The MA Education – Childhood and Youth Studies explores 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 whether the UK do too much too young
- Learning to be citizens - what the appropriate role for children and young people is in participation and governance of schools / society
- How we resolve the conflict between giving children and young people independence and keeping them safe
- Parenting and whether it can and should be the state that teaches 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 with whom they are working
The course comprises nine modules. There is a compulsory single module, Research Methods (20 credits), and a compulsory triple Dissertation module (60 credits).
There are five additional modules required. You will choose three modules from the following MA Education – Childhood and Youth Studies modules, plus two modules from any of modules on the ‘open route’ of the MA Education.
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
Details of the modules designed specifically for the MA in Childhood Studies are:
Childhoods in Context
This is one of two foundation modules in Childhood and Youth Studies. It provides students 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. These roles include: children as workers, children as citizens, children as consumers, and children as pupils and we will also be looking at the opportunities for children afforded by different social organisation nationally and internationally through the themes of: children's rights and participation; childhood in the life course; children's time; children's spaces and places.
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 students' 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 be explored.
Working with Children, Young People and 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.
Please note: as our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework the list of modules you choose from may vary from that shown here.
Learn more about our MA Education students, their backgrounds and what they have enjoyed most about studying the Childhood and Youth pathway.
Teaching and learning
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 and research projects.
Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to learn in a research-led interdisciplinary environment.
Approach to assessment
Assessment is entirely by coursework. Each module has an assignment of 4000 words
or equivalent (eg annotated video material).
Assignments allow for a choice of topics so that students can customise the course
according to their personal and professional interests.
The programme can be taken either on-campus or distance learning. Teaching is organised on a modular basis, each module involving approximately 24 hours of staff input 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 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.
Attendance patterns take account of the fact that most part-time students are in full-time employment, so that over two years all modules will be available in a form suitable for part-timers.
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