Community Development

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

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Community development is a very important area for so many communities and people all over the country. It allows members of the community to have a voice for the good of the community in order to get the most for those in the community. 

Are you a leader? Do you want to help others raise their voice and reach both their own potential and their communities potential? This could be the right area of study for you. 

What is community development?

Community development involves people within a community and representatives of communities coming together to make a change and take action on what is important to them such as facilities, services and overall look and feel within a community. 

What third level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Community and Youth Development
  • Community Development
  • Community Development and Youth Work
  • Community Sports Development
  • Community and Child Development (PLC)
  • Community Development with Psychology (PLC)
  • Youth Work and Community Development including Criminology & Addiction Studies

Studying community development in college

There are a number of courses available in Community Development. There are PLC and undergraduate courses that will allow you to study your desired direction for your career. The majority of PLC courses last one year while the undergraduate courses available range between 3 and 4 years. 

In your first year of your undergraduate course you will gain a foundation in the area as well as basic knowledge of community development, what it is, what it involves and also gain direction in what way the remaining years of your course will go and what you will cover. Depending on your exact course, for example, Community and Youth Development, you will also gain a foundation in the area of youth development. Different courses will differ in what they cover.

In your second and third year you will learn at a more in depth and detailed level. You will develop your skills and knowledge in the area and tackle different issues communities are faced with including inequality, poverty and disadvantage. 

The majority of courses in Community Development will provide you with the opportunity to gain experience through work placement to get a feel for the work that is involved and take a hands-on approach to studying. 

Career Options

There are a few jobs this degree can help you into. Many may become community development workers whose main role is to empower communities through facilitating the participation of those in the community to address issues that affect different communities. Other related jobs are listed below that you might want to explore. 

For those who study a PLC course, they can use it as stepping stone unto an undergraduate course in a relevant area while those who gain an undergraduate degree can use their degree to go forward with their education and specialise in a particular area at postgraduate level. 

There are a few skills and qualities that are necessary in this area including excellent communication skills, leadership skills, the ability to listen and understand others, self motivated, strong organisation skills and management skills, empathy, a good manner with people and a willingness to help others. 

Related Jobs

  • Community worker/community development worker
  • Youth worker
  • Care assistant 
  • Guidance Counsellor
  • Counsellor
  • Psychologist 
  • Psychotherapist
  • Advisor 
  • Community facilities manager

Further Study

Visit for more information.


Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should

include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English. 

PLC courses will accept Leaving Certificate results. Specific courses may have their own requirements. For example, some courses may have a certain interview process or expect a portfolio of sorts so it is always important to look into these things in depth. 

The highest points needed for a course in this area are 251 points to study Community Development and Youth Work in TU Dublin – Blanchardstown. A course in Community and Youth Development in the same college is 250 points while CIT offer a course for 100 points and LIT offer a course for 188 points. 

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • The principles of community development – empowerment, human rights, inclusion, social justice self-determination and collective action
  • There are a few different types of communities – Interest communities, Action communities, Place communities, Practice communities and circumstance.
  • The current Minister for Rural and Community Development is Heather Humphreys, TD. 




Aedín Dunne

Electronic & Electrical Engineering


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