BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Studies

Our BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Studies is designed to train, develop and equip you to empower young people and adults in communities. Incorporating 200 hours field work experience, along with research training, it’s also ideal if you’re interested in graduate entry to careers such as social work, local government or the non-profit and voluntary sectors.

Community Development and Youth Studies

Key information


BA (Hons)

Mode of Study:



54 months


University of Bolton

UCAS points:


UCAS code:


Start date:

To be confirmed

Course Details

Our BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Studies degree runs in parallel with our dual accredited BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Work course. Both courses involve work-based learning through fieldwork placements, and academic studies that support the development of knowledge and skills for practice.

Placing greater emphasis on academic skills development and research expertise, and requiring 200 placement hours, the BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Studies is ideal if you’re seeking the flexible and adaptable skills and knowledge needed for a career changing lives by challenging discrimination and oppression through informal social inclusion, or if you’re considering Master’s level or postdoctoral study.

Our passionate and knowledgeable staff will guide you to explore issues such as social education, social policy, community engagement, politics, globalisation, social justice, equality and diversity, social history, housing and homelessness. You'll also be supported to develop key transferable skills such as communication, self-awareness and time management. Completing a dissertation in your final year offers an excellent preparation for higher level study.

Fieldwork placements or work-based learning could be in a number of distinct settings that work to improve the lives of people in communities and young people, preparing you to adapt to the changing environments in which you may be employed in future.

  • Our Childhood and Youth Studies courses are top in the UK for student satisfaction, according to The Complete University Guide 2022.
  • The course has been designed in consultation with employers, ensuring the relevance of the skills and knowledge gained by graduates.
  • Work placements offer you the chance to gain 200 hours of practical and professional community development and youth work experience.
  • Our excellent links with over 70 partners and external agencies means we can offer a wide variety of placements; for instance, in youth and community centres, schools, alternative education projects, women's refuges and community projects, or housing, health, leisure and youth training schemes, resettlement projects, and detached, outreach and mentoring projects.
  • You have the chance to graduate with a wide range of practical and transferable skills that apply in all kinds of social, professional and academic areas.
Key Features
  • Our programme gives you the chance to gain significant practice-based experience.
  • You’ll have access to excellent academic and pastoral support from teaching staff who are also experienced professionals in community development and youth work.
  • Throughout the course, we’ll support and encourage you as you develop your understanding and articulation of the key theories of personal and social change affecting young people and communities today.
  • Specialists in the field of community development and youth work join us as guest speakers and lecturers throughout the course.
  • You can change routes within the programme should you wish to – until the end of the first semester at HE4. If your circumstances change and you’re confident you can meet the placement requirements for the professionally endorsed route, you can transfer to our parallel course – the BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Work.
Professional recognition


  • 96 UCAS points. Please see our guide to the UCAS Tariff for examples of how to achieve these points.
  • Any subjects are acceptable at Level 3. You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) in English and Mathematics.
  • You’ll need to provide evidence that you’ve completed at least 100 hours work experience, either working with young people, or in a youth work or community practice setting.
  • You'll be required to attend an interview as part of the application process.
  • If you lack the required formal qualifications, but have many years’ experience of working with young people and adults in the community, we encourage you to apply. You'll be expected to attend a face-to-face interview and undertake a written assessment.
  • If you don’t meet the above entry requirements, and would benefit from preparatory study, you may wish to consider our BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Studies with Foundation degree.
  • This course involves working unsupervised with young people and/or vulnerable adults and you must gain an Enhanced Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before starting your studies. Charges are payable to cover the cost of the DBS Enhanced Disclosure application and annual registration with the online Update Service.
  • If English isn't your first language, you'll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent).
  • Please note that this course is subject to the University of Bolton's Fitness to Practise procedure.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

Community development work seeks to actively engage communities in making sense of the issues which affect their lives, setting goals for improvement and responding to problems and needs through empowerment and active participation.

The community development and youth work sector is currently undergoing significant change. Traditional sources of employment in the public sector and the voluntary, faith and community sector are changing, and are therefore having to adapt their services towards a broader set of activities. This shift is requiring employees with flexible, transversal and adaptive knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Enabling students to gain a range of skills that can be applied in a range of contexts is a central principle of this degree. Research suggests that future employment in the field will be non-routine, creative and people-centric. This degree is designed to support this broad curriculum and organisations that employ graduates have been involved in the overall course design.

During this course, you’ll have the opportunity to develop a wide range of transferable skills that will support your employment in a number of positions and sectors. These skills include presentation skills, oral and written communication skills, the ability to work independently and to deal with difficult and challenging situations, advocacy and empathy skills, team work and the ability to understand and work with people from all backgrounds.

Many jobs in youth work require Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC)-recognised qualifications, so if you are interested in a career specifically in youth work, we encourage you to apply for our parallel course. The dual accredited BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Work (Endorsed Route) is recognised by the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) and endorsed by the Endorsement Standards Board for Community Development (ESB) and National Youth Agency (NYA).

What can I do with this qualification?

Community Development and Youth Studies graduates can choose to work in a range of settings which can include schools and colleges, youth and community centres, charities, youth training schemes, housing associations, outdoor centres, youth offending teams, churches, community-based groups and residential settings such as care homes. Roles are often project-based, on fixed-term contracts and tackle issues such as social cohesion, homelessness, substance misuse, sexual health education and crime prevention.

Community development and youth work is challenging, as well as frustrating. You need to be prepared to cope with certain conflict and setbacks. Results are often long term rather than immediate, so patience and perseverance are essential.

Graduates may move on to postgraduate study; for example, a research-based Master’s degree or a PhD in education or community/youth studies. MA courses for qualified youth and community workers are also available. Other graduates take vocational courses; for example, the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which qualifies you to work as a teacher, or a Master’s in Social Work.

Alternative career options

Graduates can also use the qualification to enter a range of other careers, and for some of these roles, both relevant experience and/or postgraduate study may be required. Some of these careers include:

  • Social work
  • The Arts
  • Mentoring
  • Teaching and education
  • Health promotion
  • Behaviour management
  • Learning support
  • Work with refugee and asylum seekers
  • Advice work
  • Community education
  • Family support
  • Probation
  • Careers advice
  • Prison service
  • Outdoor education/activities
  • Residential care
  • Volunteer co-ordination
  • Youth offending

Course fees

Home students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Home fee of £6,000 for the academic year 2022/23.

Important note regarding tuition fees for the 2021-2022 academic year: EU nationals who meet residency requirements (have settled or pre-settled status) may be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status. If you do not meet these residency requirements, overseas fees will apply. Irish citizens living in the UK or Ireland will be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Please read the student finance eligibility 2021-2022 policy on for information.

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

For 2021-2022 entry, the maximum government approved undergraduate tuition fee for UK students is £9,250 per year. The University is able to charge this fee subject to an approved Access and Participation Plan for 2021-2022 and its current rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.


Click here for more information about the scholarships and bursaries available to University of Bolton students.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

Call Admissions

Please contact Admissions by telephone on 01204 903903 or email

University of Bolton
Deane Road
Bolton, BL3 5AB
United Kingdom

Tel: 01204 903903

International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

Please contact Admissions by telephone on 01204 903903 or email

University of Bolton
Deane Road
Bolton, BL3 5AB
United Kingdom

Tel: 01204 903903

We offer a carefully balanced mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars, discussions, role play, case studies, group work and field trips throughout your studies. Self-directed study is also important.

During fieldwork placement practice, you’ll be supported by a suitably qualified supervisor as you develop key competencies set out in the National Occupational Standards in Community Development and also in Youth Work.

We have established relationships with many voluntary and statutory agencies in the Bolton area and the wider North West region, helping to ensure you can find practice placements of interest. For example, students have been placed in settings such as, alternative education providers, youth training agencies, faith-based youth clubs, LGBT groups, women and girls groups, sexual health, mental health and disability groups, refugee and asylum seeker providers, community allotment projects, housing providers, theatre and arts groups, drugs and alcohol teams, and participation and inclusion teams.

Assessment is via coursework, including methods such as portfolios, essays, reports, case study analysis and oral presentations. You can also benefit from the input of guest speakers throughout the degree.

This programme has a parallel course with which it shares the majority of modules. Our BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Work (Endorsed Route) programme attracts dual accreditation from two nationally-recognised professional bodies. Recognised by the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) and endorsed by the Endorsement Standards Board for Community Development (ESB) and National Youth Agency (NYA), this parallel course requires you to spend an increased length of time on fieldwork practice (a total of 800 hours).


The modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown as part of the course.

  • Group Work and Informal Education
  • Introduction to Social Justice, Power, People and Policy
  • Working with Individuals and Groups in Community
  • Youth Work, Policy and Practice
  • Ethics, Values and Reflective Practice
  • Placement 1 - Exploring Practice in a Youth and Community Setting
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice
  • Professional and Academic Research Methods
  • Enabling Healthy Communities
  • Contemporary Issues in Youth Work
  • Community Development, Policy and Practice
  • Placement 2 - Understanding Practice in a Youth and Community Setting
  • Dissertation
  • Global Youth Work and Sustainable Communities
  • Management Governance and Organisational Development
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Transitions
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 64%, Practical exams 36%
Level twoCoursework 85%, Practical exams 15%
Level threeCoursework 64%, Practical exams 36%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 54%, Placement/study abroad 16%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 30%
Level twoGuided independent study 64%, Placement/study abroad 15%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 21%
Level threeGuided independent study 56%, Placement/study abroad 27%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 17%


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up-to-date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason, we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Bren Cook
Programme Leader

+44 (0)1204 903893

Paula Connaughton
Admissions Tutor

+44 (0)1204 903764

Kevin Burke

+44 (0)1204 903698

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

+44 (0)1204 903903

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BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Studies

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BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Studies with foundation year

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Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

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