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Health and Community Development Studies MA/PG Dip/PG Cert

Develop your skills as an innovative, progressive practitioner, engaged with social justice and equality. This programme is designed for those working with people and communities in local authorities, voluntary or third sector organisations, non-governmental organisations and non-medical and non-clinical health services.

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From mental health support services to housing and homelessness, youth offending, and drug abuse, this course attracts professionals with expertise in diverse health and community, informal education settings.

Our core modules will give you an insight into the theories and practices of community development, introducing key concepts in practice, policy and National Occupation Standards. You will explore this in relation to issues surrounding health and wellbeing and discover new strategies and methods of social science research.

You can then expand your expertise in areas that interest you most, with modules covering topics in mental health, contemporary social issues, youth and community development, anti-oppressive practice, race and diversity, and management of services and people.

You may wish to learn about non-clinical health and wellbeing, broader health education, or development projects focusing on a social model of health and wellbeing. The content of this programme is also relevant for those wishing to explore social health and community provision in developing countries.

Ideal candidates will have an interest in group work, informal learning and activity, and outreach and community work, particularly with young people and adults identified as ‘hard to reach’ and ‘excluded’.

Your studies will benefit from a flexible blended learning approach, where the majority of modules are taught via distance learning with two block teaching weeks per academic year.

Key features

  • We have a global reputation within the sector, with years of professional training experience and international work to draw upon.
  • Benefit from the flexibility of being able to tailor your learning to your career interests.

  • Study part-time via distance learning alongside your work commitments, reinforced by two face to face teaching weeks per academic year.
  • Our teaching staff are experienced practitioners and researchers. Their expertise in delivering a diverse range of practice-related modules will ensure your learning is relevant to current practice and initiatives.
  • Our expert academic team have published several books and a wide range of research papers on key topics relating to your learning.
  • Explore knowledge across professions. The course attracts professionals with expertise in a variety of settings, including sexual health, mental health, disability, drug abuse, parenting education, youth work and community development, children’s centres, housing and homelessness, youth offending and domestic violence.
  • Recent graduates from this course have progressed on to work in senior roles in areas of community health, education, youth work and community development, both in the UK and overseas.

At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study.

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Youth and Community Development Studies

Youth Work and Community Development PQ

  • UK
  • EU/International

Institution code: D26

Application deadline: TBC

Duration: One year full-time via distance learning or two years part-time via distance learning (with occasional attendance)

Attendance:  Two teaching block weeks on campus each year in September and late January are compulsory. There is a seven hour teaching commitment each day of the block weeks. Some specialist modules are launched over weekends. The dissertation launch day is also compulsory.

Start dates: September 2022 and January 2023 (Home students only)

Location of study: De Montfort University Leicester UK

Fees and funding:

If you work in the NHS you may be eligible for funding from the Education Commission Unit of the East Midlands Strategic Health Authority.

Institution code: D26

Duration: One year full-time via distance learning (with occasional attendance)

Attendance: Two teaching block weeks on campus each year in September and late January are compulsory. There is a seven hour teaching commitment each day of the block weeks. Some specialist modules are launched over weekends. The dissertation launch day is also compulsory.

Start dates: September 2022

Location of study: De Montfort University Leicester UK

Fees and funding:

Find out more about postgraduate course fees and available funding.

Find out more about additional costs and optional extras associated with this course.

Please visit for more information or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.


Entry criteria

  • Demonstration of ability to work at master’s level which can be achieved through having a first degree, normally at 2:2 or above, or by having a range of academic and work experience

  • You are normally expected to have an UG qualification and experience broadly in an area related to youth work and community development

  • You must be engaged in at least 12 hours’ relevant and appropriate work, paid or unpaid, per week

You should also normally have:

  • A commitment to anti-oppressive practice
  • Relevant and significant health oriented work experience
  • Proven ability to reflect on practice, critically examine concepts of informal education and justice, awareness of social welfare needs in a youth and community development context.

Applications from individuals with no formal academic qualifications, but extensive practical experience, will be considered on an individual basis. You will need to attend an online presentation and 1: 1 interview.

You must complete a declaration form and enhanced DBS disclosure, and criminal record certificate (from your home country), before starting the course, which need to be cleared in accordance with DMU’s admission policy. Contact us for up-to-date information.

