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Voluntary and Community Sector Studies (MSc - Postgraduate Diploma - Postgraduate Certificate)

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  • Objectives
    This programme offers a high-quality, postgraduate-level qualification relevant to both existing professionals in the voluntary and community sector, and to recent social science undergraduates who intend to make a career in this field, including in public/'third' sector partnership contexts. Voluntary and community organisations in the UK are experiencing unparalleled changes as ‘Third Way’ politics have drawn them into the mainstream policy agenda. They are taking a growing share of public service delivery and are contributing their expertise to the Government’s social exclusion initiatives in work with diverse and marginal groups. However, the changing emphasis has affected the sector’s autonomy and flexibility, and its relationships with local community stakeholders and service users. The programme focuses on key debates about the changing roles and contexts of third sector organisations, adopting a critical and interdisciplinary approach. It considers recent theory and developments, aiming to extend conceptual knowledge, understanding and critical reflection of changes in the context of current social policy concerns and organisational practices. It provides opportunities for students to develop innovative models in research and project-based assignments relevant to individual interests, the sector and the field of study. It is supported by a vibrant centre of research and teaching expertise in youth, voluntary and community studies, policy, governance and citizenship in the Faculty of Lifelong Learning. The independent Institute for Voluntary Action Research, a key UK research centre in this field, is now located in the Faculty.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry requirements Good first degree or other relevant qualifications. Appropriate professional training and experience of the sector.
  • Academic Title
    Voluntary and Community Sector Studies (MSc / Postgraduate Diploma / Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Course description
    For the MSc, you must achieve 180 credits – completing two core modules, two modules from a number of options, and a dissertation or work-based learning project. Each module is worth 30 credits and the dissertation 60 credits. Among modules studied, MSc students normally take a research methods programme to support dissertation work. For the PgDip, you must complete four modules, and for the PgCert, two modules.

    All students take the core module, Voluntary and Community Sectors in the UK, which adopts a multidisciplinary approach, drawing from social theory, history, policy and politics and focusing on the changing roles of the voluntary and community sectors over the last two decades.

    Other modules include: Key issues in Voluntary and Community Sector Development and Management, which considers questions of regulation, sustainability and accountability, collaboration and competition, with issues for different service sectors; and Project Development and Practice, a group work project, drawing on case studies.

    You may also choose from a range of module options at the appropriate level, for example, in Youth Participation, Citizenship Studies, Community Development (based in Stratford), Ethnicity, Migration, Policy or Management Studies. These may vary annually, but will support specialist subject interests which students wish to pursue.

    The programme integrates research-led teaching, learning from recent and contemporary empirical study, and students’ knowledge and experience as practitioners. You will be expected to participate through discussion, seminar presentations and group work where appropriate.

    Seminars, lectures, workshops and presentations. External professionals will contribute to specific sessions.

    Assessment formats may vary depending on option modules selected. One written assignment per module. MSc dissertation or work-based learning project.

    When to apply

    -We suggest you apply as earlyas possible.
    -Interviews from March onwards for entry in October 2008.
    -Late applications will be considered, subject to availability of places.

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