Manchester Metropolitan University


Community Development and Youth Work: Leadership and Practice

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • Masters level continuing professional development tailored for students own context, priorities and interests, drawing on multi/interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Professional development and recognition
  • Contemporary partnership contexts fully explored
  • Positive commitment to exploring issues of equality and diversity in an urban context
  • Participation in a large, dynamic and forward-thinking taught post graduate community

Student Profile

After successfully completing her MA in Youth and Community Work, Joan commented on the fact that, “It was good for me to go back to the classroom and learn the ethics of youth work from a theoretical perspectives and how to transfer and apply that in the work I am doing. I was able to hear different people’s perspectives on sensitive topics.” In addition to  her role as Alumni Ambassador and visiting lecturer, Joan also works with the youth offending service on complex cases involving young people and the youth justice system. Consistent with  the  principles and practice of youth and community work, Joan further stated, “I’m the type of practitioner who doesn’t like to create dependency because at some point the young people are going to be leaving our service. It’s about developing their own voice and empowering them to make positive choices in their lives.

About the course

This course offers the opportunity  to gain both an MA and professional qualification in youth and community work. It seeks to explore social education strategies and community development as a process of empowerment and there is an  emphasis on understanding policies and practices which counter discrimination and promote equality.

Structure and commitment

Following enrolment, students attend an evening induction event. Induction includes a welcome and introduction, library and resources briefing, and academic student support session.  Further details will be available on the Welcome Website following enrolment. Please note that as well as the beginning of the academic year, it may be possible to start this MA in February (or June by request).

A full Masters is 180 credits at level 7, and at MMU this is divided in to 4 x 30 credit taught units, plus a (60 credit) dissertation.  For MA Community Development and Youth Work: Leadership and Practice, you also undertake two placements of supervised and assessed practice in/with an appropriate organisation/group; this is required for professional accreditation in youth and community work. The combination of academic study at Masters level alongside and interacting with professional formation including assessed placements necessarily means for a demanding period of study.  However, this is normally an incredibly rewarding period too, and there are obvious benefits to being able to achieve a professional qualification with advanced study at PGDip/MA level. 

Each 30 credit taught unit lasts four months (units start in October, February and June) and begins with a unit conference event from 6pm Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime.  Unit conferences are non-residential (and we appreciate most students like to get back to their own beds/families if possible) but good value accommodation options are available close to the Brooks Building for those students coming from distance (information on these will be provided). 

Keynote speakers will normally be timetabled for Friday evenings and will introduce issues of broad relevance and at the forefront of thinking about education and education practices. On Saturday and Sunday (morning) students will largely be working in small, award-specific groups with specialist tutors. You should leave with ideas for the assignment you will be working on!

The unit conference is followed by (a minimum of) two further (evening) group seminars/tutorials, supported by a dedicated VLE resource, and individual tutorial contact with an award tutor to support assignment work.  For students at distance participation in group seminars may be possible via Skype or similar. 

Every unit offers opportunities for formative assessment – feedback on a draft or plan, before final submission. 

The dissertation is supported by individual and group supervision, a dedicated electronic resource, and group events.  

All students are also invited to our ‘MMU Postgraduate Sessions’ – monthly evening sessions where staff and doctoral students present their ongoing research (sessions are also podcasted where possible).  

Unit conference dates for 2017/18 are: (please note these, it’s important that students can attend):

  • 6-8 October 2017 - Mapping the Territory and Research and Practice
  • 9-11 February 2018 - Specialist (Supported) Project and Research and Practice
  • 8-10 June 2018 - Shaping the Future

Accreditation of Prior Learning

It is normally not possible in incorporate the accreditation of prior learning in to this award because of the professional accreditation requirements.  The exception might be where you are seeking to transfer from a similar, professionally qualifying award at this level from another university – please contact us if this applies to you.

Practice Credit Unit

On this award you need to successfully complete two assessed and supervised periods of placement. Further details are available at our Postgraduate Fairs and/or from the staff contact below.

