Postgraduate Diploma / Master in Social Care and Social Justice (Online)

  • NFQ Level 9
  • Credits 90*
  • Course Code SG_WSOCI_O09/M09
  • Award Masters (Taught)
  • Duration 2

Course Summary

This programme offers students the opportunity to critically analyse social care and social justice and explore its applications to a range of service and user groups to enhance their capacity to act as a force for progressive social change. 

Through this course students are required to reflectively interrogate their own identities and positioning, developing practical skills for advocacy, lobbying and activism allowing them to lead and initiate change within a given area.  Students will be provided with the skills to facilitate representation at the personal, organisational and political levels of society; promote the concept of relationality in all aspects of social care to promote social inclusion, social justice and equality; practice the values of recognition and respect in all social care domains and in society generally; critique redistributive and social justice; critically redress unequal relations; develop the capacity to access care for oneself and undertake care for others.


Postgraduate Diploma 18 months (3 semesters) and Masters 2 years (4 semesters)

Accredited by: ATU 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 Online residentials/ workshops each semester

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

Intake: September

Delivery Method

Part-time blended online and with possible on-campus learning.  Students also avail of online residentials during the semester in addition to a weekly online lecture.


Key Course Information

This exciting, interesting and thought provoking programme gives you the opportunity to examine the fields of social care and social justice as a collaborative and complementary subject area.

We would encourage international applications to avail of this online programme.

As an online learning programme, it provides a flexibility that is not always possible within Masters awards.

Attendance requirements – 18 hours online and 18 hours online workshop learning per subject. Students will begin the course with an induction into the university followed by weekly online lectures.

Each module will involve 18 hours online classes and 18 hours online workshops/ online residentials per subject during each semester.

Study Hours: It is very important that you allocate enough study time to your online course to stay focused, reduce stress and achieve your goals. It is very important that you allocate enough study time to your online course to stay focused, reduce stress and achieve your goals. For part-time online programmes, required hours will be reflective of your experience and will require additional focus around exam time.

Live Lectures: For the Postgraduate Diploma / Master in Social Care and Social Justice (Online) it typically involves 2 x 10 credit modules per semester. Our online courses have about 3 hours of live lectures per week (but this can vary per programme) which normally take place between 6pm and 10pm, Monday to Thursday but this may vary depending on the availability of specific lecturers. If the Live Classroom scheduled times for the live online lectures do not suit you, recordings will be made available through Moodle.The rest of your study time consists of independent learning, communicating with your lecturers and classmates and carrying out assignments. 

Note: The MA in Social Care and Social Justice is an academic programme, not a vocational/training programme, and graduation from this course does not entitle a person to register for CORU.


For Examinations, students may have to attend at the ATU campus through which they completed their studies. For some programmes it may be possible for the Exam to be taken remotely via online proctoring. ATU Students resident in the Republic of Ireland will be invited to attend exams at an exam centre located in Ireland. Students’ resident outside of Ireland or with exceptional circumstances may be eligible to attend remotely via online proctoring, where examinations are taken online and supervised virtually, subject to availability.

Reading list 

Introduction to Social Justice Theory

  • Katrina Forrester, (2019) In the Shadow of Justice, Princeton University Press.
  • Moyn, S (2018) Not Enough. Human Rights in an Unequal World, Harvard University Press

 Research Methods

  • Tom Clark (2021) Bryman's Social Research Methods OUP Oxford
  • Joe Barton (2022) Emancipatory and Participatory Research for Emerging Educational Researchers¸ ‎ Routledge
  •  Linda Tuhiwai Smith (2021) Decolonizing Methodologies, Bloomsbury Publishing

 Social Transformation

  • Cass Sunstein (2019) How Change Happens, MIT Press
  • Valerie Solanas (2016) SCUM Manifesto, Verso Books
  • Max Elbaum (2018) Revolution in the Air Verso Books

 Human Rights & Social Policy

  • Gráinne de Búrca (2021) Reframing Human Rights in a Turbulent Era, OUP Oxford
  • Kathryn Sikkink, 2020 The Hidden Face of Rights: Embracing and Practising Responsibilities, Yale University Press
  • William Kingston (2021) Interrogating Irish Policies, Peter Lang UK
  • Joe Whelan (2022) Hidden Voices: Lived Experiences in the Irish Welfare Space, Policy Press

