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School of Applied Social Sciences

MA Community and Youth Work

Available as a part-time or full-time programme.

This programme is ideal for those who are already practicing or want to practice in the community and youth work field but do not have a professional qualification. This programme is professionally validated by the National Youth Agency (with JNC recognition) and combines professional practice development with academic study. This is accomplished through university-based study, paired with two periods of fieldwork practice.

The programme commences in October of each year. The full-time programme lasts 12 months, and part time lasts 24 months.

The programme is comprised of seven modules, and time is divided between taught elements and fieldwork practice.

Full-time students undertake their first fieldwork practice part-time in terms 1 and 2, with the second period full-time in term 3.
Part-time students attend the University one day per week during terms 1 and 2. Additional study time totalling at least another half a day per week during term time is needed to meet the academic demands of the programme. The fieldwork practice in each year can be undertaken during term 3 and over the summer. The second period of fieldwork practice may be undertaken in existing employment if suitable. The first must be undertaken in another agency/project.

YEAR 1 (part-time) or DAY 1 (full-time)

Youth Policy and Practice

(15 credits)

  • Youth policy in the UK
  • Origins, development, and theoretical underpinnings of youth work
  • Critical overview of contemporary youth work practice Key forms of intervention

Community Policy and Practice

(15 credits)

  • Critical analysis of communities
  • Origins, history, and theoretical approaches to community development
  • Contemporary forms of community development practice
  • Community and public policy

Professional and Personal Development

(30 credits)

  • Theoretical perspectives informing current practice in community and youth work, including:
  • Critical examination of the professional relationship and the paradigm of the reflective practitioner in community and youth work practice
  • Reflection on:
  • Developing understanding and skills in one-to-one communication and groupwork
    • Opportunity to study an area of special professional interest in small groups
    • Occupational standards
    • Professionalism and professional ethics
    • Personal experience of practice
    • Professional and personal values
    • Knowledge and competencies
    • Professional and personal development needs

Fieldwork Practice Development 1

(15 credits)

  • Development of professional practice through undertaking community and youth work in a placement which enables students to relate theory, skills and values to practice

YEAR 2 (part-time) or DAY 2 (full-time)

Management in Community Settings

(30 credits)

  • Critical analysis of a range of perspectives which have informed the management of organisations in community settings, including those relating to:
  • Development of understanding in effectively managing and developing these organisations in the current context to increase their effectiveness in achieving their aims in ways that are consistent with professional values
    • Personnel management
    • Physical resource management
    • Financial management
    • Strategic management
    • Change management

Research in Community and Youth Work

(45 credits)

  • Uses of research in social welfare policy and practice
  • Approaches to social research
  • Ethical issues in research
  • Literature reviewing, sampling, data collection and analysis methods
  • Completion of a piece of research with support from a supervisor

Fieldwork Practice Development 2

(30 credits)

  • Builds upon the skills and knowledge developed in Practice Development 1 through a second placement to further develop practice competencies and abilities to relate theory and practice together
  • To particularly develop skills in service development and management, including planning, implementing and evaluating community and youth work interventions from a practice and management perspective


There are opportunities for students to undertake specialist study on the themes of creativity, faith or sport. Specialisms may be pursued within the Professional and Personal Development module, the research project and fieldwork practice.

Academic learning is assessed through 3,000 word essays, fieldwork reports, self-assessment, oral presentation and a 10,000 word research report. There are no examinations. To gain a Durham University MA, you must gain 180 credits at Masters level (pass mark 50%).

Applicants normally require a degree level qualification or equivalent (including approved professional qualifications), plus at least one year's practice experience in community and youth work or a related field. Where applicants have substantial experience, lower qualifications may be accepted, subject to submission of a written assignment to give evidence of their ability to study at this level. Alternatively, we may suggest you register for an individual module as a short course in the first instance, and use any assignment submitted for that short course to assess your ability to proceed onto a full programme. A Disclosure and Barring Service Enhanced Disclosure will be required on admission, which currently costs £44.

International students also need to satisfy the general requirements for admissions which can be found by following this link: General Requirements for International Students.

As guidance, please can applicants provide 1 academic reference and 1 practice reference.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate in asking.

You can apply for this course through the University's online application process here.