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MSc Loss & Bereavement

The Masters in Loss and Bereavement course is delivered by Irish Hospice Foundation in collaboration with Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland who have been working together since 2004 to deliver bereavement education programmes. This programme, aimed at professionals whose work brings them into contact with bereavement and loss, offers a two strand option:

  • MSc Loss & Bereavement
  • MSc Loss & Bereavement (Counselling)


Since 2004, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has supported bereavement education programmes convened at Irish Hospice Foundation. During 2016/17 we revised the MSc Bereavement Studies and now offer two MSc streams – the MSc Loss & Bereavement and the MSc Loss & Bereavement (Counselling).

These programmes aim to impact on health, social and community systems and ultimately to enhance quality of life. They are rooted in contemporary scientific research about loss and bereavement as well as being designed against a policy and professional regulation backdrop. There is an increasing impetus in Irish policy and legislation on developing competence in loss/bereavement and discussions about dying; these programmes address some of the educational needs associated with these competences.

Course Structure

Irish Hospice Foundation and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland invite applications for these part-time MSc

programmes run over two years. For MSc Loss and Bereavement applications are invited from representatives of a wide range of professional disciplines whose work or volunteering roles involve the provision or organisation of bereavement support in community, health or other areas.

For MSc Loss and Bereavement (Counselling) applications are invited from qualified, accredited psychotherapists and counsellors whose clinical work involves therapeutic support of bereaved people.

Aims and Objectives of the Programme

These programmes aim to promote critical inquiry into the place of loss, death and bereavement in Irish society and in health and social care systems. Through this process we aim to equip practitioners and managers to promote and provide a range of appropriate supports in their communities, work places and professional practices.

Learning Programme Outcomes

  • Critically debate and contribute to theoretical understanding and knowledge about loss and grief across the lifecycle and grief support structures relating to health, community and work organisations and in the voluntary sector.
  • Evaluate different contemporary perspectives on death, dying and loss in society – including social history, cultural issues, cause and circumstance of death in contemporary Ireland, death education, loss through the life cycle, family bereavement, cultural issues, gender issues, research and ethical issues.
  • Critically appraise, apply and design bereavement research, audit and evaluation.
  • Critique, select and utilise support and counselling skills in the context of loss and bereavement.
  • Develop and utilise advanced bereavement counselling skills as part of professional counselling practice [MSc Loss & Bereavement (Counselling)]
  • Analyse the organisation of bereavement support and formulate strategic and systematic developments in bereavement care in different settings.
  • Design models for self-care and staff support in environments where people are consistently working with or meeting dying, death and bereavement.
  • Manage and evaluate changes in work practices relative to an area of bereavement care.
  • Reflect on personal development and personal growth through the educational experience.
  • Display an integrated value-based and evidence-based approach to the support of bereaved people.

Course Details

This is a part-time course, over two years. There are 7 modules in year one (5 at 10 credits, two at 5 credits) and a dissertation in year two. A 10 credit module consists of 250 hours of learning including lecture time, self-directed learning, course preparation, examination time, and supervision. The two year programme equates to 90 credits and it is devised to support Level 9 learning outcomes. Exiting option to be discussed.


A range of assessment methods will be employed. These include written coursework, reaction papers and a dissertation/work based project in year two.

Year 1 timetable: Dec 2020 – June 2021


This is an RCSI programme run in association with Irish Hospice Foundation. It is accredited by RCSI and National University of Ireland as a Level 9 qualification.

Admission Requirements

MSc Loss and Bereavement
Applicants must possess a Level 8 degree in a relevant area or equivalent demonstrated through a defined Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. RPL requires demonstration of significant professional experience in social/health care in a loss/ bereavement related area or as a bereavement support volunteer; completion of CPD and other training relevant to loss and bereavement; evidence of personal insight into loss history.

MSc Loss and Bereavement (Counselling)
Applicants must possess counselling/psychotherapy accreditation through a national body and a Level 8 degree in a relevant area (or equivalent as demonstrated through RPL).

RPL involves demonstration of formal training in: counselling or psychotherapy / significant professional experience in bereavement related work / evidence of personal insight into loss and bereavement.

All candidates must fulfill the NUI entry requirements or be eligible for matriculation.

An academic transcript will be requested. An academic transcript lists your complete academic history: programmes attended, a breakdown of marks/grades achieved, the degree awarded, your overall grade and conferring date.

International degrees’ equivalency is to be verified by using the NARIC service from QQI.

All modules must be successfully completed before a candidate can progress to the subsequent year of the programme.

English Language Requirement

Prospective students for whom english is not their native language may need to confirm proficiency with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Visit RCSI for requirements, exceptions and test centres.

Exit Awards

Candidates who are unable to progress in their studies but who have completed and passed a minimum of 30 ECTS, can exit the programme and are eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Certificate Loss & Bereavement/ Postgraduate Certificate Loss & Bereavement (Counselling).

Candidates who are unable to progress in their studies but who have completed and passed a minimum of 60 ECTS, can exit the programme and are eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma Loss & Bereavement/ Postgraduate Diploma Loss & Bereavement (Counselling). It is not possible to use the same ECTS for more than one award.


The programmes will be directed by the professional staff of Irish Hospice Foundation with core modules and inputs from the academic, hospice, and community sectors in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

How to apply

Applicants must apply online. Applications can be accessed and completed on the RCSI website. Applications will be processed through Irish Hospice Foundation and final selection may be based on interview. In completing your application form please provide full details of your experience and potential to apply learning in your work or volunteering role. This application form will be used for selection purposes.

Closing date for application is Nov 23rd 2020


Participants on the course will reflect a range of disciplines from clinical and non-clinical backgrounds – e.g. nurses, social workers, teachers and community, voluntary and statutory personnel.


Year 1 fees: €5,000
Year 2 fees: €5,000
For EU students a non-refundable deposit of €1,000 is required on acceptance of a course place. Non EU students, please contact for rates. Fees are eligible for tax relief.


Cancellations up to three weeks prior to the course commencing will be given a full refund, minus a cancellation fee of €500 –thereafter no refunds will be made.


All classes, tutorials and seminars will be delivered online via Zoom.

More info

General enquiries: Jennifer Leech, Education Administrator.
Tel: (01) 6793188 E-mail: [email protected]
Course content enquires: Orla Keegan, Course Director.
Tel: (01) 6793188 E-mail: [email protected]
Irish Hospice Foundation, 4th Floor, Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2.