This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- Each stage includes a compulsory 60-credit module.
- You’ll also choose an optional 60-credit module at each stage.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
In Stage 1, you’ll study a module that brings together perspectives on the development of children and young people – from psychology, anthropology and sociology. You’ll also choose a complimentary module that fits your needs and interests.
In Stage 2, you’ll study a module that explores what it means to be a child in today’s world. You’ll also choose a complimentary module that fits your need and interests.
In Stage 3, you’ll choose a module that fits your need and interests. Your final module will teach you how to design your own research project.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 13 September 2019.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Childhood and Youth Studies uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- working in a group with other students
- undertaking practical work
- finding external/third party material online.
All qualifications require you to complete learning and assessment activities within a required timescale and according to pre-determined deadlines. You will therefore need to manage your time effectively during your studies and the University will help you to develop this skill throughout your degree. Information on assessment will be available to you at the start of each module.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Childhood and Youth Studies degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.
However, two of the Stage 1 option modules do have requirements:
- Learning and teaching in the primary years (E103) – you’ll need to observe practice in a formal educational setting for children aged 3–12
- Exploring perspectives on young children’s lives and learning (E109) – you’ll need practice experience in a setting for children aged 0–7
See the module descriptions for more information.
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Preparing for study with an Access module
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
People, work and society Access module
Skills for career development
This degree provides an effective foundation for a wide choice of career paths. It emphasises independent thinking, develops analytical and communication skills and will help you become a clear and confident writer – all attributes that are highly valued by employers. Specific skills you’ll develop include:
- analysing, critically evaluating and effectively communicating information to others
- competence in team and project work, supporting and/or supervising others
- organising, synthesising and questioning opinions and arguments
- evaluating the appropriateness of different approaches to problem-solving
- managing and organising time, resources and information to support decision-making
- reflecting on your own learning and performance and taking steps to improve it
- using ICT effectively and being able to interpret data.
A degree in childhood and youth studies gives you skills and knowledge relevant to many careers in childcare, health, education, working with families, playwork, or working with young people. It will develop your understanding of practices and policies that affect children, and introduce you to many new aspects of the subject – helping you make informed choices about future career paths. This degree is not a professional qualification*, so many of our graduates choose to undertake postgraduate training before progressing to employment in specialist fields such as:
- early years work, including play therapy and hospital play
- speech therapy
- voluntary sector work
- youth work
- education support and welfare
- social work
- probation work
- personal and careers guidance
- sport and fitness.
The education sector in particular provides increasing opportunities for teaching and non-teaching staff in schools, further and higher education and non-school settings.
This degree will develop your research skills if you want to go on to further study.
*Please note that the BA (Honours) Childhood and Youth Studies is not recognised as a professional youth work qualification by the National Youth Agency (NYA) on behalf of the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) for England, the ETS Advisory Committee for Wales, the North/South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work in Ireland and the Standards Council for CLD for Scotland.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):
- early years teacher
- youth worker
- child psychotherapist
- play therapist
- speech therapist
- advice worker
- probation officer
- social worker
- education welfare officer
- learning mentor
- community development worker