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Fr Peter McVerry Launches New NUI Galway Undergraduate Degree Programmes

June 19, 2017, 13:00

 Fr Peter McVerry, a social justice activist and long-term advocate of young people and families who are homeless, has launched two new degree programmes – one full-time and one part-time under the academic stewardship of the School of Political Science and Sociology and supported by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway.

Formerly known as the BA in Youth and Family Studies, the BA in Child, Youth and Family: Policy and Practice is a significantly enhanced programme delivered full-time over four years and offering a supervised and challenging eight-month work placement in year three.

Dr Cormac Forkan, Programme Director, at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This course is for students who know that their career lies either in practice with children, youth and families or in implementing and shaping public policy.”

The BA in Community, Youth and Family Studies, a sister programme of the first, is designed to enable participants to further develop and enhance their understanding, knowledge and skills relevant to Community, Youth and Family work, in terms of both practice and policy. As a part-time programme, using blended learning methods of delivery, this programme is innovative in its approach promoting active learning in the workplace (paid and unpaid) with assessments based on real life situations in a practice environment.

This collaboration between the School of Political Science and Sociology and the Centre for Adult learning and Professional Development will also allow students to move between full-time and part-time programmes where necessary, as well as ensuring a comprehensive range of choices are available for prospective students interested in working in the child, youth, family or community sectors.

Speaking at the launch, Fr Peter McVerry, said: “Children, youth and family are the basis of society but we tend to think that they can function without any learning or supports or help and that the family can look after itself. I think it is hugely important that we invest in supporting families, in supporting children that are struggling. It is vital for the full well-being of society, so programmes like this are essential.”

Fr McVerry continued: “As both of these two new programmes are run in association with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, it brings a professionalism. To have the learning that is provided here to people who are going out to work on the ground with children, young people and families is hugely beneficial. If we want to build a society that is safe, and secure and at peace and in solidarity with each other, we really have to invest in working with families and young people in a very professional way.”

The programmes were launched at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre’s 8th Biennial Family Support Conference entitled ‘Rediscovering empathy; values, relationships and practice in a changing world’ . The focus of this conference was on the concepts of empathy and relationship based working as they relate to policy and practice with children, youth and families.

For further information on the BA in Child, Youth and Family: Policy and Practice, visit: and for the BA in Community, Youth and Family Studies, visit:


For more information about the programmes contact the Academic Director, Dr Cormac Forkan, NUI Galway on or on 091 493653.

For Press contact Gwen O’Sullivan, Acting Press & Information Executive, NUI Galway at 091 495695 or email  

Photo 90617 49: Fr Peter McVerry with Programme Director’s Deirdre Hardiman (left) and Helen Casey (right) from the BA in Community, Youth and Family Studies along with Dr Cormac Forkan, Programme Director for the BA in Child, Youth and Family: Policy and Practice at NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon

Photo 90617 47: Fr Peter McVerry with Caroline McGregor, Professor of Social Work (right), Dr Carmel Devaney, Programme Director, MA in Family Support Studies and Professor Pat Dolan, Director, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon


About NUI Galway

The University was established in the heart of Galway City, on the west coast of Ireland, in 1845. Since then it has advanced knowledge teaching and learning, through research and innovation, and community engagement.

Over 18,000 students study at NUI Galway, where 2,600 staff provide the very best in research-led education.

NUI Galway’s teaching and research is recognised through its consistent rise in international rankings. The University is placed in the Top 250 of both the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2016/2017 and the QS World University Rankings 2016/17.

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*The University's official title is National University of Ireland Galway. Please note that the only official abbreviation is NUI Galway.


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