Course Overview

If you are seeking a career in the voluntary or statutory sector of Youth Work and Community Development or related fields (eg homelessness, substance misuse, youth offending, social welfare and work with specialist client groups), this is the ideal programme for you. It is challenging, stimulating and addresses contemporary issues. It includes both historical and contemporary evidence and theory to inform and develop your skills and good practice in Youth Work and Community Development. In the School of Childhood and Youth you will have access to the full range of facilities and the chance to share your opinions and experiences with your fellow practitioners. You will also have the opportunity for international travel to support your studies which is partly supported by the course.

The Postgraduate Diploma Youth Work and Community Development course is validated by the National Youth Agency on behalf of the Joint Negotiating Committee. Successful achievement of the Postgraduate Diploma Award confers professionally qualified status for Youth Workers in England. The optional MA Youth Work and Community Development carries professional recognition if it is completed as an intermediate award from the successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma.

To help inform your decision, the Youth Work and Community Development team and/or current students, alumni or Student Ambassadors would be more than willing to share their experiences with you as part of the application process.

Course Structure

This intensive modular course strives to enable you to critically understand how communities function and how their needs change within prevailing social, economic and political realities. In doing so, you will learn to develop contextual approaches with appropriate skills, knowledge and values. Completion of six modules including the work-based learning/professional placement and leadership and management/professional placements leads to a Postgraduate Diploma following one year of full-time study.

As an MA student, you will spend an extended period of time working on your dissertation.

Modules Covered

Modules covered:

Year One (Postgraduate Diploma):

  • Self, Identity Within Communities of Practice (20 credits)
  • The Professional Practitioner (20 credits)
  • Critical Issues in Contemporary Society (20 credits)
  • Research in Communities (20 credits)
  • Work Based Learning/Professional Placement 1 (20 credits)
  • Leadership and Management/Professional Placement 2 (20 credits

Year Two (MA):

  • Dissertation (60 credits)


Learning Methods

The learning process seeks to capitalise upon the different experiences students bring with them. The methods of learning and teaching encourage self-responsibility, critical comparison and focus and direction. Our aim is to empower you by facilitating personal choice, participation, involvement and evaluative learning.

Module content will be delivered through lecture, seminar, group work, group and individual tutorial support, personal study time, and provision of multi-media resources through the College's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You will have the opportunity to link theory to practice through significant time in the workplace. Lectures will communicate the theoretical content of the module to students; however, throughout delivery, and across all levels, you will be expected to relate theory to practice through practice-based observations and exercises, developing a deep understanding of the application of theory to practice.

Teaching Methods

Our learning and teaching strategies have been designed to develop your employment skills, Youth Work and Community Development skills and to link theory and practice in a variety of critical, reflective, challenging and stimulating ways. In particular, the Personal Development Planning and Practice Based Learning modules enhance your learning and help you to develop useful approaches for your future work.

The Masters team have a collegiate approach to Level 7 teaching and learning. You will be accepted into a culture of reflective practice where you should expect to generate your own questions and solutions in interaction with peers and tutors on an on-going basis. Online communication is a crucial component of this continually developing community of practice, and you will be expected to engage from your first weeks on the programme.



Assessment on the course takes place in a variety of ways. Written assignments, research reports, essays, examinations, presentations and dissertation are amongst the range of summative (graded) assessment formats. Formative (feedback only) assessment  opportunities are included in all modules, often with a seminar presentation and peer assessment, providing a less pressurised opportunity for you to assess your own learning, and a chance to both give and receive peer feedback, developing critical, analytical and leadership skills, progressing towards personal and academic maturity.

Work Placement/Fieldwork

Fieldwork placements (locally, regionally and internationally) play an essential part in the professional training of youth and community development workers. It is essential that students undertaking postgraduate professional courses in Youth Work and Community Development have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge to a level which equips them to deliver and lead work in a range of professional settings. Therefore, the course provides the opportunity for placements so that you can experience work in diverse contexts and demonstrate their competence in performing a range of youth and community work roles. The course programme provides the opportunity to relate theory to practice and to develop theory based on practice.

What's Next?

Youth Work and Community Development courses at Bradford have a very high success rate for obtaining full-time employment for our graduates in all parts of the country. Graduates will be able to gain employment within a variety of settings with young people, adults and community groups. For example:

  • Centre or club-based youth work
  • Secondary schools and extended school settings
  • Neighbourhood community work
  • Detached work
  • Issue-based youth work and community development
  • Social work services with communities and young people
  • Community health projects (incl. drugs and alcohol work)
  • Unemployment and training projects
  • Housing and homelessness projects
  • Work with young people and adults with special needs
  • Criminal Justice work
  • Outdoor education.

The programme of study can be designed around your current role – using this as a focus for many modules. The course also supports you extending and developing your role outside its current limits.

Did You Know?

The postgraduate programme provides a unique learning opportunity for you to develop your personal and professional practice through participating in practice based placements. Such opportunities enable you to experience and get a flavour of the diverse practice setting and context of youth and community work. The programme also enables you to gather experience and insight of the changing policy and legal implications for practice. The final placement experience also enables you to focus on a particular area of practice you have an interest in. You could also support this experience by carrying out research in this field. Such opportunities enhance your CV, practice portfolio and your employability.

Entry Requirements

A First Degree in a relevant subject, normally at 2.2 or above will be required.

Although a social science qualification is preferred, it is not essential as long as you can show that you will benefit from the course and have the potential to become a competent youth and community professional practitioner.

You will also need a minimum of 12 months' relevant voluntary or paid experience with young people aged 13 plus within a Youth Work and Community Development setting.

We require a satisfactory DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check and health check for admission to this course.

You must be committed to anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory values.

If you are in full employment and want to study part time, you must ensure that your employer will support you and meet the placement requirements.

If you meet the above requirements you may be invited for an interview.

The Postgraduate Diploma Award is subject to variations imposed by the professional awarding bodies (NYA/JNC).

Information, Advice and Support

Careers Guidance

Help with choosing the right course and with thinking about where this might take you in the future.
Tel: 01274 433043

Learning Support

Support for applicants with a learning difficulty, disability, illness or other learning need.
Tel: 01274 438999

For all other queries call 01274 433333

Fees Information

We believe that quality degrees should not cost the earth. That's why our competitive tuition fees provide you with a quality experience that includes more taught hours than those at most universities, good levels of tutor access, and support with small teaching groups. More information on our competitive tuition fees