Key issues the MA in Childhood and Youth Studies examines include:
- 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
- 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 of study. There is a compulsory single module,
Researching Education, Childhood and Language, and a compulsory triple Dissertation
There are five additional modules required. These may be modules
designed specifically for the MA in Childhood and Youth Studies,
or 3 of these modules plus two modules from the general MA in Education programme.
The specific modules are:
- Childhoods in Context
- Learning and Development in Childhood
- Children's Imaginative Worlds
- Children's Literature
- Working with Children, Young People and their Families
The Postgraduate Certificate in Childhood and Youth Studies comprises of three
modules of study. This can be any three modules from the modules designed specifically
for the MA Childhood Studies, but may include modules from other programmes subject
to a relevant professional background / agreement with the course leader.
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;
chilldren'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).
This unit of study 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
of study 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 Childhood and Youth Studies.
Teaching and learning
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.
For full-time students, a typical programme would be:
all day Thursday and two evenings per week on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday,
depending on module choices.
For part-time students, a typical programme would be:
one evening per week, on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening.
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