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Community and Youth Work (MA)

Course Description

This programme provides an exciting opportunity to develop professional practice that is supported by an in-depth theoretical understanding for those working in a wide range of careers with young people and communities. The programme attracts practitioners from a wide range of contexts and countries, enabling learning in an internationally-comparative context. At the same time, it enables students to become professionally validated by the National Youth Agency (with JNC recognition) for practice in the UK. Learning on the programme incorporates reflective professional approaches to informal education which enable the development of young people and communities. These are integrated together with wider critical learning on shaping the wider social, political and organisational context in which such practice takes place. The programme combines academic study on taught modules, two periods of fieldwork practice and students conducting their own choice of research with support from experienced researchers. The fieldwork practice placements enable students to develop their practice within local agencies (e.g. local charities and non-governmental organisations) with supported from experienced supervisors. Find out more about the programme from staff and students by watching our short videos.

Course structure

Core modules:
-Community Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Youth Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Professional and Personal Development (30 credits)
-Management in Community Settings (30 credits)
-Research in Professional Practice (45 credits)
-Fieldwork Practice Development 1 (15 credits)
-Fieldwork Practice Development 2 (30 credits)

Students are required to pay for travel costs to and from their fieldwork practice placement.

Academic learning is assessed through 3,000 word essays, fieldwork reports, self-assessment, oral presentation and a 10,000 word research report. There are no examinations. To gain a Durham University MA, you must gain 180 credits at Masters level (pass mark 50%)..

Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a range of lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, reflective practice seminars, research seminars, fieldwork practice and study visits.

Within an ethos of informal education, our teaching and learning incorporates a range of methods which reflect this and time is allocated to provide a balance between tutor-led and self-directed learning. The programme is taught as part of a group of programmes, which attract practitioners from a wide range of contexts and countries, enabling learning in an internationally-comparative context, whilst including a particular focus on UK policy and practice.

Typically, taught sessions provide students with academic input on a particular area of the professional discipline of community and youth work and reflect the diverse range of community and youth settings within which practice takes place. Drawing from relevant literature and legislation and acknowledging the related range of professional skill, competence and understanding, issues are identified for discussion, drawn from historical and contemporary contexts. Seminars provide the opportunity for students to discuss and debate the issues, to share ideas and experience, broaden their understanding and test out their knowledge gained through the taught sessions and independent study. Classroom learning provides students with the latest research and critical theory on the subject area. Two assessed periods of fieldwork practice offer opportunities for learning in practice settings related to community and youth work.

The MA Community and Youth Work provides the student with a learning opportunity within which they can apply and test understanding, knowledge and skills related to professional roles and responsibilities in practice settings. A critical examination of the relationship of theory and practice is central to this.

Core modules are structured to enable students to attend university for teaching on an average of one day per week (part time) or two days per week (full time), so that their study can fit around other commitments that they may have.

The programme is assessed through continual assessment using a range of methods including written assignments, reflective journals, individual and group presentations, and assessed fieldwork practice. There is an expectation that students will undertake independent study to prepare and plan for their classes, through reading relevant literature and legislation, journals and drawing on their current and previous practice experience.

The Community and Youth Work Programme is part of the School of Applied Social Sciences and is significantly involved with the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action at Durham University, as well as being a partner in many collaborative pieces of research and professional practice developments. There are therefore many events and initiatives that students are encouraged to attend, such as extra-curricular training, research seminars and workshops to broaden their understanding and deepen their knowledge of wider issues related to the professional discipline.

Other admission requirements

Applicants with substantial professional experience may be admitted by concession without an upper second class honours degree, providing that they have demonstrated an ability to undertake Masters level work. All applicants for this programme have to pass an informal interview, which can be conducted either in person in Durham or via telephone/webcam. This will also give applicants an opportunity to find out more about the programme from a member of the teaching team and have any questions answered. If potential applicants have any queries about the entry criteria or programme before making an application, we are happy to respond to informal queries at any stage and to discuss the programme with you.

Admission is subject to satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service Enhanced Disclosure check being undertaken upon an offer of a place being made, to assess whether applicants have any previous convictions that prevent them from working with vulnerable people. The cost of a DBS check is currently £44.

Visit the Community and Youth Work (MA) page on the Durham University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally an upper second class honours degree or equivalent. At least one year’s full-time practice experience in community and youth work or a related field (or part-time equivalent) is also required. We will take into account applicant’s individual circumstances in determining this, and are happy to consider both paid and voluntary experience in determining whether this requirement is met. As guidance, please can applicants provide 1 academic reference and 1 reference which relates to their practice experience when applying. See course description for further admission details.

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