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Specialist Programme in Educational Leadership

The Masters of Arts in Christian Leadership in Education is a distinctive  postgraduate programme leading to a professional qualification. The degree is under the auspices of Mary Immaculate College and is awarded by the University of Limerick.

The programme, which is offered over two academic years in part-time mode, explores key issues of educational leadership, policy and management, within the context of faith-based school environments.

Click here to access the MACLE programme leaflet

Catholic schools need leaders and managers who understand not only education legislation and policies, the latest pedagogical insights and human resources issues but also who have the ability and confidence to promote the Catholic ethos of their schools. There are several programmes available for school leaders, but there are very few that address issues of ethos and characteristic spirit. This is what makes this MA programme distinctive and it responds to the expressed needs of the various Trusts and Church bodies involved in both primary and second level education.

An ability to promote ethos of a faith-based school is now one of the key competencies required by the second-level voluntary sector. This programme equips future school leaders with a solid foundation in all aspects of faith-based education and enables them to appreciate the richness and inclusive nature of a such schools.

The programme is built on four solid pillars: personal development; knowledge of the world of contemporary education, its theory and practice; religious literacy; and a sound spirituality. These elements are carefully integrated and form a well-rounded preparation for faith-based school leaders.

One of the programme’s MIC graduates, Cormac Bonner, Principal of the Presentation Secondary School, Milltown, Co. Kerry commented that;

Although I had a busy schedule as a Principal, I found the scheduling of the programme very manageable. I benefitted enormously from it and it has deepened my appreciation for my role as a school leader in the Catholic second level sector. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to principals and anyone aspiring to that role in the future. It enhances competence and confidence in all areas of leadership.”

Dr. Eugene Duffy, MACLE Programme Co-ordinator, along with some of the MACLE graduates, pictured at the MIC Graduation ceremony, October 2017.

The Programme Content and Schedule

This programme is offered by the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College and the delivery of the programme is under the academic leadership of the TRS in association with CEIST (Catholic Education, an Irish Schools Trust).

The modules offered cover areas of governance, legislation and management at primary and second levels; issues of leadership, group dynamics and inter-personal skills; the nature, purpose, vision and values of faith-based education; and issues of justice in education.

It is a two year programme delivered in part-time mode. The taught elements of the programme begin with a summer school during the first two weeks of July, followed by a week-end per month during the rest of the academic year and concludes in the second year with another summer school. In the final year students write a minor dissertation with the guidance of a staff member.

Important International Links

Since the programme commenced in 2010, important links have been established with Notre Dame University, in the United States and several exchanges have taken place between staff and students at both Universities. More recently, the University of Malta has adopted the template of the MACLE programme and runs a similar programme in Malta. There have also been staff and students exchange between both institutions.


Prof Emmanuel Agius (Dean of the Faculty of Theology, University of Malta), Dr Eugene Duffy (Coordinator of the MACLE programme) and Dr Car-Mario Sultana (Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Theology, University of Malta) during an exchange visit to Mary Immaculate College, July 2016.

Each year students, past and present, join the staff and students from Notre Dame programmes in Ireland for a week-end retreat at Kylemore Abbey in Connemara.

Easter Retreat at Kylemore Abbey - March 2018. Students from the MACLE programme in Mary Immaculate College, Marino Institute of Education and ACE Ireland, Maynooth.

The MA enhances the development of the leadership capacity in the faith-based education sector in the country. On successful completion of this programme participants will be able to articulate and critically evaluate current principles of Christian educational leadership and will be in a position to apply best practice in building a positive learning environment in the school based on Christian principles.

 Fees and Funding

The current cost of the programme can be found at this link  (These fees may be subject to slight change each year and prospective students should check with the Course Directors in advance of making an application.) Part sponsorship from professional bodies has been made available, including the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association, the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools. Several dioceses and religious congregations have also provided some sponsorship for those taking the programme. For further details please contact the Course Director.

The programme was initially established with the support of generous funding from the St Stephen's Green Trust.

The programme is eligible for tax relief under Section 473A, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997.

Commencement Date of Programme:

  • Students studying the course at Mary Immaculate College will commence with a two week summer course, scheduled dates for 2018 are: Monday, 2nd of July to Friday, 13th of July.


For further details on the programme, please contact:

Dr Eugene Duffy, Programme Co-ordinator, Tel +353 61 204968; email: Eugene.duffy@mic.ul.ie

Or Ms Deirdre Franklin, Arts Secretariat: Tel: +353 61 204507; email: deirdre.franklin@mic.ul.ie

How to apply, please click here.

Admissions Office, Tel: +353 61 204348/204929; email: admissions@mic.ul.ie

Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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