Master's in Theology (Healthcare Chaplaincy)

The Master's Degree in Theology (Healthcare Chaplaincy) is a two-year full-time (or equivalent part-time), professional award (120 ECTS credits).

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The Master's Degree in Theology (Healthcare Chaplaincy) is a two-year full-time (or equivalent part-time), professional award (120 ECTS credits).


A bursary has been made available from the Bons Secours Health System to financially support people who are undertaking theology and pastoral training at SPPU as part of their journey to a career in Healthcare Chaplaincy. This bursary is administered by the Healthcare Chaplaincy Board. More details available at

This is a two-year full-time (or equivalent part-time), professional award (120 ECTS credits). It follows the introduction of the level 8 Higher Diploma in Healthcare Chaplaincy in September 2019, and marks a significant expansion in the Pontifical University’s suite of pastoral programmes, which are dedicated to the professional formation and training in pastoral ministry.

The programme is designed for theology graduates considering healthcare chaplaincy as a profession. It may also be attractive to existing Healthcare Chaplains who wish to develop their theological competence and research skills, deepen their reflective practice, and enhance their pastoral capability for exercising clinical leadership.

The structure of the programme combines interdisciplinary academic study, clinical practice in an acute healthcare setting, and practical theological reflection. Under the supervision of a member of the Faculty of Theology, Master’s students are given the opportunity to develop their research literacy and capacity by conducting an evidence-based research project on an area of healthcare chaplaincy practice. The Pontifical University anticipates that by helping Healthcare Chaplains to develop their research competency, this will advance the evidence-based approach to chaplaincy, while also contributing in some way to the body of chaplaincy research. It will enable graduates of the Master’s programme to exercise the highest quality pastoral care in clinical practice and be effective leaders in the future development of the profession.

Both the Higher Diploma and Masters in Healthcare Chaplaincy are pathways for those pursing certification in Healthcare Chaplaincy. Graduates can apply for certification from the Healthcare Chaplaincy Board (HCB).

Career Outcomes


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: Leadership Ministry of Healing and Justice 5 Credits
Theological Reflection on Practice 10 Credits
Required Module - 10 Credits:
Elective Module - 10 Credits:
Dissertation - 30 Credits:

Evidence-based research project 25,000-30,000 words

Summer Intensive Placement

Students will undertake a second placement in a clinical setting to consist of 10 weeks, with 35 hours of clinical practice each week. Assigned clinical areas will include critical care: intensive care unit, trauma care, stroke care, emergency department, oncology, and haematology care. The placement will include 3 night’s rostered work and 3 rostered weekends. Small-group, peer-support, theological reflection sessions will take place at the placement site, facilitating a deepening of the student’s reflective practice.

A Summer School will take place in Maynooth over 3 Saturdays, covering areas such as: understanding and managing oneself, leading and managing others, leading change, organisation leadership, leadership and management skills for the future, developing a culture of research and development in best practice, and the integration of learning in preparation for Certification as Catholic Healthcare Chaplains.

This Summer Intensive Placement is a qualifier for the completion of the Masters in Pastoral Theology (Healthcare Chaplaincy), and is a prerequisite for satisfying the certification standards for the Catholic Healthcare Chaplaincy Board.

Application Requirements

The minimum entry requirement for the programme is a primary degree in which Theology comprises at least an equal joint component. Candidates should normally have obtained at least a Second Class Honours, Grade I overall, and Second Class Honours, Grade I in Theology. Candidates should also have significant experience in ministry practice. The Faculty of Theology may also accept applicants whom it deems to have achieved an equivalent standard.

Applications are now being accepted on (Code - MU517)

If you have any queries please contact

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

For Postgraduate queries: email

For The Centre for Mission & Ministries queries, email: