Housing Studies

Study Housing Studies (with internship) and graduate with a university degree

MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma

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Housing Studies
  • Type Full-time, Part-time, Discontinuous
  • Duration Full-time (with internship): 12 months or part-time (with internship): 22 months
  • Start date September

Sarah Withey Senior Administrator (Postgraduate)
Applied Social Science
01786 467719 www.stir.ac.uk/social-science/

The Diploma in Housing Studies offers a unique combination of academic study and professional work experience. The course combines strategy, policy and frontline services to people and brings together the study of buildings, people and money in the interests of better housing for all.

Our course is supported by studentships, allowing us to fully integrate all of the academic components of the professional qualification with a structured, assessed period of relevant work experience. This sets up graduates for a ‘fast track’ into a career with housing organisations in the social, private and voluntary sectors.

Our courses make a substantial contribution to supplying the sector with new, qualified staff, who are known to be ready to ‘hit the ground running’. There are a number of funded studentships each year and our graduates usually find relevant work very quickly after completing their studies.


CIH logoThe Chartered Institute of Housing is the professional body for housing and validates the Stirling Housing Studies course. On successful completion of the Diploma, you will have satisfied most of the practical requirements for corporate membership of the Chartered Institute of Housing. Housing Studies attracts people from a variety of disciplines.


Course objectives

With a staff group specialising in a wide range of professional competencies ranging from; housing management, project management, policy and strategy, homelessness, social theory, housing finance and housing law, Stirling University is in an excellent position to provide you with the skill sets required to make good a career in a highly competitive age.

Students are introduced to the most up-to-date ideas and debates in housing. We offer students the opportunity to learn about the cutting edge of housing practice. This route uses blended learning, with a significant element of online study giving the student the ideal learning experience in a format which is accessible and engaging.

This course is aimed at graduates wishing to pursue a career in housing. The Diploma programme combines academic study and professional practice over a 12-month period. It equips you with the tools to become a competent and effective practitioner and increases your chances of interesting and rewarding work and future employment.

Anyone who completes the Diploma requirements may register for a further nine months and, depending on progress, study towards a Master’s of Science degree (MSc).

The Chartered Institute of Housing is the professional body for housing and validates the Stirling housing studies course. On successful completion of the Diploma, you will have satisfied most of the practical requirements for corporate membership of the Chartered Institute of Housing.  Housing studies attracts people from a variety of disciplines across the social sciences, humanities and built environment.

Entrance requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study

Full-time (with internship): 12 months
Part-time (with internship): 22 months

Course start date


Structure and content

The Postgraduate Diploma is taught intensively over two academic semesters, with the professional practice element – internship – running June to September.

During the academic semesters you will study eight academic modules, four in each semester.

Semester 1

  • The Provision of Housing Services
  • Sustainability and Housing Development
  • Housing Policy and Law
  • Strategic Use of Information

Semester 2

  • Paying for Housing
  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Housing Renewal and Community Regeneration
  • Housing, Health and Well-being

Professional Practice

The course also includes a module on reflective practice, preparation for professional practice and attachment to a social landlord to facilitate workplace learning. These precede an internship of at least 10 weeks full-time work experience, linked to the practical requirements of the Chartered Institute of Housing. Workplace attachments and internships are arranged by tutors, taking account of student preferences and interests.


Tutors on the course have wide ranging research interests in housing policy, homelessness and community development.

Delivery and assessment

You attend induction in Stirling for a week in September at the beginning of the course and at periodic intervals thereafter. Academic learning is undertaken through a combination of interaction with tutors and other students working with materials available online and occasional sessions on campus or field visits. You are expected to participate in the course actively for two/three days each week and study privately those times.

Most of the time you have flexibility about where you can study and you do not need to travel to Stirling for online classes. Please ensure that your IT specification meets the requirements for the course - see technical checklist available here: http://www.stir.ac.uk/is/student/it/software/succeed/

You can, however, access IT facilities on campus. We estimate that the course requires a full-time study commitment of 35 hours per week, including private study. Teaching is concentrated on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Assessment on the Diploma course is continuous and takes a variety of forms – written and oral, individual and collective, academic and professional.

During the period June – September, your internship will consist of full-time attendance at an agreed workplace. Students need to complete 400 hours work which amounts to approximately 10 weeks full-time. Internships are assessed through a series of practice reports and a reflective practice diary.

Students who do not complete the Diploma course may be eligible for the award of the Postgraduate Certificate.

Masters of Science degree (MSc)
Students who successfully complete the Diploma are eligible for progress to the MSc in Housing Studies. This requires a further nine months of study, satisfactory completion of a research methods module, and satisfactory completion of a 15,000-word dissertation.

Recommended reading

Contact the School for information.

Course Director

Dr Madhu Satsangi

RAE rating

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 95 percent of the research in Applied Social Science at Stirling was ‘Internationally Excellent’ with the top 10 percent of that judged to be ‘World-leading.


The course provides structured work experience alongside a professional qualification which offers a direct route into employment in the housing sector.

Our students

Here are some comments from our students who graduated last year: 

Why did you choose to study at Stirling?

  • I had previously completed my undergraduate at the university so felt familiar/comfortable with the surroundings.  It was also one of the only universities running the course.
  • The University of Stirling Diploma in Housing Studies was recommended by my employer, Aberdeenshire Council.
  • Right course, right course entry criteria for me as a mature student without a degree.  Right system for distance learning that fitted alongside working full-time as well.
  • Stirling delivered the qualification and course within the timescale that suited my situation.
  • I wanted to learn more about housing and when I found out I could do the course through my work, Stirling offered the best choice for me.
  • When I completed my Level 4 Diploma in Housing at Telford College, Stirling was recommended for the Postgraduate Diploma.  My employer also recommended Stirling for this course. 

Can you tell me what the highlights were for you as a student at the University of Stirling?

  • The regular visits at the beginning of the course (every Wednesday) with the rest of the full-time students.  Also fantastic support from Fiona Russell and Joe Crawford.
  • Weekly online sessions enabled me to develop my knowledge of housing in relation to legislation, policies, mechanisms, concepts and processes through online tutorials and group discussions.
  • I enjoyed being part of the university for the past two years, especially the days when I visited the campus, meeting in person other students and staff. 
  • Attending the University on ‘days in’ given that the majority of the course was distance learning.
  • I found the whole course really enjoyable but I found the module on renewal and regeneration fascinating. I really enjoyed and it has changed my perspective on many topics.
  • I enjoyed the first day of each subject, as we were able to attend the University and meet the tutors and other students face to face which made it easier to discuss any issues, etc.  When the results for each subject were posted, this gave me a real sense of achievement.

How did your course of study help you improve in your chosen subject?

  • I had no previous knowledge of housing and the course allowed me to grasp content and knowledge in a year to assist me in increasing career opportunities.
  • The programme of study provided teaching materials, comprehensive learning resources and a forum for discussion between group members and the tutors.  Each tutor being available during the online sessions for queries.
  • The programme enabled me to look at my work in different ways and see “the bigger picture” and to understand current issues in the sector from a more academic point of view.
  • The programme increased my knowledge, skills and experience greatly within housing.
  • I have learned so much more about housing which was always my key aim as I work on the strategic side of housing.    It has helped me look at things differently which has enhanced the work I do in strategy.
  • The programme of study helped me achieve an all-round understanding of the housing services function and how all departments work together in providing services to help achieve a quality service to the tenants.

If you had to summarise your experience of the School of Applied Social Science in a few words what would you say? 

  • Supportive and informative.
  • An excellent experience providing me with a wealth of knowledge through weekly online computer learning sessions.   Will definitely recommend it to others.
  • Friendly and supportive at all times but stretched me to attain the educational level that I wished to achieve.   Helped me get a qualification which I thought might be beyond me.
  • Interesting, hard work but extremely valuable and worthwhile.
  • I really enjoyed the course, the variety of assignments was great as it was challenging. The modules were well structured. I would recommend the course to anyone working in housing or who is interested in working in the housing profession.
  • All the tutors were very helpful and understanding and the course was structured in a way which helped me learn the subject. 

Can you tell me how your acquired skills and knowledge will help you in your career or has helped you in your professional role or secured employment?

  • I am now working on a six-month contract with Port of Leith Housing Association, without the course I would not have the knowledge and practical housing management experience achieved from my work place link and placement.
  • My acquired skills have helped in my career and in my personal life.  For example in my career an increase in knowledge has helped me to understand key housing issues and management and organisation behaviour.   Whilst in my personal life my home is now more energy efficient and I am generating electricity through a solar photovoltaic system.
  • So far nothing has changed at work – there have been no opportunities to move up the ladder but my confidence levels have risen and I feel I have more respect from my colleagues and superiors now.
  • I am currently working as a Consultant with a Registered Social Landlord. Without the skills and knowledge gained through the programme I would not be in this position.
  • I have learned so much about housing some of which I have already put into use in my work. It’s made me more aware of housing as a whole rather than the area I knew about. I have been working with the Homelessness Service a lot more recently so the knowledge I have learned from the course has been valuable.
  • My acquired skills and knowledge will help me if a Housing Officer’s post was to become available within the Association which may allow me to be promoted in the future.  I am now a Chartered Member of the CIH too since completing this course.

Career opportunities

Stirling housing graduates normally move immediately into employment, often in housing associations, local authorities, trade organisations, government agencies, research and consultancy.



2014/15Overseas£11,400.00 full-time. Standalone module - £1,520
2014/15Home/EU£4000 full-time. Standalone module - £760

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan

This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS.  More information

Individual Learning Accounts can offer help with fee payment.  For further information visit http://www.myworldofwork.co.uk/section/funding

For further information on possible sources of funding, visit: http://www.stir.ac.uk/postgraduate/financial-information/