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Postgraduate study
Education & Youth

Youth and Community Work MA

Challenge marginalisation, empower young people and create positive opportunities for their personal development, enhancing your ability to link theory and practice within a social justice framework.


Course overview


You gain the skills to motivate and inspire young people to succeed and progress using creative and adaptive strategies. You learn to employ inclusive and informal educational programmes, and enhance your confidence and knowledge of their delivery. As you undertake professional practice experience, you develop your ability to critically reflect, becoming an articulate, resilient and inspiring leader. You also learn to apply a wide range of evidence-based academic research to your own practice.

The course team is made up of professionally qualified youth workers and academics. Their knowledge and experience is used to hone your skills in managing and working with young people and the wider community. This includes a critical awareness of current issues and developments in youth work such as support into education, mental wellbeing, sexual health and homelessness.

You are supported to deliver the key competencies you need to meet the Youth Worker’s standards and gain JNC-recognised professional youth worker status. Collaborating with other youth and community professionals, you evaluate the impact of policies and quality processes, using this to inform your development. You also refine your employability skills for careers in many areas, particularly youth-based contexts. Whether you’re a current practitioner who wants to advance your career, looking for a change or ready to continue your education, this course provides all the skills you need for a future in youth and community work.

Study this course and you may be eligible for a £2,500 Sir Keith Skeoch postgraduate scholarship.

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Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Inclusive Approaches to Leadership and Management with Young People in the Community

Explore best practice in ever-changing political, cultural and socio-economic environments and develop your understanding of complex problems and potential solutions. Gain knowledge and skills to successfully lead and manage in community and youth work settings.

Practice Placement 1

You take part in your first assessed professional placement and deliver informal personal, social, political or community education to young people and emerging adults aged between 13 and 19. ld. Demonstrate your understanding of core professional competencies and meet NYA validation requirements.

Practice Placement 2

In your second assessed fieldwork placement, you build on the professional youth work competencies developed in your initial placement. You take on increased responsibility, focusing on inclusive management and leadership skills in complex settings.

Working with Young People and Others in the Community

Develop your understanding of the history and evolution of youth and community work, questioning theory, policy, practice and approaches. Explore contemporary issues in youth and community work, and consider anti-discriminatory practice and social inclusion, applying your learning to the experiences of individuals and communities.


Year 2 core modules


Bring together the knowledge and skills acquired on the course in a research project in your chosen area. You demonstrate your research, critical analysis and evaluation ability in a library-based or empirically-based dissertation. A supervisor supports you in your project, but it is undertaken independently.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You learn through lectures, seminars, discussions and workshops in the classroom or online. The sessions consist of directed and self-directed study. Programmes at this level require extensive independent study and reading beyond allocated contact times. You are also expected to take part in a range of learning activities, collaborate effectively and document your professional development. You should develop and explore your own interests and specialism of youth and community in each module. Online discussion groups are held once a week to explore and consolidate learning, which you may find useful if you are returning to learning.
Modules are judged against learning outcomes and linked to the units of the National Occupational Standards in Youth Work. All modules are informed by current practice, scholarship, and research (QAA 19).

There are two work-based placements, equating to 400 hours of assessed practice, where you apply your knowledge and skills to practice.

How you are assessed

You are assessed through professional placements, essay plans, essays, case studies, group work, vlogs or podcasts, portfolios, and written or filmed interviews. Your assessments reflect the challenges within each module and allow you to develop academically and professionally. Each module has informal and formal activities and practices alongside summative assignments.

Professional placements are assessed through completion of placement hours, participation in meetings with your supervisor and tutor, providing evidence of competence to meet National Occupational Standards and evidence of consideration of youth work values and ethical practice.


Entry requirements

To apply you need:

  • a first degree (minimum of 2:2). If you do not meet this criterion but can demonstrate significant experience and/or further study, you may be considered.
  • a personal statement demonstrating relevant work or voluntary experience with young people or adults in a community setting.

As part of the admissions process, and prior to an offer being made, you need to:

  • complete and pass a formal interview and written exercise
  • confirm your ability to complete 400 practice placement hours in an appropriate context during your first year (200 hours each semester)
  • demonstrate intellectual and academic suitability for the course
  • demonstrate the appropriate attitudes and values expected of someone working with young people or adults in a community setting
  • be able to communicate clearly and accurately in standard English
  • complete a satisfactory Occupational Health Clearance (further details will be provided)
  • complete a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • provide a completed Declaration of Suitability for Youth Work form
  • confirm you have basic IT skills including word-processing, internet browsing and email.

International students:

You should have the equivalent of a 2:2 undergraduate degree in any discipline and a minimum overall IELTS (academic) score of 6.5 with 6 in each component (or approved equivalent).

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country



Career opportunities

You gain the skills you need to establish a career in youth and community work, and further academic study. This qualification is acknowledged and valued regionally and nationally, allowing you to compete in a continually evolving and challenging job market.

This course supports you to take up roles in management, leadership, development, entrepreneurship, networking and teaching, and facilitating learning. Employers of youth and community workers include local authority, education departments, faith-based, voluntary and charitable organisations and a wealth of community, awareness and health-based projects.

Work placement

Your learning on the placement is integral and supports your professional practice. There are two placement modules linked to taught modules, strengthening the link between theory and practice.

During both practice placement modules, you are supported by university staff and placement supervisors to reflect on your learning. You collect information from your placements to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of practice issues, collated in a professional practice evidence and development portfolio.

Applied Practice gives you the chance to experience an internship, research or study abroad project in a public or private workplace working alongside the Student Futures team.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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Professional accreditation

NYA - National Youth Agency This course meets the requirements for National Youth Agency professional validation. It is recognised by the Joint Negotiating Committee to provide national qualification status in youth and community work in England.


2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£6,710 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£17,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

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Telephone: 01642 738801

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Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900

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