MA in Childhood and Youth

The Open University

Program Description

MA in Childhood and Youth

The Open University

MA in Childhood and Youth

This MA course offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of childhood and youth underpinned by a commitment to integrated practice. This qualification is designed for graduates with a background in childhood and youth studies, sociology, health and social care, anthropology, psychology or education. It would suit those already working with children and young people and wish to enhance their knowledge as well as those who wish to enter this field. You study two compulsory 60-credit modules and gain the final 60 credits either from appropriate credit transfer or by taking 60 credits from a choice of optional modules.

Educational aims

This qualification aims to develop advanced theoretical and integrated practice knowledge about children and young people. It is designed for those working with or for children and young people in a wide range of settings, and for those with a general interest in the study of childhood and youth. The aims and outcomes are to:

  • develop advanced critical analysis skills relevant to integrated practice
  • provide the necessary concepts, theories, knowledge and skills base to understand the lives of children and young people and how this impacts on integrated practice
  • develop appropriate analytical, research and conceptual skills needed to link theory, practice and experience.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

The teaching, learning and assessment are linked to the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce. They are geared towards the development of professional skills through a critical engagement with policy, analysis of organisational structures and reflection on personal practice. Multi-agency working and inter-professional practice has a central focus.

Knowledge and understanding is taught through diverse study materials including multi media. You will develop your advanced knowledge and understanding through critical, engagement with material provided in the Readers and reflection facilitated by activities in the online learning guides. You undertake a significant amount of your own enquiry-based learning, appropriate to this level of study, including an extended piece of writing. Summative assessment is through TMAs and EMAs. There is the opportunity, on some parts of the qualification, for collaborative learning through the sharing of your experiences with other students.

Face-to-face tutorials, virtual learning communities (in tutor groups) and assignment feedback are designed to build on your academic study skills over the life of the course. You will have opportunities to develop your critical analysis of policy and practice. Key to this will be a developing ability to draw good practice out of theoretical frameworks.

You will develop your cognitive skills through critical analysis of diverse study materials, which cover various aspects of children’s experiences at both local and global levels. You will analyse and critique the ideas that influence current practice, analyse recent changes in the organisation of services, especially moves towards greater integration, and explore what it means to be a critical, reflective practitioner. You will also learn, in some parts of the qualification, to compare familiar knowledge and concepts to less familiar experiences of children in other parts of the world.

This qualification is designed for people working with children or young people as well as those with a more theoretical interest in the subject and students without access to a practice setting will not be disadvantaged in any way and will be able to use examples from the study materials for assessment tasks.

Career impact

The 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 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 or the voluntary sector. You should ensure that you check entry requirements for specific professional areas before embarking on study. Case studies in Children and young people's worlds: frameworks for integrated practice (E807) are drawn from worldwide content and therefore this module is very suitable if you are based in any of our four nation states or beyond. The themes covered by Critical practice with children and young people (K802) are relevant to policy and practice worldwide, but you need to be aware that most of the examples in the study materials are drawn from the UK context.

Entry requirements

To register for this course you will require a bachelors degree (or equivalent) in any discipline relevant to children and young people. Applicants without this qualification, but who have professional experience of at least three years may be eligible for consideration. You should include evidence of this experience in the supplementary information we ask you to provide when you reserve a place.

The research project option in E807 is only available if you are a UK resident as you will need to have successfully obtained an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check (or equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Students in Scotland will also need to ensure that they 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 must choose the E807 literature review option.

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. 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.

You will also need to be proficient in English, to an IELTS standard of 6.0. If you are unsure you will be able to take a free English test as part of the registration process.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University
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This course is Online
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Aug. 2017
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1 year
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Start date Aug. 2017
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United Kingdom
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