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Youth Work, Health and Community Development MA/PG Dip

Professionally validated and recognised, Youth Work, Health and Community Development places a focus on well-being and the social and welfare aspects of health in relation to work with young people and communities.

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This programme is currently JNC recognised and is seeking revalidation.



The course offers flexibility with a professional qualification, enabling successful graduates to practice as qualified youth work, health and community development workers in the UK.

Reasons to study Youth Work, Health and Community Development at DMU:

  • Professional validation by the National Youth Agency (NYA) and recognition by the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC); ensuring your course is quality checked and meets a specific standard
  • Endorsed by the Endorsement and Quality Standards Board (ESB) for Community Development Learning – the course meets nationally recognised standards, is high quality and provides continuous professional development desirable to employers
  • Achieve planned change and enhance your employment opportunities with modules specifically designed for staff in local authorities, the NHS, voluntary, third sector and non-governmental organisations; ensuring your learning is relevant to current practice
  • Opportunities to study part-time or full time  alongside your work commitments, mainly through distance learning
  • Develop your practical and professional skills, putting theory in to practice with dedicated work placement modules
  • Develop as an innovative, progressive practitioner, able to engage reflectively with concepts and practices of social justice and equality
  • Benefit from inter-professional learning as the course attracts professionals from youth work and a variety of settings across the UK, including: parenting education, children’s centres, sexual health, drug abuse, housing and homelessness, youth offending, mental health, community development and domestic violence
  • Our teaching draws on the experiences of our diverse academic team; many of whom are actively engaged in professional practice, research and consultancy
  • Benefit from an international reputation for academic excellence in the field and over 55 years’ professional training experience

This course is suitable for staff in local authorities, the NHS, voluntary and third sector who use group work, informal learning and activity, outreach and community work as part of their role; particularly those working with young people and adults often identified as hard to reach. Youth Work, Health and Community Development’s sister professional qualification course Youth Work and Community Development places more of a focus on informal education.

More courses like this:

Health and Community Development Studies

Youth and Community Development Studies

Youth Work and Community Development PQ

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Institution code: D26


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

Two teaching block weeks on campus each year in early October 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 – its timing is dependent on whether students enrol in October or January.

Start date:

  • October for full-time and part-time, offers the professional qualification and practice hours
  • January for part-time only

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

Fees and funding:
For 2020/21 full-time and part-time tuition fees will be £6,930

Find out more about postgraduate course fees and available funding.

Find out more about the Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarships worth up to £6,000.

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

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


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Not available to international students.


Entry criteria

  • You need to demonstrate that you can work at masters 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 complete 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 12 hours of 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 an interview - telephone interviews can be arranged if needed

You must complete a declaration form and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (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 dmu.ac.uk/international 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 option 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:

  • Issues of Health and Well-being - introduces key concepts of health and well-being and the context of youth work and community development Theory and Practice of Community Development - 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 (150 hours) and provides you with the opportunity to further develop your experience and understanding of the role of the informal educator at JNC professional range in an adult and community work setting different to your usual workplace, where you will undertake 500 hours mainly with young people
  • 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

Please contact us for option module descriptions and further information.

  • Dissertation - students wishing to achieve a masters will choose a health related topic identified in discussion with academic staff

Teaching and assessment

All core modules and most optional modules are launched during one of two block teaching weeks held each year, usually in October 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 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 600 hours of field practice, of which 450 hours will be based in your own workplace, paid or voluntary, and 150 hours must be outside of your employing agency.

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 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 sixteen students. Personal tutorials and dissertation supervision are either conducted by telephone, 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 meet via telephone or skype 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 six 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:

  • A specialist expertise and interest in global youth and community development work (resulting in numerous conferences and publications by Dr Momodou Sallah, a leading expert in this area, who has also been recently awarded The Times Higher Education Most Innovative  Teacher of the Year 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)
  • The context, management and operation of children and young people’s services (Mary Tyler)

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

The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (other than in exceptional circumstances) and offers a huge range of online resources, all of which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose.

The library is run by dedicated staff who offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching and reference management and assistive technology, and mathematical skills for non-maths students. There is also a Just Ask service for help and advice, available via email or telephone.

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



Students are required to complete 600 hours of assessed practice whilst working with a supervisor approved by the University. For most students 450 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 150 hours Alternative Practice. The 150 hours are completed in a contrasting work setting over a period of approximately six months,

Full time students will be offered help to identify a suitable placement for both practices if required, and help is available for part time students to identify an alternative practice although most students prefer to find somewhere suitable 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 in to a wide range of senior posts in youth work and health and community development work in both the public and voluntary sector. An MA is a recommended qualification for workers to hold senior positions.

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If you’ve completed an undergraduate degree at DMU, then you can benefit from a tuition fee discount of up to 50 per cent on our postgraduate courses. The discount is available on selected full-time, part-time and distance learning postgraduate courses running across multiple start dates. 

The discount, based on academic achievement and merit, applies automatically to all DMU UK and EU students who are graduating this year or have graduated within the past two years and achieved a 2:1 (or equivalent) or above. Learn more here.


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