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Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

If you want to make a difference in the lives of children, young people and their families this is the degree for you. It enables individuals to make decisions about their lives, build personal resilience and reach their full potential. This is one of the largest professional youth and community work training courses in the country providing you with a challenging and worthwhile career.

Youth work is a hands-on, face-to-face skill set and process which enables young people aged 11-25 to learn the skills, knowledge, values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours to support their transition from childhood to adulthood. It is a distinct educational process based on voluntary participation, equality of opportunity and empowerment enabling the holistic development of young people.

At Derby, we see youth work as taking place anywhere where young people are present and purposeful relationships can be built. It is about making a difference alongside young people, supporting young people in context within their families and communities and promoting the collaborative involvement of young people and their influence in their self-determination.

With its emphasis on innovation and effective informal engagement, this course equips you with the professional skills and knowledge to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a difference

Youth and community professionals work with individuals and groups in many dynamic, imaginative and creative ways. Our degree prepares you to develop and lead initiatives which help people build resilience and engagement skills, while addressing professional challenges ranging from mental health and troubled families to youth offending, radicalisation and community engagement.

The course is designed in response to current changes in social policy and practice which have transformed the nature of services for young people and community work across the UK. It offers multiple specialist pathways which add value, knowledge and expertise and will put you at the forefront of latest developments in the field:

Professional recognition for an ‘inspiring’ course

This course paves the way to a BA (Hons) degree, with two additional professional awards. One endorsed by the  National Youth Agency (The JNC) for Youth Work and the other from the Endorsement and Quality Standards Board (ESB) for Community Development. It means you will graduate with a substantial CV that raises your professional profile.

In the past, our Youth Work degree has been endorsed by the National Youth Agency (NYA) which hailed the degree as ‘imaginative’, ‘creative’, ‘inspiring’ and ‘ahead of the field’.

Top 20Social Work subject area ranked**Guardian University Guide 2020
3rdSocial work subject area for student satisfaction**Guardian University Guide 2020
2nd Social work subject area satisfaction with teaching**Guardian University Guide 2020

Gain practical experience on placement

Throughout the course, you’ll undertake over 800 hours of placement, which our placement team will organise for you. On placement, you will be supported to apply your academic learning to practice and boost your career prospects. You’ll gain insights into different working environments, agencies and organisations, with placement opportunities across the country and sometimes overseas.

Our students have secured work experience with, alternative education providers, local authority multi-agency teams, hospital youth services, the fire service, mental health support teams, youth projects, outdoor education groups, housing organisations, the armed forces, faith organisations, LGBT projects, prisons and the voluntary sector.

Placements can lead to long-term career opportunities too. Many of our students make such an impression while on placement that it has led to paid employment in the organisation and in some cases the creation of new jobs. 

If you are already employed in a setting where you work with young people or community groups, you can consider taking the course on a part-time basis. You can also use your own workplace for two of the three assessed placements you will undertake.

Working together to learn from each other (Inter-Professional Learning)

Successful professionals who work with young people and communities don’t just concentrate on one issue. They have to be adaptable, versatile and prepared to work with other professionals in inter-professional environments. You will, therefore, have opportunities to learn with, and from, students from other disciplines through our College of Health and Social Care's Inter-Professional Learning agenda.

This is really important in preparing you to work alongside other professionals after graduation so that you can achieve positive outcomes for individuals and communities. We adopt this approach right from the start of your course, where you will attend a major conference with other new Health and Social Care students representing courses ranging from nursing to counselling.

A rich and varied study experience

You’ll benefit from our wide-ranging partnerships with organisations that value youth and community professionals. We welcome guest speakers from national organisations such as the NHS, MIND and Barnardo’s as well as local social enterprises and voluntary groups.

One highlight is the chance to work on planning and facilitating a professional conference that will explore a topical theme selected by you and your fellow students. You will undertake research, invite keynote speakers, establish panels for debates and run the entire event.

You will participate in a residential experience to build a community of practice among your peers while developing your youth work toolbox at a local residential centre. 

Develop the qualities employers need

Our focus is on nurturing adaptable, resourceful, resilient and creative graduates – all the attributes you will aim to foster in others once you embark on your career. We place a strong emphasis on social pedagogy where we work alongside you to find common ground, build trust and respect, and promote a shared responsibility for learning.

We practise what we preach in every aspect of the course, harnessing relationship building and motivational techniques – from the social media groups you can join before you arrive at the University to the careers guidance curriculum which is integrated at every stage of your studies. We also run special sessions on the theme of resilience to help you remain grounded, focused and confident.

Finally, the programme has its own Career Curriculum which is embedded into the teaching for practice at all three stages of the degree. The programme team works alongside colleagues from the University’s Career Education Service to ensure that you are as employable as you can be when you leave the course. The career curriculum contributes to the high level of graduate employment that the programme enjoys

What you will study

This programme is designed around preparing you for practice. One third of the programme is on placement, with assessments designed with employers to ensure you are work-ready.

