Voluntary & Community Sector Management

Course Outline
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.

Students attend the University one day per week.

This course is specifically designed for those who want to develop a career in the voluntary/community sector and is the only master's of its kind in Ireland. It is taught by eight different departments across UCC with an input from a large number of academic staff. The course fees have also been kept deliberately low for a Masters in Management in order to promote access among the not-for-profit community and voluntary sector. We view this course as part of our commitment to the promotion of teaching and learning in the voluntary and community sector.

Entry requirements

-have at least a second class honours in an approved primary degree

-normally have a minimum of two years 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)

-have to satisfy a selection committee.

-Applications will be considered 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.

The Additional/Supplementary Statement Questions must also be completed during the online application process.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.

Non-EU Candidates
Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. To verify if you meet the minimum academic requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.


2 years Part-time. The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years.

You attend the university one day per week (Wednesdays 10am-5pm) for two 12-week terms per year (September to December and January to March) over two years. In addition to this, one module is taught online in Year 1 and students will be required to set aside time outside class to complete that. Assessments including the 12,000-word participatory research project are completed in your own time.

Careers or further progression

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 level. 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.

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
-apply knowledge, skills and values to take a leadership and/or managerial role in an organisation in the community and voluntary sector
-describe, critically assess, integrate and apply leadership structures and decision-making processes related to community, voluntary, co-operative, and social enterprise organisations
-identify and critically assess the interaction between societal structures, policies, practices and values in Third Sector management
-integrate and apply law, rights mechanisms and good governance practices to work in the Third Sector
-critically assess social research relating to the Third Sector, and apply theory and practice in social research to Third Sector management and planning
-demonstrate an ability to manage and conduct research on the Third Sector
-integrate and apply theories and practices that promote democratic processes within Third Sector management
-integrate and apply business skills, accounting skills and information technology to exert effective control over the management of resources and practice in the Third Sector.

Further enquiries

Dr. Feilim O'hAdhmaill
Tel. 021 4902228

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)
EC6301 The Third Sector Economy (5 credits)

Plus either:
FE3824 People Management in Member-Based Organisations (10 credits)
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)

All modules are assessed via continuous assessment. There are NO end of year exams for the Programme.

Assessment method

Assessment will be by continuous accumulative assessment over the twelve modules. Each module has different assessment criteria and for specific module related information please consult the relevant module in the current online Book of Modules

Assessments will include group project work, portfolios, essays, etc. and a participatory research project at the end of the second year (There are no exams).

Application date

Not on offer 2019/2020

Applications for 2019 start dates will open on November 1st 2018.

EU Applicants: UCC operates a rounds closing date system for the majority of postgraduate taught courses, which means we offer places four times a year on a rolling basis. Some courses have one specific closing date, please check your course prospectus page for this information.

The UCC rounds EU application system closing dates for postgraduate taught courses are below. We advise applicants to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications:

For all completed applications received by January 11th 2019
Offers will be made:Offers will be made by January 25th 2019

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by March 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by May 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by July 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offer will be made by July 15th 2019

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity for places.

While there is no official closing date for Research courses applicants are advised to submit their application at least two months ahead of their proposed start date. There are four official Research start dates – September/October, January, April and July.

Non-EU Applicants:

Please visit the following page for further information for Non EU applicants

The closing date for non-EU applications is 15th June

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2020 (2 year cyclical programme)

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