English language requirements:

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning (CELL), is available both before and during the course.

Please visit for more information.


Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessment

Academic expertise


Course modules

Students will follow a generic pathway; offering the greatest flexibility.

Core modules include:

  • Theory and Practice of Community Development - introduces students to key concepts explored in relation to practice, policy and National Occupation Standards

  • Issues of Health and Well-being - introduces key concepts of health and well-being and the context of youth work and community development
  • Health and Social Research Methods - introduces strategies and methods of social science research commonly used in social and healthcare settings


You will also choose from a diverse range of option modules, (some are offered biennially) depending on availability and your specific career interests, including:

  • Mental Health
  • Contemporary Social Issues
  • Global Issues in Youth and Community Development
  • Managing Race and Diversity
  • Anti-oppressive Practice
  • Management of Services and People
  • The Negotiated Module - allows you to formulate, present and implement an individual proposal in an area of professional relevance and interest. There is no teaching and this is student led.


Please contact us for specialist option module descriptions and further information.


For completion of the full MA, you will also be required to undertake:

  • Dissertation - Students must choose a broad health and wellbeing related topic identified in discussion with academic staff.

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.

Teaching and assessment

All core and most specialist modules are launched during one of two block teaching weeks held each year, usually in September and January. These modules are supported by a wide variety of written material, individual and organisational tasks. Students are required to engage in a number of online seminars in each module. Contributions to them are compulsory and are an attendance requirement.

The course aims to build a learning community, from the initial contact during the induction block teaching week onwards. Assessment is usually by written assignment of 4,000 words per 15 credit module.

Teaching contact hours

This course is taught via distance learning. Compulsory attendance, when there are direct contact hours with staff, is for two block teaching weeks per year when teaching is timetabled for seven hours each day, and when the dissertation is launched.

Following each block week tutors teach via module guides and their integral activities, directed reading, e-seminars or on line action learning sets. Typically this means there is weekly tutor contact via written interventions in the seminars and oral interventions in the sets which are normally for student groups of between six and eighteen students. Personal tutorials and dissertation supervision are either conducted by telephone, email, online or face to face for students studying full time and based in or near Leicester.

Contact hours per week depend on the teaching method used, whether students are studying full or part time and which modules they are studying. The majority of the learning is via personal study – typically twenty hours studying and revising in your own time each week for full time students (less for part time students), including substantial guided study using module guides, directed readings, online activities.


Academic expertise

The department is home to the National Youth Work Collection and has one of the largest teams in the UK. In the past eight years, the authors in the division have published nine books. Staff work with a range of organisations that work with young people and communities including charities, voluntary and statutory agencies at local, national and international levels.

Thematic areas of interest include:

  • Work with black young people (again, resulting in key conferences and texts byDr Carlton Howson and Dr Momodou Sallah)
  • Youth participation and citizenship
  • Anti-oppressive practice (Dr Jagdish Chouhan )
  • Hospital and other health-related youth work (Dr Scott Yates)

Facilities and features

Health and Life Sciences facilities

Substantial investment has developed our teaching and learning facilities to help you expand your practical experience and theoretical knowledge beyond the classroom.

The 19th century Hawthorn Building has facilities designed to replicate current practice in health and life sciences, including contemporary analytical chemistry and formulation laboratories, audiology booths and nursing and midwifery clinical skills suites.

Purpose-built clinical skills areas allow you to practice in a safe environment. You will receive guidance and support from staff to ensure that you develop a precise and accurate practical ability in the clinical skills suites.

Library services

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Blackboard, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

Learning zones

Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.

There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.

You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.

Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities Learn more


As part of the university's commitment to enhancing the personal and career development of our graduates, we are offering the Alumni scholarship programme. For more information visit the Health and Life Sciences Alumni Scholarships page.


Graduate careers

 Many of our graduates work in a wide range of senior posts in community health, youth work and community development work in both publicand voluntary organisations, all over the world.

An MA is a recommended qualification for workers who want to hold senior positions. The MA is recognised internationally as a valid postgraduate level of study and its content is relevant for issues relating to a developing country’s health and community provision.



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