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MA in Childhood and Youth

This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of childhood and youth covering aspects of theory, policy and practice. It is ideal if you want to enhance your knowledge of this area, whether you’re already working in the field or planning to do so. You’ll begin by exploring the family; law; children’s rights; politicised childhoods; participation and voice issues; consumerist childhoods; education; ethnicity and religion; child criminology; child sexuality; and multi-cultural childhoods – within a worldwide context, using case studies linking theory to practice. Finally, an extended piece of writing will help you examine the changing policy, organisational, personal and professional contexts of work with children and young people. 

Key features of the course

  • Equips you with the critical tools to analyse policy and to reflect on your own practice 
  • Designed to help you develop professionally and meet the diverse and changing needs of children and young people 
  • A strong focus on multi-agency working and inter-professional practice
  • Offers a choice between a short research project or literature review.

Masters degree

Course code
F55
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
180
How long it takes
3 6 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

If you start in October 2018, to gain this qualification you require 180 credits as follows

Stage 1

Children and young people’s worlds (E808) forms the introductory part of this route. It focuses both on interdisciplinary and international aspects of childhood and youth as well as on the postgraduate study skills needed to succeed at this level. This module introduces you to the ‘big ideas’ in childhood and youth and some of the contemporary debates in the field. The specialist elements of the module are addressed through additional content knowledge, choice of academic papers that inform discussion points and assessment tasks. 

Credit transfer is permitted but will be assessed by the qualification team. To ensure smooth transition to Stage 2 for students transferring from other institutions, some generic material is available (via a Badged Open Course on OpenLearn) to support students that will benefit from this additional material. 

Stage 2

The compulsory Stage 2 module will extend your knowledge of interdisciplinary aspects of childhood and youth and will have a particular focus on policy and practice as they relate to children and young people’s lives. You will explore the implications of research in current practice and develop an understanding of the role and limitations of research for informing professional practice with children and young people. 

Stage 3

In this final stage you will be required to demonstrate the knowledge and understanding gained from your earlier studies and to further develop your knowledge and research skills. This involves writing a proposal and obtaining approval to conduct a piece of enquiry or applied research in your organisational setting (or chosen area of work where appropriate). You will be expected to write to standard protocols including full ethical clearance and other permissions as appropriate. You will be required to submit a 12,000 word dissertation at the end. The chosen area for the research will be situated in your practice and contribute to organisational development and/or effectiveness. 

You will need to have DBS clearance to undertake this research. If such research is impractical, you don’t work in a practice setting, or are overseas, you will be able to complete an extended critical review of a body of literature on a subject of your choice relevant to the qualification themes.

You must study these modules in the order shown below and you must successfully complete one module before you can progress to the next.

180 credits from the following compulsory modules:
 Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Children and young people’s worlds (E808) NEW

This module provides a broad theoretical overview of some of the key contemporary issues in the global study of childhood and youth.

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60 06 Oct 2018
Critical practice with children and young people (E809) - planned
60 Oct 2019
MA Childhood and Youth dissertation (E810) - planned
60 Oct 2020

If you started before October 2018, to gain this qualification you require 180 credits as follows

You will complete two compulsory 60-credit modules, and you will gain the final 60 credits either from appropriate credit transfer or from a choice of one 60-credit or two 30-credit optional modules. If you have completed Children and young people’s worlds: frameworks for integrated practice (E807), you can use this in lieu of E808 in the new route. We recommend that you study no more than 60 credits per year. The modules can be studied in any order but you should plan your studies carefully based on the future availability of modules.

120 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Children and young people’s worlds: frameworks for integrated practice (E807)

This module engages with a range of critical perspectives on children’s lives and experiences in the contemporary world, at national and international levels.

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60 06 Oct 2018 FINAL
Critical practice with children and young people (K802)

If you work with children and young people, this module will encourage you to take a critical and reflective approach while examining the ideas that influence your practice.

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60 06 Oct 2018 FINAL

Plus

60 credits from the following optional modules:

 Optional modules Credits Next start
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

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30 03 Nov 2018
Development: context and practice (T877)

This module provides a conceptual framework for analysing the complex, contested contexts in which development takes place, and a critical analysis of development management practice.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Understanding children’s development and learning (ED841)

Examines children's development and learning in cultural, educational and social contexts and how children shape their own development through meaningful interaction with others.

