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Applied Anthropology and Community and Youth Work (with professional validation) - MA

  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Anthropology

  • Start Date

    See Course

  • Course Duration

    1 y full time, 2 yrs part time

  • Course Type

    MA

  • Course Fees

    website

  • Last Updated

    08 December 2017

Course content

Professionally validated by the National Youth Agency, this programme brings together community development and youth work practice with the research methods and theoretical preoccupations of anthropology.

This programme is fully endorsed by the National Youth Agency for pay and qualification purposes.

This MA is the first of its kind in the country, combining academic and professional qualifications. It is aimed at students who wish to pursue a career in youth and community work and who need a professional qualification. 

Taught jointly by the Departments of Anthropology, and Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies, the programme reflects the common concerns of lecturers in both disciplines.

Established in 1992, it is the first of three pathways, with an additional MA in Applied Anthropology and Community Development launched in 2012 and an MA in Applied Anthropology and Community Arts launched in 2015. The three pathways entail different placements but are taught together, providing much opportunity for exchange of ideas and collaboration amongst students.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Pauline von Hellermann (Department of Anthropology)or Dr Kalbir Shukra (Department of Social and Therapeutic Studies)

Modules & structure

The MA combines an academic programme of lectures, seminars and tutorial assignments with practical experience.

Modules are taken over one academic year if you are studying full-time, and two years if you are studying part-time (part-time study only available to home/EU students).

Full-time students attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays and spend the rest of the week on fieldwork placements and library studies.

Part-time students attend on Thursdays in one year and Tuesdays in the other and spend some of the week on fieldwork placements and library studies

The Department of Anthropology teaches two of the core components of your degree: Contemporary Social Issues and Anthropological Research Methods.

  • The Contemporary Social Issues module runs through the Autumn and Spring Term, with lectures and student-led seminars alternating on a weekly basis. In the autumn it explores key analytical concepts in anthropology and related social sciences relevant to youth and community work, such as class, gender, race and culture. The Spring Term addresses more specific contemporary social issues affecting communities and young people, such as transnationalism, mental health, gentrification and new media. The module is assessed by a take-home exam in May.
  • Anthropological Research Methods is taught in the Spring Term. Here, you will become familiar with ethnographic research and writing. Through literature and practical research exercises (five days of fieldwork is attached to this module), you will learn about different methods of data collection including surveys, in-depth interviews, participant observation and participatory research. It combines weekly lectures and seminar-based work with the completion of a small individual project in the second term. Assessment is by essay, combining project material with theoretical literature.

In addition we strongly encourage all students, in particular those without a background in anthropology, to sit in on other MA option courses offered by the anthropology department, such as Anthropological Theory, Anthropology of Development, Anthropology of Violence, Anthropology of Art and Anthropology and the Environment.

The Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies runs the three fieldwork modules, which involve placements that, are supported by seminars, lectures, workshops and tutorials.

This MA pathway entails a total of 400 hours. This is divided between 20 hours of observations and 380 hours of placements, consisting of three placements with at least two different organisations. The accompanying teaching is divided into three modules.

  • Fieldwork I: Perspectives and Approaches (80 hours practice) In this module you explore key themes, principles, values and competing perspectives underlying youth work and community development. The value of experiential learning approaches and critical pedagogy in informal learning and community development are explored alongside group work principles, processes and theories. You consider your own values and reflect on your practice perspective.
  • Fieldwork 2: Critical Practice (150 hours practice) In this module you critically analyse the changing context of community development and youth work practice, develop as critically reflective practitioners and learn how to recognise and challenge discrimination and oppression. Key themes include ethical dilemmas faced in practice, youth participation and methods of engaging communities with a view to facilitating ‘empowerment’.
  • Fieldwork 3: Management, Enterprise and Development (150 hours practice plus twenty hours observations) This module advances critical understanding of the management of projects, staff and resources, the legal context of community and youth work, how to produce funding bids, prepare budgets and grapple with the issues and processes involved in developing a social enterprise as well as monitoring and evaluation. 

All three modules are currently assessed by an essay, documents completed by the student in relation to the placement and community development national occupational standards learning, a report by the placement supervisor and a fieldwork contract form.

The final placement also involves an assessment of the observations. Overall, at least 200 hours of all fieldwork must be face-to-face with the 11 - 25 year age group.

Download the programme specification, relating to the 2017-18 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Skills & careers

Our graduates find work directly or indirectly related to the disciplines relatively quickly after graduating, or even while on the programme. The majority of our students gain work in youth work or community work. Examples of recent graduate employment include:

  • Full-time health youth worker for a London Borough, leading on LGBTQ awareness and homophobic bullying
  • Community Centre based youth worker
  • Mentoring and Befriending Co-ordinator at a civil society equalities organisation
  • Community Development Worker in a social work team in Hong Kong

Some seek and gain work in a wide range of other settings, often shaped by the particular interests that they develop during their time with us, such as working with refugees or with disability groups. Others join social enterprises to bid for contracts, join newly developing cooperatives or established NGOs in the UK and abroad.


Visit the Applied Anthropology and Community and Youth Work (with professional validation) - MA page on the Goldsmiths, University of London website for more details!

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