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Youth and Community Leadership MA

Key Facts

  • Level:


  • Duration:

    1 year full-time
    2 years part-time

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK:

    Full time: £7,470
    Part time:  £830 (20 credits), £1,245 (30 credits)

  • Fees International:


  • Location:


Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries
0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries
+44 (0)1604 894503

TEF Gold. Teaching Excellence Framework.


The MA Youth and Community Leadership programme equips students with the skills to become resilient, innovative and socially responsible practitioners, leaders and managers.

With a strong emphasis on evidence based best practice and learning through reflecting on practice the programme is suited to both to those embarking on a youth and community work career as well as those wishing to progress within statutory, private, voluntary or independent sector organisations.

Updated 12/05/2021


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Course Content

  • This course has been designed to contribute towards achieving the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goal: SDG11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.

    The programme is professionally validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA) and recognised by the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC).

    The full-time course runs over a 12 month period from early September until the end of August.  Students study 7 modules, all of which are mandatory and aimed at meeting the contemporary challenges of youth and community leadership, topics studied:

    • Investigating Contemporary Issues – theories and concepts
    • Practice Placements (400 hours – 2 placements of 200 hours each)
    • Leadership and Management – Operational and Strategic
    • Principled Youth and Community Work – theories to practice
    • Transforming Professional Practice – research skills and project development.

    The academic team have professional qualifications and extensive experience within youth and community development, social work and counselling. They maintain and continually develop their professional skills through ongoing practice, leadership and management roles in community based organisations, partnership working in the locality and ongoing research and study.

    To be eligible for the award of MA Youth and Community Leadership students must successfully complete all compulsory modules worth 180 credits.

    In order to gain the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) recognised professional qualification in youth and community work (Validated by the National Youth Agency) students must also pass SWKM031 and SWKM033 (2 x 200 hour placement).

    Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) in Youth and Community Leadership: To be eligible for the award of Postgraduate Diploma students must successfully complete 120 credits.

    Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) in Higher Education: To be eligible for the award of Postgraduate Certificate students must successfully complete 60 credits. Gaining this award does not qualify for a JNC recognised professional qualification in youth and community work

    List of modules:

      • Module code: SWKM029
        Status: Compulsory
        This module applies the theories and models underpinning principled youth and community work to areas of contemporary practice. Students draw on relevant research and evidence-based practice to explore approaches to tackling contemporary issues and propose and justify their own innovative responses. There is a strong focus on developing and advocating professional values.
      • Module code: SWKM030
        Status: Compulsory
        This module examines the theory and practice of operational leadership and management in youth and community provision. Students consider the operational decisions needed in a range of contexts taking into account diverse stakeholder needs circumstances and resources. The module develops understanding of the responsibilities of the manager in relation to compliance ethics assessing risk and the wellbeing of staff volunteers and those engaging with services.
      • Module code: SWKM031
        Status: Compulsory
        This module enables students to experience working in a professional youth work setting through a 200 hour supervised placement. Students develop the ability to select and apply methods which are research/evidence based to meet the current demands of societal challenges and practice climate. The module draws on understanding of contemporary issues and develops practice methods to equip students to effectively advocate social justice of young people and their communities.
      • Module code: SWKM032
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to enable students to critically evaluate the ethical legal political economic and social factors that shape contemporary youth and community work practice. The module explores local national and global influences taking an evidence-based approach which develops the analytical and critical thinking skills that underpin contemporary practice.
      • Module code: SWKM033
        Status: Compulsory
        This module enables students to develop leadership and management skills through a professional 200 hour supervised placement. Students draw on critical theoretical understanding of leadership and management to analyse and develop their own practice in leading social change for young people and communities in the current professional landscape.
      • Module code: SWKM034
        Status: Compulsory
        This module examines the theory and practice of strategic leadership and management in youth and community provision and the decisions needed in a range of contexts taking into account diverse stakeholder collaborations contracts and commissions. The module develops understanding of strategic responsibilities in order to make decisions about resourcing provision influencing and strategy development and monitoring and evaluating its effectiveness.
      • Module code: SWKM035
        Status: Compulsory
        In this module students identify and investigate an area of current professional practice and using methods appropriate to the topic and context propose strategies and solutions. Students consider a range of theories and practical factors informing and influencing youth and community work in order to create an actionable plan to implement change and evaluate its effectiveness.
  • This programme welcomes applicants from those with a wide variety of educational qualifications, including undergraduate degrees as well as those who can demonstrate skills and experience gained through paid or voluntary roles with individuals or communities.

    Applicants should demonstrate:

    • in their personal statement the relevant work or voluntary experience they have gained with young people or adults in a community related setting.
    • All suitable candidates will be required to attend an interview as part of the selection process.

    All offers of a place on the programme are subject to:

    • Successful interview by the University and;
    • Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report (this does not mean an applicant must have a ‘clear’ DBS. However any DBS issues will need to be discussed prior to interview (where possible) and full enrolment on the programme.
  • 2021/22 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 21/22 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full time: £7,470
    • UK – Part time: £830 (20 credits), (30 credits) £1,245
    • International – Full Time: £14,000
    2020/21 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 20/21 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK and EU Full time: £7,425
    • UK and EU Part time: £825 (20 credits), £1,235 (30 credits)
    • International: £13,750
    Scholarships and Bursaries

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

  • National Youth Agency (NYA)

    The programme is professionally validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA) and recognised by the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC).

  • Two placements of 200 hours each are incorporated in the programme, these have been developed to National Youth Agency (NYA) requirements and aligned to the National Occupational Standards. Portfolios of evidence including mentors reports and personal reflections will be used to assess the placements.

  • How will I be assessed?

    Students will be assessed using tools relevant to practice, whilst these need to meet the academic regulation of the university they are designed to mirror the written, verbal or virtual information used within youth and community leadership practice. For example  a community profile, project plan or funding application rather than an essay require students to evidence their knowledge and understanding whilst using skills relevant to current and future practice.

    What is the Research project about?

    A 60 credit module ‘Transforming Professional Practice’ gives MA students the opportunity of carrying out a research project based on either primary or secondary evidence and linked to a contemporary issue or module topic relevant to the programme.

    Who to contact for more information?

    For further information about the course please contact Victoria Boulton, the Senior Lecturer in MA Youth and Community Leadership, by email: or Jodie Low, Practice Lead, at:

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Careers and Employability

The MA Youth and Community Leadership qualification and professional youth work status (validated by NYA) enables graduates to seek employment in a range of settings across the UK and internationally. These are just some examples of organisations and services that provide opportunities for youth and community leaders:

  • Charities and Community Interest Companies.
  • Statutory Organisations – local authorities; police and fire service; health service.
  • Schools, Colleges and Universities.
  • Faith based groups.
  • Uniformed services.
  • Housing Associations and others.

Roles can be in geographic areas with youth people and communities or in specialist areas of support such as: care leavers; carers; LGBT+;  drug and alcohol services; domestic abuse; access to employment and training; mental health; mentoring; homelessness.