Youth Work

Course Outline

The Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work is ideally suited to enthusiastic, fun-loving, critical-thinking, and creative people who are motivated to impact positively in young people's lives. Youth work encompasses a broad and diverse range of social, cultural, educational and political activities, which are based on young people's voluntary participation in leisure time activities that emphasise social inclusion and support civic engagement. The Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work prepares students for exciting, meaningful, and challenging careers in youth work and related organisations that aim to promote young people's wellbeing and to empower young people as active, critical citizens who can contribute to positive social change at local, national, and global levels. This is a professionally accredited course that provides practice-based training to aspiring professional youth workers and continuing professional development for existing youth workers (who do not already hold a JNC-recognised qualification). The course may be undertaken on a full-time basis only.

The course includes a variety of taught modules that focus on youth work professional training and continuing professional development in youth work. All modules are delivered through the School of Applied Social Studies. The course comprises five taught modules, two placement modules, and individual and group tutorials (60 credits in total).

Why Choose This Course

The Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work is professionally endorsed by the North South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS). Completion of this programme allows graduates to qualify as professional youth workers in less than one year. This programme is ideally suited to graduates who have completed undergraduate studies within a related discipline, and who have a keep interest in impactinig positively on the lives of young people.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Students undertake two placements on the projects, which are located in a wide range of community-based youth organisations. Students may undertake the second placement abroad in a suitable youth work agency. Students' community-based learning is a very important feature of the course, which allows students to develop their practice skills and to build their confidence.

a. A short practice placement of 100 hours (Placement I).
b. An intensive, block practice placement, which is a minimum of 10 weeks in duration, comprising 30 hours per week (Placement II).

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally have achieved a minimum grade of a 2H2 in an Honours degree. Candidates will be normally be graduates from cognate disciplines, including but not limited to: Social Science, Education (incl. Sports Studies), Social Work, Early Years and Childhood Studies, Social Care (NFQ, Level 8), Sociology and Psychology. Applicants are also required to possess a minimum of two years' experience in a paid or voluntary capacity in a full-time youth work position (or equivalent part-time experience).

In exceptional circumstances, and subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, candidates who hold a primary degree (NFQ, Level 8) which is unrelated to youth work practice may also be considered if they can evidence a high level of relevant youth work practice-related experience (normally of 3 or more years).

In exceptional circumstances, and subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, candidates who hold a primary degree (NFQ, Level 8), which is lower than a Second Class Honours, Grade II standard, and who demonstrate a high level of relevant work experience, may also be eligible for entry to the course. Applicants may be required to submit a piece of writing which demonstrates their academic ability to undertake a Level 9 postgraduate programme and this will be assessed by members of the Selection Panel.

All applicants who meet the entry requirements will be invited for interview.

Applicants who do not hold a primary degree will not be accepted onto the programme. Applicants who hold a NFQ, Level 7 degree/qualification will not be accepted onto the programme. The School of Applied Social Studies offers a very successful undergraduate programme which allows students to access professional training in youth work. Potential applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree are advised to apply to this programme.

All applicants for the programme will be interviewed as part of the selection process.

Acceptance of a candidate into the programme is subject to Garda Police Clearance.

Fitness to Practise
This programme is subject to the University's Fitness to Practise Policy - full details may be found on course webpage.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here.

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

Subjects taught

Students take 60 credits as follows:

Semester 1 Credits
SS6020 Principles and Practice of Youth Work (10 credits)
SS6036 Youth Work: Skills for Working with Individuals and Groups (10 credits)
SS6022 Youth, Ethics and Welfare (5 credits)
SS6037 Youth Work, Informal and Non-Formal Learning (5 credits)
SS6030 Practice Placement I (5 credits)

Semester 2 Credits
SS6031 Practice Placement II (20 credits)
SS6023 Project Planning, Management and Leadership in Youth Work (5 credits)

Successful completion of all modules awards a Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work, which is professionally accredited (JNC-recognised) and endorsed by the North-South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS)


1 year

Course Practicalities
The Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work is available on a full-time basis only. The programme is delivered over one academic year from the date of first registration for the programme. Students take modules to the value of 60 credits. Lectures normally take place on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5.30-7.30 pm, though this may vary at specific times of the year. Students are also required to attend a 5-day induction session in the week preceding Semester 1 and two intensive week-long workshops (end of Semester 1; end of Semester 2)

Students are required to complete two practice placements in separate locations including:
a. A short practice placement of 100 hours (Placement I).
b. An intensive, block practice placement, which is a minimum of 10 weeks in duration, comprising 30 hours per week (Placement II).

Students undertake a variety of academic and practice assessments, including essays and placement reports. There are no formal written examinations on this course.

Our lecturers are experts in youth work practice, with significant research experience and expertise in working with young people and youth organisations in various local, national and international contexts.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 3 September 2020

Post Course Info

Students are facilitated to engage in high-level professional education through academic study and work placements, ensuring that the skills you develop will be at the forefront of professional youth work practice. Through participation in the programme, students will develop skills in critical policy analysis, youth advocacy, policy advocacy, ethical engagement with young people, individual and group work facilitation, informal and non-formal education, and reflective practice.

Occupations associated with Youth Work

Graduates will find employment in youth work and youth justice organisations, in the public sector, in the voluntary/community sector, in local authorities, and in community-based organisations where expanding youth participation is a priority.

What are our graduates doing?

Recent graduates are working in various youth work organisations across the region through Youth Work Ireland and Foroige, which are the two largest youth work bodies in Ireland. Graduates are also working in other related roles, including school completion projects, youth justice projects, organisations for the homeless, support for asylum seekers and refugees, family support organisations, youth arts organisations, etc.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    PG Dip

  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

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