UCC Postgraduate courses

Youth Arts and Sports Education

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Youth Arts and Sports Education

  • Code

  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

  • Teaching Mode

    Full-time, Part-Time

  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees

    €6,130; €3,130 (Year 1 Part-time); €3,130 (Year 2 Part-time)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees


  • Entry Requirements

    Candidates should normally hold an honours primary degree with Second Class Honours Grade 2 (or equivalent) in any discipline. See Requirements for full details.

  • Start Date

    Not on offer 2023/2024

Course Outline

The Masters in Youth Arts and Sports Education is designed for creative, active, and enthusiastic people who enjoy working with young people. The course shapes innovative practitioners to engage in transformative work with young people, facilitating them to flourish, to be healthy, happy, and empowered, and to contribute to positive change in society. We welcome people with various interests, including artistic, musical, dramatic, or sports. Whatever their skill level, we want applicants who are fun-loving, open-minded, and experimental, who love learning, embrace challenge, and seek adventure. Our ethos builds on core principles of youth work practice, which are concerned with enhancing young people’s wellbeing through one-to-one and group activities. Students on the course will learn how:

  • to devise, deliver, and evaluate arts- and sports-based opportunities for young people that are fun, engaging, and meaningful
  • to promote values of environmental sustainability through youth-centred educational activities
  • to contribute to social justice and global citizenship through youth-focused professional practice
  • to collaborate with young people and with like-minded practitioners to articulate and achieve common goals
  • to support young people’s digital wellbeing and digital creativity
  • to contribute to research and policy-making relevant to young people’s well-being.

The Masters in Youth Arts and Sports Education is available on a full-time or part-time basis. All students take modules to the value of 90 credits.

For full-time students, the course is delivered over one calendar year (12 months) from the date of first registration for the programme.  The part-time option can be taken over two years with the course work completed in Year 1 (45 Credits) and the dissertation completed in Year 2 (45 Credits).


Core Modules 

  • ED6606 Well-being for Health (10 credits)
  • SS6021 Creative Methodologies in Youth Arts Practice (10 credits)

Elective modules (Semesters I and II)

Students select 25 credits from the following, to include at least 5 credits from Sports Studies and at least 5 credits from Youth Arts. Modules are subject to a minimum quota and it is possible that not all modules will be available every year.

Sports Studies

  • ED6604 Outdoor Learning (5)
  • ED6605 Models of Physical Education (5)

Youth Arts

  • DR6024 Directed Study in Theatre and Performance (5)
  • DR6025 Special Studies in Applied Theatre (10)
  • DR6026 Advanced Theatre Practice (10)
  • MU6060 Community Music (5)
  • SS6024 Art and Social Action (5)
  • SS6029 Art and Development Education (5)

Applied Social Studies

  • SS6315 Mental Health and Disability (10)
  • SS6316 Children and Young People (10)
  • SS6320 Conflict Transformation and Peace Building (10)



Students complete a Research Dissertation which develops their capacities to engage in original research on a topic of their choosing. Working with academic supervisors in a high-quality research environment, they will design and undertake interesting research that contributes to knowledge and practice in arts and/or sports education for young people.

SS6038 Dissertation (45 credits)

Students must complete a 20,000-word research dissertation and associated blog entries. The dissertation must be submitted on the first Friday in October of the academic year in which it is to be examined.

Students will also submit a 20,000-word research dissertation (SS6038, 45 credits).


Further details on modules can be found in our Book of Modules. Any modules listed 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 core sports education module will normally take place on Wednesday evenings from 5-7pm. The core module in youth arts will normally take place in block two-days sessions (on Thursdays, Fridays and/or Saturdays) the dates of which will be organised in consultation with students at the beginning of the academic year. Students are also required to attend a week-long intensive workshop in December (Winter School). The teaching timetable for elective modules (Second Semester) will vary. Students are also required to complete a Research Dissertation and a course ePortfolio/blog. In total, full-time students will be expected to commit approximately 15 hours per week on average to include completion of elective modules, field trips, research, and research supervision.


Students will produce a variety of creative outputs through their course work as a method of evidencing their learning for assessment.

For example, students are required

  • to design and produce a creative journal using artistic methods, as well as collage posters, screen-prints, and badges.
  • to devise and deliver development education games and activities for young people.
  • to carry out artistic activism initiatives (e.g. awareness campaigns), engaging with members of the public on Cork city’s streets
  • to write and publish media articles, to devise social media campaigns, to secure and engage in radio interviews, and to design a website or blog about social justice, global citizenship, or environmental issues relevant to young people’s lives.
  • to devise and implement sports activity programmes.
  • to document outdoor learning experiences (e.g. sea kayaking, mountaineering, sailing, foraging) in fun ways, such as designing postcards and multimedia presentations to showcase the value and impact of these activities for young people’s health and wellbeing.

Who teaches on the course?

Dr Eileen Hogan (Course Director)

Nora Furlong

Kathy Kirwan

Dr Michelle Finnerty

Dr Roisin O’Gorman

Dr Bernadette Cronin

Dr Fiona Chambers

Dr Wesley O’Brien

Fionn Woodhouse

Why Choose This Course

It should be a matter of immense pride to UCC as a whole that it has a programme of such originality, creativity and outcomes on offer

Professor Peadar Kirby

Professor Emeritus of International Politics and Public Policy, University of Limerick

  • This course is unique in design; many programmes focus on youth arts or youth sports, but this programme in special in combining them.
  • This is an interdisciplinary course delivered by three Schools – Applied Social Studies, Education (including Sports Studies), and Music and Theatre.
  • You will learn from highly-skilled educators. The course team won the gradIreland/HEA award for Ireland’s Best Postgraduate Programme (Arts & Humanities) in 2017. Many of us hold Masters-level qualifications in teaching and learning and Teaching Excellence Awards.
  • The values we promote – including environmental sustainability, social justice, and global citizenship – are ever more significant for living and working ethically in the 21st
  • You will engage in fun, creative, active, and personally and professionally transformative activities.
  • We value our students’ mental and physical well-being alongside academic and professional development.
  • You will be challenged to develop as a person, a professional, and a citizen.
  • Whether you are a native or a newcomer, you will see Ireland from new perspectives.

 You will enjoy many exciting experiences including:

  • outdoor learning experiences that foreground sustainable, low-carbon living, such as kayaking, hiking, sailing, and foraging;
  • making art – from miniature to large scale – that reflects on, provokes, and disrupts social norms;
  • developing skills in music-making in community contexts and in theatre and performance composition and collaboration;
  • experiencing Irish culture and learning to think critically about the relationship between culture, politics, and social change;
  • exploring Ireland’s beautiful landscape along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Students will document their experiential learning through a personal blog that will be visible to their lecturers and other students within the class group. On completion of the course, this blog will be a valuable portfolio as a digital artefact that evidences graduates’ skills, values, and interests.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduates will develop diverse skills which are highly valuable in a range of organisational, educational, community contexts, including the ability:

  • to design, plan, deliver, and evaluate arts and sports education projects with young people in community settings in ways that are mindful of ethical practice, principles of global education, sustainability, and the values of global citizenship;
  • to act as effective and passionate advocates for young people and to make a positive impact in society through promoting young people’s rights;
  • to devise and implement programmes that support young people’s developmental, cognitive, creative, physical, mental, and digital wellbeing;
  • to engage in critical self-reflection on their capacities to contribute to positive social change in the lives of young people and in the local communities in which they are active;
  • to contribute to knowledge and to impact on society through critical reflection and commentary on policies and practices relevant to young people’s lives.

Graduates will find employment in youth-centred work, whether engaging with young people generally or in activities that target hard-to-reach young people, who may be marginalised due to inequalities based on class and income, race and ethnicity, asylum-seeking or refugee status, sex, sexuality and gender, mental health, homelessness, physical and intellectual ability, etc. Graduates will also find work in cultural and sporting organisations that are interested in expanding opportunities for young people. Furthermore, the course helps students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and to consider self-employment and social enterprise opportunities that are funded through government schemes, EU-level funding, international charities, and corporate sponsorship. Graduates may also be interested in careers in research or policy-making. Finally, graduates may be interested in pursuing PhD-level research.


Candidates should normally hold an honours primary degree with Second Class Honours Grade 2 (or equivalent) in any discipline. 

Candidates with an honours primary degree lower than a Second Class Honours Grade 2 (or equivalent) or without a primary degree (NQF Level 8 award) are eligible to apply if they hold significant senior professional responsibility/experience in a related field. Such applicants may be invited for interview (which may be online or by phone) to satisfy the selection committee of their suitability for the programme under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Admission of such applicants will be subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

All applicants will be asked to evidence their commitment to working with young people and to document any experience and training relevant to the programme as part of the written application process.

Strong references and personal statements are an important part of the application, as is relevant work experience.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure 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.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €6,130; €3,130 (Year 1 Part-time); €3,130 (Year 2 Part-time).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €16,400.


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 is at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment 

International Students can pay in two equal instalments once they have paid the appropriate deposit. The initial payment is due on registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

You can pay by Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please contact the Fees Office.

Students will engage in a limited amount of local travel and will be expected to pay for public transport if necessary. The cost for all travel for the year should not exceed €150.

How Do I Apply

1. Check Dates: Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

  • For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
  • Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.

2. Gather Documents: Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

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

3. Apply Online: Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

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:

  • Please enter details your professional or 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, responsiblities relevant to working with young people, start/end dates; 
  • 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 the names and email addresses of 2 referees. You will also be required to send a reference request to each of your Referees after submitting the online application, via the online reference request on the application portal.   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. 

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact