Community Youth Work

BSc (Hons)

2022/23 Part-time Undergraduate course


Bachelor of Science with Honours


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences


Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2022

With this degree you could become:

  • Area Youth Worker
  • Community Youth Worker
  • Detached Youth Worker
  • Session Facilitator
  • Youth Worker
  • Youth Club Manager
  • Residential Support Worker

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • Education Authority
  • Youth Action NI
  • Start360
  • Youth Justice Agency
  • Youth Initiatives
  • Opportunity Youth
  • YMCA


Embark on a professional career working with young people in the community.


The programme will provide you with the professional Community Youth Work qualification recognised by employers throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. This will enable you to work in a wide range of professional settings with many agencies that work with young people. The programme will also provide you with a foundation for postgraduate study.

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About this course


This programme is validated by NSETS (North South Education and Training Standards committee) and confers professional status on those who successfully complete the three years of study.

The programme integrates teaching and practice in its approach to learning. There are three work-based assessed practice modules over the four-year period, which last for an average of 20 weeks at 15 hours per week. The modules of study reflect the need for students to develop knowledge and skills for practice. These include the context of youth work, principles and practice of youth work (interpersonal skills and informal education), psychology, sociology, social policy and management, and supervision theory and practice. Community development and applied independent study also form key elements of the programme.


The duration of this course is four years on a part-time basis.

Attendance is one day each week.

Due to the change of youth work professional training within UK and Ireland it is now necessary to have a degree for professional recognition.

Start dates

  • September 2022

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.

Belfast campus

The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.


High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

Find out more - information about accommodation  

Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  

Belfast campus location info

  Find out more about our Belfast campus


Ulster University
York Street
County Antrim
BT15 1ED

T: 028 7012 3456


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

Year one

The Context of Youth Work

Year: 1

This module assists students to develop a deeper understanding of the backdrop and context within which youth work operates. To understand the backdrop, students will grapple with a historical perspective on how the youth work sector has developed; to include the impact of 'the troubles' on the shape of youth work responses. This understanding of youth work policy will equip students to understand the current structures and funding mechanisms of the youth sector. This module brings together local and global influences, perspectives and drivers that impact upon the direction and practice of youth work. This is foundational in understanding the guiding principles of the youth work discipline.

The Foundations for Youth Work Practice

Year: 1

This module aims to support Community Youth Work students to develop interpersonal skills in working with individuals and groups and understand the pedagogical processes of youth work. It is designed to build upon existing experiences of the student and hence experiential learning and participatory teaching methods are utilised. The module will equip students with the core theoretical concepts and methods of interpersonal skills in a community youth work context. It will provide students with an in-depth grounding in the principles and practices of informal education.

Assessed Practice Level 4

Year: 1

This is a practice based module and is incorporated at each of the three levels of training. At level four there is a strong focus on developing interpersonal skills and relationships within the community youth work context and building the generic action skills needed to operate in a generic youth work setting. Students are assessed against a number of core competency areas and record and reflect on their learning through reflective recordings. Students also carry out work-related tasks to build discipline-specific competence.

Applied Socio-Political Perspectives

Year: 1

The module explores how the approaches of political theory, sociology and social policy can produce practitioners who are better informed about soci-political processes and their impact on young people and communities.

Year two

Power; Inequality and anti-discriminatory practice

Year: 2

This module will give students the opportunity to critically explore what constitutes a just society where goals and outcomes reflect norms of fairness. Students will rigorously critique the patterns of gender and racial inequality along with other marginalised groups, come to recognise the values that underpin diversity. Students will gain knowledge and sound understanding about the rights of social integration and identity.

Pedagogy of Youth Work

Year: 2

The module addresses theories of human development and how they relate to young people's development and learning. Concepts of Risk and Resilience and how a youth worker can intervene to build protective factors in the lives of young people. Education theory is considered and models of learning that are relevant to youth work practice. Finally the module explores how group work and group work facilitation can enable young peoples learning.

Year three

The Northern Ireland Context - Transforming Communities

Year: 3

This module will equip students with the necessary skills to work within contested spaces using community development approaches. Students will gain a sound understanding of the historic and current political processes and begin to develop models of practice. The module focuses on the Northern Ireland perspective using a social policy lens. Students are also encouraged to compare and contrast these approaches from a global perspective.

