Community and Youth Work Studies BA (Hons)

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Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

If you are applying for this course within the UK/EU, click apply now

Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

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Transform the lives of vulnerable communities. Empower disadvantaged young people to achieve their potential. Qualify for an incredibly satisfying career where you'll be changing lives every day.

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This course combines an honours degree with a professional qualification in youth work, training you to become a fully qualified youth worker with a nationally recognised professional qualification.

Why us?

  • Our Social Work courses (which include Community and Youth Work Studies) are in the top 25% in the UK for Organisation and management, according to the National Student Survey 2018
  • This course has 100% Overall Satisfaction according to the National Student Survey 2019
  • Professionally validated by the National Youth Agency
  • ‘World-leading’ research in Social Work, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • Our Social Work courses were ranked 1st overall in the UK in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey
  • 93.4% of our graduates are in employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers)
  • Opportunity to study abroad as part of the course
  • Innovative cross-faculty learning opportunities
  • Our Social Work courses (which include Community and Youth Work Studies) were ranked 2nd in the UK for Assessment and Feedback, and 2nd in the UK for Retention and Progression in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey

Course structure

Community and Youth Work is a vocation, and it’s important to learn from real work-based experience as well as from academic study. For this reason, work placements are an integral part of the degree. By the time you graduate you will have spent at least 888 hours in professional practice.

If you’re already working in a community and youth work setting, then you may be able to take a placement at your workplace, as long as the work is relevant and there are adequate supervision arrangements in place. You’ll also need to complete at least one placement in a setting which is not your workplace, to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from your placement experience.

Our teaching style is true to the collaborative, empowering and reflective nature of Community and Youth Work. You will be assessed through essays, group work, presentations, reports and reflective pieces; assessment methods are clearly linked to the skills needed in practice. Throughout your degree you will have one to one support from a designated lecturer who will support your progress from Fresher’s week to Graduation.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Learning from Lives (20 credits)

This module gets you thinking about how our lives are shaped by context. You will learn to explore your experiences and learn how your values and beliefs have developed. With awareness of self, you are able to further understand others.

  • Understanding Society (20 credits)

By exploring social theories we explore the concepts of society and their relationship to community and youth work practice. You will work cooperatively to embed the theory into a working investigation of a local community.

  • Principles of Informal Education (20 credits)

By exploring key principles underpinning the concept of Informal Education you will be able to understand the intricacy of your Community and Youth Work experiences.

  • Skills for Practice (20 credits)

This module offers you an understanding of the academic skills needed for university and the basic skills required for practice of Community and Youth Work. This is a great way to start your journey with us.

  • Placement Part One (20 credits)

Throughout the year you will undertake a placement of work in a local community and or youth project. Here you will learn all the things you can't in a classroom but importantly you will use your practice placement experience to explore, examine and develop your skills and knowledge.

  • Placement Part Two (20 credits)

A second placement module allows you the flexibility to undertake another placement with a different organisation if you do not wish to, or are unable, to continue with your current one.


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Ethical Practice (20 credits)

This module explores the professional requirement for ethical practice. The value base of the profession is grounded by an ethics of care which requires all of us to think carefully about equality, empowerment and the service user voice.

  • Policy Context (20 credits)

To understand Community and Youth Work it is essential to understand the policy decisions that are made which impact on this sector. The module aims to equip you with the social and political knowledge needed to be a critical professional.

  • Organisational Management (20 credits)

Upon graduation it is likely you will be managing services and projects. As such this module will ensure you have the understanding and skills needed to think strategically, lead work and manage organisations.

  • Group Work and Integrated Practice (20 credits)

Community and Youth Work involves work in and alongside groups. This module offers you a reflective opportunity to apply the theories of group work to everyday practice.

  • Placement Part One (20 credits)

In a local Community or Youth Work setting you will be given opportunities that allow you to demonstrate your ability to take responsibility for an area of practice in order to develop skills in leadership, planning and evaluation.

  • Placement Part Two (20 credits)

A second placement module allows you the flexibility to undertake another placement with a different organisation if you do not wish to, or are unable, to continue with your current one.

Final year (national level 6):

  • Supervision (10 credits)

This module will equip you with the knowledge, values and skills needed to be a competent professional and an empowering supervisor of staff and volunteers.

  • Entrepreneurship /Project Management (20 credits)

This module will ensure that once graduated you have the ability to write business plans, understand funding bids and manage social enterprises.

