Diploma in Pastoral Theology

This is a level 7, introductory programme for someone preparing for ministry leadership in the Church.

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This is a level 7, introductory programme for someone preparing for ministry leadership in the Church.


It forms part of a person’s initial formation, preparing him/her for exercising the responsibilities of ministry, especially leadership in public prayer, pastoral care and spiritual accompaniment, and building and strengthening community. This includes acquiring specialised skills to teach in diverse settings, provide effective catechetical and faith formation, and exercise responsible stewardship of parish personnel and resources.

This level allows students to develop a specialised knowledge of theological principles as these relate to ministry practice. Students form an ability to integrate their learning from academic study and placement experiences in parish, school, and hospital settings, in order to establish a sense of ministerial identity and exercise appropriate judgment in ministry leadership.

The programme further prepares students to:

  • exercise appropriate judgment in planning;
  • take responsibility for forming a habit of reflective practice for ministry;
  • express an internalised personal worldview, achieving self-awareness as this relates to pastoral ministry;
  • interact effectively in a peer-support group setting;
  • identify and analyse different ministerial approaches and pastoral responses, to exercise appropriate ministry practice in a variety of contexts.

This diploma follows the same academic and placement schedules as the Higher Diploma in Pastoral Theology, and is awarded on the successful completion of one year’s full-time engagement.

Career Outcomes

Pastoral Work


Catechesis & Faith Development

Sacramental Preparation Coordination

Course Structure

Pastoral Practice 30 Credits
Prayer Leadership 7.5 Credits
Caring and Spiritual Accompaniment 5 Credits
Theology and Pastoral Ministry 7.5 Credits
Organisational Leadership in Ministry Contexts 5 Credits
Healthcare Chaplaincy: Ministry of Presence and Visitation 2.5 Credits
Educational Chaplaincy: Ministry of Catechesis and Faith Formation 2.5 Credits
Qualifier for Pastoral Practice

Application Requirements

Admission Requirements


Candidates who have experience in parish-based or other pastoral ministry but do not hold a primary degree may be considered for entry.

They may be required to take courses in theology to qualify for admission.

Applications are now open and can be made through www.pac.ie (Code - MU519)

If you have any queries please contact admissions@spcm.ie.

PLEASE NOTE: Application forms must be completed in full, and all documentation must be provided BEFORE an application can be considered. Applicants will not be called for interview if an application is incomplete.

Candidates whose first language is not English will be required to satisfy the English language requirement.

Successful individual and group interviews are an essential part of the selection process.

If you live outside Ireland, check out our dedicated area for international students.

Let’s talk

For Undergraduate queries: email admissions@spcm.ie.

For Postgraduate queries: email pgadmissions@spcm.ie.

For The Centre for Mission & Ministries queries, email: cmmadmissions@spcm.ie.