Taught course

Guidance Counselling and Lifespan Development

University of Limerick · Faculty of Education and Health Sciences

Entry requirements

Applicants are requested to supply, in addition to the specified documents, two separately attached documents on MS word: (1) An up-to-date CV and (2) a 500 word Personal Statement describing their interest and reason for applying for the programme.

Candidates for this initial qualification in guidance counselling shall be required to possess either of the following:

A Degree in Education at 2.2 or above from a concurrent undergraduate programme, or a Higher Diploma/Masters in Education, or an approved equivalent professional teaching qualification


An Honours Degree at 2.2 or above in a cognate discipline such as psychology, social and community work, human resources and health sciences.

Consideration will also be given to candidates in line with UL's Policy for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Months of entry


Course content

The focus of the professional MA in Guidance Counselling and Lifespan Development is to qualify practicing teachers and other professionals to become professionally qualified Guidance Counsellors competent to practice in a range of settings. The professional Guidance Counsellor employs specific skills with individuals in the areas of personal, social, educational and career counselling. To fulfil this role, trainees on the programme are educated in a broad range of knowledge, skills and competencies in the context of a lifelong learning framework.

There is a very strong focus on the trainee’s personal development on the MA programme which aims to promote self-awareness and insight for a deeper appreciation of the guidance counselling process with clients across the lifespan. Therefore, it is a requirement of the programme that trainees avail of external counselling provided by an accredited counsellor, psychologist or psychotherapist in each academic year of the MA programme. Details of which are provided to trainees when they commence on the programme.

Programme Delivery

The programme is offered over two academic years on a part-time basis. It consists of a combination of seven taught modules, professional practice placements in Year 2 and a research dissertation in Year 2. The average class contact time per week for each of the first three semesters of the programme is 6 hours, with a reduction in Semester 2 of Year 2 to take account of the demands of undertaking a research dissertation. It is important to note that this professional programme requires a significant level of personal commitment from participants in terms of attendance, contribution, self-directed learning, assignment work and their own time management.

This MA programme is approved by the Department of Education for the purposes of employment as a guidance counsellor in the post primary and further education sector. But please note that the Department of Education require guidance counsellors in secondary schools to hold both a recognised post-primary teaching qualification and a guidance counselling qualification.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Dr. Petra Elftorp