UCC Postgraduate courses

Youth Work

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Youth Work

  • Code


  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    1 Year

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    PG Dip

  • EU Fees 2021

    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2021


  • Entry Requirements

    Applicants will normally have achieved a minimum grade of a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8). Candidates will be normally be graduates from relevant disciplines, including but not limited to: Social Science, Education (incl. Sports Studies), Social Work, Early Years and Childhood Studies, Social Care (NFQ, Level 8), Sociology and Psychology See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Closed for applications: we will reopen in November.

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    30 June

  • Start Date

    6 September 2021

Course Outline

The Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work is ideally suited to enthusiastic, fun-loving, critical-thinking, and creative people who are motivated to impact positively in young people’s lives.  Youth work encompasses a broad and diverse range of social, cultural, educational and political activities, which are based on young people’s voluntary participation in leisure time activities that emphasise social inclusion and support civic engagement. The Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work prepares students for exciting, meaningful, and challenging careers in youth work and related organisations that aim to promote young people’s wellbeing and to empower young people as active, critical citizens who can contribute to positive social change at local, national, and global levels. This is a professionally accredited course that provides practice-based training to aspiring professional youth workers and continuing professional development for existing youth workers (who do not already hold a JNC-recognised qualification). The course may be undertaken on a full-time basis only.

The course includes a variety of taught modules that focus on youth work professional training and continuing professional development in youth work. All modules are delivered through the School of Applied Social Studies. The course comprises five taught modules, two placement modules, and individual and group tutorials (60 credits in total).

Students take 60 credits as follows:

Semester 1 Credits

  • SS6020 Principles and Practice of Youth Work (10 credits)
  • SS6036 Youth Work: Skills for Working with Individuals and Groups (10 credits)
  • SS6022 Youth, Ethics and Welfare (5 credits)
  • SS6037 Youth Work, Informal and Non-Formal Learning (5 credits)
  • SS6030 Practice Placement I (5 credits)

Semester 2 Credits

  • SS6031 Practice Placement II (20 credits)
  • SS6023 Project Planning, Management and Leadership in Youth Work (5 credits) 

Successful completion of all modules awards a Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work, which is professionally accredited (JNC-recognised) and endorsed by the North-South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS)


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

Course Practicalities

The Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work is available on a full-time basis only.  The programme is delivered over one academic year from the date of first registration for the programme.  Students take modules to the value of 60 credits.  Lectures normally take place on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5.30-7.30 pm, though this may vary at specific times of the year.   Students are also required to attend a 5-day induction session in the week preceding Semester 1 and two intensive week-long workshops (end of Semester 1; end of Semester 2)

Students are required to complete two practice placements in separate locations including:
a. A short practice placement of 100 hours (Placement I).
b. An intensive, block practice placement, which is a minimum of 10 weeks in duration, comprising 30 hours per week (Placement II).

Students undertake a variety of academic and practice assessments, including essays and placement reports.   There are no formal written examinations on this course.

Our lecturers are experts in youth work practice, with significant research experience and expertise in working with young people and youth organisations in various local, national and international contexts.

Staff members include:

Students are also supported through individual and group tutorials with tutors who are professional youth workers and experienced in offering learning support to a variety of students/learners. Many of our staff members also hold professional qualifications in teaching and learning in higher education. 

Why Choose This Course

The Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work is professionally endorsed by the North South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS).   Completion of this programme allows graduates to qualify as professional youth workers in less than one year.  This programme is ideally suited to graduates who have completed undergraduate studies within a related discipline, and who have a keep interest in impacting positively on the lives of young people.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Students undertake two placements on the projects, which are located in a wide range of community-based youth organisations.  Students may undertake the second placement abroad in a suitable youth work agency.  Students' community-based learning is a very important feature of the course, which allows students to develop their practice skills and to build their confidence.

a. A short practice placement of 100 hours (Placement I).
b. An intensive, block practice placement, which is a minimum of 10 weeks in duration, comprising 30 hours per week (Placement II).

Skills and Careers Information

What can I do after I graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma in Youth Work?

Students are facilitated to engage in high-level professional education through academic study and work placements, ensuring that the skills you develop will be at the forefront of professional youth work practice. Through participation in the programme, students will develop skills in critical policy analysis, youth advocacy, policy advocacy, ethical engagement with young people, individual and group work facilitation, informal and non-formal education, and reflective practice.

Occupations associated with Youth Work 

Graduates will find employment in youth work and youth justice organisations, in the public sector, in the voluntary/community sector, in local authorities, and in community-based organisations where expanding youth participation is a priority.

What are our graduates doing?

Recent graduates are working in various youth work organisations across the region through Youth Work Ireland and Foroige, which are the two largest youth work bodies in Ireland.  Graduates are also working in other related roles, including school completion projects, youth justice projects, organisations for the homeless, support for asylum seekers and refugees, family support organisations, youth arts organisations, etc.  


Applicants will normally have achieved a minimum grade of a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8). Candidates will be normally be graduates from cognate disciplines, including but not limited to: Social Science, Education (incl. Sports Studies), Social Work, Early Years and Childhood Studies, Social Care (NFQ, Level 8), Sociology and Psychology.  Applicants are also required to possess a minimum of two years' experience in a paid or voluntary capacity in a full-time youth work position (or equivalent part-time experience).

In exceptional circumstances, and subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social  Sciences, candidates who hold a primary degree (NFQ, Level 8) which is unrelated to youth work practice may also be considered if they can evidence a high level of relevant youth work practice-related experience (normally of 3 or more years).

In exceptional circumstances, and subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, candidates who hold a primary degree (NFQ, Level 8), which is lower than a Second Class Honours, Grade II standard, and who demonstrate a high level of relevant work experience, may also be eligible for entry to the course under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Applicants may be required to submit a piece of writing which demonstrates their academic ability to undertake a Level 9 postgraduate programme and this will be assessed by members of the Selection Panel.

All applicants who meet the entry requirements will be invited for interview.

Applicants who do not hold a primary degree will not be accepted onto the programme. Applicants who hold a NFQ, Level 7 degree/qualification will not be accepted onto the programme. The School of Applied Social Studies offers a very successful undergraduate programme which allows students to access professional training in youth work.  Potential applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree are advised to apply to this programme.

All applicants for the programme will be interviewed as part of the selection process.


Please note that as part of this programme students will require Garda Vetting as they will take part in a placement or UCC related activity where they will be working in an unsupervised capacity with children and/or vulnerable adults. For more information on this process please read the UCC Student Garda Vetting Policy

Fitness to Practise

This programme is subject to the University's Fitness to Practise Policy - full details may be found here

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €6,130.

The Non-EU fee for this course is €16,080.


If your course required a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second semester fee payment in January.

EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:

Fees for Non-EU Students are payable in one instalment in August.

How can I pay?

By Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie .

Non-EU Fees

The fee schedule for 2019/2020 is available here.

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to two courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a non-refundable €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nursing must apply on the PAC website when the programme opens for applications.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course.

Please log into the online application portal for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

5. Rounds

For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates here.

Questions on how to apply?

Please use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning and professional training relevant to this programme.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

  • Please enter your voluntary work and placement experience relevant to this programme. Please enter the following items for each volunteering/placement experience: name of organisation: role/title; summary of duties; start/end dates; number of hours per role.
  • Please upload a document containing your response to the following academic question: Please outline what you believe to be the 3 most important issues for young people (13 to 21 years of age) in contemporary Ireland (350 – 400 words).
  • Please enter the names and email addresses of 2 referees. One reference MUST be a third level academic reference and, b. A second reference MUST be a current or former employer/supervisor/agency contact worker who can comment on your personal suitability for youth work professional training. 


In addition to the above-mentioned procedures, applicants are selected through an interview process.

Candidates who have been shortlisted through a review of written applications are offered an individual interview lasting approximately 30 minutes. The selection panel for each individual interview is comprised of staff from the School of Applied Social Studies.  The interview process is designed to elicit information on each applicant regarding their knowledge of and commitment to youth work and young people, and their personal suitability for youth work as a profession.

The closing date for non-EU applications is 30 June

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact