UCC Postgraduate courses

Voluntary and Community Sector Management

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Voluntary and Community Sector Management

  • Code

  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    2 years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees 2021

    €3,210 (Year 1); €3,210 (Year 2)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2021

    Not currently open to Non EU applicants

  • Entry Requirements

    You will have at least a 2H2 in an approved honours primary degree, and normally have a minimum of two years recent and relevant work experience See Requirements for full details.

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    Not currently open to Non EU applicants

  • Start Date

    September 2022.

Course Outline

The Masters in Voluntary and Community Sector Management provides education, training and skills in managing/coordinating voluntary and community organisations. As such, the course will contribute to the ongoing professional development of workers already in the community and voluntary sector as well as opening the door to wider opportunities in the sector for those seeking employment there. There are more than 25,000 voluntary sector organisations in Ireland. These range from large charitable bodies like Simon, Barnardos and Concern to small residents’ associations, or from broad campaigning bodies like Amnesty International to small single-issue groups in a local housing estate trying to get youth facilities in the area.

These organisations may provide vital services in care, welfare, health, education, housing, poverty alleviation, social inclusion and the promotion of rights. They may also enhance democracy and participation in society through empowerment and capacity-building, lobbying, and campaigning.

The MSocSc in Voluntary and Community Sector Management is a part-time postgraduate degree taught over two years. 

It recruits every two years (for a start in September of every even number year).  

Students attend the University one day per week.  Some of the modules may be delivered in blocks of five days and/or over long weekends.

Modules (90 credits):

Part I - Year 1

Students take 40 credits as follows:

  • GV6112 The Third Sector and the State (5 credits) 
  • SS6600 Principles, Values and Practice in the Voluntary and Community Sector (5 credits)
  • SS6606 Social Policy and the Voluntary and Community Sector (5 credits)
  • SS6607 Financial Oversight and Management in the Voluntary and Community Sector (5 credits)
  • FE6602 Social Enterprises and Local Development (5 credits) 
  • SS6608 Quality Systems and Risk Management in the Voluntary and Community Sector (subject to approval)

Plus either:

  • FE3824 People Management in Member-Based Organisations (10 credits)


  • FE6712 Leadership and Change Management in Co-operative & Social Enterprise (10 credits)

Part II - Year 2

Students take 50 credits as follows:

  • FE6601 Co-operatives and the Third Sector (5 credits)
  • IS6012 Application of IT to the Third Sector (5 credits)
  • MG6100 Leadership, Organisational Development and Change for the Third Sector (5 credits)
  • LW6103 Legal Aspects of State Regulation (5 credits) 
  • SS6602 Applied Social Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (5 credits) 
  • SS6605 Dissertation in Voluntary and Community Sector Management (25 credits)

All modules are assessed via continuous assessment.  There are NO end of year exams for the course.


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

You attend the university one day per week (Wednesdays 10am-5pm) for two 12-week terms per year (September to December and January to March) over two years. In addition to this, one module is taught online in Year 1 and students will be required to set aside time outside class to complete that. Assessments including the 12,000-word participatory research project are completed in your own time.


Assessment will be by continuous accumulative assessment over the twelve modules. Each module has different assessment criteria and for specific module related information please consult the relevant module in the current online Book of Modules  

Assessments will include group project work, portfolios, essays, etc. and a participatory research project at the end of the second year (There are no exams).

Who teaches this course

The Master’s is co-ordinated Dr Feilim Ó Hadhmaill in the School of Applied Social Studies, and taught by lecturers in the School and in the five other contributing departments within UCC: Management and Marketing; Food, Business and Development; Business Information Systems; Government; and Law. 


Why Choose This Course

This course is specifically designed for those who want to develop a career in the voluntary/community sector and is the only master’s of its kind in Ireland. It is taught by eight different departments across UCC with an input from a large number of academic staff.  The course fees have also been kept deliberately low for a Masters in Management in order to promote access among the not-for-profit community and voluntary sector. We view this course as part of our commitment to the promotion of teaching and learning in the voluntary and community sector.

Please click CKE75 - Student Testimonials for former Student Testimonials

Skills and Careers Information

The course is intended to enable community and voluntary sector workers to further develop their expertise, professional management capabilities and analytical understanding of the relationship between the state and civil society, through a challenging and supportive learning environment. It draws on a range of academic disciplines and inter-professional approaches and is underpinned by values of equality and social justice. An important aspect of the course includes team and small group work, allowing you to learn from one another’s voluntary sector experiences.  The course also promotes the development of networking for workers and organisations in the sector. 

In the past, the course has been undertaken by workers in national and regional voluntary organisations and local community-based groups. It has also included workers in the statutory sector, who work closely with the voluntary and community sector, at both national and local government level.  Of course as a Masters in Management, the degree is also of benefit to anyone seeking a career in management or project coordination in any employment sector.

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • apply knowledge, skills and values to take a leadership and/or managerial role in an organisation in the community and voluntary sector
  • describe, critically assess, integrate and apply leadership structures and decision-making processes related to community, voluntary, co-operative, and social enterprise organisations
  • identify and critically assess the interaction between societal structures, policies, practices and values in Third Sector management
  • integrate and apply law, rights mechanisms and good governance practices to work in the Third Sector
  • critically assess social research relating to the Third Sector, and apply theory and practice in social research to Third Sector management and planning
  • demonstrate an ability to manage and conduct research on the Third Sector
  • integrate and apply theories and practices that promote democratic processes within Third Sector management
  • integrate and apply business skills, accounting skills and information technology to exert effective control over the management of resources and practice in the Third Sector.


  • have at least a second class honours in an approved primary degree
  • normally have a minimum of two years recent and relevant work experience  (e.g. practitioners/managers in youth work, play work, community work, community education, the community and small voluntary sectors, community renewal and enterprise, faith community workers, community health workers, equality workers, and environment workers)
  • have to satisfy a selection committee.

Applications will be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) from those without a primary degree provided that you have a vocational/professional qualification in a relevant subject area as may be deemed suitable by the Head of School and you have held, for a minimum of two years, a position of responsibility of relevance to the course. Final acceptance is subject to approval by the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, and the College of Business and Law, UCC. 

The Additional/Supplementary Statement Questions must also be completed during the online application process.

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 €3,210 (Year 1); €3,210 (Year 2).

The Non-EU fee for this course is Not currently open to Non EU applicants.


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 that you will be required to answer specific additional/supplementary questions as part of the online applications process for this programme. A copy of these additional/supplementary questions are available to view here: CKE75 Additional Questions

All applicants must also ensure that two Referees Letters are emailed or posted directly to the School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork - one from an academic source outlining your academic qualifications/ability and the other from a voluntary sector group (or, if appropriate, from a public or private sector employer) outlining any voluntary sector experience or other relevant experience you have had in a paid or unpaid capacity - are required for your application to the M.Soc.Sc. in Voluntary and Community Sector Management.

The Reference Request Forms must be downloaded and printed during the online application process and a copy should be sent to each of your Referees. A copy of the Reference Request Forms are available to view here:  CKE75ReferenceRequestForms Only applications which include two written references from referees can be processed. Short-listed applicants may be required to attend for interview


Deferrals are not permitted on this programme


The closing date for non-EU applications is Not currently open to Non EU applicants

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact