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

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

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

Course details

Our BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Studies with foundation year degree runs in parallel with our dual accredited BA (Hons) Community Development and Youth Work with foundation year 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 with foundation year 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.

  • UCAS points: 48
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • UCAS code: L546
  • Duration: 4 years

Course highlights:

  • This course includes a foundation year that supports you to develop essential academic and research skills through the examination of key social issues that have an impact upon young people and communities.
  • 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 with foundation year.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 48
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • UCAS code: L546
  • Duration: 4 years

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.

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. Find out more

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). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

Career opportunities

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 with foundation year (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

  • 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

Professional recognition


Fees & funding

Home/EU fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2020/212021/222022/232023/242024/25
2020/21 £9,250£9,250£9,250£9,250-£37,000
2021/22 -nullnullnullnullnull

International fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2020/212021/222022/232023/242024/25
2020/21 £9,250£12,450£12,450£12,450-£46,600
2021/22 -nullnullnullnullnull

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.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


September start

Please apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for September entry.

The online application form and guidance notes are available on the UCAS website.

You can apply for up to 5 courses through UCAS (at the same or different institutions) for a fee of £24. Alternatively, if you only wish to apply for a single course at a single institution then a reduced applicant's fee of £13 is applicable.

You will need the following information to complete your UCAS application form:

  • Institution Code Name: BOLTN

  • Institution Code Number: B44

UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Tel: 0870 1122211


The University welcomes applications from international students from all over the world. We try to make the application process as simple and as fast as possible for our international applicants.

How you apply is determined by your current location and what you are choosing to study:

  1. Apply direct to the University. Links for the next available intakes of this course are shown below. Please click the link which will direct you to the online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this.
  2. Apply via one of our approved in-country referral partners. A list of our partners may be found on the International pages of this website.
  3. Apply via UCAS for courses starting in September only – visit

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email

Teaching & assessment


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

  • The Individual and Society
  • Research Methods in Social Science
  • The World of Work
  • Reading Contemporary Society
  • Self-reflection and Self-presentation
  • 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

Teaching, learning and assessment

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 with foundation year (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 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. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. 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.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (100%)
Level Two Coursework (64%), Practical exams (36%)
Level Three Coursework (85%), Practical exams (15%)
Level Coursework (64%), Practical exams (36%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (57%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (43%)
Level Two Guided independent study (63%), Placement/study abroad (8%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (29%)
Level Three Guided independent study (71%), Placement/study abroad (8%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (21%)
Level Guided independent study (82%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (18%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • UCAS code:
  • Course type:
  • Start date:
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
    BA (Hons)
  • UCAS points:
  • Duration:
    4 years

Contact us

Bren Cook
Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903893

Paula Connaughton
Admissions Tutor
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903764

Kevin Burke
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903698

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903