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Youth Work and Community Development MA/PG Dip

Created for graduates and practitioners, this professionally validated programme in Youth Work and Community Development allows you to work as a registered youth work and community development practitioner in the UK.



This programme is recognised by the JNC.

Designed for graduates or existing practitioners, this course helps you to gain extensive knowledge of working with young people and community groups alongside providing professional qualifications to practise as a youth and community development worker in the UK. 

Professionally validated by the National Youth Agency and the Endorsement and Quality Standards Board for Community Development Learning, this course will help you master skills to support young people and communities and handle the complexities of social justice. Our programme is ideal if you’d like to pursue a career in areas such as education, sexual health, housing and homelessness, and mental health. 

Benefit from inter-professional learning, with the course attracting professionals from a variety of settings including youth work, parenting education, children’s centres, sexual health, drug abuse, housing and homelessness, youth offending, mental health, community development and domestic violence. 

On this programme you’ll explore the theory and practice of a range of topics including community development, anti-oppressive practice, and health and social research methods. You’ll also develop your practical and professional skills by putting theory in to practice with dedicated work placement modules and a range of specialist option modules which have been specifically designed for staff in local authorities, the NHS (non-clinical and non-medical roles), voluntary, third sector and non-governmental organisations, ensuring your learning is relevant to current practice.

Key features

  • Professional validation by the National Youth Agency and recognition by the Joint Negotiating Committee ensures the content you study is continually relevant to industry and the current developments and challenges within the sector.
  • Our programme is currently the only youth work and community development postgraduate distance learning programme in England to have dual professional recognition.

  • By choosing this course, you have the opportunity to study part-time or full-time alongside your work commitments, mainly through distance learning.
  • Achieve planned change and enhance your employment opportunities with modules specifically designed for staff in local authorities, the NHS (non-clinical and non-medical roles), voluntary, third sector and non-governmental organisations; ensuring your learning is relevant to current practice.

  • You can benefit from our expert teaching, with more than 55 years’ professional training to draw upon as well as first-hand experience of the field. Our teaching is informed by our diverse team of skilled tutors, with many of our academics actively engaged in professional practice, research and consultancy.
  • Graduates from this course have gone on to pursue a wide range of careers in youth work and health and community development in the statutory and voluntary sectors.

“The course has given me a much better understanding of the historical and theoretical background to my profession. The alternative placement was a huge step forward in my professional development. My placement tutor was extremely helpful and pushed me in areas I would have otherwise overlooked.”

Oliver Thorp, Youth Work, Health and Community Development MA

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

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Health and Community Development Studies

Youth and Community Development Studies

Youth Work, Health and Community Development PQ

  • UK
  • EU/International

Institution code: D26

Application deadline: TBC

Duration: Two years part-time via distance learning
One year full-time (via distance learning)

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

Start date: September 2022 for full-time and part-time, offers the professional qualification and practice hours.

Location of study: Distance learning, with occasional attendance at De Montfort University

Fees and funding:

2022/23 full-time and part-time tuition fees for UK students: £7,280.

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.


Not available to international students

Entry criteria

  • You need to demonstrate that you can work at master’s level which can be achieved through having a first degree, normally 2:2 or above, or by having a range of academic and work experience
  • Applications from individuals with no formal academic qualifications but extensive practical experience will be considered on an individual basis
  • You may be required to undertake pre-registration modules before starting or completing an agreed portfolio of learning in the form of a 2,000 - 2,500 word pre-course assignment, determined at application or interview stage
  • You must be engaged in at least 15 hours of regular and appropriate work, paid or unpaid, per week

You should also normally have:

  • A commitment to anti-oppressive practice
  • Relevant and significant youth and community development 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
  • You will need to attend a programme presentation followed by a 1:1 interview via MS Teams

You must complete a declaration form and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check (formally CRB) 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

This course consists of five core modules, one core field placement module, and one  specialist module. Opportunities exist to exit with a PG Dip, gaining the professional qualification at this stage, or complete the dissertation for a full MA.

Core modules include:

  • Theory and Practice of Youth Work - introduces key concepts in youth and community development work: political (policy), sociological, philosophical, historical and psychological (core for Youth Work and Community Development course only)
  • Theory and Practice of Community Development - focuses on community development and introduces key concepts in relation to practice, policy and the national occupation standards
  • Anti-oppressive Practice - analyses concepts of oppression, discrimination and inequality and develops effective anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory practice
  • Health and Social Research Methods - introduces strategies and methods of social science research commonly used in social and healthcare settings
  • Field Practice - is practice - based (544 hours in total) and provides you with the opportunity to further develop your experience and understanding of the role of the informal educator at EQSB / JNC professional range in an adult and community work setting different to your usual workplace (120 hours), and a further 424 hours, mainly with young people, usually in your own place of work.

  • 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


Plus choose one module from a range of specialist modules, depending on your specific career interests:

  • Mental Health
  • Contemporary Social Issues
  • Global Issues in Youth and Community Development
  • Managing Race and Diversity
  • The Negotiated Module - allows you to formulate, present and implement an individual proposal in an area of professional relevance and interest. This is student led and there is no teaching provided

Please contact us for option module descriptions and further information.

  • Dissertation - students wishing to achieve a master's will 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 modules and most optional modules are launched during one of two block teaching weeks held each year (usually in September and January). Attendance at launch days is compulsory. These are supported by a wide variety of written material, individual and organisational tasks.

You are required to engage in a number of online seminars in each distance learning module, and you are required to identify a supervisor who will primarily support your field practice, but may also provide a dialogue partner to discuss wider issues arising from the course. You will complete a minimum of 544 hours of field practice, of which 424 hours will be based in your own workplace, paid or voluntary focussing on youth work, and 120 hours must be outside of your employing agency focussing on adults and communities.

Through flexible distance learning, you will engage in a supportive learning community.

Assessment is usually by written assignment of 4,000 words per 15-credit module. Field practice assessment requires written evidence, assignments, reflections and reports of competence from the supervisor.


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 six to eight hours studying and revising in your own time each week for part time students (more for full time students), including substantial guided study using module guides, directed readings, online activities, etc. Each student is assigned a practice tutor who will monitor their practice development and communicate via telephone, email or online at least four times with the student and supervisor over the duration of their assessed practice.

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 and a range of papers. 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

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Students are required to complete 544 hours of assessed practice whilst working with a supervisor approved by the University. For most students 424 of these hours are completed in their usual place of work (paid or otherwise) ideally over a period of approximately seven months, followed by a 120 hours Alternative Practice.

The 120 hours are completed in a contrasting work setting over a period of approximately six months, Full time students will be offered guidance to identify a suitable placement for both practices if required, and help is available for part time students to identify an alternative practice. However, all students are responsible for finding suitable placements themselves.

All placements and supervisors need to be approved by the University and help is available to identify a suitable supervisor if required. It is always important for the University to ensure that students will be able to undertake work in their placements that enables them to provide suitable evidence of their competence in the Practice Standards.


Graduate careers

Graduates go into a wide range of senior posts in youth work and community development work and in other related health and educational services in both the public and voluntary sector, all over the world.

An MA is a recommended qualification for workers who want to hold senior positions.

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