Course Overview

The primary focus of family support is on early intervention and prevention, aiming to promote and protect the health, well-being and rights of all children, young people and their families, paying particular attention to those who are vulnerable or at risk. The aim of this programme is to further the education and skills of professionals with a common interest in family support.

Established in 2003, this programme is the only one of its kind in Europe with an emphasis on applying a Family Support orientation across a wide range of practice and policy arenas.

Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

  • Dr. Carmel Devaney, BA, MA, Course Director 
  • Dr. John Canavan, Associate Director, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, 
  • Professor Pat Dolan, Director UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre 
  • Dr. Bernadine Brady, BA, MA, PhD 
  • Dr. Brian McGrath, BA, MSc, PhD
  • Professor Caroline McGregor B.S.S., CQSW, Ph.D., PGCHET 

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment of candidates is on a continuous basis, varies from module to module and involves a combination of essays, project work, and written assignments. Central to students’ assessment is their ‘on site’ placement and associated practice and their Year Two research project (minor dissertation).

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Participants will have a third-level qualification or a recognised professional qualification in a field broadly related to family support service delivery. In addition, as the programme is not geared towards individuals coming out of undergraduate programmes, a minimum of three years’ work experience in the health and social services area is required of candidates. As there currently exists a set of practitioners working with children and families who, despite a wealth of skills, have not attained a formal, recognised undergraduate qualification, two places may be offered on the programme at the PDip (Family Support Studies) level.

Additional Requirements


2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2022

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

26 May 2022

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code

1FS2 (MA); 1FS3 (PDip)

Course Outline

This is a two-year part-time programme and students are required to attend college two days every second week over four semesters with the agreement of their employers. There are seven modules in total on the programme; three of these are core modules and are taught in both years.

Year 1 (45 Credits)
Required SP576: Child Protection and Family Support
Required SP577: Community Development and Families
Required SP572: Family Support Theory I
Required SP573: Family Support Practice I
Required SP574: Families and Children in Society and Policy I
Required SP575: Family Support Practice Seminars
Required SP530: Working with Specific Populations

Year 2 (45 Credits)
Required SP579: Family Support Theory II
Required SP580: Family Support Practice II
Required SP581: Families and Children in Society and Policy II
Required SP582: Law and Family Support
Required SP583: Health Promotion and Families
Required SP584: Thesis Research Seminars

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates will have the opportunity to enhance their careers in a wide range of service areas at both practitioner and manager level, working in state and voluntary services on behalf of children and families. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the family support area, the programme is geared towards those working in social work, social care, community work, public health nursing, disability, education, justice, social welfare, early years, gerontology, and other related fields.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€1,912 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Tuition

€1,807 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Student levy

€105 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Non EU

€15,437 p.a. 2021/22

*EU Fees are comprised of Tuition + Student Levy

Student Levy: €105 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI. Further detail here

Find out More

Dr. Carmel Devaney
Course Director, Child and Family Research Centre,
School of Political Science and Sociology,
NUI Galway.
T: +353 91 495 733

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  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021 PDF (11.3MB)