Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality

The Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality is a one year full time (two year part time) programme that prepares learners to engage in practice as youth ministers in a professional manner.

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Introduction

The Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality is a one year full time (two year part time) programme that prepares learners to engage in practice as youth ministers in a professional manner.

Description

The Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality is designed to be a pathway for learners who do not hold a degree in theology or youth ministry but who have sufficient and appropriate experience of working in youth ministry. It offers learners the opportunity to develop conceptual, theoretical, and practical skills, and to further their professional competencies and skills in youth ministry. The programme is suited also to graduates with a primary degree in theology who intend to engage in further studies (e.g. Masters in Youth Ministry) and require additional qualifications to do so. For these learners, it serves as a preparatory diploma providing the necessary methodological and pastoral qualifications and competencies to engage in research in youth ministry at a post graduate level.


The programme commences in September with the registration and recruitment of new learners (with individual and group interviews) concluded during the previous academic year in line with the normal college admissions guidelines and dates.


This programme is a response to the urgent needs of pastoral mission and care for young people in Ireland, especially in Catholic parishes throughout the country. It is an introductory programme for those who wish to develop their pastoral knowledge and skills for ministry with children, teenagers and young adults. In combining academic learning with placement-based learning, it produces graduates equipped to engage in their practice as youth ministers in a professional manner. The programme is designed to provide practical experience, theological learning, and spiritual development. Learners are given opportunity to minister in pastoral contexts both in Ireland and internationally.

Learning happens through course work, participation in seminars, human development, exploration of the learner’s own personal faith journey, and placement education. Learners form an ability to integrate their learning from academic study and placement experiences accompanying young people in different pastoral situations, in diverse settings, including school, parish, and youth centres (clubs and projects).

The study of the fundamental pedagogical concepts and theories is enhanced by the practical approach so that learners are able to immediately put their learning outcomes into practice. The programme aims to promote engagement in learning, learner autonomy and life-long learning.


Aims of the course

The aims of the Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality are to:

* Provide a practice-based qualification for Youth Pastoral Ministers (YPM) offering a grounding in Catholic Faith Education and placement education experience in youth-care, so that graduates can accompany and empower young people in the present generation and global culture.

* Provide a programme which approach is based on practical Christian humanism and a philosophical anthropology.

* Prepare YPMs with a spiritual background that includes personal accompaniment and supervision of young people using the ‘Preventive System’ of Education that seeks to bring out the good in the young while preventing (safeguarding) against harm.

* Support engagement with pedagogic issues in specific disciplines through curriculum design and assessment so that learners can demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of current approaches to Youth Ministry.

* Provide opportunities to engage in practice promoting external recognition of the field and strengthening the professional community locally and internationally.

* Provide support and enhancement of the professional skills with a strong focus on Youth Ministry and application of complex and specialised knowledge to the field of Pastoral Theology.

* Equip learners with necessary methodological and pastoral qualifications and competencies to engage in further studies in youth ministry at post graduate level - this aim is applicable in particular to graduates of theology who complete this programme as a preparatory diploma for the pursuit of further studies (e.g. Masters in Youth Ministry).

Career Outcomes

This course is a response to the urgent needs of pastoral mission and care for young people in Ireland, especially in Catholic parishes throughout the country. It is an introductory programme for those who wish to develop their pastoral knowledge and skills for ministry with children, teenagers and young adults. In combining academic learning with placement-based learning, it produces graduates equipped to engage in their practice as youth ministers in a professional manner. The programme is designed to provide practical experience, theological learning, and spiritual development. Learners are given opportunity to minister in pastoral contexts both in Ireland and internationally.

The Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality programme provides a qualification for Youth Pastoral Ministers (YPM). It offers a grounding in Catholic Faith Education and placement education experience in youth-care, so that graduates can accompany and empower young people in the present generation and global culture. It provides support for, and enhancement of, professional skills with a strong focus on Youth Ministry and application of complex and specialised knowledge to the field of Pastoral Theology.

The Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality produces employable graduates who are:

● Critical and creative thinkers: introductory modules prepare learners for a deeper level of analysis which is reinforced and assessed during subsequent levels of study

● Literate and effective communicators: this is stimulated by group assignments, oral presentations and written course work tasks that learners undertake throughout their studies

● Global in outlook and engaged in communities: during their studies, learners learn to appreciate diversity and build awareness of different cultures in a global context

● Social, ethically and environmentally aware: learners develop social, ethical, and environmental responsibility skills

● Successful speakers: learners will be able to deliver and communicate in an effective manner.

