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

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

The Diploma in Housing Studies, with internship offers a unique combination of academic study and professional work experience for those seeking to enter a career in housing. The course covers all aspects of housing policy, development, finance and service delivery in the interests of providing better housing for all.

Students are eligible for a SASS postgraduate loan which covers the fee for the postgraduate Diploma elements. The course fully integrates all of the academic and practice components of the professional qualification of the Chartered Institue of Housing. This includes a structured, assessed period of relevant work experience, which 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 housing sector with new, qualified staff, who are known to be ready to ‘hit the ground running’. 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 the 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 course 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  the 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


Application procedure

Alternative Routes

Potential applicants who are already working can apply for the Housing Studies course and undertake a Reflective Practice module linking academic study to their current employment (rather than a separate internship).

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

  • Providing Housing Services
  • Sustainability and Housing Development
  • 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 at the beginning of September to commence the course. Academic learning is undertaken through a combination of private study and online interaction with tutors. There is a day on campus at the beginning of each academic module. You will be required to attend on-campus sessions and field visits for the practice module, to build experience for your internship. The course requires full-time participation. Classes are held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - with the rest of the week for private study. (Studying full-time equates to approximately 35 hours on average which includes all structured learning, personal study and assessments).

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:

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 including essays, reports, group work and a semianr presentation.

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.

Module titles

Find out more about specific information by following the link to module information

  • Providing Housing Services (HOUPA1)
  • Sustainability and Development (HOUPA2)
  • Policy and Law (HOUPA3)
  • Organisational Behaviour (HOUPA4)
  • Strategic Use of Information (HOUPA5)
  • Paying for Housing (HOUPA6)
  • Housing Renewal and Community Regeneration (HOUPA7)
  • Housing, Health and Well-Being (HOUPA8)
  • Contemporary Housing Practice 1 (HOUPC1)
  • Contemporary Housing Practice 2 (HOUPC2)
  • Social Research Methods (HOUP19)
  • MSc Dissertation (HOUP20)


Study abroad opportunities

Field visits and internships are typically organised in Scotland. Specific requests for internships outside of Scotland can be considered but have to be met within the course funding arrangements.

Course Director

Dr Madhu Satsangi


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

More information

RAE rating

The University of Stirling Housing Studies course is one of the longest established in the United Kingdom and is consistently highly rated by the Chartered Institute of Housing in successive programme validations. The course is also highly rated across the housing sector.

All core teaching staff on the Housing Studies course are active in housing research. In the 2008 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 a comprehensive academic and professional qualification, with structured work experience, which offers a direct route into employment in the housing sector.

We have an excellent track record in the employability of our graduates, with many progressing to senior and influential roles in the housing sector.

A unique strength of the Stirling course is the combined delivery to students who are new to housing alongside those already working in housing – facilitating strong networks for mutual learning across student groups and on into professional life.

e.g. Housing Studies student wins Malcolm Smith Award

Our students

Here are some comments from our students: 

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 course 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 course 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 course 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 course 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 course 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.

Our staff

Dr Madhu Satsangi has researched extensively on housing provision in the countryside. He is co-author of the research-based book, The Rural Housing Question. Madhu is active in research and policy networks and has been an adviser to the Scottish Government on land reform and on rural housing and planning.

Professor Isobel Anderson has researched extensively on housing policy and homelessness. She is co-editor of a core text on Housing and Inequality, and active in international housing research and practice networks. 

Dr Vikki McCall - has a research focus on the role of front-line workers and governance and is a Board member of Parkhead Housing Association. Vikki also has interests in housing, ageing and dementia care and is a leader in evaluating online learning and practice

Career opportunities

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


Our students learn great transferable skills such as: academic skills in analysis and writing; technical skills in the appraisal and evaluation of housing development, design and construction in the built environment; professional skills in housing: communication skills, in report writing and group presentations; self-management skills, in organising work, and meeting deadlines; interpersonal skills, in group discussion and listening.

Industry connections

A very substantial number of housing organisations across Scotland support student internships and sponsor their staff to undertake the Housing Studies course at Stirling.

Teaching staff also work with organisations across the country in their research activities. Through student membership of the Chartered Institute of Housing, you will have access to information and news about housing organisations across Scotland as well as being able to attend major conferences in the sector.


PG Certificate / PG Diploma Fees 2016/17

 Home / EUOverseas
PG Certificate £2,250 £2,250 N/A N/A
PG Diploma £2,250 £4,500 N/A £12,450

MSc Fees 2016/17 

 Home / EUOverseas
HOUP19 £600 £600 £1,660 £1,660
HOUP20 £900 £900 £2,490 £2,490


PG Certificate / PG Diploma Fees 2015/16

 Home / EUOverseas
PG Certificate £2,250 £2,250 N/A N/A
PG Diploma £2,250 £4,500 N/A £11,900

MSc Fees 2015/16

 Home / EU
  Stirling Graduate Non Stirling Graduate Stirling Graduate Non Stirling Graduate
HOUP19 £600 £600 £860 £860
HOUP20 £900 £900 £1,290 £1,290

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/