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Graduate Diploma in Youth Work

Graduate Diploma

Serves a wide range of professionals who are working or would like to work with youths in a wide variety of settings, like mental health, education, arts, sports and social services.

Graduate Diploma in Youth Work


Against the background of a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world, and with increasing youth mental health issues here in Singapore, parents and adults working with youths need to and want to be better equipped to engage and support youths.

In Singapore, there are almost half a million resident youths (15-24 years) every year. According to the Central Youth Guidance Office, Ministry of Social and Family Development, there are approximately 110 agencies in the non-profit space that engage youths through intervention programmes, community building activities and practical support. These programmes reach around 70,000 youths each year and are delivered in schools, communities or institutional settings.

In the larger eco-system, there are many stakeholders that contribute to the wellbeing and development of youths as part of their day-to-day work. These include government agencies, education institutions, law enforcement agencies, grassroots and private organisations. Yet there are very few "qualified youth work" practitioners in Singapore. So called qualified youth workers are usually psychologists, counsellors, social workers, even educators or someone with a degree. Not someone trained or skilled specifically in youth work.

This programme aims to educate learners not only of the challenges facing youths, but to equip them with the scientific knowledge of working with and developing youths, and demonstrate to them the art behind having to build the trusting relationship with youths from where they are at. The secondary aim is to produce trained and skilled adults working with youths in this VUCA world, worthy of being certified and considered credible, someone whom youths and parents alike trust to work with.

The programme is mapped against the National Youth Work Competency Framework, the Skills Framework (SFw) for Youth Work in Social Service, and the Youth Work Association (Singapore)'s Code of Ethical Practice for Youth Workers. The educational objectives are tied to the Senior Youth Worker levels of competencies. There are two dimensions of growth:

  • The impact and influence that the learner is able to contribute to the youth sector
  • The ability to manage higher levels of sophistication and complexity for cases and issues

For the learning to be meaningful, there are eight technical competencies that have been identified for learners to possess. The competencies are:

  • Youth Landscape and Development
  • Ethics, Values and Legislations
  • Professional Practice
  • Casework
  • Group Work
  • Programme Management
  • Community Work
  • Youth Engagement

In view of the mapping mentioned above, the programme stipulated outcomes are aligned with the required competencies of a Senior Youth Work at the Generic and Detailed levels as well.

Generic competencies are behavioural competencies scaled at three proficiency levels – Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. Each competency comprises measurable or observable knowledge, skills and behavioural attributes that enable learners to perform their responsibilities effectively. Learners are expected to be at the Intermediate proficiency level. The Generic competencies are as follows:

  • Creative Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Developing People
  • Leadership
  • Service Orientation

Detailed competencies are sub-levels of the eight technical competencies highlighted above. They are quite extensive averaging 3-4 sub-levels per technical competency. Should you be interested, please write in to the Head of Programme. Please note, the University reserves the right to share this information according to the circumstances. All decisions are final.

Unique Features of the Programme

  • The programme is a recognised Youth Work Association (Singapore) professional training programme.
  • Upon graduation, students will obtain Ordinary membership with YWAS for one year. Graduates may submit their Graduate Diploma certificate and transcript to YWAS with their membership application form which can be downloaded from YWAS website.
  • All courses are taught by established academics and professionals in leadership positions with vast real-time experiences, ensuring that issues discussed are always kept current and relevant for practical application.

Admission Requirements

Refer to general admission criteria for graduate programmes.

Applicants are required to submit a 2-page essay to express their interest and intent to be enrolled on the programme.

Should you require any form of learning support, do indicate the details in your application form.

In the event of overwhelming demand and limited vacancy, priority will be given to eligible applicants who applied early. You are encouraged to submit your application early to avoid disappointment.

This programme is currently unable to take in international students, i.e., you must be a Singapore citizen, permanent resident or a resident in Singapore (e.g., Employment Pass holder) in order to apply for admission.

Financial Assistance

The University offers course fee concession for selected graduate programmes. Please click here for more details.

Programme Structure

Students of the programme are required to complete 30 credit units (cu) consisting of six compulsory core courses, inclusive of a supervised youth engagement project with an accompanied proposal, presentation and reflection journal (YWK507); and learning journeys to youth programmes and organisations in the community (SWK569). For the latter, it would be planned in partnership with YWAS member organisations. All courses are 5 cu unless stated otherwise.

The Graduate Diploma in Youth Work is also stackable towards the Master of Social Sciences, subject to meeting programme requirements.

Graduate Diploma in Youth Work

Our Graduate Diploma in Youth Work (GDYWK) is designed to provide insights and skills for professionals who are working or would like to work with youths in a wide variety of settings, like mental health, education, arts, sports and social services.

Graduates should be able to engage youths effectively in a variety of settings, able to identify their needs, able to assess the risks and able to address issues competently. Their ability to perform their role as youth work practitioners upon graduation should be guided not only by the professional code of ethic stipulated by the Youth Work Association (Singapore) and the required competencies stipulated by the National Youth Work Competency (NYWC) framework, but also some of the proposed theories of development, engagement, learning and interventions.

  1. How many intake(s) are there in a year for Graduate Diploma in Youth Work (GDYWK)?
    We have only one intake a year, in every January.

  2. What is the maximum candidature to complete the GDYWK?
    The maximum candidature period is 2 years.

  3. How many courses do students take in each semester?
    Students are recommended to complete 15 cu (3 courses) per semester.

  4. What is the assessment structure?
    There will be a variety of assessment modes in this programme. It would range from continual assessments based on tutor-marked assignments (TMA), class presentation, project proposal, reflection journal and even end-of-course assessments (ECA) or written examination.

    Given that there is likely going to be online sessions, we provide some participation points for being involved. This would naturally apply as well when sessions are on campus, thereby, enriching the learning. A Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.5 is required for students to graduate with a Graduate Diploma in Youth Work.

  5. When are the lessons scheduled?
    Lessons are scheduled on four Saturdays per course from 8.30am to 5.30pm, with a lunch break of an hour. In the event of pandemic like COVID-19, and on-campus classes are not possible. Lessons may all be conducted online.

  6. What is the teaching and learning approach like?
    This being a programme that provides professional training at the postgraduate level during times of extremely volatility and uncertainties, the pedagogical approach is one that intends to mimic the experience of youths going through the same challenging times. The experience of using a variety of learning tools and platforms, and leveraging the spaces they go into to find meaningful learning.

    There is a mix of instructor-led seminars, online discussions, e-learning, presentations, group work, project work in the delivery of content, and facilitation of learning activities. Case studies in particular, will be used extensively throughout the programme.

    This is to ensure that the students' learning remain grounded on authentic work examples. During the course of their study, students will also have the opportunity to hear from and interact with youths, leading experts and industry practitioners.

  7. What happens if I do not complete the Graduate Diploma within the candidature period? Can I apply to take the remaining courses via CET pathway?
    Students who have not completed their graduate programmes within the stipulated candidature period will not be eligible for the award of the qualification for such graduate programmes. Such students however may apply to take, via the CET pathway, the remaining courses which they did not complete under their graduate programmes as part of their personal learning and development . Such application will be subjected to the CET admission requirement. However, as such students have exceeded the candidature period for their graduate programmes, they will not be awarded the qualification for such graduate programmes even after taking and completing the remaining courses via the CET pathway (“Condition”).

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