologist
  3. "Researching marginalised groups" by Bhopal, K. and Deuchar, R.
    Publisher: Rooutledge
  4. "Ethics and education research" by Brooks, R., Riele, K.T., & Maguire, M.
    Publisher: Sage
  5. "Research Methods in Education" by Cohen, L., Mannion, L., & Morrison, K.
    Publisher: Routledge
  6. "The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research" by Charmaz, K., Thornberg, R., Keane, E.
    Publisher: Sage
    Chapters: Evolving grounded theory and social justice inquiry
  7. "Designing and conducting mixed-methods research" by Creswell, J.W., & Plano Clark, V.L.
    Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
The above information outlines module ED6173: "Research Methods" and is valid from 2023 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

School principalship, mid-level leadership positions in schools, education support services, entry to PhD/Doctoral studies. 

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€5,140 p.a. 2023/24

Fees: Tuition

€5,000 p.a. 2023/24

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. 2023/24

Fees: Non EU

Student levy €140 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI.  Further detail here.