Voluntary & Community Sector Management

University College Cork

Voluntary & Community Sector Management

The Masters in Voluntary and Community Sector Management provides education, training and skills in managing/coordinating voluntary and community organisations. As such, the course will contribute to the ongoing professional development of workers already in the community and voluntary sector as well as opening the door to wider opportunities in the sector for those seeking employment there.

There are more than 25,000 voluntary sector organisations in Ireland. These range from large charitable bodies like Simon, Barnardos, and Concern to small residents’ associations, or from broad campaigning bodies like Amnesty International to small single-issue groups in a local housing estate trying to get youth facilities in the area.

These organisations may provide vital services in care, welfare, health, education, housing, poverty alleviation, social inclusion, and the promotion of rights. They may also enhance democracy and participation in society through empowerment and capacity-building, lobbying, and campaigning.

The MSocSc in Voluntary and Community Sector Management is a part-time postgraduate degree taught over two years.

It recruits every two years (for a start in September of every even-numbered year). Students attend the University one day per week. Some of the modules may be delivered in blocks of five days and/or over long weekends.

Subjects taught

Modules (90 credits)

Part I - Year 1

Students take 40 credits as follows:

GV6112 The Third Sector and the State (5 credits)
SS6600 Principles, Values and Practice in the Voluntary and Community Sector (5 credits)
SS6606 Social Policy and the Voluntary and Community Sector (5 credits)
SS6607 Financial Oversight and Management in the Voluntary and Community Sector (5 credits)
FE6602 Social Enterprises and Local Development (5 credits)
SS6608 Quality Systems and Risk Management in the Voluntary and Community Sector (subject to approval)

Plus either:

FE3824 People Management in Member-Based Organisations (10 credits) or
FE6712 Leadership and Change Management in Co-operative & Social Enterprise (10 credits)

Part II - Year 2

Students take 50 credits as follows:

FE6601 Co-operatives and the Third Sector (5 credits)
IS6012 Application of IT to the Third Sector (5 credits)
MG6100 Leadership, Organisational Development, and Change for the Third Sector (5 credits)
LW6103 Legal Aspects of State Regulation (5 credits)
SS6602 Applied Social Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (5 credits)
SS6605 Dissertation in Voluntary and Community Sector Management (25 credits)

Entry requirements

You require at least a second class honours in an approved primary degree;

You will normally have a minimum of two years of recent and relevant work experience (e.g. practitioners/managers in youth work, play work, community work, community education, the community and small voluntary sectors, community renewal and enterprise, faith community workers, community health workers, equality workers, and environment workers);

You will have to satisfy a selection committee.

Applications will be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) from those without a primary degree provided that you have a vocational/professional qualification in a relevant subject area as may be deemed suitable by the Head of School and you have held, for a minimum of two years, a position of responsibility of relevance to the course. Final acceptance is subject to approval by the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, and the College of Business and Law, UCC.

Application dates

Closing Date Rolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.


2 years part-time.

Enrolment dates

Start Date 9 September 2024

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
The course is intended to enable community and voluntary sector workers to further develop their expertise, professional management capabilities and analytical understanding of the relationship between the state and civil society, through a challenging and supportive learning environment. It draws on a range of academic disciplines and inter-professional approaches and is underpinned by values of equality and social justice. An important aspect of the course includes team and small group work, allowing you to learn from one another’s voluntary sector experiences. The course also promotes the development of networking for workers and organisations in the sector.

In the past, the course has been undertaken by workers in national and regional voluntary organisations and local community-based groups. It has also included workers in the statutory sector, who work closely with the voluntary and community sector, at both national and local government levels. Of course, as a Masters in Management, the degree is also of benefit to anyone seeking a career in management or project coordination in any employment sector.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider