Development Studies

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

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Development Studies is an important area of work that many communities, families and young people are very grateful for. Are you understanding? Do you like working with people and helping them when they need it? If you think you’re suited to working with people of all ages and from many different backgrounds and communities, you might be looking at the right path. 

We hope we can help guide you in your career with some of the information we have gathered below. 

What are development studies?

Development Studies is an interdisciplinary subject that looks at development and evolution of the world around us from politics, culture and geography to socio-economic perspectives and more. It is a branch of social science that incorporates many different perspectives. 

What 3rd level courses are available?

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

  • Youth Studies and Community Development (PLC)
  • Youth Work and Community Development including Criminology and Addiction Studies (PLC) 

Studying Development Studies in college

The courses available in this area are all PLC courses and last 1 year. They provide a strong foundation in the subject and will give students the opportunity to gain a basic knowledge of Development Studies and related areas that all overlap. This will provide students with the opportunity to decide if they would like to take their studies further and go on to study an undergraduate course in a related field for example, youth and community work, addiction studies, culture studies and so on. 

These courses will be introduced to the meaning of development studies, the troubles and impacts faced with those in different communities who may be behind in their development and gain the relevant skills, knowledge and tools to be able to go on to work in relevant areas. 

Your course content will differ from course to course but in the case of studying Youth Work and Community Development, for example, you will be working with young people in their communities helping to combat issues from addiction to homelessness and more. You will learn the role of a youth worker, the challenges they are faced with and ways to help combat certain issues. 

Career Options

Courses in this area will give students the opportunity to work in areas including Youth Support Work, Family Work, Youth Justice, Community Work, Learner Mentoring, Sports Development Work and more. 

Many may use these courses to study at an undergraduate level and front here continue on to a Master’s degree such as counselling or even psychotherapy. The world is your oyster so follow the path that is right for you because there are many options. 

Skills and qualities important in this area include excellent communication skills, a good listener, the ability to work well with others, an interest and love for people, an open mind, understanding, empathetic, kind, a keen researcher, time management skills, organisation skills and the ability to think critically. 

Related Jobs

  • Community Worker
  • Youth Worker
  • Addiction Worker
  • Counsellor
  • Local authority
  • Learning Mentor
  • Adult Learning
  • Family Support Worker
  • Social justice advocate 
  • Education 

Further Study

There is a wide variety of Masters courses in the area of Development Studies offered in Ireland. 

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. 

Where can I study?

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

Did you know?

  • There are a few different types of communities – Interest communities, Action communities, Place communities, Practice communities and circumstance.
  • There are over 500 youth clubs and projects across Ireland
  • Youth Work Ireland actively engage with over 76,000 young people and their families and communities on a weekly basis



Aedín Dunne

Cultural Studies
Disability Studies


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