The programme allows for progression to further studies in programmes at level 8.


Course Structure

Course Structure

Course structure

The modules below are taken as part of the Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality. This is a 60 credits programme. Additional placement takes place in the summer semester after other modules are completed. The course may be offered in both full-time and part-time modes. The course structure is validated by St Patrick’s Pontifical University every 5 years, but it can change by adapting to feedback from a variety of sources.

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Award: Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality

Programme of Study

Learning Outcomes

The minimum intended programme learning outcomes (MIPLOs) have been designed to meet the Generic Award Standards.

Upon successful completion of this programme, learners will be able to:

1) demonstrate understanding of the theological foundations of ministry and, in particular, their application to Salesian Youth Ministry and various aspects of Salesian Youth Spirituality in its pedagogical and group dimensions for young people, especially the spirituality of the Salesian Preventive System

2) recognise the complex interaction between theory and practice in Youth Ministry and, applying this learning, articulate the theology underpinning their ministerial identity and their practice as youth ministers

3) understand the attitudes, skills and abilities required for Youth Ministry and demonstrate growth in their competence in these areas

4) engage in self reflection on their practice in ministry and in evaluation of their own suitability for effective Youth Ministry

5) identify and engage with the particular demands of Youth Ministry in a variety of contexts

6) understand how to interpret and communicate Scripture, theology and the basics of the Christian faith from a youth perspective and engage with the complexity of youth evangelisation in a secularised society


Learning and teaching

The programme is consistent with the University Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy and employs these guiding principles in programme development and delivery. This includes placing a focus on the learner, striving towards excellence in teaching, and employing quality assessments.

Teaching and learning methods include: group sessions, lectures, presentations, case studies and practical workshops, and interactive seminars. Learners engage in a placement education experience of 10-12 hours per week during the programme along with three periods of Block Placement with extended contact time of 16-18 hours per week. The learning and teaching process builds on the learner’s placement practice which is discussed and reflected upon to maximise personal development and to share learning across diverse domains. The course draws extensively on models of critical reflection as a means of interrogating and theorising practice. This may take the form of learning through inquiry into individual practice, research, reflection, collaborative learning, and the modelling of the learner experience as a vehicle for reflection. There are opportunities for peer- and tutor‑ observations. Learners receive feedback on submitted work as part of their learning. Blended learning tasks are employed to diversify learning experiences. Teaching on the course includes mentoring, coaching and facilitation through reflective practice and placements with structured independent learning. Learners are provided with opportunities to develop a working knowledge of personal and interpersonal skills through experiential learning activities such as role play, and interpersonal activities such as triads, discussion and feedback. The learning is seen as partnership between the learner, their peers and a teaching team. It is a mix of timetabled activities and independent, personal study. ‘Scheduled Contact/Activity Time’ (i.e. ‘Contact Hours’) involves interaction with, or supervision from, teaching and associated staff and the activities they set up for learners help to shape and guide their studies. This is where learners may be introduced to new ideas and knowledge; shown practical skills to practice independently; offered guidance on project work; or given personalised feedback. It may be face-to-face or mediated through other channels such as the Intranet. The course places a strong emphasis on participative learning. At a personal level, the course addresses the integration of academic and practice-based learning, with a focus on growth in self‑understanding as well as personal, relational, and spiritual development. Alongside the scheduled studies, ‘independent’ study makes up a large part of the programme. This can include background reading, preparation for lectures or tutorials, follow-up work, wider practice, completion of assignments. Study activity includes:

● Scheduled contact/activity time (lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervisions and other‑directed activities);

● Structured independent study, such as preparing for scheduled learning activity;

● Case studies that are frequently used to provide context for, and to demonstrate the application of theory;

● Placement/practical classes;

● Group/team work as a class preparation assignment;

● Other methods may involve learner presentations or learner-led seminars, and a form of “clinic" where students can raise any problems related to the module.

