Youth Studies MSc

Group of boys walking

This programme introduces the key issues and decision-making processes that impact on young people’s lives across contexts including education, leisure, training and the labour market, housing and household information.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • The programme is aimed at early and mid-career professionals who wish to explore how young people's lives are changing in modern societies and the ways they are affected by the processes of social change.
  • You will be taught by researchers in the field of youth and young adults and have experience working with organisations such as the UN, the Council of Europe, the European Commission, UK local and national government and the Scottish Government.
  • You will study the contexts and factors which impact on young people's decision-making related to for example education, training, work and leisure.
  • The programme also provides a strong basis for further study, focusing on international and UK perspectives of youth. 
  • It is of further value to students who wish to gain an insight into different groups of young people such as those with mental health issues, teenage parents, young carers, homeless young people and those looked after by local authorities.


Programme structure

You will take four core courses, two optional courses and a dissertation. The dissertation gives you the opportunity to investigate an area of young people’s lives in-depth. You are encouraged to follow your own interests in the design of the dissertation, which will be fully supported by a supervisor.

Core courses

  • Introduction to education and social research
  • Perspectives on youth and young adulthood
  • Modern educational thought
  • Working with youth: Education and learning for change.

Optional courses 

  • Curriculum development in adult education
  • Developing literacy
  • Educational approaches to community learning & development
  • Empowerment strategies for community learning & development
  • Identities, relationships and behaviours
  • Inclusive classrooms, inclusive pedagogies
  • International & comparative education
  • International issues in adult & continuing education
  • Managing change *
  • Managing innovation and creativity *
  • Marketing management *
  • Models of community & development
  • Neoliberal globalisation and world Inequality since the 1970s 
  • Project management *
  • Rehabilitation and desistance from crime 
  • Sexualities and society
  • Social theories for community learning & development
  • The disabling society
  • The evolving concept of inclusion
  • The impact of problem drug use on children & families
  • The learner & the curriculum
  • The psychology of adult learning
  • Understanding public policy.

* Please note: These courses are offered by the Adam Smith Business School and are 10 credits each (as opposed to 20) and need to be taken in pairs.

Background and aims

This programme is designed to extend knowledge of the development of young people and their experiences of social change that can be useful to a wide variety of individuals and agencies, for example in health and housing fields, parents, teachers, schools, education managers, policy makers and young people themselves.

What will you get from this programme?

The programme aims to provide you with:

  • An understanding of the ways in which young people’s lives are changing in modern societies.
  • Knowledge of research, policy and practice relating to young people’s experiences in a range of contexts such as leisure, education, training, the labour market and households.
  • An awareness of issues affecting vulnerable groups such as those with mental health issues, teenage parents and homeless young people.
  • An understanding of the ways in which young people develop emotionally and physically and the ways in which these processes are affected by processes of social change.
  • The opportunity to study different areas of young people’s lives, including crime and the criminal justice system, sexuality, disability, drugs and alcohol and the family.

Introductory Reading

If you have a chance to do some reading before beginning your programme, any one or more of the following books will be useful as background:

  • Furlong, A and Cartmel, F. (2007) Young people and social change, 2nd edn, Open University Press
  • Furlong, A. (2009) Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood, Routledge
  • Lindon, J. (2007) Understanding Children and Young People: Development from 5-18 Years Hodder Arnold

What our students say

Gary Walsh, Ireland (2013-15)

'I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and University of Glasgow. The diversity of the University makes it an exciting place to study and the course tutors are extremely supportive. The programme provides a fascinating and very broad overview of issues relating to young people. This has transformed my level of professional knowledge. I work in the charity sector and the course has helped me to develop an understanding of a variety of perspectives, all of which have been relevant to my work and interests. The 2 year part-time option worked well for me as it has allowed me to continue working full-time during my studies. After completing my MSc I will continue working and will also consider the option of further study at University of Glasgow.'

Erkhoe Eric Osazee, Finland (2013-14)

'I recommend the programme unreservedly to those seeking to work with youth or who are looking for mid-career development. I found the programme both interesting and career strengthening. I particularly enjoyed the diverse nature of the programme with optional courses, which meant we could concentrate on the areas that interested us the most. The core courses were quite intense and detailed, which not only improved my knowledge about the current situation of young people as well as youth and educational policies internationally but also strengthened my research skills. The lecturers were very supportive. I am now employed by a charity organisation. My role includes working with young offenders to ensure that they do not re-offend. The MSc programme prepared me for gaining employment, especially in the UK.'

Kirstin Jamieson (2012-13)

'The programme offered me a variety of subjects relevant to my career. My background as a youth worker had given me many skills and qualities however I felt that embarking on this course could reinforce my practical abilities with the theory….I was able to 'join the dots' within my practical work.

The programme content was varied and very much tailored to the needs of the students i.e. if there was a particular issue or current topic which was affecting people at their work, then this could be discussed. The mix of individuals in the classes included teachers, youth workers, community workers, BME workers and those working with individuals with additional support needs. This provided for some very stimulating and lively debates in class!'


The method of teaching was interactive and actively encouraged thoughts and ideas from students, more often than not the classes would be driven by the research interests of us. The staff were always available for any queries regarding coursework, lectures, timetables or any other matters. I could contact them in person, via e-mail and even by Skype, often out of office hours as that's when I would be studying.

On completing the programme I almost immediately found full time employment in a position directly related to my course. Further to this, my current position specifically focuses on youth transitions which was a main focus of my dissertation. I think it's fantastic that I have been able to directly use my own research in applying it to my work. I would recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in or is thinking of working with young people. It covers such a wide range of fantastic topics and you won't be disappointed.'

Robert Galbraith (2012-13)

'What I have learnt from the programme has provided me with a deep insight into some of the major social, economic and educational issues faced by young people today. The combination of core courses and the wide variety of optional courses, provided me with the flexibility to tailor my learning experience to match my needs and interests. As a mature student returning to education, I particularly welcomed the excellent support provided by the course teaching staff and appreciated their genuine interest in my progress and their accessibility to discuss my work. 

My experience of the programmehas been genuinely transformative in shaping my understanding of educational thought, how young people learn and develop, and the structural  factors that influence future life chances. I would highly recommend the MSc (Young People, Social Inclusion and Change) to anyone currently, or planning, to work with young people aiming to develop and implement a more inclusive practice.'

Entry requirements

for entry in 2016

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£6950
Part time 20 credits£772
Full time fee£15250

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

If you work directly with young people: teachers, youth workers, police officers, probation officers, health workers, the programme is an excellent step in your professional development. It also provides a foundation for an academic career.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 22 July 2016 
  • UK and EU applications: 26 August 2016

Classes start September 2016 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now