Taught course

Advanced Child Protection Studies

University of Birmingham · School of Social Policy

Entry requirements

Ordinarily an upper second-class degree (or higher) or a postgraduate diploma degree (or higher) from a UK university or equivalent. In exceptional circumstances a 2(ii) degree would be considered subject to the candidate having significant child protection experience.

As some of the learning tasks are integrated into actual practice, you will need to be employed in, or have negotiated access to, an organisation that undertakes or contributes to child protection work. If you are not already employed in a child protection organisation, you will need to supply a written agreement from the relevant organisation prior to registration.

You will need to supply the names of two references from an organisational email address and include a short personal statement with your application.

If you would like further information about entry requirements please contact Matthew Gibson.

Months of entry


Course content

This masters programme in Advanced Child Protection Studies is designed to develop students’ specialist knowledge within the field of child protection and safeguarding. It will interest those who are currently employed, involved, or interested in the field, whether in a leadership, practice, or support role.

It is taught by experienced practitioners and experts in the field and provides students with the opportunity to focus on specific areas of interest. There are four 30-credit modules over two years (two each year) and a dissertation in year three to achieve the MSc.

This child protection masters course is an online and distance learning programme, which combines innovative learning and teaching techniques with interaction with the tutor and fellow students. Students are provided with the same level of teaching as received by those on campus with the additional benefit of having the flexibility to study anywhere at any time.

No specialist knowledge in technology is required, students just need to have access to the internet and know how to use it. Learning activities are structured to provide simplicity and students are supported throughout the programme.


To obtain the MSc you will complete four 30 credit modules and a 60 credit dissertation.

  • Part time students will take 2 modules in years 1 and 2 and the dissertation module in year 3.
  • Full time students will take 4 modules in year one and complete the dissertation component in year 2.
Law, Policy and Inter-agency Working (30 credits)

Year one, semester one part time and full time students

Child protection work necessarily takes place within a defined but often contested, and indeed ever-changing, legal and policy context. Understanding this context is essential if we are to a) understand how child protection services are organised and delivered, and b) ensure that the delivery of these services is ethical, humane and, ultimately, lawful. This module aims to equip you with the necessary up-to-date legal and policy knowledge in order to effectively critique service delivery at all levels within the ‘child protection system’.

Risk, Analysis and Decision Making (30 credits)

Year one semester 2 part time and full time students

Everyone involved with safeguarding or child protection work, be they practitioners, managers, and policy makers will be concerned with the analysis of risk and the decision making that stems from this. This module therefore develops your ability to critically analyse the current processes, methods, and frameworks utilised in contemporary child protection practice, while critically reflecting on your own practice and the practice within the systems that you work in.

Help, Support and Direct Work (30 credits)

Year two semester 1, part time students. Year one semester 1, full time students

Good child protection practice results in children being safe and well cared for. Achieving this, however, is far from straightforward; and everyone involved in child protection work need to be able to identify, support, and promote practice that keeps children safe, while adhering to ethical standards of practice. This module explores the evidence and practice base of, and for, direct practice so that you can develop greater knowledge about how to engage, motivate, and assist (when necessary) people to change, to ensure that children and young people are kept safe.

Organisations, Systems and Leadership (30 credits)

Year two semester 2, part time students. Year one semester 2, full time students.

Child protection practice operates within and across a range of complex organisations and systems. However, we continue to see very similar failures in quality and safety within a range of professional cultures. This module takes a systems view of the child protection field to critically consider the assumptions that underlie many of these policy responses which provide the foundation for contemporary child protection practice. It will critically interrogate how these systems have been designed, and look at how we might design safer systems around a more sophisticated understanding of the relational dynamics within and between different professional groups.

Dissertation (60 credits)

Year three semester 1, part time students. Year two semester 1, full time students

The dissertation module is a key component of the programme which aims to facilitate the development of higher-level critical analysis, and to develop your capacities for knowledge-informed practice and more original thinking in relation to the complex issues that arise in the field of child protection.

All the modules are compulsory.

Information for international students

English language requirements - Students must have IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    part time
    30 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
  • PCert
    part time
    12 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
  • PGDip
    part time
    24 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Jessica Agnew / Matthew Gibson