Both formative assessment and summative assessment are used to contribute to, and to evaluate, learning. Assessment takes a variety of forms. These include: practice-based practical tasks; group or individual presentations; case studies; written coursework and essays; e-assessments; reflective exercises; self-evaluation exercises; compilation of a portfolio of work. Regular reflective exercises deepen learners’ theological reflective practice on pastoral encounters to ensure more focussed integration of academic learning, while highlighting any transformation that occurs and strengthening ability to identify and understand their evolving sense of ministerial identity within such encounters. Some assessment types enhance learners’ skills in academic writing and referencing. Others, such as group work or shared presentations, build competencies and skills for working with others as well as addressing academic learning outcomes. These enhance collaboration and shared responsibility, practical planning and decision-making, mutual recognition and understanding, while deepening the learners’ contextual awareness and their understanding of the impact of culture on ministerial practice. Forms of assessment used connect closely to the teaching methodology of the module and to its learning outcomes. Typically, assessments are designed both to assess learning and to foster and support further learning, development of transferable skills, growth in competencies and confidence; and greater employment opportunities. Strong emphasis is placed on assessment tasks that develop learners’ ability to evaluate their own progress and direct their own learning. Rich feedback is provided in all modules.

One Year, Full-Time: Placement usually takes place between Sunday and Wednesday of each week, for an average of 10-12 hours of contact time per week, with classes in Maynooth on Thursday and Friday. Learners will also be required to participate in a number of block placements in their placement sites, with an extended contact time of 16-18 hours per week.

Two Year, Part-Time: Placement usually takes place between Sunday and Wednesday of each week in the two academic years, for an average of 5-6 hours of contact time per week. For part-time learners, classes in Maynooth are typically on one day (at much as timetabling permits, but this cannot be guaranteed). Learners will also be required to participate in a number of block placements in their placement sites, with an extended contact time of 8-9 hours per week.

While classes are normally on Thursday and Friday of each week, students may be required to attend classes and seminars that are only available outside these times.


Placement education sites are arranged in collaboration with the Programme Coordinator and the Pastoral Practice Module Coordinator. The Pastoral Practice module includes the following: mentoring support with an on-site Placement Contact Person, or his/her Designated Alternate; ongoing one-to-one mentoring or Pastoral Supervision; two visits by an assigned Placement Supervisor; participation in weekly small-group, peer-support, pastoral theological reflection sessions; and, an end-of-year integration day. The placement education experience is a central context for learning and growth, and is fundamental for the overall pastoral formation of the learners.

Application Requirements

Entry requirements for the Diploma in Youth Ministry and Spirituality have been set in order to select potential learners who have the proven academic ability to undertake a Level 7 Diploma course.

The admissions policy aims to attract and recruit motivated applicants across the full range of possible access routes. Applicants may have a background in any academic discipline. The overriding principle upon which admission decisions are based is that applicants should be likely to benefit from and succeed on the course.

Minimum entry requirements for the course

Formal Education

Applicants should normally hold Leaving Certificate (or equivalent) from a recognised education institution with a minimum of a pass in five subjects.

Applicants without a formal HE qualification, or where the formal qualification is not at the equivalent academic standard, may be considered if the following conditions apply:

* Applicants with experience in youth ministry or other relevant experience of pastoral ministry but who do not hold a primary degree may be considered for entry. They will be required to provide evidence of such employment. This will be considered at interview and the decision of the panel (see below) will be final.

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

English language requirement

Applicants must have:

* had their secondary education taught and assessed in English; or

* an IELTS score of 6 with a minimum of 5.5 in the writing component or another English Language Test recognised by St Patrick’s Pontifical University.

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

Interview

Applicants who have met the minimum entry requirements may be formally interviewed. The purpose of the interview is to determine the suitability of the candidate to undertake and complete the course. The panel will also consider any equivalent or non-standard admission qualifications. In so doing, the panel may require additional evidence from the candidate to support the candidate’s request for consideration for equivalency, such as the nature and level of the work experience.

Note: even if an applicant meets our minimum admission requirements, the University cannot guarantee a place on the course.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Applicants with prior certificated or experiential learning at the same level of the qualification for which they wish to apply are advised to contact the admissions team.

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.

Successful interviews are an essential part of the selection process.

For further information contact; Admission Office, St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth, County Kildare

Tel: 01 708 4778 Fax: 01 708 3477 Email: cmmadmissions@spcm.ie Web Page: www.sppu.ie

Applications are now open and can be made through www.pac.ie (Code – MU721)

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.