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PgDip|Postgraduate Taught

Youth Justice

Entry year
Entry requirements
2.2 (minimum 55%)
1 year (Full-time)
2 years (Part-time)
Places available
20 (Full Time)
20 (Part Time)

Designed for those who want to advance their understanding of youth issues, youth offending and social and criminal justice responses to young people, this postgraduate diploma focuses on developing critical analytical skills and enhancing the ability to assess policy and practice against international standards and benchmarks.

Targeted at practitioners, policy-makers and those interested in further academic study, it provides the opportunity to apply academic knowledge and critical analytical skills to practice and to enhance understanding of young people's lives, the criminal justice system and the discourse of children's rights.

Given increased policy attention in the area of youth justice and strategies impacting on children and young people more generally, the programme reflects the concern to understand the needs and rights of children and young people and ground responses in evidence, best practice and international standards.

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 31st July 2024 at 4pm. Late applications may be considered..

Criminology at Queen’s is internationally recognised for its research contributions and teaching excellence.

Youth Justice highlights

Student Experience

The programme is designed for flexible learning and involves a blended learning approach offering a mixture of online and face-to-face course delivery. It can also be taken full-time or part-time.

Internationally Renowned Experts

Over 88% of research submitted by colleagues from Criminology, Social Policy, Sociology and Social Work to the Social Policy and Social Work Unit of Assessment was similarly judged to be World Leading or Internationally Excellent. An endorsement of the quality of our research and its impacts in areas such as the penal system, mental health and trauma; work once again achieved through work undertaken in partnership with the health, social care and criminal justice sectors.

Career Development

The programme is designed to enhance students' knowledge and understanding of young people’s lives so they can apply this in careers working with or on behalf of young people, particularly those in conflict with the law.

Student Experience

The programme has been designed to encourage students to consider the interface between social justice, criminal justice and children’s rights. Students have the opportunity to apply academic knowledge and critical analytical skills to practice and enhance understanding of young people’s lives, the criminal justice system and the discourse of children’s rights.

Students on the Programme automatically become a member of the Centre for Children’s Rights through which students can connect with other students, academic staff and our many international visitors who come to speak on related issues.

Internationally Renowned Experts

The programme is taught by staff actively engaged in research related to young people in conflict with the law, youth offending, young people & conflict, legacy, young people & violence and children’s rights. We employ a range of research methods, with particular expertise in participatory research with children and narrative research.

This programme is linked to the Centre for Children's Rights (CCR), which has an international reputation in the area of children's rights with a focus on the implementation of children's rights, young people in conflict with the law & youth justice, child participation, education, social care and children with disabilities.

The CCR has a vibrant community of PhD students undertaking research on a range of issues and in several countries.

Industry Links

We have extensive links with local and international NGOs and can provide some opportunities for students to undertake relevant research. This may be of particular interest if you want to gain experience in the children’s sector, perhaps to secure a job or to change position.

Further Study Opportunities

MSc Youth Justice

Student Testimonials

Course Structure

The programme draws on specialisms within the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (in youth studies, criminology, children’s rights and research methods). In addition to core modules, optional modules from a range of Master’s programme are available.

A blended learning approach has been adopted which includes a mixture of face-to-face and online learning (both live lectures and pre-recorded, self-directed learning), traditional lectures, workshops, condensed weekend modules, online discussion forums and guest speakers.

20 CATS modules generally involve 20 contact hours per semester, 10 CATS modules generally involve 10 contact hours per semester. Contact hours often include a blend of face-to-face lectures/ workshops and online (live or pre-recorded) sessions. Students can choose some optional modules that are all face-to-face, all online or a blend of both.

The Postgraduate Diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete a combination of core and optional taught modules (120 CATS points).

A Certificate exit route is also available (60 CATS points from core modules).

People teaching you

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Dr Mary-Louise Corr’s research interests focus on the lived experiences of youth, particularly in the areas of offending, justice, homelessness and violence. Much of her research has included an in-depth qualitative analysis, often employing the biographical interview as the key research method.

Programme Director, Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Dr Siobhán McAlister's research interests are in the fields of young people and conflict legacy, social justice and criminal justice. She has particular interest in participatory research with children and young people on topics deemed more sensitive.

Professor and Director, Centre for Children's Rights

Professor Laura Lundy is a Barrister with expertise in international children's rights with a particular focus on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, education rights and children's rights to participate in decision-making.

Teaching Times

Morning / Afternoon / Evening/ Weekend and online flexible learning

Learning and Teaching

Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:

  • Flexible learning

    Weekend teaching and workshops outside normal teaching hours.

  • Learning and Teaching Methods

    Contact hours often include a blend of face-to-face lectures/ workshops and online (live or pre-recorded) sessions. You can choose some optional modules that are all face-to-face, all online or a blend of both.

  • VLE

    Canvas is the university’s VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). You will be introduced to Canvas in the first session of the Youth and Social Justice module. You will have a unique username and password. You will have a Canvas site for each module which will work a little like a website where you can click on information to download or view it. For each module, the Canvas site will include: recorded audio/ visual lectures; readings (some of which are downloadable); video links; useful web links; discussion forums; activities. This is also where you will submit your coursework and receive feedback.


Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

  • Modules will be assessed through a variety of written work including: essays; blogs; research proposals/ tenders.


The School is situated across a suite of three buildings in Belfast's Queen's Quarter. We provide student and staff common rooms, computer suites and designated study spaces.

Explore the teaching and social spaces in our School through our 360 Virtual Tour:

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The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Optional Modules

Entrance requirements


Normally a strong 2.2 Honours degree (with minimum of 55%) or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject discipline.

Applicants with an acceptable 2.2 Honours degree below 55% or equivalent, may also be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context.

Closing date for applications: Friday 31st July 2024 at 4pm

Late applications may be considered.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal prior to the deadline stated on course finder. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.



Career Prospects


Possible career paths include work in youth and social justice related fields. Previous graduates have been successful in gaining jobs working for NGOs in the criminal justice field, in child and youth and advocacy, and in statutory sector criminal justice agencies.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Employment after the Course

You will have gained the skills necessary to locate and evaluate policy, research and practice on youth justice related issues, and to undertake your own research in this area. This will position you for working in organisations that: advocate for the rights and needs of children in conflict with the law; that formulate policy; that undertake research.

You will also have a more holistic understanding of the lives of children in conflict with the law, placing you in a perfect position to work with and for these children, and for organisation that support them (e.g. NGOs/ voluntary organisations, statutory sector bodies, government departments).

You may follow in the footsteps of some of our recent graduates who work in young offender's centres in the Republic of Ireland and in England, support young people transitioning from care in Scotland, mentor young people in conflict with the law in Northern Ireland, advocate for the rights of children with care experiences in Northern Ireland, facilitate restorative practice in Mumbai or have extended their studies through doctoral study.

Employment Links

Civil service; criminal justice/ youth/ children’s rights charities; government departments; research organisations.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,867
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,867
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £6,167
EU Other 3 £14,333
International £14,333

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

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