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Ireland´s Public Service Development Agency

Diploma in Local Government Studies

The Diploma in Local Government Studies provides a more in-depth and analytical treatment of the main local authority services. It is also designed to amplify and build on the foundation coverage of legislation provided by the Certificate in Local Government Studies.  Both programmes are intended to be an important step in the career development path of local authority staff and to provide material of relevance to enhance the competence of individuals in their career path.


This Diploma is ideally suited to:

  • Staff of all disciplines who have successfully completed the Certificate in Local Government Studies (accredited by the NUI)
  • Graduates of the IPA Certificate in Local Government Studies
  • Graduates of the IPA Higher Certificate in Local Government Studies

Delivery and Duration

This one year programme will commence in September and ends with examinations in April. It will require student participation through attendance at four x one day intensive tutorials one x one day compulsory seminar. Students will receive a learning pack comprising a specially developed distance learning text and associated reading lists

The tutorials are designed to support students and to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the course text. The course material is updated annually and incorporates all key aspects of local government legislation and practice.

Tutorials are delivered by experienced practitioners on a regional basis where demand warrants this. Regional venues around the country are selected to suit the range of participants.


  Cork* Dublin* Ennis*
Registration 17 September 2013 26 September 2013 27 September 2013
Tutorial 1 1 October 2013 1 October 2013 1 October 2013
Tutorial 2 5 November 2013 4 November 2014 4 November 2013
Compulsory Tutorial 24 January 2014 24 January 2014 24 January 2014
Tutorial 3 4 February 2014 7 February 2014 4 February 2014
Tutorial 4 4 March 2014 7 March 2014 4 March 2014
Examination To be confirmed To be confirmed To be confirmed

*Dates may be subject to change.

** Please note regions are indicative only and are subject to minimum participant numbers.

Programme Content

This Certificate is covers the following topics:

Module One

  • The Housing Function
  • Local Government Reform

Module Two

  • Water Services
  • Environmental Services

Module Three

  • The Roads Function
  • Local Government Finance

Module Four

  • Human Resources
  • Planning and Development

There will also be a compulsory one-day seminar which will be concerned with developing the themes of inter-functional and authority wide issues. It will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss new/topical areas of direct interest to their jobs. Topics covered include Comparative Local Government; EU and Local Government; Local Government and economic, social and cultural development.


The IPA is a recognised college of University College Dublin (UCD). From 2011, any student entering an accredited IPA Programme will graduate with a UCD award. The IPA and UCD are part of the wider National University of Ireland (NUI) network. The Diploma in Local Government Studies is at Level 6 (Special Purpose Award) on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).


Participants who successfully complete the Diploma programme may advance to year 3 of the Local Government stream of the IPA’s Bachelor of Arts degree, on condition that they complete a bridging course. The bridging course is delivered during the summer months via three two-day weekend seminars. The subjects that are assessed in the bridging course are: Irish Government and Politics; Micro and Macro Economics; and Organisation and Management.  BA graduates may continue their studies through the Institute’s MA in Local Government Management.


Assessment is continuous throughout the programme and consists of four project assignments and review through examination.

Fee, Enrolment Procedures and Admissions

The IPA's undergraduate brochure provides all this information and can be downloaded from this page.

Read the Brochure

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57-61 Lansdowne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 | Tel: +353 1 240 3600 | Fax: +353 1 668 9135 | Registration no: 21087