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Community Youth Work

Postgraduate Diploma/ Master's in Community Youth Work.

Study Community Youth Work at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

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.

Entry requirements

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.

English Language Requirements

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.



The course takes place Monday during term-time from 9.15 to 4.15.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Due to the nature of this postgraduate programme being initially about professional endorsement the career opportunities for students is already set, i.e. they are in employment. The development of a new module, ‘Critical thinking and professional development’ is an indication of the staff teams belief in enhancing the understanding of continuing professional development through evidence- based practice and the development of critical thinking. The students on the programme will benefit from reflecting on their profession and indeed looking at how it is viewed in relation to other professions. One can assume, if past history about the course is anything to go on, that those who gain the PGD in CYW will be highly skilled, knowledgeable and highly employable. For others the course itself if part of their professional development as many students have been working the in the field without professional training.

Professional recognition

North/South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) 

Endorsed by the North/South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) (JNC Recognised) for the purpose of professional qualification.

Further enquiries

Course Director: Breda Friel
Room MF007
Magee Campus
T: +44 (0)28 7167 5765

Subjects taught

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, Leadership 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.

Work placement / study abroad

This assessed practice period placement(s) focuses on youth and community work in the context of an agency. Students will build on learning from the taught modules and their own experience. They will use the placement to reflect and evaluate their practice in four disparate but inter-related areas: 1. The development of self; 2. Understanding individuals; 3. The role and function of the group; 4. The agency context within a given community. The students will therefore be offered opportunities to experience; a. Informal education work with young people and adults, individually and in groups, b. Youth service and community agencies, c. Different types of youth and community work provision. d. A reflective and evaluatory experience with supervisory support by a professionally qualified in-situ practice teacher.

Students are expected to: develop appropriate programmes of social education within the constraints of the agency. - develop their 'helping' and 'enabling' skills. - gain experience in terms of the management of practice. - gain an understanding of a specialist agency which focuses on a particular target group (ex-agency placement). - link the practice experiences with theoretical concepts. - record and evaluate their work.

Assessment method

Teaching and learning assessment

Staff will use delivery mechanisms, ongoing feedback, individual tutorials, small group discussions, peer groups, etc irrespective of the nature of the class group. The overall course was designed to create coherent and cohesive progress for student throughout the 2 + 1 years of study. Staff are aware of the need to bring students from dependency to independent and self-directed learning in the context of professional, academic and personal growth.

Enrolment and start dates

Start dates: September 2017

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