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Youth and Community Development Studies MA/PG Dip

Are you a practitioner looking to expand your knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of the complex and continually changing contexts in which you work? This distance learning programme is an ideal choice to advance your professional abilities and develop the support you provide to vulnerable young people and communities.

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Would you like a rewarding career supporting vulnerable young people? Do you have a passion to help them reach their full potential? A career in youth and community development is the opportunity to make a crucial difference to people’s lives.

Through gaining the professional skills and knowledge taught on this course, your work can provide support to families and community groups and help empower and keep young people safe.

The blend of practical and academic skills you’ll be taught on this programme can prepare you for a range of jobs across several sectors. It will help develop you as a progressive practitioner, providing opportunities to explore various concepts and practices of social justice and equality. With the option to study either full-time or part-time, you can manage your studies effectively alongside work commitments. This programme is ideal for those who use group work, informal learning, outreach and community work as part of their role, particularly those working with young people and adults often identified as ‘hard to reach’.

Throughout this course you’ll benefit from inter-professional learning as the course attracts professionals from a variety of settings and sectors worldwide, including parenting education, youth work, children’s centres, sexual health, drug and substance abuse, housing and homelessness, youth offending, disability, mental health, community development, domestic violence, local government sector, voluntary and not-for-profit sector and non-governmental organisations.

Key features

  • Benefit from the flexible approach this programme offers, allowing you to tailor your studies specifically to your career interests, enhancing your employment opportunities in your desired field. 
  • You have the choice to study part-time or full-time alongside your work commitments, mainly through distance learning with two block teaching weeks per academic year. 
  • With this course you’ll be able to develop your skills to be an innovative, progressive practitioner, able to engage reflectively with concepts and practices of social justice and equality.
  • Learn from our team of expert academics who can draw on more than 55 years’ professional training experience in the field, so their sector insight will inform your learning and keep you acquainted with contemporary challenges and practices.
  • Research conducted by our academics in areas such as Diversity and Inequalities, Youth Work and Community Development, Public Health and Professional Practice, Health and Social Care; is embedded into the curriculum to ensure learning is current and relevant.
  • Many of our graduates progress on to a wide variety of careers in youth work and community development, as well as other roles related to non-clinical, non-medical health and educational services in both the statutory and voluntary sectors.

“The tutors, staff and speakers encouraged us to really look at the justice of what we do as public service providers and to question the status quo in a constructive manner. I can apply this knowledge to the workplace with the hope of making our services better for young people and their communities.”

Davina Daniels, Youth and Community Development Studies PG Diploma


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

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More courses like this:

Health and Community Development Studies

Youth Work and Community Development PQ

Youth Work, Health 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 date: September 2022 and January 2023- (Home students only)

Location of study: De Montfort University Leicester UK

Fees and funding:

2022/23 full-time and part-time tuition fees for UK students: £5,870

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

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.


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 date: September 2022

Location of study: De Montfort University Leicester UK

Fees and funding:

2022/23 full-time tuition fees for EU and international students: £15,600.

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 a professional qualification in an area related to work
  • You must be engaged in at least 10 hours’ appropriate work, paid or unpaid, per week

You should also normally have:

  • A commitment to anti-oppressive practice
  • Relevant and significant field 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 Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and criminal record certificate (from your home country), before starting the course, which need to be cleared in accordance with DMU’s admission policy.

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
  • Theory and Practice of Youth Work - using the National Occupational Standards students will be introduced to the key concepts in youth and community development work. and the key theoretical contexts for youth and community practice: political (policy), sociological, philosophical, historical and psychological
  • Health and Social Research Methods - introduces strategies and methods of social science research commonly used in social and healthcare settings.

You will also choose four modules from a range of optional modules, depending on availability, your preferred pathway and specific career interests, including:

  • Issues of Health and Well-being
  • Mental Health
  • Contemporary Social Issues
  • Global Issues in Youth and Community Development
  • Managing Race and Diversity
  • Anti-oppressive Practice - analyses concepts of oppression, discrimination and inequality and develops effective anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory practice
  • Management of Services and People - increases self-confidence and performance as a manager of people and projects within a youth work and community development environment
  • 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 optional module descriptions and further information.

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

  • Dissertation - Students must choose a youth and community development 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 option 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.

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, etc.


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 by Dr 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 named best university for helping students build their careers Learn more


As part of the university's commitment to enhancing the personal and career development of our graduates. We offer an Alumni scholarship programme. For more information visit Health and Life Sciences Alumni Scholarships.


Graduate careers

Many of our graduates work in a wide range of senior posts in youth work and community development work and in other related health and educational services in both public and 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 youth and community work provision.


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