Diploma in Catholic Education

The coming together of expertise and experiences of the two institutions is an innovative, exciting and vibrant synergy.

Continuing Education - Part Time
1 Year
Application Deadline:
01st June 2018
Course Start Date:
September 2018
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The coming together of expertise and experiences of the two institutions is an innovative, exciting and vibrant synergy.


The Diploma in Catholic Education at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth is an initiative borne out of the successful Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) programme, administered by the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, USA.

St Patrick’s College, Maynooth in partnership with the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame have designed a programme to enhance participant’s formation as teachers in Catholic Schools. The coming together of expertise and experiences of the two institutions is an innovative, exciting and vibrant synergy. This programme seeks to encourage and support committed and enthusiastic teachers to be aware of their own faith and how it should impact their role as educators in a Catholic schools.

The Diploma in Catholic Education (DCE) is a programme devised to enhance the participant’s formation as teachers. It is concerned with preparing students for a professional role (development of knowledge, skills and abilities/competencies), in service of a school-community ethos and sustained by a reflective spirituality. (Note: it does not qualify a participant to teach Religious Education as a subject in a school.)

Programme Learning Outcomes

Subject : Theology/Religious Education

Programme Title/Award : Diploma in Catholic Education (DCE)


On successful completion of the programme, the graduate should be able to:

Knowledge Identify relevant knowledge and insights of Catholic theology, spirituality and educational tradition, as they relate to education

Recognise important issues in relation to contemporary education in the Catholic school sector

Demonstrate an awareness of Catholicism as a wider culture and community.

Know-How and Skill Discuss important insights of Catholic theology, spirituality and tradition

Examine education issues from the perspective of the Catholic tradition

Contribute effectively to the ethos of a school community

Employ practices that develop personal and professional development.

Competence To demonstrate a grasp of Catholic theology, spirituality and tradition

Appreciate a school ethos and engage positively and professionally with it.

Evaluate, promote, and challenge if necessary, pedagogical and school practices, from the perspective of the Catholic tradition

Act as self-motivated and reflective practitioner.


Higher Diploma in Theological Studies 

Pillars of the Programme

Drawing inspiration from the suite of programmes offered by the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), the Diploma in Catholic Education is based on three pillars: professionalism, spirituality and community.


Participants undertake classes at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth that continues their formation as Catholic schoolteachers. As a capstone experience to the Diploma in Catholic Education, students will spend two weeks in late June/early July at summer school, participating in both academic and retreat experiences.


Participants in the programme will be encouraged to develop spiritually in the context of community. This will be achieved through:

  • Three retreat experiences
  • Opening retreat in October
  • Lenten retreat
  • Closing retreat in June/July
  • Monthly opportunities for the celebration of the Eucharist and prayer


The participants in the Diploma in Catholic Education will be asked to form a community outside the academic component of the programme. Students will be required to meet monthly to celebrate the Eucharist and dinner with the Community Chaplain and the Community Supervisor.  

Programme Administration


Attendance is necessary requirement of this course. If failure to attend is deemed to be such that the student cannot attain the learning outcomes of the module, and so consequently the course, the student will be asked to discuss their commitment to the programme by the Course Director.


The Diploma is a one-year course. All modules must be passed. The assignment for each modules is requires an essay or equivalent.


The Diploma in Catholic Education is open to individuals that are currently enrolled in the Professional Diploma in Education (PDE) as well as to those individuals that have already begun their teaching careers.

People interested in applying should contact the course director, John O’Malley, between May and September in advance of the upcoming academic year or the Admissions Office of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. An application form will be forwarded electronically to the prospective candidate. The completed application is due during the second week of September. Following a review of the application individuals will be notified of an interview at the end of the third week of September. Interviewees will be notified of their acceptance onto the Diploma in Catholic Education within three days of the interview.


Course Coordinator

John-Paul Sheridan


Admissions Office

Pontifical University

Saint Patrick’s College


County Kildare, Ireland

Ireland: (01) 708 4772 / 3600 / 3892

International: +353-1-708-4772 / 708-3600 / 708-3892


Community Chaplain

Rev. Dr. Michael Shortall, MA (UCD) STD (Greg)


Tel: 01 7086165 


The cost of the course is 1000e. All cheques must be made payable to St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Students should note that the course fees do not cover books, photocopying or other such resource material that may be recommended over the duration of the course. 

Career Outcomes


Application Requirements

Participation or completion of a recognised teaching qualification

The programme is designed to:

  1. Provide students with an education and formation enabling them to become (or develop their capacity and competence) teachers, capable of contributing positively to the ethos of a Catholic school and nourishing themselves as reflective practitioners;
  2. Supply the school community with knowledgeable and professional teachers, able to sustain a school’s ethos, while having the flexibility to respond to the changing environment of the school system.
  3. Contribute to the on-going development of the vocation of a Catholic teacher and the Catholic school sector, by way of critically engaged and reflective practitioners.
Therefore, the objectives of the Diploma in Catholic Education are to inspire a cohort of students to:
  1. A greater understanding of the theological foundation and history of Catholic Education.
  2. A more significant awareness of their role and responsibility as Catholic School teachers.
  3. A deeper sense of their own spirituality and how it is expressed through their day-to-day experience as teachers in Catholic schools.