Post Graduate Diploma / Master of Arts in Leadership and Advocacy in the Early Years

Ireland’s early years sector has a dynamic, exciting and challenging future. It needs effective and confident leaders across the fields of practice, policy, advocacy, regulation, education and professional development.

  • Do you have what it takes to be one of those leaders?
  • Do you want to develop your leadership and advocacy skills and capabilities in ways that reflect and build the capacity of the early years sector?
  • Do you want to be part of a community of practice that will influence and lead the early years sector into the future?

If the answer to these questions is yes and you have a 2.2 BA Honours in ECCE or cognate discipline and will have at least two years experience working in the early years sector or a related field completed at the end of the post graduate programme, then the Institute of Technology Sligo has the Level 9 programme that will help you to fulfil these ambitions.

Develop key skills

Through this programme you will develop key skills to help you build your own leadership and advocacy capacity; to shape and influence the key organisations and agencies in the early years sector and to effectively bring about real change.

On completion of this programme you will be able to:

  • document, recognise and reflect on your existing bank of knowledge, skills and experience
  • critically assess and apply central theories of leadership and management from within and outside the sector, in an international context
  • engage in effective professional advocacy communication, networking, use of social media and lobbying
  • understand how contemporary ECCE organisations work, how to effectively engage and change them, and why it can be so challenging to achieve this?
  • compare policy in the Irish early years sector with other leading Early Years comparators internationally, through study, networking and direct experience
  • engage critically in research, with an in-depth knowledge of crucial social issues related to children and, the skills to conduct ethical research of your own.

How it works

The programme is structured around two modules each semester (Semester 1 runs from September to January;

Semester 2 from January to May).You will be engaged in content that will include online lectures (six per module) from lecturers and key leaders and experts in the field; online discussions and activities; access to digital resources; and share your own experiences.

Each semester there will be a residential programme that brings you together with your fellow participants, academic staff and figures in the early years sector. This will allow you to engage in lively debate, extended learning, assessment activities and keynote lectures.

Assessment on the programme will be through a broad variety of student-centred and active techniques.

The professional relationships you develop through this course will provide the basis for the leadership and advocacy networks and communities of practice in the future.

Programme: Postgraduate Diploma/Master of Arts in Leadership and Advocacy for the Early Years

Accredited by: IT Sligo through delegated authority from QQI

Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications

PGDip – 60 ECTS credits: MA – PGDip 30 ECTS credits (ECTS = European Credit Transfer System)

Delivery: Blended, online, with a five-day residential workshop (Mon-Fri) each semester

Duration: 3 semesters (PGDip) 1 further semester (add-on MA)

Cost: €5000 (PGDip) €2500 (add-on MA). May be paid in instalments

Intake: September

Social Sciences N/A Post Graduate Diploma

Entry Requirements

A 2.2 BA Honours in ECCE or cognate discipline and will have at least two years experience working in the early years sector or a related field completed at the end of the post graduate programme. Applicants may be shortlisted and will be interviewed for a place on the programme.

Interviews will be held in Sligo. Further information can be obtained from the joint programme co-ordinators :

Sinead Barrins or Roisin McGlone

Career Opportunities

Early Years Inspectorate, Better Start Mentors, Manager/ Support and Development Staff of City and County Childcare Committees, Management/Leadership roles in Tusla, Management/Policy roles with National Voluntary Organisations such as Early Childhood Ireland, National Childcare Network, Barnardos, Management roles in Family Resource Centres and as managers of both private and community Early Years services.

What are my further study opportunities?

Doctoral studies in Early years, Child and Family.

What subjects will I study?

Programme Fees

Total Fees €5,000 (PGDip) €2,500 (add-on MA).

Per year €2,500 

Per 30 credit module €2,400

Per 10 credit module €800


Who do I contact?

Admissions Office
T: 353 (0) 71 931 8510