Find a course

Expand

Education (Childhood and Youth Studies)

MA

Key facts


Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022

Course length

Full time: 12 months, Harcourt Hill Campus

Part time: Two years part-time on campus or distance learning

Department

School of Education

Overview


Our MA Education – Childhood and Youth Studies is an interdisciplinary Masters. It covers the span of childhood from birth to 18.

The course is suitable for those who work with children and young people, from a range of professional backgrounds. We have designed the course as an excellent grounding to develop your skills or further your career, either as a practitioner or researcher.

You will examine:

  • the role of services for children and young people
  • the challenges this provides for practitioners and policy makers
  • the ways in which these services position children and their families.

You will also explore alternative conceptions of childhood and youth. And consider children and young people's lives and experiences through the social, economic, technological and global contexts in which they are situated.

We have good working relationships with:

  • local mainstream and special schools
  • children's centres
  • other services for children enabling.

So you will have opportunities for visits and placements (DBS checks are required).

Group of students talking in cafe

How to apply


Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Normally you should have the following:

  • English as your first language; or GCSE or O-level English Language (A-C); or IELTS
  • a relevant degree* or equivalent professional qualification
  • some experience of working with children and/or young people.

*You may have an undergraduate background in any of a wide range of subjects including psychology, sociology, social and health care, education, history and anthropology.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

Screening

All applicants will be screened for fitness to practise and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

English language requirements

IELTS: Level 6.5 or above with a minimum of 6 in reading and writing and 5.5 in speaking and listening.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

Go

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£6,500

Home/EU part time
£725 per single module (new students); £650 per single module (continuing students)

Home/EU distance learning
£725 per single module (new students); £650 per single module (continuing students)

International full time
£14,200

International distance learning
£1,580 per single module

Home (UK) full time
£6,700

Home (UK) part time
£745 per single module (new students); £725 per single module (continuing students)

Home (UK) distance learning
£745 per single module (new students); £725 per single module (continuing students)

International / EU full time
£14,900

International / EU distance learning
£1,655 per single module

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£6,500

Home/EU part time
£725 per single module (new students); £650 per single module (continuing students)

Home/EU distance learning
£725 per single module (new students); £650 per single module (continuing students)

International full time
£14,200

International distance learning
£1,580 per single module

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£6,700

Home (UK) part time
£745 per single module (new students); £725 per single module (continuing students)

Home (UK) distance learning
£745 per single module (new students); £725 per single module (continuing students)

International / EU full time
£14,900

International / EU distance learning
£1,655 per single module

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

There are International Student Scholarships available for 2020 and other scholarships and funding options for postgraduate international students.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment


You will take nine modules.

The compulsory modules are:

  • Research Methods (20 credits)
  • Dissertation module (60 credits).

You will also choose:

  • three modules (60 Credits) from five MA Education – Childhood and Youth Studies modules
  • two modules (40 credits) from any of modules on the ‘open route’ of the MA Education.

The course will explore issues including:

  • What kind of experiences and settings provide the best environment for children and young people?
  • International comparisons, for example, when should formal schooling begin and does the UK do too much too young?
  • Learning to be citizens - what is the appropriate role for children and young people in participation and governance of schools/society?
  • Resolving the conflict between giving children and young people independence and keeping them safe.
  • Parenting and whether the state should teach us how to be good parents.
  • How practitioners in children's services can work effectively to achieve the best possible outcomes for the children, young people and families they work with.
Male student studying on a laptop

Study modules

The specific Childhood and Youth Studies modules from which you need to choose 3 are:

  • Childhoods in Context
  • Learning and Development in Childhood
  • Children's Imaginative Worlds
  • Children's Literature through the Ages 
  • Working with Children, Young People and their Families

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Research Methods (20 credits)

You’ll develop your knowledge of research approaches, methods and techniques for the study of children and childhood, education and language. You’ll explore the interdisciplinary nature of work in and across these areas. After taking this module, you’ll be well prepared for the methodological aspects of your dissertation.

Optional modules

Childhoods in Context (20 credits)

You’ll learn how childhood and adolescence are affected by the social context in which they’re experienced. You’ll also consider young people as active agents in society.

You’ll critically examine childhood as a social construct, both now and in historical contexts. Exploring notions of the ‘crisis of childhood’ in modern societies and what is meant by a ‘good’ childhood. You’ll look at the different roles children play in society and how these might shape childhood in different times, places and cultures. You’ll interview an individual to explore their childhood experiences for your assignment. 

We’ll look at a range of themes, such as:

  • a critical comparison of differing perspectives on childhood: historical, sociological and cross-cultural
  • differing notions of the start and end of childhood/adolescence
  • the changing roles of children in relation to employment, schooling, consumerism
  • changing international ideas of children’s rights
  • spaces for play and learning environments.

Children’s Imaginative Worlds (20 credits)

You’ll explore the ways in which children and young people appear to use their imaginations to do two distinct things – to create alternative worlds to occupy, and to make sense of their experiences. In doing this, you’ll explore the developmental and psychological purposes of imagination. You’ll have the chance to study one particular domain of imaginative experience in depth, working together with others in a choice of reading groups.

Children's Literature through the Ages (20 credits)

The history of children’s literature is an interesting one. A rich and tumultuous beginning and a growing diverse picture that we are building today. The genre leaves us with one question: who is children’s literature for? 

Written by adults, what do these stories tell us about our society and culture, and what political ideas do they carry? Are children aware of these ideas and their possible interpretation? 

You'll investigate its history and explore the ideas within two comparative texts from differing periods. Exploring issues relating to race, gender, politics and culture.  

This module is designed to complement the Reading for Pleasure module.