Assessed Practice Level 5

Year: 3

This is a practice based module and is incorporated at each of the three levels of training. At level five there is a strong focus on understanding youth work across a range of settings within a diverse society. Students will also build up practice skills in working with young people with complex needs and to understand the settings which impact on these. Students are assessed against a number of core competency areas and record and reflect on their learning through reflective recordings. Students also carry out work-related tasks to build discipline-specific competence.

Critical Thinking and Professional Development

Year: 3

The module is designed to enable students to engage in critically thinking and reflection concerning practice and to use this as a tool for professional development and the development of practice in youth work settings. It will enable students to consider their future professional development and how they share practice and influence the development of practice and policy in youth work settings.

Study Of Applied Practice (SOAP)

Year: 3

This module relates to the independent study or evaluation of practice within community and/or youth work practice. This module introduces students to the range of skills and methods employed in community and youth work based research. Students systematically investigate and critically reflect on key aspects of practice thus developing critical discourse and analysis within a professional frame of reference. The final written piece of 6,000 to 7,000 words will reflect the student's autonomous learning and development, knowledge and conceptual understanding of current community or youth work practice.

Year four

Assessed Practice Level 6

Year: 4

This is a practice based module and is incorporated at each of the three levels of training. At level six students are expected to reflect a deepening of understanding in relation to the practical application of learning and to show a growing level of autonomy and independence. The module is assessed against a number of core competency areas and the depth of learning at Level 6 is highlighted in the Assessed Practice Handbook. Students also carry out work-related tasks to build discipline-specific competence.

Ethical Leadership, Management and Supervision

Year: 4

This module is designed to help students understand the essential nature of leadership and management and their relationship to each other. It will also examine supervision skills and how they can be used to develop people and practice.

Standard 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.

A level

Applicants should normally provide evidence of competency in written and spoken English. They must also have attained passes in 4 different subjects, of which one should be an A level and 3 GCSE level, or equivalent approved alternative qualifications as specified by the Youth Work Training Board NI. The University is keen to recruit candidates to this programme who may not meet these academic qualifications but whose experience in the field may be relevant to the programme.


GCSE Profile to include CGSE English Language grade C or above (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

Please note that this course is a "regulated and/or care provision" within the meaning of the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (NI) Order 2003 and the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups (NI) Order 2007. They may involve access to children and/or vulnerable adults and students are required to be subject to the criminal records check and may not complete the course without it. The fee for this is £33.00.

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • Education Authority
  • Youth Action NI
  • Start360
  • Youth Justice Agency
  • Youth Initiatives
  • Opportunity Youth
  • YMCA

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • Area Youth Worker
  • Community Youth Worker
  • Detached Youth Worker
  • Session Facilitator
  • Youth Worker
  • Youth Club Manager
  • Residential Support Worker

Career options

A qualified Community Youth Worker may take up positions with a wide range of employers providing services to young people. In Northern Ireland these range from statutory organisations to voluntary and community agencies such as:

  • Youth Centre Based Work;
  • Projects and area based work in the Education Authority;
  • Community Relations Work;
  • Alternative Education;
  • Various project based work that may address issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, mental health, gender equality etc;
  • Some community youth workers also follow careers in the criminal justice system.

Completion of the degree will also provide you with opportunities to progress to postgraduate study in youth work or related areas.

This programme is endorsed by NSETS (North South Education and Training Standards committee) and confers professional status on those who successfully complete the three years of study.

Work placement / study abroad

Students complete three periods of Assessed Practice. Two of these are in the students current employment. One period is completed in a different youth work agency.

Professional recognition

North/South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS)

Endorsed by the North/South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) (JNC Recognised) for the purpose of professional qualification.


Start dates

  • September 2022

Fees and funding

Module Pricing

The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.

For modules commenced in the academic year 2022/23, the following fees apply:

Module Pricing
Credit Points NI/ROI Cost GB Cost International Cost
120 £4,629.60 £9,249.60 £15,360
60  £2,314.80 £4,624.80 £7,680
30 £1,157.40 £2,312.40 £3,840
20  £771.60 £1,541.60£2,560

NB: A standard full-time undergraduate degree is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.

Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

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

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


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