Housing Studies (with Internship)

MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma


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 services, sustaining communities, governance and law, housing organisations and health and well-being.

Many Scottish 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 Institute of Housing. This includes a structured, assessed work experience internship, which sets up graduates for a ‘fast track’ into a career with housing organisations in the social, voluntary and private 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.  The sections below include comments on career prospects from previous students. 


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 who are committed to achieving better housing for all.


Key information

EU Applicants
EU students enrolling for a postgraduate taught degree in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will be eligible for the same tuition support as Scottish domiciled students.

  • Qualification: MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time, Discontinuous, Mixture of online and classroom delivery
  • Duration: Full-time (with internship): 12 months or part-time (with internship): 21 months
  • Start date:


  • Course Director: Dr Vikki McCall
  • Location: Stirling Campus
Download course leaflet
Download postgraduate prospectus

Dr Vikki McCall


Faculty of Social Sciences
Colin Bell Building
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
Scotland, UK


  1. On successful completion of the Diploma or Masters, you will have satisfied the requirements for corporate membership of the Chartered Institute of Housing, recognised throughout the UK.
  2. Our Housing Studies graduates acquire the cutting-edge knowledge and competencies needed to tackle issues in housing and homelessness in Scotland and throughout the UK. Those who choose the internship option gain valuable work experience in the housing sector.
  3. The programmes available are designed to suit those who are new to the housing sector alongside those who are already employed within it. Our modules aim to empower students to take charge of their learning, pursue their own interests and make an impact within the housing sector.
  4. You will be taught by a team of academics with extensive experience in the housing sector and world-class research records
  5. We provide a cost effective opportunity to gain a postgraduate qualification in Housing, both at Diploma and Masters level. The programme follows a structured route of learning but flexibility and choice are afforded to students; and to employers who wish to sponsor their employees.


Course objectives

With a staff group which comprehensively covers the multi-disciplinary nature of housing, research, policy and practice, the University of Stirling is in an excellent position to provide you with the skill sets required to make good a career in a highly competitive age.

Our research-led teaching draws on our specialist expertise in policy analysis, homelessness and housing rights, social theory, housing and land market analysis.

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 blends occasional sessions on campus, with a significant element of online study giving 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 for full-time students (21 months for part-time students). It equips you with the tools to become a competent and effective practitioner and increases your chances of gaining rewarding work in housing and developing your long-term career.

Anyone who completes the Diploma requirements may register for further study towards a Master’s of Science degree (MSc).  This would require completion of either a research-based dissertation or the demonstration of advanced level reflective skills. 

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.

What makes us different?

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Usually a minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with relevant work or voluntary experience, an understanding of the importance of housing in society, and a commitment to improved housing for all are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as:

  • IELTS score of 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill.

We consider the following as equivalent test scores:

  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C or above
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B or above
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

For more information go to English language requirements

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. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Flexible Learning

If you are interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email graduate.admissions@stir.ac.uk to discuss your course of study.

Application procedure

Alternative Routes

Potential applicants who are already working can apply for the Housing Studies course on a part-time basis over two years, without internship.

Fees and costs


    MSc PG Diploma PG Certificate
2018/19 Overseas £13,650 £9,100 £4,550
2018/19 Home/EU £6,300 £4,200




Fees for all new applicants to postgraduate taught courses are held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Scholarships & funding

SAAS Postgraduate Loans

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) is now offering a generous loan scheme to assist eligible Scottish and EU-domiciled students pursuing a Masters at the University of Stirling during 2018/19. Find out more about SAAS Postgraduate Loans

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan

This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS. Find out more about PTFL »

Individual Learning Accounts

Individual Learning Accounts can offer help with fee payment.

Financial information

Find out more about funding your studies and meeting your living costs while working towards another degree.

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

The Postgraduate Diploma is taught over 12 months full-time or alternatively over 21 months part-time, with the professional practice element – internship – running June to September.

You will study six academic modules: 

  • Providing Housing Services
  • Sustainable Communities
  • Housing Governance
  • Housing Finance and Strategy
  • Healthy Housing
  • Organisational Behaviour

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.

Exit Points

Students may build up to the full Masters (MSc) of 180 credits in stages, or exit at any stage and receive an award.

  • six modules plus a dissertation for 180 credits (SCQF Level 11) - Masters degree + requirements for corporate membership of the Chartered Institute of Housing
  • six modules for 120 credits (SCQF Level 11) - Postgraduate Diploma + requirements for corporate membership of the Chartered Institute of Housing
  • three modules for 60 credits (SCQF Level 11) - Postgraduate Certificate 

Delivery and assessment

You attend induction in Stirling over three days at the beginning of September to commence the course. Academic learning is then undertaken through a combination of private study and interactive online sessions. There is a day on campus at the beginning of each academic module and a programme of required 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:

  • Succeed

You can, however, access IT facilities on campus. 

Assessment on the Diploma course takes a variety of forms including essays, reports, group work and a seminar presentation.  Each module has one or two assessments (rather than end of semester examinations).

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 or 50 days 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)
Anyone who completes the Diploma requirements may register for a further period of study towards a Master's of Science degree (MSc). This would require completion of either a research-based dissertation of advanced level reflexive skills. 


Postgraduate Diploma modules:

Providing Housing Services (HOUP001) 20 credits (SCQF Level 11)
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the context for the provision and consumption of housing of services in the UK. It also explores concepts and values of service and the role and boundaries of the management of social housing. The module also aims to consolidate previous work experience and to develop student’s ability to reflect on practice and to assess self-development.
Sustainable Communities (HOUP002) 20 credits (SCQF Level 11)
The course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the processes for housing development, design and construction in relation to the physical and social environments.
Housing Finance and Strategy (HOUP004) 20 credits (SCQF Level 11)
This module aims to develop students’ understanding of how housing is paid for in the social, private rented and home ownership sectors and of the mechanisms for the strategic planning and provision of affordable housing in Scotland.
Housing Governance (HOUP005) 20 credits (SCQF Level 11)
This module aims to develop students’ understanding of the governance of housing in its broadest sense: including structures and mechanisms for the governance of housing; the theory and practice of the housing policy process; the development and implementation of housing law; and the inter-relationships between governance, policy and law. The module also builds students’ understanding of reflective practice by incorporating critical reflection on the power relationships which are manifested in the governance of housing.
Contemporary Housing Practice (HOUP007) No credits given

This module aims to provide students with learning opportunities to support the critical understanding of academic modules, to provide the reflective tools necessary to achieve this learning and to support the summer internship.

Your module on contemporary practice is separate, but integrated into the other key academic modules. The aim is for you to link your learning to housing practice through this module.

Organisational Behaviour (HOUP003) 20 credits (SCQF Level 11)
On completion of this module, you will be able to assess the roles of the range of stakeholders involved in housing governance, including understanding the concept of housing policy networks and the operation of the housing policy community. Plus Analyse and relate the Scottish, UK and EU mechanisms and structures for housing governance.
Housing Health and Wellbeing (HOUP006) 20 credits (SCQF Level 11)
This module aims to develop your understanding of the elements which contribute to healthy housing for people with a diverse range of health and care circumstances. It considers the links between housing, health and well-being, with particular emphasis on the importance of inter-professional working and service user involvement, including the perspectives of client groups with particular housing and social needs.

Optional modules to complete the Masters (MSc) degree:

Housing Research (HOUP008) 60 credits (SCQF Level 11)
The module aims to develop students’ critical analytical skills through developing and completing a research-based dissertation.


Housing Reflection (HOUP009) 60 credits (SCQF Level 11)

The aims of this module are to consolidate previous work experience, to develop student’s ability to reflect on practice and to assess self-development. The Housing Diploma programme aims to encourage students to actively participate in their own learning. This Masters module aims to consolidate this learning and take it to the next level, where the student takes the next steps in reflecting not only on what is learned, but how they learn.

Learning at work is not simply a case of absorbing and replicating activities and skills but requires the student to reflect and gain a deeper understanding of what is experienced.

Recommended reading

Is provided on enrolment.

Modes of study

Full-time (with internship): 12 months
Part-time (with internship): 21 months

Study method

Full-time blended learning Part-time blended learning

Why Stirling?


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.

All core teaching staff on the Housing Studies course are active in housing research. In the REF2014, 75 percent of the research in Applied Social Science at Stirling was assessed as ‘Internationally Excellent'  with the top 24 percent of that judged as ‘World-leading'.



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.


International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .

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.


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. University of Stirling, 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.
  • 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.

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

  • 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 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 increased my knowledge, skills and experience greatly within housing.
  • 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 Faculty of Social Sciences 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.
  • 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.


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

At Stirling, staff in Housing Studies aim to:

  • provide effective professional housing education
  • promote development of skills in the workplace
  • promote and support equality and diversity in access to professional education
  • exploit technology to make our programme of study available to students, regardless of location or learning needs
  • increase learning opportunities for students particularly from remote areas
  • enhance programme content  from tutors’ research and expertise.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Stirling graduates have a strong track record of making rapid career progress on completion of the Masters or Diploma. Potential career opportunities include management in housing organisations, specialist research and policy and strategy work. Increasingly, there are opportunities linked to key government initiatives and policy areas.

Our students come from all parts of Scotland, in different roles at different levels. Studying online at Stirling enables you to:

  • carry out your current job with greater confidence and effectiveness
  • have a comprehensive knowledge of how your job links to the rest of your organisation and the work of other agencies in Scotland
  • be well prepared to take advantage of opportunities for promotion or new directions in your work
  • gain a professional qualification in a crucial policy area
  • build a network
  • minimise time spent travelling

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


98% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study withing six months of graduating - Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015/16

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.

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