Course Details

Course Code(s):
Course Start Date:
18 months
Professional Diploma
NFQ Level 9 Major Award
Faculty: Education and Health Sciences
Course Type: Taught, Professional/Flexible
Fees: For Information on Fees, see section below.


Name: PDSL

Apply Now

Read instructions on how to apply

Express Interest

Register your interest here for more information or to be notified when applications are open.

Brief Description

Prepare to lead

The Postgraduate Diploma in School Leadership (PDSL) / Dioplóma Gairmiúil i gCeannaireacht Scoile (DGCS) is designed to prepare aspiring leaders with the knowledge, skills, confidence and qualifications for senior school leadership positions.

Progress your career

This programme addresses the areas of leadership capacity published by the Department of Education and Skills in Looking at our School (2016)

Learn from experienced educational leaders

Delivered by leading lecturers in Irish education as well as tutors with extensive experience in educational leadership

Robust mix of academic & practical learning

In addition to learning about the theory and practice of leadership, participants will also experience two situated learning opportunities (leadership visits) over the duration of the programme. Participants will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding and apply the knowledge and skills acquired through situated learning experiences that provide opportunities to observe leadership in action

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

John F. Kennedy, former President, USA

Delivery partners

The programme is a collaboration between the Schools of Education at UG, UCD and UL - it is supported by Graduate and Professional Studies at UL and is taught by key academic team leaders and researchers.

The programme is jointly awarded by the University of Limerick, University of Galway and University College Dublin.

The Postgraduate Diploma in School Leadership is a part-time, blended learning programme consisting of six taught modules delivered in 12-week semester-long blocks during the academic year. Students attend an induction day in University of Limerick before commencement in year 1.

Download full programme details

Download full programme details as Gaeilge

Course delivery

Flexible and progressive

Blended learning model

Online, asynchronous content - released once a week during each semester. Participants are expected to engage with this material in preparation for the face-to-face tutorial/ workshops (see below). This online material will typically involve readings, watching short videos, engaging with podcasts and other media on that week’s theme.


Linked to each module's lectures, and in keeping with our blended delivery model there will be 12 tutorials, approximately 60% face-to-face sessions and 40% online.

Sraith Gaeilge will differ and will be delivered predominantly online.

Sraith Ghaeilge an Chúrsa

Beidh sraith ar leith sa chlár do cheannairí uaillmhianacha i scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge an Dioplóma Gairmiúil i gCeannaireacht Scoile (DGCS). I ndearadh agus i dteagasc na sraithe seo, beidh sé tábhachtach go mbeidh tuiscint dhomhain ag mic léinn ar na heochairchoincheapa agus saincheisteanna i litríocht na ceannaireachta agus go mbeidh ar a gcumas iad a chur i bhfeidhm i gcomhthéacs an oideachais trí Ghaeilge. Ceann de príomhaidhmeanna na sraithe Gaeilge ná éascú agus saibhriú a dhéanamh ar phlé na ceannaireachta ionas go ndéanfaidh rannpháirtithe an plé agus cumarsáid trí Ghaeilge sna ranganna teagaisc le feidhm a bhaint as a gcuid taithí sa chómhthéacs lán-Ghaeilge.
Cliceáil anseo chun na sonraí ar fad trí Ghaeilge a íoslódail

All modules and course activities will be scheduled during out-of-school hours i.e. evenings & weekends.

National programme

A partnership of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) has been established to deliver this course, achieved by having distributed centres for the delivery of teaching and tutorial support nationally. All applications must be made directly to the University of Limerick.

Designated centres are located nationally.

Our 2024 centres:

  • Sraith Ghaeilge Online
  • Athlone Education Support Centre
  • Cork Education Support Centre
  • Dublin North (TU Dublin Blanchardstown)
  • Dublin South (Blackrock Education Centre)
  • Laois Education Support Centre
  • Tralee Education Support Centre
  • University of Galway (Programme Partner)
  • University College Dublin (Programme Partner)
  • Limerick Education Support Centre
  • Monaghan Education Centre
  • Online (restrictions apply)

Students will be asked to specify their 1st & 2nd preference centres when applying. ** Specific criteria apply to the online centre. These include the applicant's school must be at least 80 mins (one way) travel time by car

Expert lecturers and tutors

Our lecturers and practitioners are experienced professionals and experts, with a robust mix of both professional and academic backgrounds. Students are exposed to the latest and most relevant lessons and course content.