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Register
60 06 Oct 2018

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D860, D864, E848, E805, E855, E856, E859, ED840, TU871.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you. 


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 8th June 2018.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website


On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a MA in Childhood and Youth entitling you to use the letters MA (CY) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

You may also want to claim the related Postgraduate Certificate and/or Postgraduate Diploma:

If you started studying before October 2018 you can claim the Postgraduate Certificate in Integrated Practice in Childhood and Youth (C97) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Integrated Practice in Childhood and Youth (E78). To gain all three qualifications you must study them in sequence (postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and then the MA). If you started studying before October 2018 and you are using credit transfer, you will not be able to claim both the Postgraduate Diploma (E78) and this MA.

If you are starting your studies in October 2018 you can claim the Postgraduate Certificate in Childhood and Youth (K32) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Childhood and Youth (E93).

Regulations

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 Essential Documents website. 

Entry requirements

You must have a bachelors degree from a UK university (or equivalent) to study this course. Your degree can be in any subject, although childhood and youth studies, sociology, health and social care, anthropology, psychology or education are particularly relevant. 

Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check 
The research project option in E807 and E810 are only available if you are a UK resident as you will need to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check (or equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Students in Scotland will also need to meet the requirements of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme. The criminal record check must be appropriate for the setting in which you intend to carry out your research. The DBS (or equivalent) must bear the same name as given in your post-registration agreement form. You also need permission from your employer to undertake this work. If these conditions cannot be fulfilled then you should choose the literature review option for E807 or E810.

Please note: It is a legal, rather than an Open University requirement, that you must obtain Enhanced DBS clearance in order to work with children on E807 and E810. This is the responsibility of you and your employer and not The Open University. If you are in doubt about your eligibility, or to find out more, you should contact the relevant agency in your country for more information.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 7 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

How long it takes

If you are starting studying for this qualification from October 2018
You will have up to six years to complete the qualification. 

If you started studying for this qualification before October 2018 
You will have two years to complete this qualification and we would recommend that you study 60 credits per year starting modules in October 2018 and October 2019.  Exceptionally, students can study two 60-credit modules in an academic year to complete quicker, but this option requires students be able to commit about 30 hours per week to their studies which is not practical for most students, especially those in full-time employment. If you are considering registering for two 60-credit modules in the same academic year we strongly advise you to talk to an educational adviser on +44 (0)300 303 5303 or contact us.

When planning your studies, please check the final start date of modules that you are planning to study as part of this qualification so that you can be certain of securing your required modules. The two compulsory modules Children and young people's worlds: frameworks for integrated practice (E807) and Critical practice with children and young people (K802) are available for only one further presentation starting October 2018. There will be one 60-credit optional module, Understanding children’s development and learning, (ED841) starting every October until the final presentation in October 2019.

The two 30-credit optional modules,  Continuing professional development in practice (U810) and  Development: context and practice (T877), will be available beyond that but if you intend studying these modules you should be aware that U810 has an entry requirement that you need to have completed at least 150 hours of CPD over the last 3-4 years.

Career relevance

This MA course will be attractive to professionals working with children and young people who are graduates and seeking to advance academically and professionally, as well as those with a related degree but not currently working with children and young people who are looking to move into the profession, and people considering moving between professions within the sector. It should also be of interest to people in a managerial or supervisory role, to senior members of the workforce, and those seeking to move into senior or managerial positions.

This MA in Childhood and Youth will have a strong appeal for students who have completed the BA (Hons) in Childhood and Youth Studies, BA (Hons) Early Years or Early Childhood, BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary) or the BA/BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care. The content of the qualification will be relevant to graduates working in early years provision, education, social work, nursing, healthcare, youth work, youth justice and the voluntary sector including charities and NGOs. You should ensure that you check entry requirements for specific professional areas before embarking on study. 

This course will be attractive to professionals working with children and young people in areas such as early years provision, education, social work, nursing, healthcare, youth work, youth justice or the voluntary sector. It should also be of interest if you’re seeking to advance academically and professionally, move into the profession or within the sector, and if you have (or want to move into) a senior, managerial or supervisory role.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.