Taught course

Education - Childhood and Youth Studies

Oxford Brookes University · School of Education

Entry requirements

Normally you should have the following: English as your first language; or GCSE or O-level English Language (A-C); or IELTS 7; 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. All applicants will be screened for fitness for practice and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

Months of entry


Course content

Childhood and Youth Studies is an interdisciplinary Masters addressing the span of childhood from birth to 18.

The course is designed to provide an excellent grounding for those wishing to pursue, or develop further, their skills and careers as practitioners or researchers working with children and young people.

Through the course we 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.

You will also examine the expanding role of services for children and young people, the challenges this provides for practitioners and policy makers and the ways in which these services position children and their families.

Key course issues include:

  • What kind of experiences and settings provide the best environment for children and young people? ;
  • international comparisons;
  • learning to be citizens;
  • how do we resolve the conflict between giving children and young people independence and keeping them safe? ;
  • parenting;
  • how can practitioners in children's services work effectively to achieve the best possible outcomes for children, young people and families?

The course comprises nine modules of study. There is a compulsory single module, Researching Education, Childhood and Language, and a compulsory triple Dissertation module.

There are five additional modules required designed specifically for the MA in Childhood and Youth Studies, which are:

  • Conceptions of Childhood and Youth;
  • Learning and Development in Childhood;
  • Children's Imaginative Worlds;
  • Children and Young People, spaces and places;
  • Working with Children, Young People and their Families.

Other acceptable module options include:

  • Vulnerable Children and Young People;
  • Risk and Protection of Children;
  • Understanding Developmental Disorders;
  • Learning, Pedagogy and Technology;
  • Mind and Brain;
  • Language Acquisition and Development.

The PGCert 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.

MA Childhood Studies modules are:

Conceptions of Childhood and Youth

Through this unit of study, students develop knowledge of conceptions of childhood and youth, the way in which these have changed over time and cross-cultural variations of our understanding of childhood.

Learning and Development in Childhood

Through this unit of study, students 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 students own observations from a range of settings.

Children's Imaginative Worlds

Through this unit of study students 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.

Children and Young People's Spaces and Places

This unit of study focuses on the spaces and places that make up the everyday worlds of children and young people and is informed by sociological and philosophical perspectives. Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the ontology of children's spaces and the ways in which these spaces are negotiated.

Working with Children, Young People and Families

This unit of study focuses on the role of those working in services for children, young people and their families. Course participants 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.

Information for international students

Candidates whose first language is not English should be able to demonstrate a satisfactory level of spoken and written English. Please see entry requirements.

Fees and funding

Please see https://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-at-brookes/finance/

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24-36 months

Course contact details

Programme Administrator
+44 (0) 1865 488570