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Education - Childhood and Youth Studies


Key facts

Start dates

September 2020 / September 2021

Course length

Full time: 12 months, Harcourt Hill Campus

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


School of Education


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.


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


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

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

International distance learning
£1,580 per single module

Home/EU full time

Home/EU part time
£745 per single module

Home/EU distance learning
£745 per single module

International full time

International part time
£1,655 per single module

International distance learning
£1,655 per single module

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time

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

International distance learning
£1,580 per single module

2021 / 22
Home/EU full time

Home/EU part time
£745 per single module

Home/EU distance learning
£745 per single module

International full time

International part time
£1,655 per single module

International 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.

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 from the MA Education – Childhood and Youth Studies
  • two modules 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)

In this module you develop knowledge of a range of research approaches, methods and techniques and consider ethics in education research. You have an opportunity to develop your own research skills through preparatory work for your dissertation study

Optional modules

Developing MA Literacies (20 credits)

The module aims to prepare students to develop the critical and reflective skills to participate confidently in their academic community as a researcher-practitioner. It will support you in developing the academic writing and critical reading skills to engage successfully in MA level study.  

Diversity and Achievement (20 credits)

This module will analyse the factors that are predictive of educational success and failure for children and young people and exploring the implications of this analysis for school policy and practice.  These factors will be considered at the level of the individual child, the family, the school and the neighbourhood using data from case study material drawing in part on students’ individual working contexts.  Issues of class, gender, disability and ethnicity will be considered. This analysis at the level of an individual in a particular locality will be compared to educational outcomes from national and international data sources.

Mind and Brain (20 credits)

Explores previous and present developments within the field of educational neuroscience. The module will begin by exploring developmental changes that occur throughout the lifespan. Current insights from the field of cognitive neuroscience will be explored in relation to a number of specific educational issues which have implications for educational practice. The module will engage with philosophical exploration and deliberation over the relationship between mind, brain, self and body.

Childhoods in Context

This is one of two foundation modules in Childhood and Youth Studies. It provides you with the opportunity to critically examine childhood as a social construct, in contemporary and historical contexts. You will be introduced to a broad range of themes in the development of childhood. We will begin by looking at historical and sociological perspectives on the construction of childhood and the different ways in which childhood is studied. We will examine debates concerning the ‘crisis of childhood’ in modern societies. We examine what constitutes a ‘good’ childhood’ and child wellbeing, tensions between protecting children and children having a voice and participating fully in society, and transitions from childhood to adolescence. We look at the different roles that children play in society and how these might shape childhood in different historical and cultural contexts. 

Learning and Development in Childhood

Through this unit of study, you will explore contemporary theories of social and cognitive development and their implications for children’s formal and informal learning. Alternative explanations of developmental processes will be discussed drawing upon research evidence and your own observations from a range of settings. From a sharing of these individual enquiries, the group will reflect on the implications of their findings for the experiences and opportunities provided for children.

Children’s Imaginative Worlds

Through this unit of study you will explore the ways in which children and young people seem to use their imaginations both to create alternative worlds to occupy and to make sense of their experiences. The development and psychological purposes of imagination will be explored and particular domains of imaginative experience examined. You will have the opportunity of studying a particular domain in depth, working together with others in a choice of reading groups (domains will include, for example: literature, visual arts, music, spirituality, imaginative play and role play).

Children's Literature through the Ages

This module aims to develop your understanding of the ways in which societal constructs of childhood can be manifest in texts for children, for example: children at war, children at school. It will explore a range of texts available in the 21st century including comics, novels in verse form, literature in translation and interactive texts. Classic texts for children will be explored, as will traditional tales through texts ranging from Grimm to Disney. Ideology in children's books will also be explored.

The Inclusive Curriculum (20 credits)

This module, relevant for primary, secondary, and further and higher education practitioners and students, explores key aspects of curriculum design and delivery in relation to access, equality of learning opportunity and inclusion. There will be a particular focus on the ways in which cultural values influence curriculum content and organization and students will have an opportunity to critically engage with theories of internationalising and decolonising the curriculum. 

Working with Children, Young People and their Families

This module focuses on the role of those working in services for children, young people and their families. You will be examining the rationale for the development of policy and practice aimed at the improvement of the quality of children and young people’s lives, and exploring the ways in which such practices position children, young people and families. The evidence for a range of interventions is examined and features of effective practice identified. A fundamental concern in this area of work is the difficulties of ensuring effective communication between those working with children, young people and their families and the nature and complexity of this communication. Both the organisational issues and the skills for practitioners will be a particular focus for study.

Final project

Compulsory modules

Dissertation (60 credits)

Your Dissertation will involve a piece of investigative research and will comprise approximately one third of your degree work. Your dissertation will focus on a research problem of interest to you. It need not be based in an educational setting and may be literature based but should be relevant to educational concerns and the specific subject area on named pathways. (compulsory for all students) September to September

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 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.


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.

Student profiles

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.