Taught course

Community Youth Work

Ulster University · School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a degree or equivalent or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning. Specific requirements for admission are detailed below. The University is keen to recruit candidates to this programme who may not meet specific academic qualifications but whose experience in the field may be relevant to the programme. All applicants to the part-time programme should be in the field at least 2 years and should meet the following conditions as regards their community youth work practice - be in paid employment for at least 16 hours per week for an employer within the Community Youth Work field; the nature of their work should include a range of roles and functions normally associated with professional youth work; - Have secured, prior to entry to the programme, support from their employers to be released to undertake the programme. This permission should include release for the ex-agency placement. Applicants will undergo a formal interview. The criteria for interview is as follows: Experience. Context of current employment. Understanding of youth work practice. The ability to analyse data and think critically. Evidence of taking the initiative in a ‘leadership’ role in an agency.

Months of entry


Course content

This course offers students knowledge, skills, understanding and reflective practice in the field of community youth work and an opportunity to gain a professional qualification in community youth work. The programme has three main aims: 1. The development of effective professional practitioners in community youth work. 2. The delivery of a postgraduate programme that will challenge, develop and engage critically in issues that relate to the field of community youth work through informed and innovative methods of teaching and learning. 3. To enhance the professional skills and employability of community youth workers.

The programme will initially be studied in part-time mode. This is the second revalidation of this programme offering potential students a unique opportunity to gain a professional qualification, validated by the North South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) and an academic award of the University of Ulster. Students will follow six modules for the postgraduate diploma in community youth work for the professional endorsement by the NSETS leading, if desired, to the award by dissertation of a MSc in Community Youth Work. Students will be required to have the postgraduate diploma before embarking on to the Masters level. The modules are arranged to meet the criteria set out by NSETS and to meet the needs of students training to become professional workers. All students will follow a placement module which is supervised by a University tutor and a practice teacher. The placement is an opportunity for CYW staff to assess at first hand the development of professional practice based on the monitoring student skills through reflective practice. The course maintains both academic and professional coherence through the use of modules that underpin fundamental concepts of community youth work, i.e. the context of youth. The module has been specifically designed to facilitate the needs of a postgraduate programme and will be taught exclusively for this cohort. Past experience suggests that it is important to build a strong collegial group early on in the programme. While it is envisaged that other modules will be taught alongside the undergraduate course the first module is explicitly designed to create a sense of belonging for the new intake.. This is followed by more applied modules, i.e. principles and practice of youth work; communities in focus and the in-situ/exigency placements at the beginning of year. After the placement students will follow the principles and practice of youth work: leadership, management and supervision module preparing them for management roles in youth work and the critical thinking and professional development module to consolidate their learning and to focus on areas that they may wish to research or develop further including inter-professional collaboration. The modules have been designed to facilitate the underpinning knowledge, skills and understanding needed to become a professional community youth worker. The modules are: (i) THE CONTEXT OF YOUTH WORK; (ii) PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF YOUTH WORK; (iii) COMMUNITIES IN FOCUS; (iv) IN-SITU AND EX-AGENCY REFLECTIVE PLACEMENTS; (v) PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF YOUTH WORK; SUPERVISION, LEARDERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT; (vi) CRITICAL THINKING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Award of postgraduate diploma in community youth work with professional endorsement; (i) DISSERTATION Award of MSc in Community Youth Work.

Information for international students

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


part time
36 months


part time
24 months

Course contact details

Breda Friel
+44 (0)28 7167 5765