M.A. (Leadership in Therapeutic Child & Social Care)






2 years

Tuition Fees

€4,900 p.a.


Sept 2024



Why Study This Course?


Comprehensive support for personal, professional and academic aspects of learner

Therapeutic Focus

Strong focus on the therapeutic community model of practice and its application in different agencies and settings

Career Opportunities

Enhanced career opportunities into positions such as Service Directors, Team Leaders and academic opportunities

The M.A. (Leadership in Therapeutic Child and Social Care), validated by Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI), is based on our well-established MATCC programme which has been running in the college for over 20 years now. It emphasises the skills and abilities required for leading therapeutic care in practice.

What is so unique about this programme?
Compared to most Irish taught masters in Social Care, we believe that the personal development element of our course is as important as the professional and academic elements. While the course is not a training in psychotherapy, it is more comparable to such a training than to other taught Masters. For example, the course day begins with a personal check-in, has an experiential group at its centre and closes with a check-out.

Who is this programme for?
Qualified practitioners in Social Care (and similar professions) who wish to work therapeutically and at a deeper level. They may be leading or intending to lead and want to make a difference. And they may already suspect that ‘home is where we start from’.

Where can you expect to go?
Graduates of this programme typically move onto assume positions of responsibility in their workplaces. It prepares graduates for leading a process of change towards a more therapeutic and progressive quality of practice in social care and other person-centred professions. Graduates also engage in consultancy work and lecture in third level institutes.

The course is taught over two years, one day a week (Thursday), and has a maximum class group size of 16 students. This programme has a core aim to enhance the learners’ knowledge and skills in the use of a variety of therapeutic approaches to the treatment of children and adults who have suffered emotional and psychological hurts. It emphasises a psychodynamic understanding of human development and of the therapeutic alliance. This psychodynamic approach looks beyond presenting behaviour to what the behaviour means and is trying to communicate. Establishing a therapeutic alliance will enable the person to reflect on their inner world, have helpful insights and perhaps then change the problematic behaviour. As social care is mostly conducted in groups and with groups, the course promotes the use of a therapeutic community approach where this is appropriate.

View a typical class schedule here

Year 1

Year 2

Work Placements

Visit of Observation 

Students have the unique opportunity to be a participant observer for 5 days at a work setting of their choice. This allows learners to see and experience how the work setting of their choice works and operates. Students’ choice may be informed by their professional interest or the focus of their dissertation. The Visit is undertaken during the summer break between Year 1 and Year 2. 

Residential Community Experience

During the course, learners will twice have an opportunity, away from the campus, to experience living together as a community. This experience deepens the learning process and has been a huge contribution to the success of the students on the course. 

Graduates of the programme move to take on positions of practice responsibility within the organisations in which they work and beyond. This Masters level course prepares graduates for leading a process of change towards a more therapeutic and progressive quality of practice in Social Care and other person-centred professions. Graduates take up leadership roles within their own work places, contribute to the development of their profession, engage in consultancy work to support professional teams.

At least six of our graduates currently lecture in other higher third level institutes. Four of our graduates have also taught on this course.

Joanne O’Toole, | Residential Care Worker

What do you like most about the MA (Leadership in Therapeutic Child & Social Care)?
The therapeutic community approach and the blending of professional, personal and academic learning and development opportunity.

Why would you recommend this course to others?
A high quality experience – especially within the MALTCSC programme. The course leaders are exceptional and provide deep knowledge of theory to practice

Entry Requirements  

  • Hold a primary degree (Honours Bachelor) in Applied Social Studies or equivalent* 
  • Be registered or eligible to register as a professional Social Care Worker** 
  • Be in employment in a human services agency as a manager, team leader or front-line practitioner 
  • Satisfactory pass at interview. 

 *Applicants who do not satisfy the academic criteria may be accepted onto the course if the Course Selection Board is satisfied that they have the ability to complete the course and are well placed to make good use of it.  

**Applications are welcome from those professionally qualified in a discipline other than social care who have at least two years’ professional practice experience. Please note, this programme is not a professional award for registration as a Social Care Worker. 

How to Apply

Applications are now open for September 2024 intake and can be submitted via our Postgraduate Application Form.

Closing date for applications is the 31st May 2024.

Interview date: applicants referred for interview will need to be available on Thursday, 20th June for in-person interviews.


Tuition fees: €4,900 per year 

Protection of Enrolled Learning (PEL): €147 per year

Full details on fees is available here

Key Dates

  • In-Person Interviews (half day): Thursday, 20 June
  • Application Decision: Friday, 21 June
  • Induction / Orientation: Thursday, 5 September
  • Lectures Commence: Thursday, 12 September


Colleen Macintosh-Hill

Course Leader

E: slo@carlowcollege.ie