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MSc Loss & Bereavement

MSc Loss & Bereavement & MSc Loss & Bereavement (Clinical Practice)

A collaborative programme with Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Applications for the MSc Loss & Bereavement and MSc Loss & Bereavement (Clinical Practice) are now closed for the 2023/2024 academic year. Applications for 2024/2025 will open again early 2025.

"Completing this MSc has been one of the most rewarding pieces of work both personally and professionally for me. The learnings from each module provided me with a scientific knowledge and evidence base with regards to loss and bereavement theory. My confidence has grown for working with and supporting people and communities bereaved through suicide, whilst also opening up new opportunities within my role."

masters testimonial siobhan


We know loss and bereavement are core life experiences. While they have been the subject of major scientific and social study over the past 30 years, the application of our new knowledge lags behind.

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

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought loss and grief into the spotlight. We believe these programmes have never been more relevant.

During 2020 we applied for new accreditation to allow for two distinct pathways:

  • The clinical practice pathway is for those working therapeutically with bereaved people. 
  • The second pathway is a general education route for participants who work in other areas of bereavement care including education, management, policy and support. This structure is to bundle modules into clear exit qualifications ranging from Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma to MSc.

Course Structure

We are now inviting applications for these part-time postgraduate programmes run over two years.

For MSc Loss & Bereavement, applications are invited from representatives of a wide range of professional disciplines who wish to develop a deeper understanding of loss and grief at individual and societal level or whose work/volunteering roles involve the organisation of bereavement support in community, health or other areas of general bereavement care.

For MSc Loss & Bereavement (Clinical Practice), applications are invited from mental health professionals such as counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, social worker bereavement coordinators and others who design and implement clinical bereavement interventions as part of their practice.

Aims and Objectives

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.

Programme Learning 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 therapeutic skills in the context of loss and bereavement.
  • Develop and utilise advanced bereavement therapeutic skills as part of professional practice.
  • 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

The courses are part-time over two years. There are seven 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. 

Year 1 MSc Loss & Bereavement students 2022 at Morisson Chambers presenting projects on disenfranchised grief, death doulas and death cafes


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


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 & 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 & Bereavement (Clinical Practice)
The participants on this course will be mental health professionals such as counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, social worker bereavement coordinators and others who design and implement clinical bereavement interventions as part of their practice.  

All candidates must possess

Current accreditation/membership through a national body overseeing counselling/psychotherapy/psychology or other relevant clinical practice, and a relevant Level 8 degree (or equivalent as demonstrated through RPL). RPL involves demonstration of formal training in counselling/ psychotherapy; significant professional experience, including client caseload, in loss/bereavement related work; clinical supervision and evidence of personal insight into loss and bereavement. 

For all applicants 

All candidates must fulfil 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 applying for the MSc Loss & Bereavement/MSc Loss & Bereavement (Clinical Practice) for whom English is not their native language may need to arrange a test to confirm proficiency in English with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). 

For more detailed information on requirements, exceptions and test centres, visit RCSI website. 


The programmes are 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 ON LINE. Applications can be accessed and completed on the RCSI website through the following link:

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.


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


For EU students (non EU students, please contact for rates). 

A non-refundable deposit of €1,000 is required on acceptance. 

Year 1 fees: €5,000
Year 2 fees: €5,000

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. 


Classes will be delivered in Irish Hospice Foundation and online. Please see course timetable.

Stay in touch!

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