MA in Applied Spirituality

For information on the schedule and modules for the MA in 2022-23 click on

For additional information about the MA, email Noelia at nmolina@wit.ie
MA in Applied Spirituality
This MA is unique in its blend of theory, skills, personal process, and research modules, and has been described as “life-transforming”, “life-enhancing”, and “world-leading”. It is also presented in the context of its participants being a community of co-learners.
As well as the class-contact time for the delivery of modules, there are also 10 meetings with a spiritual director spread throughout the year and arranged between you and your spiritual director (we have a list of recognised spiritual accompaniers and will assist you in choosing one) and several meeting in triads (groups of 3) for the purpose of personal and theoretical integration regarding the programme.
Time also needs to be set aside for a series of meetings with your research supervisor once you start work on your research dissertation in January and for the likelihood of interviewing a small sample of people to gather data from lived experience for the dissertation. While the classes finish in May, assignments continue until the beginning of August.
Unique Aspects of the Programme
The teaching and learning associated with the programme have four unique aspects:
  • Participants learn about spirituality as a new higher education discipline, which is also playing an increasingly important role in diverse professions, and every field of study.
  • Personal Skills and Personal Practice are integrated with theoretical foundations
  • Programme Participants are guided and supported in the critical self-appropriation of their own spiritual journey
  • Research is integrated into the programme methodology and is informed by the methods of contemplative inquiry
Titles of Dissertations
Titles of some research dissertations by graduates as part of their MA studies are available under the Research tab on the website. We have also assembled publications by graduates since the programme began in Milltown Institute in 2001. We would ask graduates who have published to check if we are aware of your publications.
Noelia Molina, Programme Leader
In August 2021 Dr Noelia Molina succeeded Dr Michael O’Sullivan as the Programme Leader of the Waterford Institute of Technology MA in Applied Spirituality, which is hosted and supported by SpIRE in Dublin. She is a psychotherapist, lecturer and researcher. Her primary background was in Biomedical Sciences and Molecular Pathology. She worked for 17 years as a Medical Scientist (accredited by The Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine in Dublin) in various laboratory disciplines in Dublin. Having worked in private practice as an accredited psychotherapist (NAPCP) for 13 years, she has specialised in maternal mental health and had run therapeutic maternal groups.
She has been engaged in spirituality studies for more than a decade now. Having studied for an Adult Diploma and a Higher Diploma in Spirituality at the Milltown Institute, she went on to complete a PhD in Spirituality at All Hallows College, Dublin City University, where she investigated the transition to motherhood as spiritual process. Her book based on her dissertation has been published by Routledge. At All Hallows College (Dublin City University) she delivered MA modules in Contemplative Psychology and Spiritual Autobiography. In the WIT MA in Applied Spirituality, which is hosted and supported by SpIRE in Dublin, she teaches Spiritual autobiography, Awareness, attentiveness, and presence skills, Spiritual accompaniment literature, Research modules and also supervises MA dissertations. She has wide experience giving workshops in spirituality and researching spiritual and religious issues in Ireland.
History of the MA
The Waterford Institute of Technology MA in Applied Spirituality takes place in Milltown Park, Milltown Road, Dublin D06 W9Y7, where it is hosted and supported by SpIRE. It became a WIT programme in 2016, which was the first time in Ireland for an Institute of Technology to run and accredit a postgraduate programme in applied spirituality.
The Director of SpIRE, Dr Michael O’Sullivan, SJ, was also the Programme Leader for the WIT MA from 2016-2021, and was the Programme Director for the MA from 2005 when it ran at other third level institutions. He and the Chair of SpIRE, Prof. Bernadette Flanagan, did a great deal of the work to write and develop the original programme when it ran at Milltown Institute from 2001-10. Bernadette was the Head of the Dept of Spirituality and the first Director of the programme at Milltown Institute. She, and Michael, who became Director of the MA in 2005, wrote the adapted programme when it moved to All Hallows College as a DCU award in 2010 following the decision to close the Milltown Institute. The programme then went through the customary process of institutional approval before it could proceed as a WIT programme and award in 2016, following the decision to close All Hallows College. Michael did a great deal of the writing for the WIT approved programme drawing on the version of the programme that ran at All Hallows College/DCU.
The programme has the benefit of an internationally leading library in the field of spirituality studies, namely the SpIRE Library, which is supported by the Irish Jesuits. It is also served by a very experienced and distinguished team of lecturers, research supervisors, and spiritual accompaniers.
Annual Class Photos and Testimonies 2016-21
The photos below show 1) the inaugural, and therefore historic, class of 2016-17 on the day of their graduation, 1 November 2017 (3 of the 20 graduates were unable to attend); 2) those from the class of 18 in 2017-18 who were able to attend graduation on 1 Nov 2018; 3) those able to attend graduation from the class of 2018-19 who came from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Canada, the UK, a Maltese working in South Sudan, a South African-Irish citizen working in Ireland, and an Irish citizen resident in the UK. The Irish students working in Ireland came from Dingle to Donegal.
There was no class graduation ceremony in 2020 for the fourth cohort of graduates because of the Covid-19 virus. The photo below shows the 2019-20 Class with the programme leadership team (Bernadette, Michael – Programme Leader, and Noelia) at the start of classes that year.
The MA in 2020-21 took place against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme ran in-person up to Christmas and again in May. In between, because of the surge in infections over the Christmas period, the programme went online. The class was also a little smaller than usual because of the ongoing impact of COVID-19. The photo below shows the class of 2020-21 on the last day of classes along with the programme leadership team of Noelia, Michael (Programme Leader), and Bernadette.
Historic Conferring of inaugural class on 1 Nov 2017 / MA in Applied Spirituality 2016-17
A few testimonies regarding the MA in Applied Spirituality in its form as a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) award at the Jesuit Conference Centre, Milltown Park, Dublin in 2016-17
Testimonies about the inaugural graduation day on 1 Nov 2017
Below: 12 of the 18 graduates of the MA in Applied Spirituality 2017-18 on 1 Nov 2018 with the Programme Leadership Team, Noelia, Michael (Programme Leader), and Bernadette
A few testimonies about the MA in Applied Spirituality in its form as a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) award, hosted and supported by SpIRE, at the Jesuit Conference Centre, Milltown Park, Dublin in 2017-18
Below are 9 of the 2018-19 MA in Applied Spirituality class who were able to take part in their conferring ceremony on Oct 30th pictured with the programme leadership team, Bernadette, Michael (Programme Leader), and Noelia.
Some testimonies about the 2018-19 MA in Applied Spirituality in its form as a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) award. The MA is hosted and supported by SpIRE at the Jesuit Centre, Milltown Park, Dublin, Ireland.
There was no class graduation ceremony in 2020 because of the Covid-19 virus. The photo below shows the 2019-20 Class with the programme leadership team (Bernadette, Michael – Programme Leader, and Noelia) at the start of classes that year.
Some testimonies about the 2019-20 MA in Applied Spirituality as a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) award. The MA is hosted and supported by SpIRE at the Jesuit Centre, Milltown Park, Dublin, Ireland.
“I have expanded both mind and spirit and know this experience will forever give deeper meaning to my life. I will continue to think of you all in prayer and with great gratitude”.
The photo below shows the class of 2020-21 on the last day of classes along with the programme leadership team of Noelia, Michael (Programme Leader), and Bernadette.
Some testimonies about the 2020-21 MA in Applied Spirituality as a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) award. The MA is hosted and supported by SpIRE at Milltown Park, Dublin, Ireland.
The 2021-22 class with the programme leadership team, Noelia – Programme Leader, Michael, and Bernadette.