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Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations

  • Belfast City Council
  • Department of Social Development
  • Lisburn City Council
  • Northern Ireland Housing Executive
  • Volunteer Now
  • Tada Rural Support Network
  • 5 NI Health & Social Care Trusts

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles

  • Community Engagement Officer
  • Regeneration Manager
  • Community Health Development Manager
  • Community Centre Manager
  • Project Co-ordinator
  • Youth Worker
  • Suicide Bereavement Officer


Supporting organic intellectuals to develop professional community development practice in order to transform communities.


This is the only 3rd level qualification in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland which provides you with a specialised degree in Community Development. Endorsed by professional bodies in both jurisdictions, the course will enable you to gain employment in a wide range of settings across the community/voluntary sector and public sector, e.g. local councils, health trusts.

You will have the opportunity to gain high level skills to work effectively in communities, to empower those without a voice in a society, to bring about social change, build capacity and improve the quality of life in disadvantaged and marginalised communities.

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About this course

In this section


You will be introduced to a core body of knowledge and debate on issues relating to inequality and social injustice. You will have an opportunity to explore local and international contexts, in order to gain critical awareness of the role which community development can play in tackling inequality, socio-economic disadvantage and marginalisation across the world. In addition, the course examines the role which community development plays in societies transitioning from conflict, through local and international examples. Modules draw on experience and scholarship from elsewhere in Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, and Europe as well as developments in other urban, post-conflict societies.

You will be encouraged to put knowledge and skills into practice through engagement in critical reflective practice. The course makes links between theory and practice throughout the modules and you will frequently be asked to draw on your own knowledge and experience, to understand and challenge current theories, policies and practice. You will also be equipped with the skills required to engage in community development work, including community engagement, group-work, collaborative working, community learning, good governance and organisational development. In the final year, you will have an opportunity to select a practice project of your choice, related to community development.

Recognisng that community development work occurs in multi-disciplinary settings, the course provides students with opportunities to learn alongside those specialising in youth work. Modelled on best community education practice, active participatory learning forms the core teaching practice on this course.


Attendance is part-time. Students normally attend one day per week 9:30am - 4:30pm over four years throughout this academic year. Study day will change according to the year of entry.

Start dates

  • September 2019
How to apply

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

Applicants should have attained a minimum of 1 A level pass (A-E) or equivalent.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall Access profile [Minimum 40%]


GCSE Profile to include minimum English Language Grade C or equivalent.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

Applicants are expected to be currently working or volunteering in the field of community development, undertaking a minimum of 8hrs per week. Applicants who have significant experience in the field of community development are welcome to apply directly to the university via the university's Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) procedures. For further information please contact the course director Dr Rosemary Moreland. Tel: +44 (0) 2890 368333. Email:

Teaching and learning assessment

The teaching on this course is highly interactive and students are expected to participate fully in all classes. We recognise that there are different styles of learning and therefore our teaching includes a variety of modes, including presentation of information, seminars, tutorials, small group and class discussion, debate and practical activities. We will make use of the university's online teaching tools, in order to ensure that students can access materials off-campus 24/7.

There are no formal examinations for this course and assessment is 100% coursework. To cater for a wide range of learning styles and recognising that this is a professionally endorsed course, we will assess your knowledge, understanding and competence in key skills, through a range of assessment tools, including essays, oral presentations, group-work, debate contributions, peer-seminars, reports, reflective learning logs.

Exemptions and transferability

Applicants with significant experience in working in or with the community or voluntary sectors may apply for exemption from Level 4. Candidates who submit a satisfactory APL portfolio, are eligible for entry directly to Level 5.

Applicants who have successfully completed the Certificate of Higher Education in Community Development are eligible for direct entry to Level 5.

Applicants who have a qualification equivalent to the Certificate of Higher Education in Community Development are eligible via the university's APL process to apply for direct entry to Level 5.

For further information please contact the Course Director.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:

  • Belfast City Council
  • Department of Social Development
  • Lisburn City Council
  • Northern Ireland Housing Executive
  • Volunteer Now
  • Tada Rural Support Network
  • 5 NI Health & Social Care Trusts

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

  • Community Engagement Officer
  • Regeneration Manager
  • Community Health Development Manager
  • Community Centre Manager
  • Project Co-ordinator
  • Youth Worker
  • Suicide Bereavement Officer

Career options

This professional qualification equips graduates with the skills to work in a wide range of positions within the community and voluntary sectors, as well as in the public sector. Whilst graduates often find employment managing projects and organisations within the community and voluntary sector, increasingly areas of the public sector, including local councils, neighbourhood and rural regeneration, health trusts and allied health professions require expertise knowledge and skills in community development approaches.

The course team encourages further study and we currently co-deliver an MSc Community Planning and Governance. There are also opportunities for doctoral research and we welcome applications from graduates for PhD study.

Work placement / study abroad

There are three work-based, assessed practice modules over a four year period, each of which require approximately 15 hours per week over 20 weeks. Two of these modules will be in students' current work or voluntary community practice. Students will normally undertake one work-based assessed practice in a different context, in order to further develop their skills and understanding of community work in alternate settings. There are opportunities for those who wish, to undertake this placement abroad and the staff team will support students in accessing these opportunities.

The Community Development Team have a wide range of local and international networks, to facilitate students in choosing a suitable placement.

Professional recognition

All Ireland Endorsement Body for Community Work Education and Training (AIEB)

For the purpose of benchmarking community work/development as a profession in its own right requiring specific skills.

The Endorsement and Quality Standards Board for Community Development Learning (ESB)

For the purpose of providing a robust system of endorsement of quality for all types of training and learning in Community Development.

Academic profile

The Community Development Team were awarded the Distinguished Teaching Fellowship Award in 2008 for the APEL Community Development Pathway. More recently, in 2016, the Team were awarded the AONTAS Adult Learner National Star Award for this pathway.

Dr Rosemary Moreland and Dr Isobel Hawthorne-Steele are Senior Fellows of the Higher Education Academy and members of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences. Dr Erik Cownie is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to our part-time undergraduate courses are made through the University’s online system.

Start dates

  • September 2019

Fees and funding

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Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 18/19 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU:

Additional mandatory costs

Students are required to pay any additional costs incurred as part of their Ex-Agency work-based assessed practice, including but not restricted to travel, accomodation, subsistence and child-care. If students undertake placements with children or vulnerable adults, they will be required to undergo police vetting and will be responsible for paying the appropriate fee.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


"Support and guidance was very good...the tutors were fantastic and I learned so much from others in the class".

"I did my placement with Community Restorative Justice...I learned so much about human rights....this has guided my career and my post-graduate learning".

"You can get bogged down in your own are with like-minded people all the time. In a mixed group you are likely to be challenged and this makes you question your own biases and prejudices. I must admit I had not sat down and heard the 'other' perspective. I am a lot more confident now in dealing with different views".

"Beforehand, I never felt capable...doing the degree has transformed my confidence...I see posts advertised, now I think 'why not? I could apply for that!'"

"The degree was a challenge alright...but worth it. The qualification opens doors, the learning supports my practice and there are half a dozen of the class I am still in regular contact with".

"I just feel the degre has given me so many career options...and I have made lasting friendships with ones I have met on the course 7 or 8 years ago...we still catch up, the odd email, coffee in town. I have asked for help with funding...and they would ask me".