Research course

Children, Young People, Families, and Personal Relationships

Open University · Department of Social Policy

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Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent).

Months of entry


Course content

The Department of Social Policy and Criminology has extensive interests in this field and is engaged in a number of lived experience, policy and welfare-related research projects. We are active members of the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG) – leading the Families and Relationships Programme and contributing to the Psychosocial Programme. We are also part of the OU’s Children and Young People Research Network.

Our substantive areas of interest include:

  • meanings and practices of couple relationships
  • family ‘troubles’
  • bereavement and change
  • parenting, kinship and intergenerational relationships
  • fatherhood
  • intimacy and sexualities in personal lives
  • children’s rights, participation and agency
  • changing service provision for young people with learning disability
  • the emotional dynamics of welfare encounters.

We have an international reputation for methodological innovation, with particular strengths in qualitative mixed methods research, visual methods, biographical and life story research, discourse analysis and historical methods.

Research students connected to this area are encouraged to join CCIG and to participate in the supportive and collegiate research culture in the discipline.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
      full time
      36 months
      • MPhil
        part time
        24 months
          full time
          15 months

          Course contact details

          Dr Janet Fink

          +44 (0)1908 654530