 You’ll study modules such as:

  • Social Inequalities
  • Youth Work
  • Community Development
  • Group Work
  • Reflection and Resilience in Practice (placement, double module)
  • Creating Learning
  • Managing Inter-Professional Working
  • Managing Learning in Practice (placement, double module)
  • Research, Change and Impact
  • Self, Culture and Identity
  • Resources, Enterprise and Project Management
  • Responding to Emerging Issues (Independent Study)
  • Pathway-specific Module
  • Pathway-specific Module
  • Pathway in Practice (placement, double module)

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Open Days

Register your interest for a future Open Day and we'll be in touch as soon as we are able to welcome you on campus.

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How you will learn

This course is exciting and challenging. You’ll undertake three different work placements to gain experience and develop your skills. You’ll be taught in a number of ways, including activity-based group work, lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops. You’ll also complete your own self-directed study.

How you're assessed

There are no exams. You’ll be assessed through work placements and assignments including essays, placement portfolios, posters, presentations, Wikis, reflective diaries and reports. We offer a wide range of support to help you with the assessments at all three stages of the degree.

Staff you will meet

Our teaching team has extensive experience of youth and community work, along with wide-ranging professional networks.

Simon Williams, our Programme Leader, is an alumni of this course and has significant experience in management and development of difficult and unusual youth and community work settings, including faith based organisations, and work with refugee and migrant communities. Simon has vast experience of organisational policy and culture, and is involved in sourcing student placements for the course. Simon has written about working with migrant communities and continues to research in this area.

Sarah Barley-McMullen is an alumna of this course and has significant experience in the management and development of youth and community work delivery, youth arts work, youth work in schools and colleges, career education and youth work in faith-based organisations. She was also a Manager in Student Support Services in Further Education. Sarah’s research interests include Social Pedagogy, risk and resilience.

Laura Fox-Lee is an alumna of this course and has significant experience in youth work delivery including youth work in alternative education provisions, co-ordination of Play-Work setting which specialise in working with children and young people with autism, faith based residential youth work and faith based youth clubs and outreach. Laura's research interests include Managing Behaviours which may be perceived as challenging and Child Development.

Tim Howell, has extensive experience both as a youth and community worker in the voluntary, statutory and commercial sector in a huge range of contexts of delivery and organisation and in Further Education as a course leader, lecturer, assessor and trainer. His research interests include social media, outdoors and adventure education and responding to challenging behaviour. He is Admissions Tutor for the programme.

Jodie Low has worked in the Youth and Community field for over 15 years with specialism in working with children, young people and families in Youth Offending and Children’s Rights. As a change manager in a Local Authority Jodie led work in implementing safeguarding and prevention strategy in line with Working Together 2012. Jodie is currently still in practice managing Youth and Community Work; Parenting and Counselling in areas of deprivation in Northamptonshire.

Tim Rosier has over twenty years of experience working in a variety of settings with young people and communities. These range from performing arts based youth empowerment projects and residential camps to faith-based youth clubs and prison-based work with young offenders. For the last fifteen years, Tim has been a criminal justice practitioner working with juvenile and young adult offenders in both the community and custodial settings, as well as in a specialist multi-agency team within the counter-terrorism related arena. His research interests include chaplaincy work with children and young people, inter-generational offending and faith and desistance.

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Simon Williams
Programme leader

As acting Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer, Simon Williams is has responsibility for the overview of the programme as well as development of placements as well as teaching and tutorials. Simon is also active in promoting Youth Work nationally and supporting local organisations see the positives of engaging youth workers.  

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSE

GCSE English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification. Level 2 Maths is not required for entry to the programme.

IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionYes - see interview details

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Many of our students come direct from practice as we consider applicants with alternative academic profiles and significant paid or unpaid experience of working with young people that can demonstrate ability at interview.

An Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service certificate cleared by the University is required for this course. We will contact you with information on how to complete this once you have applied. More information.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

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Academic Achievement Scholarship

We’re offering eligible students a £1,000 scholarship to celebrate your hard work and success.

Learn more about the Academic Achievement ScholarshipLearn more about the Academic Achievement Scholarship

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*

£1,155 per module*


£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


Anywhere you find young people, you can work professionally with them as youth workers in diverse multi-professional fields. Our graduates go on to work in education, health promotion, mental health, youth justice, housing, multi-agency teams, voluntary sector, community projects, community arts, outdoor learning, advocacy, advice, counselling and employment sectors, for example:

Multi-agency teams working with children, young people and vulnerable adults

If you're already employed in community and youth work, this qualification could be your springboard to more senior and specialist roles where you can add further value to your organisation.

Ongoing careers support

Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with help, guidance and support from day one of your course – and for up to three years after you’ve completed your studies.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

Minimum numbers

Please note that this course is subject to minimum numbers in order to run. This also relates to individual pathways where minimum numbers must also be met.

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