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Postgraduate Diploma in Childhood and Youth Studies

This diploma will be attractive to anyone with a personal or professional interest in deepening their understanding and practice of children and young people’s worlds and who wish to develop critical analysis skills. It is relevant if you’re a graduate working with children or young people and want to advance academically and professionally. It would also be suitable if you have a background in childhood and youth studies; youth work; youth justice; sociology; health and social care; social work; nursing; anthropology; psychology; education and the voluntary sector including charities and NGOs. If you are not currently working with children and young people, this diploma may allow you to move into the profession or move between occupations.

Key features of the course

  • Covers the theoretical and practice aspects of integrated services for children and young people.
  • Explores the changing policy, organisational, personal and professional contexts in which work with children and young people takes place.
  • Encourages you to reflect critically on your own and others’ integrated practice.
  • Gives you the option to count your previous study towards this qualification, helping you pay less and finish sooner.

This diploma is the second stage of a study programme that progresses to a masters degree. You can step off at any point or study the whole programme.


Course code


  • 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.
How long it takes

2–4 years
Read more about how long it takes

Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification you need 120 credits as follows:

Stage 1, 60 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Children and young people’s worlds (E808)

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

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
Or, if you have successfully completed either EE806 or the discontinued module E807, you may count any of these modules towards Stage 1 of this qualification.

Stage 2, 60 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Frameworks for critical practice with children and young people (E809)

This masters-level module aims to enable those working with children and young people to progress professionally and academically, and to develop as critical, reflective practitioners.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

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 Stage 1 of this qualification by applying for credit transfer, reducing the number of modules you need to study. Credit transfer will also impact the time you have to complete this qualification, and the four-year time limit will start from the time your credit transfer was completed. So, for example, if you use credit transfer that you were awarded two years ago, you will need to complete the remaining 120 credits in five years.

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 successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Postgraduate Diploma in Childhood and Youth Studies. You’ll be entitled to use the letters PG Dip CYS (Open) after your name.

You can progress from this Postgraduate Diploma in Childhood and Youth Studies to our MA in Childhood and Youth (F55).

You may also claim the Postgraduate Certificate in Childhood and Youth Studies (K32) if you wish to do so, although this option is not available if you have used credit transfer or counted previous OU study towards your qualification.


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. 

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 14 March 2023.

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.

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

The maximum time to complete this qualification is four years.

Career relevance

This qualification will be attractive to anyone with a personal or professional interest in exploring different aspects of children and young people’s worlds. It is aimed at those 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. It will enable those with a related degree but not currently working with children and young people the opportunity to move into the profession and will help those people considering a move 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.

The content of the qualification will be particularly relevant to graduates working with children or young people for example in early years provision or with a background in childhood and youth studies; youth work; youth justice; sociology; health and social care; social work; nursing; anthropology; psychology; education and the voluntary sector including charities and NGOs. It will be of particular interest to those who have completed the BA (Honours) in Childhood and Youth Studies, BA (Honours) Early Years or Early Childhood, BA (Honours) Education Studies (Primary) or the BA (Honours) in Health and Social Care. You should ensure that you check entry requirements for specific professional areas before embarking on study.

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