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Become a community education practitioner

The BA Community Education is perfect for those already involved or interested in working with people in communities to facilitate their critical and social education. 

Community education is an expanding professional area that contributes to youth and community practices. This course is aimed at current or aspiring community education practitioners.

Community educators work with people of all ages and abilities to facilitate individual and social change that enhances the chances  for making a good life. The programme is underpinned by theories and practices in equality and social justice, human flourishing, engagement and participation.

This course is approved by the Community Learning and Development Standards Council for Scotland and is recognised as a lead practitioner qualification. 

Education @ UWS

UWS is recognised as one of the most innovative providers of education degrees in the UK. We are ranked first in UK for Education* in the Guardian University League tables, 2020. From early years to adult education, students gain rich experience from our innovative courses and graduate with unrivalled career prospects.

We’re working to create new routes for tomorrow’s teachers. Chemistry and Physics undergraduates can now opt to earn a PGDE qualification alongside their science studies during the final 18 months of their courses.

Our students gain vital skills and practical experience through work placements, preparing them for successful careers in pre-school, primary, secondary and community education.

2019-20 League tables

  • Education at UWS was ranked 1st in the UK for Education (source: The Guardian University Guide 2020)*
  • Education at UWS was ranked 2nd in the UK overall, & 1st in the UK for teaching quality and 1st in Scotland for student experience (source: The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019)*
  • Education at UWS was ranked 2nd in the UK overall & 1st in Scotland for student satisfaction (source: The Complete University Guide 2019)*

* ranking based on our initial teacher training BA (Hons) Education degree

UWS Students on Enhancing Your English Language Course | University of the West of Scotland


of undergraduate & postgraduate Education students in work and/or study 6 months after graduating

Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2015/16

Entry Requirements

What qualifications do you need? 

We welcome Scottish, UK and international students and consider all applicants on an individual basis.
Don’t worry if your qualifications are not listed here, we take a range of factors into account when assessing your application and are happy to consider other alternative combinations of qualifications and experience.
If you are applying with an EU or non-EU qualification, please check our Undergraduate Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.

Additional Information

Applicants who do not meet the entry criteria but hold similar childcare qualifications together with relevant work experience are encouraged to contact us for advice on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for entry to second year.

Year 1

  • Scottish Highers: BBBC (102 UCAS Tariff points) including English
  • A levels: BCC (104 UCAS Tariff points)
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: H3 H3 H3 H4 including English
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 24 points (4 at HL)
  • Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP): Access to Humanities (BBB)
  • SQA HNC / BTEC Level 4 HNC: Social Services
  • SQA HNC / BTEC Level 4 HNC: Make-up Artistry (additional, relevant experience required)

Year 2

  •  Scottish Advanced Highers: BBB
  • A levels: BBB
  • SQA HNC / BTEC Level 4 HNC: Working in/with Communities or Social Care or Sport in Communities or Community Arts or Additional Support Needs or Social Sciences or Childhood Practice or Social Services (for SQA HNC, with Grade B in the Graded Unit)

Year 3

  • SQA HND / BTEC Level 5 HND:
    Working in/with Communities or Social Care or Sport in Communities or Community Arts or Aditional Support Needs (for SQA HNDs, with a Grade B in the Graded Unit)

Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG)

Successful applicants who gain a place on this course will need to register on the PVG Scheme, managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland. An application form will be sent from the University once you have accepted your offer. The fee for joining the scheme is £59.

Visit the Disclosure Scotland website for more information on the PVG scheme.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for most courses

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. The qualifications below must have been gained within two years of the start of your course.

General English language requirements at UWS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.0
  • no sub-test less than 5.5

Common equivalent English language qualifications

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

  • 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
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII with the minimum of a Pass in all sub-tests
  • PTE Pearson Academic English: An overall score of 54 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5). An overall score 61 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.5 with no element below 6.0)


IELTS Score Exceptions (DBA, Certificate of Higher Education, PhD, etc.)

For our research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD, DBA, DProf), applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0

For Health, Nursing & Midwifery courses that lead to professional registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 7.0
  • no sub-test less than 7.0

For our Certificate of Higher Education courses, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 5.0
  • no sub-test less than 4.5



TOEFL IBT*: 78; no sub-test less than:

  • Reading: 17;
  • Listening: 17;
  • Speaking: 17;
  • Writing: 17

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.


West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE)

West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE) including acceptance of WAEC Scratchcard*

  • C6 or above in English

*UWS will accept a WAEC scratchcard confirming that an applicant has achieved C6 or above as evidence of meeting English language requirement from Nigeria if the student graduated within the last 5 years. After 5 years applicants would be required to provide the WAEC Certificate.


Pre-sessional courses

Applicants who do not meet the minimum English language requirements have the option to study one of our preparatory and pre-sessional English courses. The UWS courses available are:

  • 10 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.0 with no element below 4.5.
  • 5 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.5 with no element below 5.5.
  • English Language for University Study - entry criteria UKVI IELTS with score of 4.0 in all elements (10 month course), or 4.5 with no score below 4.0 (7 month course).

Course details

The BA Community Education provides a range of social theories and practices that help students take a critical stance in contemporary policy, economics and in the transformative capabilities of communities.

It prepares you to work in Community Education (CEd) and Community Learning and Development (CLD) at local, national and international levels.

The values and principles of CLD: self-determination, inclusion, empowerment, working collaboratively and promotion of learning as a lifelong activity, underpin the overall ethos of this course.

There are three themes running through the course:

  • The dynamic nature of theory and practice and the importance of critical reflection and research in relation to community education, formal and informal practices and educational perspectives.
  • The development of emancipatory professional practice in the context of changing cultural, social, political and economic conditions
  • The concept of ‘community’ and how this links to processes of globalisation and new communication practices and social relationships

Year 1

You will be introduced to key theories in education, sociology and psychology. You are also introduced to the CLD competences as a foundation for Personal and Professional Development Planning (PDP).

You will develop an understanding of social theory in relation to power and community contexts and will be introduced to critical pedagogy.

You will explore ideas that can be used to enhance competence in groupwork and communication skills. Academic practice is embedded in all modules and students will learn one language and also take a practice learning module that is focused on building and maintaining relationships.

Year 2

You will research the core domains of practice and strategies for participation and inclusion at local and international levels. You will examine and consider how these can be applied in a range of contexts. You will also undertake a practice learning module focussing on project and community leadership.

Year 3

You will continue your studies of critical pedagogy and its purpose in creating emancipatory practice for equality and social justice.

You will develop an understanding of the tensions in managing people and resources and will learn about practice-based research.

In trimester two, you will further develop your CLD competences by completing a capstone project within a practice learning placement.

Completion of the capstone project will involve developing and evaluating a specific piece of practice. You will evaluate your capstone project and present an artefact (such as a film, training pack or weblog) that can be used to show how the capstone project impacted on (a) your development of competences and (b) the CEd/CLD context of the practice project.

Year 4

In the final year, you will develop your emerging professional identity further by studying the implications of social policy on CLD practice. Alongside Childhood Studies, you will develop more nuanced and critical understanding of inter-professional practices.

You will also carry out a research dissertation through professional enquiry linked to practice learning.

Learn a Language (optional)

This course also gives you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover multiple languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level. The cost of your language module is included in the tuition fees. Find out more

Course Structure

Find out more about the structure, learning outcomes, compulsory and optional modules in this course.

BA (Hons) Community Education Course Structure.

Career prospects


Graduates of this course will find opportunities as a lead practitioner/manager within the areas of adult education, community development and youth work.

You will also find work across a range of disciplinary areas and in voluntary and statutory sectors.

Previous graduate destinations have included working in peer education, Scottish Prison Service, faith-based and rural youth work, employability, community development and regeneration, issue based practice and charitable trusts.

Further Study

Students who successfully complete their degree can, for example, progress to our MSc in Critical Youth and Community Studies as well as to a range of other UWS programmes .

Undergradute Tuition Fees

Scottish campuses non-lab-based 2019/20

Scottish & EU

£1,820 cost per year of study (paid by the Scottish Government via SAAS*)

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

International (Non-EU)

£12,000 per year of study

More on current & future tuition fees

Class-based: Part-time / Online Study 2019/20

Scottish & EU

£305 per module (20 credits)

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£1,550 per module (20 credits)

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£1,550 per module (20 credits)

International (Non-EU)

£2,000 per module (20 credits)

More on current & future tuition fees

Undergraduate fees for this course 2020/21

Scottish & EU

£1,820 cost per year of study (paid by the Scottish Government via SAAS*)

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

International (Non-EU)

£16,000 per year of study

More on current & future tuition fees

Additional Costs & Sources of Funding

The cost of attending university is an investment in your future career.
In addition to tuition fees and living expenses, some courses involve extra costs like study materials, field trips, equipment and uniforms.
Fortunately, there is a great deal of financial support available to help students meet the cost of their study. This ranges from:

  • statutory government loans to pay for tuition fees
  • scholarships for Scottish, EU and International (non-EU) students
  • bursaries to help towards living expenses

The sections below provide details of additional costs that your course may involve along with any financial support that may be available.
You can also find additional information in our Undergraduate Money, Fees & Funding section.

Additional Costs

Students on certain degrees will incur some additional costs not covered by their tuition fees. These could be for things like specialist equipment, study materials, work placements, graduation, membership of relevant organisations or costs related to carrying out fieldwork.

For students on course with an element of fieldwork, there may also be extra costs for travel and accommodation.

Please contact the course leader for details of the additional costs associated with this course.

Tuition Fees* & Living Cost Support

Tuition Fees & Additional Costs

Tuition fees are calculated based on where you are from and what you are studying. Some courses also involve additional costs, such as mandatory field trips, equipment or studying abroad.

Find out how much it will cost you to study at UWS as an undergraduate student.

Funding for Scottish Students

Scottish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students

English, Welsh and Northern Irish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for EU Students

EU students studying at undergraduate level of UWS may be eligible for SAAS funding, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find our more.

Funding for International Students

There are several scholarship and incentive schemes available to international students studying at undergraduate level at UWS, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find out more.

Other Financial Support

Discretionary & Childcare Funds

UWS administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds. These are designed to support students who are experiencing financial difficulty or struggling to meet the costs of childcare.

Find out more.

Benefits & Tax Credits

Becoming a student can have an impact on your entitlement to certain benefits. It may mean you are no longer eligible to claim a benefit you have been receiving, or your new income from student funding may affect the amount you are able to receive.

Find out more.

Additional Financial Support

If there isn’t a statutory source of funding for you or your course, or you are in need of additional financial support, you may wish to consider more alternative sources of funding such as trust funds and scholarships.

Find out more.

Money & Debt Advice

Choosing to become a student can have a big impact on your budget and you may need to reassess your spending to account for a reduced income. We’ve put together some guidance to help you manage your money and make the right financial choices for you and your family.

Find out more.

How to apply

Full-time (domestic & EU/EEA)

All UK and EU applicants for undergraduate study, not applying through an agent or partner, should apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service)

The on-time application deadline for 2020/21 entry is 15 January 2020, 18:00 (UK time). For some courses it may still be possible to apply beyond this period, subject to suitable vacancies remaining. The final deadline for late applications via UCAS is 30 June 2020, 18:00 (UK time). Beyond this deadline, you may be able to apply via ‘UCAS Clearing’ if the course you are interested in has remaining places.

Please refer to our Undergraduate Application Guide for domestic & EU/EEA to find more information on when and how to apply to study at UWS.

Apply on UCAS

Full-time (non-EU/non-EEA), Part-time & Online (all students), Erasmus & International Exchange

Students from non-EU/non-EEA countries can apply directly to UWS via our dedicated online application system. The latest we can process your application is 6 weeks before the course start date to allow for visa processing times. For more information on when and how to apply to study at UWS please refer to our International Undergraduate Application Guide.

For part-time & online study, you should apply directly to the University through our online application system, not through UCAS. Please select the part-time mode of study when submitting your application. Before you begin your application, it is important to read the part-time application step-by-step guide for a smooth process.

To come to UWS as a visiting student on a study abroad or exchange programme, you must apply entirely through our online system.


An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.


Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

UWS Undergraduate students studying at Ayr Campus

Life at UWS

Going to university is about much more than getting a qualification, it’s also the chance to enjoy an exciting social life, gain some independence and make the most of the new opportunities available.


We will always try to make sure that we publish accurate course information but we do not accept responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. We will also try to make sure that we deliver our courses in line with our published information. However, we may not always be able to do so and you can find further information about this in our enrolment terms and conditions.