The Postgraduate Diploma in School Leadership lecturers are supported by a team of practising educational leaders from the primary and post-primary sector

Patricia Mannix McNamara
Course Director, Associate Professor of Education and Head of Education, University of Limerick

Gerry Mac Ruairc
Professor of Education and Head of the School of Education, University of Galway

Paul Conway
Professor of Teacher Education in the School of Education, University of Limerick

Mary Fleming
Senior Lecturer in Education and recent Head of the School of Education University of Galway.

John O'Sullivan
Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership, School of Education, UCD

Semester 1: September - December

  •  Induction - University of Limerick
  •  Leading Learning and Teaching in the Irish context
  •  Professional Growth and Development
  •  Leading International Expert in Leadership Webinar

Semester 2: January - May

  •  Leading School Development
  •  Mentoring and Coaching
  •  Situated Learning - School Based
  •  Leading International Expert in Mentoring/Coaching Webinar

Semester 3: September - December

  •  Managing the Organisation
  •  Developing Leadership Capacity
  •  Situated Learning - Organisation
  •  Leading International Expert in School Development/Leadership Culture Webinar

Participants are expected to devote time each week for engaging with module content and class interaction as well as independent study.

Qualifications and experience

Applicants for this programme must meet the following eligibility criteria and provide all required information by the application deadline outlined in the FAQ.

Academic entry requirement

NFQ 8 (Hons) and Teacher Education Qualification.

Registration status

This course is open to all qualified teachers who hold a recognised post in a recognised primary or post primary school, and who are fully registered with the Teaching Council under the appropriate Teaching Council Registration Regulation i.e. Regulation 2 or 4 of the Teaching Council (Registration) regulations 2009 up to 25th July 2016 or Route 1 or 2 of the Teaching Council (Registration) Regulations 2016 and The Teaching Council (Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 thereafter.

Position and experience

Applicants must have a minimum of five years post-qualification experience as a practising teacher. and must have a teaching position in a primary or post-primary school recognised and funded by the Department of Education and Skills.


Evidence in writing from the principal of the participant’s school confirming that the teacher (at the time of application) holds a teaching position in the school and is not on secondment.

This course is open to approximately 300 participants.

Ready to apply?

Upload documents and academic information

Gather the required documents listed below and complete the GPS application form using the button below. You will have an opportunity to return to your GPS application and submit any outstanding documents if they become available later. Applications without all required information and documentation will not be eligible for entry to the programme.

 Documents to include:

  • Evidence in writing from the principal of the participant’s school confirming the school is in receipt of Department funding, that the teacher (at the time of application) holds a teaching position in the school and is not on secondment; Please note if you are a teacher you only need your Principal to sign the form.  If you are the Principal you need the Chairperson of the school to sign the letter.

    Download the declaration letter.

  • Certificate of your Teaching Council Registration 
  • Results for examinations mentioned on your application form and/or confirmation of the award. Graduates of UL need only provide us with their UL Student ID number.
  • Certified translations of your award and transcripts, if they are not in English.
  • A copy of passport for verification of photo and full legal name.

Additional information request

Once your application has been received and verified by the Graduate and Professional Studies Department you will emailed a link to provide us with some additional information. This will allow you to identify your preferred regional centre(s) and confirm your acceptance of the programme's terms and conditions. Please be aware due to the volume of applications we receive for the programme it may take a week or more for your personalised link to be sent to the email address you provided in your GPS Application.

Once we have reviewed your application, we will be in touch.

The course is part funded by the Department of Education and Skills

Each participant pays €2,000 towards the overall cost of the course and the remainder of the programme fees cost per participant is funded by the DES/CSL. Successful applicants who are offered a place are required to pay an acceptance fee of €250 to secure their place. This will be deducted from the €2000 student fee.

Where a teacher is accepted as a participant on a course on the basis of the above eligibility criteria and it subsequently becomes apparent that the teacher was not in fact eligible for participation, the teacher will be allowed to remain on the course on condition that they pay the balance of the course fees to the university.

When a participant withdraws from the course after the first two months, they will forego their fees and will not be eligible for future participation, except in exceptional circumstances.

Please click here for information on funding and scholarships.