Placements are a core and significant part of the course and involve work-based learning in diverse settings (linked to potential employment). Placement opportunities include traditional youth and community centres/projects, innovative work with schools and colleges, street work with marginalised young people and creative arts-based projects, such as youth theatres, arts, dance and music, as well as community centres, agencies working with refugees and asylum seekers.  It is normally possible to use any current employment/volunteering you undertake for one of your placements.

If placements are not passed there are full opportunities for reassessment;  however, in this case it is also possible exit with a fall-back award (eg PgCert/Dip/MA as appropriate) in Community Development Studies.

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Mapping the territory: critical concepts and issues

This unit enables a critical exploration and examination of some key contexts and theoretical perspectives in the award area, and is related to practice. By critically examining the historical, global and social contexts connected to social issues youth and community workers can help not just to engage service users but also to understand and push for political changes in order to ensure that the needs are met in an informed way, rather than imposing top-down solutions.

Students will be required to undertake an analysis of their individual and communal practices in order to build critiques, drawing on radical political ontologies, informed by classroom discussions and guided reading.

The unit runs from October 2017 to February 2018, starting with the unit conference on 6-8 October 2017.

Specialist Supported Project: Community Development and Youth Work: Leadership and Practice

This unit is tailored to support the Practice placements at the core of the award.  It will extend  theoretical understandings and underpinning for practice in community development and youth work, including critical reflective practice. It will encourage debate on possible constraints and barriers, issues and dilemmas for the critical, ethical and reflective practitioner and strategic manager.

The unit runs from February to June 2018, starting with the unit conference on 9 - 11 February 2018.

Shaping the Future

This unit is an opportunity for students to critically review skills, knowledge and understanding   gained in the context of anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory practices. It draws on methodologies of critical dialogue and courageous conversations, collaborative enquiry and specialist input. 

The unit runs from June - October 2018 starting with the unit conference 8 - 10 June  2018.

Research and Practice

The unit  provides a theoretical and practical basis for  practice and associated assignments It will enable students to carry out appropriate research in community settings, by exploring community development principles and the methodology and methods of participatory research. Issues of participation, representation, and inclusion will be explored, as will the identification of potential blocks and barriers. The aim of the  assessment is for students to demonstrate their understanding  of the theoretical perspective of community audit and their ability to compare it to other research approaches. As part of the assessment of the unit, students will complete a community audit proposal (that can be taken forward to final dissertation)

The unit runs from February - June 2018 (for students with previous credits), and from October 2018 - February 2019 for students starting their MA from the very beginning in October 2017.


The unit will contain a taught element of content in practitioner research which covers areas such as ethics, establishing a rationale for data gathering, designing  a research methodology. It will enable students to critically review their learning on carrying out  research in the field of community and youth work development. The unit will also explore  the  ways in which critical research offers alternatives to traditional positivist framing of research. 

The unit runs from June 2018 - June 2019 (for students with previous credits) and from February 2019 for students starting their MA from the very beginning in October 2017.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

Assessment is by coursework for each taught unit and full assignment briefs are available.  Assessment tasks allow you to pursue your own thinking and interests within the parameters of the unit, professional qualification standards, and award. Formative feedback is available and built in for every unit. In addition, the Practice Credit Unit must be passed for professional qualification to be conferred; this consists of two supervised placement periods.

For taught units (30 credits) the assessment is 5000 words equivalent.  The final (60 credit) dissertation is 12-14,000 words.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

Standard Manchester Met entry requirements for taught postgraduate programmes apply.

You also need:

  • A minimum of one year’s relevant experience (or equivalent part-time) in community/youth/relevant settings (this can a diverse range of community activism, community development activities and/or voluntary work.
  • An understanding of the issues faced by young people/communities, including the impact of inequalities.

Please note that all applicants are interviewed for professional suitability, as required by the National Youth Agency.

All applicants are also required to undergo DBS clearance prior to starting placements.

For Further Information

Tutor Contact: Dr Patel

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

Download our course application form. There are instructions on what to do next and who to send the form to in the Word document.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.