Learning and Development in Childhood (20 credits)

You’ll study contemporary theories of social and cognitive development and their implications for children’s learning – both formal and informal. Using research evidence and students’ own observations, we’ll discuss alternative explanations of developmental processes. You’ll think about how children’s social and cultural surroundings affect their development and learning, and question the cultural assumptions that might underlie models of development. As a group, you’ll share your thoughts and findings, and reflect on what they suggest about the experiences and opportunities provided for children.

 

Working with Children, Young People and their Families (20 credits)

You’ll look at the role of people who work in services in this sector. Examining the policy and practice developments which are aimed at improving the quality of children’s lives. You’ll question the reasoning behind those developments, examine the evidence base and identify good practice. 

Ensuring effective communication between different services working with children and their families is difficult to achieve. We’ll look at the nature and complexity of this communication.  

We’ll also investigate issues like:

  • cultural capital, social and educational inclusion, children’s and young people’s needs, rights and opportunities
  • rationales for intervention: notions of ‘wellbeing’, ‘vulnerability’, ‘cycles of deprivation’
  • evaluating specialist interventions
  • communicating across disciplinary and professional boundaries 
  • managing complexity in services for children and their families – viewing the whole system

Developing MA Literacies (20 credits)

You’ll develop the skills you need to be successful in your MA, in two key areas: 

  • the skills you need to operate confidently within your academic community as a researcher-practitioner
  • academic writing and critical reading skills for MA-level study.

Engaging with the academic community

The module will help you:

  • engage with the underlying beliefs and approaches to knowledge in your field of study/practice
  • become familiar with relevant journals, research articles and professional networks
  • make links between current research debates in your research/practice community, and your own knowledge and experience.

Engaging with MA-level study

The module will help you:

  • develop critical thinking and reflection in your academic reading and writing 
  • understand the strategies and conventions of writing in different academic genres – such as reports, research papers, book reviews and reflective logs.

Diversity and Achievement (20 credits)

How are children’s and young people’s achievements affected by factors like class, gender, disability and ethnicity? In this module, you’ll analyse the factors that predict educational success and failure for children and young people. You’ll then explore the implications for school policy and practice. 

You’ll look at data from case study material, which may draw on your own working context, or your peers’. Using these data, you’ll consider issues at the level of the individual child, the family, the school and the neighbourhood. You’ll go on to compare the analysis at the level of an individual in a particular place to educational outcomes from national and international data sources.

 

Mind and Brain (20 credits)

You’ll explore fascinating developments in educational neuroscience, beginning with developmental changes that occur throughout our lifespan. We’ll discuss pre- and post-natal development, followed by the changes that occur in childhood, adolescence and beyond. 

You’ll explore current insights from cognitive neuroscience that have implications for education, in areas like creativity, and gaming and ICT in learning. You’ll also think about the relationships between mind, brain, self and body using philosophical perspectives. And you’ll investigate case studies, opening up discussion and debate about this complex and controversial field.

 

The Inclusive Curriculum (20 credits)

You’ll explore key aspects of curriculum design and delivery, in relation to access, equality of learning opportunity and inclusion. You’ll look at how cultural values influence curriculum content and organisation, and explore theories of decolonising the curriculum. The module content is relevant whether you’re a primary, secondary, FE or HE practitioner.

Final project

Compulsory modules

Dissertation (60 credits)

In your dissertation or project, you’ll carry out a sustained piece of educational research. You’ll analyse and report your findings at a high critical level, justifying and supporting them with detailed reference to relevant theories and concepts. This work will comprise one third of the work for your degree.  

If you’re writing a dissertation, you'll focus on a research problem of particular interest. If you’re enrolled on a named route of the MA Education, your topic will be relevant to your route (e.g. childhood and youth, L&M, SEND, TESOL, higher education). 

If you’re working on a project, you’ll undertake a shorter piece of independent investigative or literature-based research. You’ll also produce a creative piece or artefact.

 

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

The course can be studied either on-campus or online. We make use of a wide range of teaching approaches including:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • online activities and discussions
  • Workshops
  • Placements
  • research projects.

Teaching is organised on a modular basis, each module involves approximately 24 hours of staff contact as follows:

  • Part-time on campus – Modules are usually taught over eight weeks on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays at 17:00 – 20:00.
  • Full-time on campus – the main study day is Thursdays with students also joining part-time students in evening modules
  • Distance learning - an MA Education Childhood and Youth can be achieved by part-time online learning through the use of our Moodle platform. For each module this usually requires about 12 hours a week plus time spent on assessment. The online route is usually taken part-time over 2 years.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

You will be assessed through coursework. Each module has an assignment of 4,000 words or equivalent (such as annotated video material).

You will be able to customise the course according to your personal and professional interests. Assignments allow for a choice of topics.

Research


The School of Education is a thriving centre for educational research and teacher professional development. Students on master's level programmes therefore join a large research community comprising researchers at all levels of higher education study.

We hold two major research conferences each year - the School of Education Research Conference and the EdD Colloquium. All students are invited to attend our annual Research

Seminar Series (which attracts both internal and external speakers). We also organise a number of conferences, lectures, seminars and debates, some of which have an international reach.

The School’s six research groups exist to encourage engagement in research, publication, conference presentations, seminars and workshops:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Policy, Partnership and Leadership
  • STEAM pedagogy and learning
  • Humanistic Perspectives on Education
  • Early Years
  • Applied Linguistics

View all staff profiles for School of Education

Researcher in office

After you graduate


Career prospects

The course enables the sharing of ideas and concerns between a range of practitioners working with children and young people and facilitates professional networking, especially in the local area.

For students on the full-time course, the close links the course team have with local settings and services allows for the setting up of placement opportunities if desired.

Postgraduate certificates

Alternatively, you can develop your professional practice in specialist areas through our range of Postgraduate Certificate Awards.

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.