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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.

Modules in Year One

Topics                                                                                                Lectures

Introduction to Spirituality                                                                Bernadette Purcell

Spiritual Growth and Human Development                                      Denis Robinson

Introduction to the Old Testament                                                    Seán Goan

Lectio Divina                                                                                      Mary Gao

Exploring Prayer                                                                                Brian Grogan

Dreams and Spiritual Growth                                                            Paddy Greene

Creative Personal Integration                                                            Eileen O’Brien

Christ and Culture                                                                             Joe Egan

Windows on Social Spirituality                                                          Peter MecVerry

What’s Love got to do with it?                                                          Denis Robinson

Towards a Spirituality of Suffering                                                    Seán Goan

Saturday Workshops   (10am – 4pm)

Spirit Moves Through Movies                                                                Conall O’Cuinn

Cosmology, Ecology and Being Human                                                 Niamh Brennan

Dancing in Divine Rhythm                                                                      Bernadette Purcell

End of Year Integration                                                                           Mary Gao

Modules in Year Two 

          Topics                                                                                        Lecturers

The Spirituality of Forgiveness                                                            Denis Robinson

Soul Searching                                                                                     Marie Keegan

Emotional, Relational, and Spiritual Intelligence                                  TBA

Reading the Old Testament                                                                  Seán Goan

Art and Spirituality                                                                               Brian Dooney

Christian Wisdom Tradition                                                                  Mary Gao

The Art of Discernment                                                                         Eileen O’ Brien

Biblical Arts and Spirituality                                                                  Amanda Dillon

Christ at the Centre of Scripture                                                           Seán Goan

Heart Talking to Heart: The Mystics                                                      Denis Robinson

 Saturday Workshops   (10am – 4pm)    

Celtic Spirituality                                                                                Michael Rodgers

Exploring our Images of God                                                            Eileen O'Brien 

Intergenerational Healing                                                                   Jim Cogley

End of Year Integration                                                                        Mary Gao

While this list of modules is correct at the time of printing changes may occur.

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. The group trip to Glendalough is included in the tuition fee. 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: mary.gao@mie.ie  

Or Admissions Office

Tel:   01 805 7752

Email:    admissions@mie.ie