Postgraduate Diploma/M.A. in Family Support

“What initially attracted me to the MA in Family Support was the balance of theoretical and practical elements that the course offers. Having worked in practice for many years, I felt that I needed to upskill in terms of research and theoretical knowledge in order to better support families I worked with. I found the course to be very informative, current and of a high standard. With a particular emphasis on critical engagement throughout the course, I feel my reflective and analytical skills have much improved. Practically, I have been able to implement much of the courses learning into my work practice.
Another noteworthy element of the MA in Family Support is the broad range of modules offered, while also allowing the space to pursue and develop individual areas of interest. There were good opportunities to engage with fellow students, which added interest, dimension and fun to the course”.
- Eileen Irwin, Family Support Graduate 2015

COURSE OVERVIEW: 2 Years, Part-Time.
The MA Family Support Studies is a two-year part-time programme and students are required to attend college two days every second week over four semesters with the agreement of their employers. The Postgraduate Diploma / Masters of Arts in Family Support Studies programme offers a vocational postgraduate qualification for professionals working in state and voluntary services on behalf of children, young people, parents, and families. Early intervention and prevention is viewed, both nationally and internationally as best practice in working with children and their families who are experiencing difficulty. Family Support represents an important framework within this overall trend and in essence, can be described as efforts which develop, compensate for, enable, and strengthen family functioning. In this regard, the overriding purpose of this programme is to further the education, training and skill enhancement of professionals with a common interest in Family Support. Family Support is an approach advocated and promoted across a wide variety of disciplines working with or on behalf of children. Reflecting the inter-disciplinary nature of the area, the course is geared towards those working in social work, social care, community work, public health nursing, disability, education, justice, social welfare, early years, and other related fields.

Participants will have a third-level qualification or a recognised professional qualification in a field broadly related to Family Support service delivery. In addition, as the programme is not geared towards individuals coming out of undergraduate programmes, a minimum of three year’s work experience in the health and social services area will be required of candidates. As there currently exists a set of practitioners working with children and families in community settings who despite a wealth of skill, have not attained a formal recognised undergraduate qualification, two places may be offered on the programme at the Postgraduate Diploma in Family Support Studies level.

Applications are made on-line through the Postgraduate Application Centre on the NUI, Galway website. 

EU fee €1600 approx

Graduates of this programme will have the opportunity to enhance their careers in a wide range of services areas at both practitioner and manager level working in state and voluntary services on behalf of children and families. In the main, graduates will come from the health and social services sector including Social Workers, Residential and Community Social Care Workers, Public Health Nurses, Disability, Early Years and Social Gerontology, among others. Reflecting the inter-disciplinary nature of the area, the course will also include those working in community work, education, justice, social welfare, and other fields.

For details contact the Course Director, Dr. Carmel Devaney on or by telephone on +353 (0)91 495733.