Child Youth & Community

The MA/PDip in Child, Youth and Community is designed for professionals already working in or for those who have a strong interest to work in the community, voluntary or public sector. It was developed by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at the School of Political Science and Sociology. This programme emerges from the Centre’s core disciplinary orientation, Applied Social Science, and its dynamic research programme focused on ‘what works’ in the real world of policy and practice when working with and for children, youth and their communities.

Professionals involved in the delivery of services to children, young people and communities are increasingly required by funders and central government to provide scientific, robust evidence, measuring the social impact of their interventions. With an emphasis on community and rights based approaches, this one year full-time / two-year part-time blended learning MA Programme, will enable students to be proficient in programme planning, monitoring and evaluation methodologies in the context of child, youth and community services. The programme will allow students space to critically engage with the discourses and debates on ‘evidence’ and explore new lines of research and evidence to accommodate both in the real world of practice.

The objectives of the programme are to:

Equip students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills in programme planning, implementation, monitoring and research evaluation;
Develop students’ capacity to design and deliver human rights based and culturally sensitive programmes and services;
Support students to critically explore new lines of research and the use of research evidence in practice;
Enable students to develop their capacity as leaders in this field;
Enhance students’ skills in communication and innovative thinking;
Provide professional experience and networking opportunities for students.

Subjects taught

Course Outline
All MA Students are required to complete 90 credits (ECTs) worth of modules—70 ECTs will be taught core and optional modules. A further 20 ECTs will be awarded for the successful completion of a final research paper, which can take a traditional dissertation format, a community-based research project, a journal paper or a conference presentation.

Postgraduate Diploma Students are required to complete 60 credits (ECTs) worth of modules, combining core and option modules.

Our approach to blended learning is a combination of on campus classes and online classes, with synchronous (live), asynchronous and hybrid delivery. Classes taught on campus and synchronous (live) online classes will be delivered mid-week.

Core Modules (subject to change)

Families, Children and Young People: Sociological Perspectives and Policy Issues (10 ECTS)
Programme Planning and Evaluation (10 ECTS)
Human Rights and Social Justice (10 ECT)
Community Development and Community Organising (5 ECT)
Research Methods and Methodology (10 ECTS)
Research Workshop (10 ECTS)
Option Modules (subject to change)

Professional Experience (10 ECT)
Field-Based Learning (Fieldtrip to Brussels in Academic year 2022/23) (5 ECT)
Working with Specific Populations (5 ECT)
Applied Gender Analysis (5 ECT)
Social and Political Context of Activism and Advocacy (10 ECT)
Gender, Sexuality and Global Health (10 ECT)
Welfare, Social Change and Irish Society (10 ECT)
Policy and Governance of the Digital Age (10 ECT)
Women, Conflict and Human Security (5 ECT)

Entry requirements

Applicants will require a NQAI Level 8 degree, Second Class Honours, or equivalent, with a 2:1 in child, youth and family studies, sociology, psychology or a cognate discipline. Where applicants do not meet the formal academic requirements they can apply for entry through the University’s Recognition for Prior Learning Policy.


1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Course code

Enrolment dates

Next start date September 2024

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
The programme is designed for professionals already working in the community, voluntary or allied sectors and for those who have a specific expertise in, or understanding of the lives of children and youth and communities, and who wish to acquire a specialised Level 9 qualification which will ‘add value’ to their existing qualifications and enable them progress to leadership roles within their careers.

The MA provides students with the opportunity to develop skills-sets that are in high demand. It is designed to respond to the needs of a funding dependent sector and meet the growing national and international donor requirement, to comply with rights-based approaches and provide scientific, robust evidence to measure the impact of social interventions.

Upon graduation students will have the necessary knowledge and a skill-set in programme planning, research and evaluation, human rights programming and advocacy, communication and innovative thinking in the context of child, youth and community services.

Typically, graduates will seek employment in areas such as youth work, child welfare, community development, national or international public administration, advocacy or research.

Unique Strengths of the Programme

The Programme is designed in collaboration with leading organisations and employers in the wider child, youth and community work sectors;
The Programme is based in a UNESCO affiliated Research Centre and connected to the global network of the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement;
The Programme provides a flexible study route with full-time and part-time options, a Postgraduate Diploma exit award and Blended learning opportunities.
The programme offers the opportunity to be part of a thriving post-graduate community within the wider School of Political Science and Sociology.

Transferable Skills Employers Value
On the successful completion of this programme students will have:

1. Developed skills in programme planning, monitoring and evaluation;
2. Enhanced their skills in human rights based approaches to programme planning;
3. Enhanced their intercultural competencies;
4. Developed their skills in research, communication and innovative thinking;
5. Critically explored current research evidence and developed the capacity to use research evidence in practice;
6. Built national and international networks within the sector;
7. Developed their capacity as leaders in this field [leadership skills].

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider