Diploma in Community Development (N11)

Why CDT?

  • A unique diploma that combines Psychology, Social Work & Social Innovation to prepare you for fulfilling careers in the growing care economy
  • Be equipped with industry-relevant skills such as research, facilitation and project management
  • Make a real impact in the community by co-creating innovative solutions for social causes with industry partners like Deloitte, Metropolitan YMCA and Ministry of Social & Family Development
  • Choice of 3 specialisation areas: Youth, Eldercare and DisabilitiesNEW!

About CDT

Passionate about making an impact in the communities? Curious about psychology and human behaviour? Keen to learn more about the different social sectors – youth, elderly and the disabled? If a career in the growing care economy is up your alley, our unique Diploma in Community Development (CDT) will give you a head start!

Through CDT, you will learn various aspects of psychology, social work and social innovation. You will learn to plan, coordinate and promote activities and programmes that will support community development and social causes. You will also gain insights into conducting research, analysing social needs and curating innovative solutions to address these issues. As the workplace and social service sector are becoming increasingly digitalised, CDT will equip you with digital competencies to thrive at work!

Choice of 3 Specialisations

In your final year, depending on your area of interest, you can choose to specialise in one of three key communities – youth, the elderly or the disabled.

Youth Specialisation: Acquire the skills to address the needs of youths-at- risk and the general youth population

Eldercare Specialisation: Develop programmes that enable active ageing and provide community-based support for the elderly

Disabilities Specialisation: Create campaigns that promote greater inclusivity and learn how to engage with caregivers

CDT Trainer
CDT Trainers

Customise your learning

You also get to customise your learning by choosing to go on a 6-month or 1-year internship, or undertake a Final-Year Project (FYP) or elective modules. Our leading partners that offer enriching internship opportunities include agencies and social enterprises such as National Youth Council, Trybe, Metropolitan YMCA, Institute of Mental Health, Ministry of Family & Social Development and Singapore National Co-operative Federation.

Metropolitan YMCASNCFTrybe

Further study options

Having acquired a broad set of skills, CDT graduates have a wide array of further study choices – including those in the social sciences, humanities and business – ahead of them. Our CDT alumni have gone on to further their studies in social work; politics, law and economics; psychology and more!

Keen to find out more about CDT? Watch this video to find out!

Overview of Your CDT Journey

Inspiring Portfolio

CDT Social Hackathon

Organised by CDT students, the Social Hackathon attracted more than 80 secondary school participants who raised interesting proposals to address social issues. Mr Edward Chia – Managing Director of PlaceM, Director of Feed the World and Member of Parliament – graced the event as its Guest of Honour and inspired the students with his passion for building sustainable enterprises that have genuine social impact. 

CDT Social Hackathon
CDT Social Hackathon
CDT Social Hackathon

Further Studies

Graduates may pursue further studies in institutions of higher learning, both locally and overseas. As CDT is a broad-based diploma, graduates have a wide array of study choices, including those in the social sciences, humanities and business.

The following universities grant advanced standing to CDT graduates:


  • Nanyang Technological University
  • National University of Singapore


    • Edith Cowan University
      • Bachelor of Counselling
      • Bachelor of Youth Work
      • Bachelor of Social Science
    • Griffith University 
      • Bachelor of Human Services 
      • Bachelor of Child, Youth and Family Practices  
    • University of Queensland
      • Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours)
    • University of Western Australia 
      • Bachelor of Psychology 
      • Bachelor of Business
      • Bachelor of Commerce 
    Headshot of Tan Yan Zi

    Tan Yan Zi
    Psychology Studies* graduate, Class of 2022 

    Yan Zi is pursuing a Bachelor of Politics, Law and Economics at SMU.

    *Renamed the Diploma in Community Development

    Headshot of Toh Pei Ling

    Toh Pei Ling
    Business & Social Enterprise* graduate, Class of 2022 

    Pei Ling is pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work at SUSS.

    *Renamed the Diploma in Community Development.


    The community development and social services sectors are growing and expanding their talent pool. The Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG, sector – which focuses on measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of businesses – is also gaining attention. You can look forward to pursuing careers in job roles such as:

    • Community Development Executive
    • Events Management Executive
    • CSR Executive
    • Marketing/Communications Executive
    • Social Entrepreneur
    • Social Work Associate
    • Social Work Assistant
    • Programme Coordinator/Executive
    • Volunteer Executive
    • Youth Worker
    Headshot of Jasmine Leong

    Jasmine Leong
    Business & Social Enterprise* graduate, Class of 2016

    Jasmine graduated from NUS with a degree in social work. A social worker at South Central Community Family Services Centre, Jasmine works with families and individuals on asset building and poverty transformation. 

    *Renamed the Diploma in Community Development

    Headshot of Sandy Ang

    Sandy Ang 
    Psychology Studies* graduate, Class of 2011

    Sandy is an educational psychologist at the Society for the Physically Disabled.

    *Renamed the Diploma in Community Development

    Entry Requirements


    To be eligible for consideration, candidates must have the following GCE ‘O’ Level examination (or equivalent) results.

    Subject'O' Level Grade
    English Language1-6
    Mathematics (Elementary / Additional)1-7
    Any one of the 1st group of Relevant Subjects for the ELR2B2-A Aggregate Type

    You must also fulfil the aggregate computation requirements for the ELR2B2-A Aggregate Type listed here (  33KB).

    For students with other qualifications, please refer to the NP website for the entry requirements and admissions exercise period.

    What You Will Learn

    Academic Communication & Thinking (4 Credit Units) 

    This module aims to develop students' critical thinking, writing and presentation skills in various academic and professional contexts. Students will also learn how to conduct basic research and accurately cite sources in this module. 

    Essential Skills for the Digital Age (4 Credit Units)  

    This introductory module is designed to help students build critical digital skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. The module covers a range of topics for both the digital workplace and citizenship, including digital communication and collaboration, data investigation and analysis, productivity tools, social media, cybersecurity, responsible use of technology, as well as a roundup of the latest technology trends and future of technology. 

    Community Development & Social Services (4 Credit Units)  

    This module introduces students to the wide array of community development efforts, social services and resources that promote wellness, with special attention to the local context. Students will be introduced to basic principles of community development such as Asset-Based Community Development. They will explore the variety of resources catering to different population groups in the community (including children, youth, elderly, family, and people with disabilities and special needs) and appreciate the importance of inclusivity.  An overview of social legislation relevant to community and family settings will be introduced.  

    Introduction to Psychology (3 Credit Units)  

    This module introduces psychology as a science of behaviour and mental processes. Students are given a broad overview of the different fields in psychology and will learn to actively apply psychological insights to their lives. 

    Career & Professional Preparation 1 (1 Credit Unit) 

    This module gives students a foundational introduction to their three-year diploma course curriculum and how it prepares them for industry. It will help them to embark on their course with the end in mind, through guided reflection of their personal characteristics and producing an overall game plan for their future education and career goals. The module aims to deepen students’ commitment to the sector that the course prepares them for. 

    Innovation Made Possible^ (3 Credit Units) 

    Underpinned by the Design Thinking framework, Innovation Made Possible aims to build creative confidence in you. The module will sensitize you to the process of user-centric problem solving and allow you to discover and hone your innate ability to think creatively, come up with innovations to tackle problems and explore new ideas for your studies and beyond. 

    Workplace Communication Skills (4 Credit Units) 

    This module aims to provide students with an understanding of effective communication practices in the workplace. Students will develop the necessary skills to communicate effectively with stakeholders, colleagues, and clients in various communication contexts.  

    Lifespan Psychology (4 Credit Units) 

    This module studies the physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of human development from infancy through childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. The aim is to provide students with knowledge of progressive psychological changes that occur in human beings as they age and the multidisciplinary approaches in the assessment and intervention for disabilities which can occur in the human lifespan.  The module encourages students to embrace differences, diversity and inclusivity through deconstructing their notion of disability.  

    Social Innovation & Enterprise (4 Credit Units) 

    This module introduces the social and environmental issues faced by the local community. The module also examines the different community needs and analyses the different types of innovative social solutions that have been designed to meet those needs. Students will work closely with local social enterprises, non-profit organisations, and voluntary welfare organisations, to understand the different strategies used to meet community needs. 

    Working with Families (4 Credit Units) 

    The course provides an in-depth exploration of the theories, principles, and skills necessary for effective family practice. The course covers a wide range of topics, including the history of family practice, the family life cycle, diversity in family structures, communication and conflict resolution, parenting, child development, and family violence. By the end of the course, students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively with families in a variety of settings. They will understand how to develop a collaborative and strengths-based approach to family practice, promoting the well-being of children, parents, and the family as a whole.

    Sponsorship & Volunteer Development (4 Credit Units)  

    This module provides students with an overview of the fundamentals of stakeholder partnerships, sponsorship and a Volunteer Management Framework in the context of social services. Through service-learning, case studies and empirical findings, students will gain an understanding of issues related to engaging stakeholders, fund-raising and sponsorship development and the role of volunteer management framework in managing issues such as volunteers' recruitment, job-match, motivation and recognition. Basic networking principles for the purposes of engaging stakeholders for sponsorship and recruitment of volunteers will also be covered. 

    Health & Wellness^ (1 Credit Unit)  

    This is a Level 1 Core module for all Year 1 students. The module will introduce students to the importance of maintaining both physical and mental health through the knowledge and monitoring of health indicators, and application through appropriate exercises. The aim of the module is to empower students with basic knowledge and skills to be independent and responsible in maintaining overall personal health. 


    ^ Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) modules account for 10 credit units of the diploma curriculum. They include modules in communication, innovation and world issues, as well as an interdisciplinary project. By bringing students from diverse diplomas together, the interdisciplinary project fosters collaboration to explore and propose solutions for real-world problems. IS aims to develop students to be agile and self-directed learners, ready for the future workplace. 


    Career Kickstart (2 Credit Units) 

    This module is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to successfully navigate the transition from education to the workplace. Topics covered in this module will include job search strategies, resume and cover letter writing, interview skills, professional networking and personal branding. 

    Programme Development & Evaluation (4 Credit Units) 

    This module introduces students to programme development concepts and tools.  Concepts covered include project/programme design and planning, time and cost management, risk assessment, scheduling, progress management, as well as social impact measurement. Students will learn to apply these tools in a service-learning project to meet a real need identified by a community partner.  Through structured reflections and facilitation, this module endeavours to enable students to connect their service experiences to their learning of project management programme development concepts for a broader appreciation of the module, and to cultivate in them a sense of social responsibility and civic engagement.   

    Introduction to Research Methods (4 Credit Units) 

    This module introduces basic research methods by exploring research design and research tools, including community mapping, venn diagrams, wealth ranking, stakeholder and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, focused interviews, focus group discussions, case studies and direct observations. The module will have assessment integration with Case Management & Supervised Practicum and Project Management for Social Impact. 

    Group Dynamics & Facilitation (4 Credit Units)  

    This module equips students with theories, research findings and skills aimed at managing group dynamics/conflicts and improving group effectiveness. Through field-based learning, students will be able to build the skills required to apply knowledge in practical situations such as managing psychoeducation group sessions. 

    Description of Elective Modules  

    Contemporary Issues & Challenges for Youths (4 Credit Units)  

    Participants will acquire an understanding of youth, including the common psychological and developmental issues that impact their lives, and be equipped with basic intervention and mentoring skills that would help them to manage these issues that include anger and aggression; youth sexuality; mental health; self-harm; family abuse & trauma; and addictions. Participants will also have a chance to apply what they have learned with youth and be mentored by youth practitioners from youth work organisations 

    Contemporary Issues in Ageing Societies (4 Credit Units)  

    The introductory module provides students with an overview of age-related, physical and sensory disabilities and the challenges faced by individuals with these conditions. Age-related disabilities, such as dementia, and physical and sensory disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing loss and cerebral palsy, will be explored. In addition, current issues such as the impact of an ageing population on the social and economic landscape, ageism, inter-generational gaps, issues on elderly (eg employment, companionship) and society’s responses to these issues. 

    Introduction to Disability (4 Credit Units)  

    This module introduces students to concepts about differences, diversity and inclusion through deconstructing their notion of disability, and learning about conditions such as physical, sensory (hearing and visual impairment), and intellectual disabilities. It also examines multidisciplinary approaches in the assessment of and intervention for people with disabilities. 


    Case Management & Counselling (4 Credit Units) 

    This module provides students with the basic knowledge and skills of working with an individual: engaging the individuals through basic counselling skills, conducting needs assessment, formulation of objectives, implementation of intervention, and evaluation of outcomes. 

    Community Psychology & Advocacy (4 Credit Units)  

    This module introduces community analysis to identify problems and challenges and promotes individual and community wellbeing and inclusivity through prevention and intervention efforts. Students will, through a service-learning project, develop content and tools of communication for outreach, educational and advocacy purposes, including the design and delivery of public education campaigns and promotional communication to inform, educate and persuade audiences in community settings. 

    Ethics, Governance & Policies (4 Credit Units) 

    This module introduces students to basic concepts and theories on ethics, governance and social legislations within the social service context in Singapore. It also helps students understand their ethical obligations and values in social service and how they could apply these standards with reference to the Code of Professional Ethics of the Singapore Association for Social Workers (SASW). 

    World Issues: Singapore's Perspectives^ (2 Credit Units)  

    This module will expose you to a wide range of global issues discussed in the context of Singapore as a nation state. You will be guided to critically examine current affairs from various perspectives and develop an appreciation of the dynamism behind current world problems and consider possible solutions. The intent of this module is to develop thinking students with well-considered perspectives who are able to articulate reasonable opinions, make thoughtful decisions and informed choices as active citizens in society. You will also be exposed to a multidisciplinary approach in the mitigation of global challenges and thus be adequately prepared to handle Year 3 IS interdisciplinary Project ID. 

    Description of Elective Modules 

    Mental Wellness for Youths (4 Credit Units)  

    Students will be introduced to the major non-psychotic disorders, including mood, anxiety, substance use and eating disorders. The typical features of the disorder, and its causes will be discussed. Preventive and promotion tools will be introduced to equip students with the skills and knowledge to understand and support youths’ mental wellness and emotional resilience.  

    Engaging Parents & Stakeholders (4 Credit Units)  

    Participants will gain an understanding of the various professional roles a youth worker/youth development officer plays in working with youth, families, other professionals in the community in the holistic care of youth. They will learn strategies to engage and partner families and community stakeholders in supporting the overall care of youth. 

    Empowerment and Mental Wellness for Seniors (4 Credit Units)  

    The programme explores how accessibility can be improved for individuals with disabilities in the workplace and in retirement, through the use of adaptive tools, strategies and practices. The programme will provide a brief overview of the different types of disabilities and key principles of accessibility, universal design and assistive technology. Students will be challenged to come up with innovative solutions to address the needs of individuals with disabilities and better enable them in their daily living. Students will also learn to plan and conduct programmes for individuals with these conditions.   

    Engaging Stakeholders in Eldercare (4 Credit Units)  

    This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the various roles an eldercare care community worker plays in working with seniors, their families, and other professionals in the community. They will learn strategies to engage and partner families and community stakeholders in supporting the overall care of the elderly. 

    Including Persons with Disabilities in Society (4 Credit Units)  

    The module aims to increase awareness and understanding of disability inclusion. The module will provide understanding of the importance of creating an inclusive environment and the role of individuals in promoting disability inclusion. Through interactive activities, case studies and group discussions, students will developer a deeper appreciation of the unique experiences and perspectives of people with disabilities and explore strategies for creating a more inclusive society. 

    Engaging Parents & Caregivers (4 Credit Units)  

    This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the various roles a community worker in the disability/special needs domain plays in working with the clients, their families, and other professionals in the community in the holistic care of these individuals. They will learn strategies to engage and partner families and community stakeholders in supporting the overall care of the individuals with disability/special needs.  


    6-Month Internship (20 Credit Units)  

    This module provides the opportunity for students to be assigned to industry attachments at reputable organisations. The attachment, which will be for the entire internship semester, will match students’ abilities and interests to relevant organisations. 


    Project ID: Connecting the Dots^ (4 Credit Units)  

    Project ID aims to prepare you for an increasingly globalized and interconnected world where problems are multi-faceted and require interdisciplinary research and collaboration to solve. Using a project-based learning approach, you will have the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary team with students from across the polytechnic to investigate and propose comprehensive recommendations for a pressing real-world problem affecting Singapore. You will be guided to step out of your disciplinary silos and effectively communicate and collaborate with peers from different backgrounds. The module seeks to develop independent learning skills and the ability to synthesize diverse strands of knowledge to solve a complex problem, while impressing on you the importance of being a responsible global citizen. 

    Description of Elective Modules 

    Extended Internship (16 Credit Units) 

    The extended internship allows the student to extend their internship and undergo additional sector relevant on-the-job training in a real-life working environment. In the process, the student will experience working as part of a team and may be exposed to more varied aspects of their chosen area of interest in the sector.   

    Industry-based Project (16 Credit Units) 

    For the industry-based project module, students are required to complete a substantial project that is the culmination of their education in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences. Students may have the opportunity to work in cross-disciplinary teams to address a real-world problem proposed by a client or proposed by a student in subjects approved by the School.  

    Social Sustainability (4 Credit Units) 

    This module introduces students to the social, cultural, and economic dimensions of sustainable development. Students will explore the concepts of sustainability and social responsibility in the context of global and local challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change and the environment. They will learn about the different models of community development, stakeholder engagement, and participatory decision-making that promote social sustainability. The course would also examine the role of businesses and organizations in promoting social sustainability through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and sustainable business practices. Through case studies, group projects, and interactive discussions, students would develop a critical understanding of social sustainability issues and learn practical skills to address them in their personal and professional lives.  

    Frameworks for Solutioning (4 Credit Units) 

    This module will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the social impact landscape and equip them with practical tools to design and implement effective solutions. The course would introduce students to different frameworks for social impact and to apply these frameworks to social and environmental problems to develop innovative and sustainable solutions that meet the needs of diverse stakeholders. The course would cover topics such as problem definition, research methods, ideation, prototyping, testing, and scaling. Students would also learn about the importance of social impact measurement and evaluation, and how to use data and metrics to assess the effectiveness of their solutions. Through case studies, group projects, and real-world examples, students would develop a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities of social impact work and acquire the skills and mindset necessary to make a meaningful difference in their communities and beyond. 

    Understanding Social Challenges (4 Credit Units)  

    This module provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding social challenges, such as poverty, inequality and discrimination. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and case studies, students will explore the complex and interrelated causes and consequences of these challenges, as well as potential solutions and interventions. 

    Understanding Place-Based Challenges (4 Credit Units)  

    This module provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the challenges faced by communities in specific places, such as housing, transportation, safety and land use. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and case studies, students will explore the complex and interrelated causes and consequences of these challenges, as well as potential solutions and interventions. 

    Communicating to Create Social Change (4 Credit Units)  

    This module provides an introduction to the art of storytelling and its potential for creating social change. Students will learn how to craft compelling narratives that communicate complex social issues and inspire action. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities, students will explore various forms of storytelling, including visual, written, and oral. The course will also cover topics such as audience analysis, message framing, and impact evaluation.  

    Digital Strategies for Social Change (4 Credit Units)  

    This module explores the ways in which technology can be used to advocate for social change. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities, students will learn how to use digital tools and platforms to raise awareness, mobilize support, and influence public policy. The course will cover topics such as social media for outreach, gamification for promoting causes and digital storytelling. 

    Video Showcase