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Adult Education Certificate in Spirituality and Human Development

The Adult Education Certificate in Spirituality and Human Development is a two-year part-time evening programme run by Marino Institute of Education. The programme takes place on Tuesday evenings from 7.00–9.30pm with a 30 minute tea/coffee break, and there are three or four Saturday Workshops each year from 10.00am-4.00pm. Students are introduced to thirteen modules each year which deal with key issues in human and spiritual development. Teaching involves a combination of input from experienced lecturers and integration of course material is facilitated by short reflection papers and group discussion. Participants can also join the programme on a one-year basis if they cannot commit themselves to two years. Those who complete the two years will be awarded an Adult Education Certificate in Spirituality and Human Development.  


A module is a short course of four or five hours. Two modules are covered each evening from 7.00 - 9.30pm. Saturday workshops run from 10am - 4pm.

Please note this list of modules may be subject to change.

Tuesday Modules in Year One

Introduction to SpiritualityBernadette Purcell
Spiritual Growth and Human DevelopmentDenis Robinson
Introduction to the Old TestamentClaire Carroll
Lectio Divina Mary Gao
The Our Father as a Way into Exploring PrayerSeán Goan
Dreams and Spiritual GrowthPaddy Greene
Creative Personal IntegrationEileen O’Brien
Christ and CultureJoe Egan
Windows on Social SpiritualityPeter MecVerry
What’s Love got to do with it?Denis Robinson
Towards a Spirituality of SufferingClaire Carroll

Tuesday Modules in Year Two

The Spirituality of ForgivenessDenis Robinson
Soul Searching Sally Hyland
Who do they Say that I am?Seán Goan
Reading the Old TestamentClaire Carroll
Art and Spirituality Brian Dooney
Christian Contemplative TraditionMary Gao
The Art of DiscernmentEileen O’ Brien
Biblical Arts and SpiritualityAmanda Dillon
Christ at the Centre of Scripture Claire Carroll
Heart Talking to Heart: The MysticsDenis Robinson

Saturday Workshops Year One and Year Two

Spirit Moves Through Movies Conall O’Cuinn
Cosmology, Ecology and Being HumanNiamh Brennan
Dancing in Divine RhythmBernadette Purcell
Celtic SpiritualityDavid Halpin
Exploring our Images of GodEileen O'Brien 
Intergenerational Healing Jim Cogley
End of Year IntegrationMary Gao

Who is the Programme For?

  • Are you looking for food for the mind and oxygen for the soul?
  • Do you want to gain insight into self, human development and lived spirituality?
  • Are you searching for the meaning and purpose of your life?
  • Do you want to understand the meaning of love?
  • Do you desire to nurture a sense of wonder and appreciation for everyday lived experience?
  • Do you want to learn from something old and something new?
  • Do you want to engage in the stimulation and camaraderie of a group on a similar quest?

If one of these is a question for you, then this is the programme for you.

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The Programme Aims to:  

  • Provide students with a broad overview of some key contemporary human and spiritual issues.
  • Develop skills of reflection and discernment around lived experience.
  • Explore the Christian tradition and its application to contemporary life.    
  • Provide a forum for discussion and debate in a class group setting.

Programme Requirements

The main course requirements are attendance, participation, and reflection.  Integration of the course material is facilitated by group discussion and reflection.  Enrichment occurs from interacting and sharing with the lecturers and members of the group. One of the most appealing aspects of the programme is the opportunity for mutual growth and development through informal sharing and discussion. 

Criteria for the Award of Adult Education Certificate in Spirituality and Human Development 

Attendance: A minimum of 70% attendance in each year is required.

Written Work: Seven short self-reflective scripts should be submitted each year. These papers are meant to help students reflect on class material and facilitate their personal growth. There are no exams. 

Applications: Application to the programme is open to anyone regardless of formal educational background.  Applicants will be invited to an informal interview to discuss the programme and  their expectations.   Applications should be submitted to Dr. Mary Gao, Programme Coordinator.  Early application is advisable, however late applications considered. Registration and Induction will take place in the end of September. 

Cost: Fee per year: €750 (approx. €10 per hour).  Fees are payable in two installments: in October and January. Tea / Coffee and biscuits will be available free of charge between classes each Tuesday evening and Saturday workshop.  

Public Transport and Parking:  Marino Institute of Education is a vibrant place with several beautiful gardens, a coffee shop, and a restaurant. It can be accessed by car or bus.  The 123 bus, from outside Dublin Bus in O'Connell Street, stops outside the front gates.  There are free parking facilities and a bicycle shed on the grounds.

Students' Comments:

"I would highly recommend this most eye-opening, challenging and positive course."

"A portal of knowledge, inspiration, anticipation and joy has been opened, and in its opening, been gifted to me."

I really loved the two years. The course has changed my life in so many ways. I now stop, look and listen and ponder-on day to day issues within my life."

I am left with a profound gratitude for the learning, for the widening and expansion in my thinking about spirituality in the Christian tradition, for access to the unknowable, to mystery, and the pathways of mystics, poets and artists."

"Enlightening… brilliant… enriching… life changing."


Mary Gao  

Dr. Mary Gao
Programme Coordinator
Adult Education Certificate in Spirituality and Human Development
Marino Institute of Education
Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9
Tel:    087 450 8549
Email: [email protected]  


Admissions Office
Tel:   01 805 7742
Email: [email protected]