Wellbeing of children, youth and families

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
PhD or Professional doctorate PhD:
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
October November to January
PhD or Professional doctorate
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
Start dates
Application period
November to January

The Children and Young People Research Group in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care brings together academics and research students conducting social, sociological and critical psychological research into the lives of children and young people and policy/practice applications.

The group has strengths in a range of methodologies including psycho-social methods; critical discourse analysis; biographical and life-history research; historical methods; and secondary analysis of archived data sets. Particular areas of expertise include: gender identities, exploring mothering and fathering as social identities; child language brokers; LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and young people questioning their sexuality or gender identity), mental health; children and pain, ME in childhood; parenting at a distance; professional identities; youth justice; young masculinities; special educational needs; and ‘different childhoods’.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and an MA or research methods training at MA level (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

  • Parenting at a distance
  • Parenting a disabled child
  • Men working with / caring for children
  • ‘Normative’ and ‘different’ childhoods
  • Young people and cultural identity
  • Child language brokering
  • Young parenthood
  • Youth justice and youth crime
  • Prison identities and young people
  • Research in prison settings (e.g. ageing/mental health)
  • International childhoods
  • Young people and death/bereavement
  • Young people, gender identities and relationships
  • Transitions to parenthood
  • Children with disabilities, including autism
  • Young carers
  • LGBTQ youth mental wellbeing

Current/recent research projects

  • Older fathers
  • The construction of ADHD – a discursive psychological approach to the talk of mothers of children with ADHD
  • Adoptees’ views on international adoption into Italy
  • Street children in Zimbabwe
  • Disabled motherhood
  • Becoming a disabled mother
  • Impact of coeliac disease on patients and their family members
  • Relational networks of adolescents who have made a suicide attempt
  • Families with an adult autistic child

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

PhD fees

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £12,146 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £6,073 per year

Professional doctorate fees

UK fee International fee
Part time: £3,643 per year Part time: £9,250 per year

Some of our research students are funded via The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Child with special needs at play

How to apply

Get in touch

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

Dr Natalie Canning, PGR Convenor for Childhoods, Youth and Sport
Email: WELS-student-enquiries@open.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1908 858268

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.