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Child and youth studies

Studying Child and youth studies with The Open University. Little Girl with Roses, Dora Holzhandler/Bridgeman Art Library.

Child and youth studies is located in the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET). We draw on a range of approaches and methodologies including those from developmental psychology, childhood and youth studies, sociology, anthropology and cultural studies. Themes include:

  • children and young people: experiences, identities, spaces, voice and agency
  • young people: gender relations, masculinities and femininities
  • the impacts of social and cultural change on children and young people
  • learning, education, disability and technology
  • the development of thinking, social relationships and representations
  • international perspectives on childhood and youth.

Childhood and youth studies researchers have good contacts with pre-school institutions, schools, young people and families. We are an active inter-disciplinary group with a research income of over £1,800,000 since 2001. 

Qualifications available:

PhD. See also our Doctorate in Education (EdD).


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus either a master degree or research methods training at masters level (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

  • International perspectives on childhood and youth
  • Contemporary issues in childhood and youth
  • Children’s involvement in the design of health and educational spaces and settings
  • Children and young people’s agency, participation and voice, and children and young people as researchers
  • Children and disadvantage
  • Mother-infant relations and social development in infants
  • Literacy, language and narratives, particularly in relation to impairments
  • Use of technology
  • Socio-cognitive development: collaborative learning; critical thinking; problem solving and memory and peer relationships
  • The development of thinking, social relationships and representations  
  • Socio-cognitive development: collaborative learning; critical and creative thinking and peer relationships

Current/recent research projects

  • Parent-child shared book reading
  • What processes in children’s play empower them to be autonomous learners?
  • Young people and alcohol use: learning and drinking in a new town
  • Executive function and lower-attaining adolescents in mainstream education
  • Exploring student disengagement within a Caribbean context
  • Time perception in infants
  • Asexuality and emergent social movements
  • What counts as happiness for children?
  • Young masculinities in the South Wales valleys
  • Early motherhood and social exclusion
  • Representations of children in charity campaigns

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Mrs Anne Foward
+44 (0)1908 655364

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.