Youth Justice

Designed for those who want to advance their understanding of youth issues, youth offending and social and criminal justice responses to young people, this postgraduate diploma focuses on developing critical analytical skills and enhancing the ability to assess policy and practice against international standards and benchmarks.

Targeted at practitioners, policy-makers and those interested in further academic study, it provides the opportunity to apply academic knowledge and critical analytical skills to practice and enhance understanding of young people's lives, the criminal justice system and the discourse of children's rights.

Given increased policy attention in the area of youth justice and strategies impacting on children and young people more generally, the programme reflects the concern to understand the needs and rights of children and young people and ground responses in evidence, best practice and international standards.

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 31st July 2024 at 4pm. Late applications may be considered.

Course Structure
The programme draws on specialisms within the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (in youth studies, criminology, children’s rights and research methods). In addition to core modules, optional modules from a range of Master’s programme are available.

A blended learning approach has been adopted which includes a mixture of face-to-face and online learning (both live lectures and pre-recorded, self-directed learning), traditional lectures, workshops, condensed weekend modules, online discussion forums and guest speakers.

20 CATS modules generally involve 20 contact hours per semester, 10 CATS modules generally involve 10 contact hours per semester. Contact hours often include a blend of face-to-face lectures/ workshops and online (live or pre-recorded) sessions. Students can choose some optional modules that are all face-to-face, all online or a blend of both.

The Postgraduate Diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete a combination of core and optional taught modules (120 CATS points).

A Certificate exit route is also available (60 CATS points from core modules).

Subjects taught

The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

Year 1
Core Modules
Childhood and Youth Research in Practice (10 credits)
Youth and Social Justice (20 credits)
Youth Justice: Theory, Law and Practice (20 credits)
Perspectives on Childhood and Youth (10 credits)
Foundations of Children's Rights (20 credits)

Optional Modules
Quantitative Data Analysis: Foundational (10 credits)
Youth Justice and Desistance (20 credits)
An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (20 credits)
Qualitative Data Analysis (10 credits)
Qualitative Research with Children and Young People (10 credits)
Conflict and Change in Northern Ireland: New Sociological Research (10 credits)
Childhood Disability and Rights (20 credits)
Economic Impact of Childhood Interventions (10 credits)

Entry requirements

Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a social science or related discipline.

Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in a relevant context.

Closing date for applications: Friday 31st July 2024 at 4pm.

Late applications may be considered.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal prior to the deadline stated on course finder. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.


1 year (Full Time), 2 years (Part Time).

Enrolment dates

Entry Year: 2024/25

Post Course Info

Career Prospects
Possible career paths include work in youth and social justice related fields. Previous graduates have been successful in gaining jobs working for NGOs in the criminal justice and youth justice fields.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Employment after the Course
You will have gained the skills necessary to locate and evaluate policy, research and practice on youth justice related issues, and to undertake your own research in this area. This will position you for working in organisations that: advocate for the rights and needs of children in conflict with the law; that formulate policy; that undertake research.

You will also have a more holistic understanding of the lives of children in conflict with the law, placing you in a perfect position to work with and for these children, and for organisation that support them (e.g. NGOs/ voluntary organisations, statutory sector bodies, government departments).

You may follow in the footsteps of some of our recent graduates who work in young offenders centres in the Republic of Ireland, support young people transitioning from care in Scotland, mentor young people in conflict with the law in Northern Ireland, facilitate restorative justice in Mumbai or have extended their studies through doctoral study.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Flexible,Daytime,Weekend

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    Course provider