  • Education for Transformation (20 credits)

By exploring theories behind education from within a critical framework, you will be able to reflect on the empowering nature of Community and Youth Work.

  • Equality, Diversity and Social Justice (20 credits)

By focusing on some of the most disenfranchised and unheard voices in society, this module will enable you to be a professional who embodies the values of equality, diversity and social justice.

  • Research for Practice/Dissertation (30 credits)

This is an opportunity for you to choose an area of practice that holds your interest. You will develop your ability to review literature and build research skills and knowledge.  This is a great way to complete your journey with us.

  • Advanced Practice or an elective module (20 credits) 

You have the opportunity to choose a module from a wide variety of courses across the University, or alternatively, you can decide to undertake a further placement where you will manage and evaluate a specific project.

  • You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    IT provision
  • We’ve got thousands of  books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Library resources which you might find particularly useful include:

    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • Project Muse, which provides over 180 full-text humanities and social sciences journals
    • SocINDEX with full-text articles, which is probably the world's most comprehensive and highest-quality sociology research database
    • Archival Sound Recordings with over 12,000 hours of recordings
    • Lexis, which provides access to legal information as well as full-text newspaper articles
    • Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Database, which includes full-text journal articles on topics spanning emotional and behavioural sciences, psychiatry and psychology
    Library Services - social sciences
  • Map and directions


You'll be based at The Reg Vardy Centre, situated on the award-winning St Peter's riverside campus. The location benefits from dedicated library services and has superb transport links with the city centre and City Campus.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is

  • GPA 3.0 or above from High School Diploma along with one of the following at the required grade - SAT I and SAT II, ACT or Advanced Placement

If your qualification is not listed above, please contact the Student Administration team at for further advice.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or an equivalent qualification, for example; a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language we will require an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with an overall score of 6.0 and at least 5.5 or higher in each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking. An alternative approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) can also be considered if the applicant's element scores are equivalent to those required for IELTS.

It is essential that you have experience (voluntary or paid) in a community and/or youth work setting. This could include volunteering at weekends, evenings, or school/college holidays. You should clearly describe your experience in the personal statement section of your application. This will be discussed with you at an interview. As a guide most successful applicants will have experience lasting at least a year, though in some cases a shorter more intensive experience is sometimes acceptable.

Please note: all applicants are interviewed, even those who do not currently hold a level 3 qualification. This enables us to identify those people who have experience which may be equivalent to the above academic qualifications.

Students must have a satisfactory Enhanced Discloure Barring Service check in order to undertake placements.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK or EU
  • £12,000 if you are from outside the EU

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


Qualified Community and Youth Workers remain in high demand. With a varied repertoire of value-based and practice-related skills Community and Youth Workers find employment throughout local authorities and the voluntary, charity and social enterprise sectors. We are proud that our graduates work in a wide variety of roles including traditional Community and Youth Work, Mental Health, Prisons, Schools, Housing Agency, Children’s Rights and many more.

As a qualified professional, you’ll be eligible for the higher levels of salary scales set by the Joint Negotiating Committee for Youth and Community Workers.

Centre for Applied Social Sciences

The University of Sunderland’s Centre for Applied Social Studies (CASS) regularly hosts visiting speakers, and it can be an excellent way to learn from the real-life experience of people who already have a strong track record in social policy.

CASS is the centre for applied social science research at the University, and you may find opportunities to collaborate with the academic team – particularly on areas relating to children, young people and families.


888 hours of placements

Community and youth work is a vocation, and it's important to learn from real-work based experience as well as from academic study. For this reason, work placements are an integral part of the degree. By the time you graduate you will have spent at least 888 hours in professional practice. As well as exposing you to a range of experiences and helping you understand the realities of community and youth work, placements are also an excellent way of establishing professional contacts for your career.

Meet the students

  • The state of the art services provided by the University and online resources are second to none.
    David Smurthwaite, Community and Youth Work graduate

    David Smurthwaite

  • I go home each day knowing that I have made a real difference to the lives of others.
    Holly Robinson

    Holly Robinson

  • The programme provided interesting and informative modules.
    Megan O'Neill, Community and Youth Work graduate

    Megan O'Neill

  • The lecturers were amazing; the time and energy they had for me were second to none.
    Rob Johnson Square

    Robert Johnson

Meet the team

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