 Social Inclusion and Diversity

  • Patrick Hayden (Ed) (2016) Recognition and Global Politics¸ Bloomsbury Academic
  • Adams, J., Owens, A., (2017). Creativity and Democracy in Education. Routledge.
  • Mendes, M., Magano, O., Toma, S., (2021). Social and Economic Vulnerability of Roma People. Springer

 Social Locations: An intersectional approach

  • Sara Ahmed (2017) Living a Feminist Life, ‎ Duke University Press
  • Rosaleen McDonagh (2021) Unsettled, Skein Press

 Care & Social Justice

  • Lynch, K. (2022) Care and Capitalism, Cambridge Polity Press
  • Bunting, M. (2021) Labours of Love A Crisis of Care, ‎ Granta Publications 

Management & Leadership

  • Field, R. & Brown, K.(2019) Effective Leadership, Management and Supervision in Health and Social Care 3rd ed, Learning Matters
  • Ward, A. (2014) Leadership in Residential Child Care: A relationship-based approach. Smokehouse Press

Application Closing Date : 16th August 2024

Entry Requirements

All applicants will be considered through a selection process.

English Proficiency:

As all lectures, tutorials and practical work are delivered through English, it is vitally important all students (who are not English native speakers) have the required standard on entry to ensure they gain maximum value from their time at ATU Sligo. The required minimum proficiency score in English required for entry to ATU Sligo to an MA Programme is IELTS 6.0 or equivalent. Further information on English proficiency requirements can be found here. Where this is relevant to an applicant’s submissions Certified Evidence must be submitted during the application process

Key requirements at a minimum include:

  • 2.2 Honours Degree in Social Care or a cognate discipline


  • Two years of professional practice experience in a relevant field.
  • Students who do not meet the above criteria can apply to be considered through the process of RPL/RPE.


  • An entry selection process will include entry requirements above, and submission of a sample of written work.
  • Students will first commence on the Postgraduate (PG) Diploma in Social Care and Social Justice, if successful they can transfer to the MA programme
  • Students are required to obtain a 50% average across the Postgraduate (PG) Diploma in Social Care and Social Justice to transfer to the MA programme.
  • Please include in your application a brief essay of 500 words on "The value of social justice in the social care professions”. The written submission should be typed on white A4 paper using 1.5-inch spacing, with Times New Roman Font, size 12. Please use an MS Word document, not a PDF

Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities

This programme provides graduates with expert knowledge in the social care and social justice fields and therefore graduates are expected to progress up their personal career ladders in areas such as policy, research, management and leadership within specific organisations.

Students who have completed this programme have gone on to work in, for example:

• Homeless services

• Acquired Brain Injury support services

• Disability services

• Home School Liaison

• Community activists

• Prison services

• Traveller Organisations

• Speech therapy

• Social Work

• Drama

• Teaching

• Social Care professionals

• Access Officers in Third level organisations

• Community Development

• Health Professions

• Retail

• Early Years Education

Further Study

Doctoral Studies in Social Care or Social Justice Discipline, Research, Policy, can be explored. Other opportunities exist, depending on your personal goals.

Did you know?

The Department of Social Sciences was shortlisted for the National 2019 Education Awards in the category of the Best College of Arts & Social Science



Sligo Chamber Skillnet may be able to partially fund  programme fees for you or your employees  - for further details please contact

Programme Fees

Academic Year 2024/25 Fees (Postgraduate Diploma)
Total Programme Fee: €4,800

Academic Year 2024/25 Fees (Masters)
Total Programme Fee: €7,200

To help make the payment of fees more manageable for students who are self-funding their studies, tuition fees can be paid through payment instalment plans at ATU Sligo. For further information on instalment plans, please visit our Fees and Funding webpage. 

If you apply and are approved for an online course at ATU Sligo, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of €250 to secure your place. Your deposit will then be credited against the course fees once you are registered as a student. Students at ATU Sligo are also eligible to claim tax relief at the standard rate for tuition fees.

For further information and guidance about Fees and Funding for online and part-time courses at ATU Sligo, click here.

If you are seeking to take your exams online, and you meet the eligibility criteria (overseas students and those with extenuating circumstances), an additional examinations fee will apply. For further information, please visit our Examinations webpage

Potential Funding Opportunity

Sligo Chamber Skillnet may be able to partially fund  programme fees for you or your employees - for further details please contact