Transformng communities: empowering people.
The degree is designed to develop understanding and knowledge of the links between poverty, social exclusion, alienation and resilience in local, national and international contexts. It explores relationships between community development approaches, social economy principles and problem solving activities of social entrepreneurship. It does all of this within the context of the equality and human rights provisions of the Northern Ireland Act (1998). Students have the opportunity to investigate links between community development and community education in the restoration of communal-esteem and the promotion of social cohesion and positive inter and intra community relations. Concepts are introduced to assist students in the understanding and analysis of developmental and educational processes and practices. In all of this formal and informal connections between community development organisations, funding, policy making, and how these shape everyday experiences are scrutinised. These approaches underpin the principles and values of the field’s National Occupational Standards.
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About this course
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The course seeks to embark students upon a transformatory journey, which will enable them to challenge hidden assumptions, long-held beliefs and popular misconceptions. Students are introduced to a core body of knowledge and debate on issues relating to inequality and social injustice and how these impact upon marginalised and disadvantaged communities. Underpinned by the National Occupational Standards in Community Development, the course seeks to engage students in a critical exploration of the issues and challenges facing those working in this field, whilst upholding the core values of community development. Students 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. 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. Throughout, the focus is on the relationships between analysis, process, practicalities and competence. Students have the opportunity to put knowledge and experience into practice through engagement in critical reflective practice. The course seeks to make links between theory and practice thorughout the modules of study and students will frequently be asked to draw on their own knowledge and experience, to understand and challenge current theories, policies and practice. Students will also be equipped with the skills required to engage in community development work, including community engagement, community audits, asset-mapping, and project management. In the final year, students will develop an understanding of social science research methods and engage in a research project of their choice, related to community development. Students will also learn about different forms of communication and gain understanding of appropriate methods of communicating information to a variety of audiences.
Attendance is part-time. Students normally attend one day per week over three years to complete Levels 5 & 6.
- September 2017
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.
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There are no A level requirements for this course.
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
This course is offered by the university at Levels 5 & 6. Applicants should normally have successfully completed the Certificate of Higher Education in Community Development, which is offered by Belfast Metropolitan College and North-West Regional College. Applicants who have 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. The Community Development Team run a short course in Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) each year in Semester 2, to facilitate experienced applicants submitting an APL portfolio. For further information please contact Ms. Ruth Chapman Tel: +44 (0) 2890 366680 Email: email@example.com
Teaching and learning assessment
The teaching on this course is highly interactive and students are expected to participate fully in all classes. Teaching is normally in 3 hour blocks, incorporating lectures (information-giving), seminars, tutorials, small group and class discussion, debate, and practical activities. Students will be allocated a Studies Advisor, who will meet with them at least once per semester.
Exemptions and transferability
Applicants with experience in working in or with the community or voluntary sectors may apply for exemption from Level 4. Candidates who successfully complete Level 4 APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning) and submit a satisfactory portfolio and/or sucessful by interview, 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.
Careers & opportunities
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Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:
- Belfast City Council
- Civil Service Department of Social Developer
- Department of Social Development
- Lisburn City Council
- Northern Ireland Housing Executive
- South-City Resource and development Centre
- Volunteer Now
Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:
- Community Development Coordinator
- community Health Development Worker
- Forum Support Worker
- Programme Development Manager
- Regional Development Manager
- COMMUNITY CENTRE MANAGER
- Community Engagement Officer
The course is professionally endorsed by the English Standards Board and the All Ireland Endorsement Board. 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 the Community Development Unit welcomes applications from graduates for PhD study.
Work placement / study abroad
There are compulsory placements in Year 1 (Level 5) and Year 2 (Level 6). In Year 1, students are expected to use their current work experience within the community development field, to reflect on their practice, mapped against a key area of the National Occupational Standards in Community Development Work.
In Year 2, students are expected to take a part-time placement in Semester 2, in an organisation that they are not currently or have not previously worked in. Where feasible, students are encouraged to undertake an international placement. The Community Development Team have a wide range of local and international networks, to facilitate students in choosing a suitable placement.
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.
Ms. Eilish Rooney is a member of the Transitional Justice Research Institute and has been returned in all of the national Research Exercises. Her work on the Grassroots Transitional Justice Toolkit has recently gained international recognition. Dr Rosemary Moreland and Dr Isobel Hawthorne-Steele are Senior Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. Dr Erik Cownie is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Applications to our part-time undergraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.
Applicants are expected to have obtained the Certificate of Higher Education in Community Development, prior to entry onto the degree. Experienced applicants may apply directly to the degree and will be advised of the process for entry via accreditation of prior learning.How to apply
- September 2017
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy
- Northern Ireland & EU:
Additional mandatory costs
Students are required to pay any additional costs incurred as part of their Ex-Agency (Level 6) placement, including but not restricted to travel, accomodation, subsistence and child-care.
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.
Course Director: Dr Isobel Hawthorne-Steele
T: +44 (0)28 9036 8546
"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 community...you 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".