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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


MSc in Childhood Studies

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Interested in finding out more about the future of children's rights after the UK has left the European Union? We are hosting an event 'Brexit and Scotland in a Nutshell: Children's Rights' on Monday June 25th at the University of Edinburgh.  All current and future students welcome.  Information on the event can be found here
​​The application deadline for this programme is 13th July 2018.
A Message on behalf of Professor Kay Tisdall, Programme Director

ktisdallimageWelcome to the web pages for the MSc/Diploma in Childhood Studies at the Graduate School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh.  On these pages you will find key information about our well established degree programme.

The MSc/Diploma in Childhood Studies is an intensive interdisciplinary degree, designed to explore issues such as child law and how it is implemented through policy and practice, and the

implications of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) for child welfare, disability, education, family studies, juvenile justice, social policy and social work. We specialise in learning about children's human rights and how to involve children in research meaningfully and ethically. 

If the answer to one of the following questions is yes, then the MSc in Childhood Studies is the learning experience and degree qualification you are looking for.

  • Do you want to learn about child law, and how it is implemented through policy and practice?
  • Has your job been affected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)?
  • Have you an interest in child welfare, education, disability, family studies juvenile justice, social policy and/or social work?
  • Are you concerned about the way children negotiate their local geography (e.g. spaces for play, sport and leisure) or the risks associated with childhood (e.g. child health, poverty, discrimination and development)?
  • Does your job require you to gather children's views through research, evaluation, interviewing or participatory techniques (e.g. draw and write, drama, art, peer research, vignettes, etc)?
  • Do you want to change to a career working with children?
  • Have you an interest in how childhood is considered in: Acts of Law, Social or Cultural Anthropology, Kinship or Relationship Studies, History, International Development, Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology, or any other subject in the social and political sciences?

We have recently developed these pages, and you can follow the links in the right hand menu to find out more about the programme, its content, and possible opportunities for funding. If, after reading these pages, you have further queries about the programme, please contact me (contact details, below).

What our students say

I find it extremely interesting from my perspective as a teacher - especially regarding the legal position of children on various matters.

The sessions are open to discussions; this too is a very good feature which enables people to express their views and learn from each other.

I was accepted for the course as a "non standard entrant" as, I do not have an undergraduate degree. I have however spent all of working life in and around child welfare and it was because of this experience that I was able to be considered for acceptance.

See 'What Students Have to Say' page for further views of students.

For queries on programme content, courses and other matters, please write to Professor Kay Tisdall. Further information is also contained in the degree handbook.

Entry Requirements

The normal 'academic' requirement for entry is:

  • a UK Bachelor Honours degree in a relevant subject with normally at least 2:1 or its international equivalent; References are not required upon initial application but may be requested at a later stage in the application process.

Further, we will also consider other relevant experience, academic and other. This includes:

  • a 60% in a BA in Childhood Practice from a UK University, with one academic reference;


  • an undergraduate degree and at least 12 consecutive months of work experience in an area of direct relevance to MSc Childhood Studies, with a CV and at least one work reference which is no more than one year old.

An official transcript and certificate (if the degree has been awarded) is required upon application.

How to Apply

Further guidance on how to apply is available on the Graduate School website. Please feel free to contact the Programme Director with any further queries.

Fees and Scholarships

  • Full fees information, including part time fees, is available here.
  • Information on how to pay is available here.
  • Information on funding and scholarships is here.

Bologna Compatibility

Like all University of Edinburgh Masters programmes, the degree is fully Bologna compatible, and is recognised across Europe and beyond under the principles of the Bologna framework. The programme comprises 180 Edinburgh credits, which are equivalent to 90 ECTS credits.


Edinburgh4Learning offers an intuitive and easy to use funding information tool which allows students to search using a series of handy drop-down lists. Students can access the Edinburgh4Learning portal direct from the Scholarships and Student Funding Services website. Registration requires a valid university of Edinburgh e-mail address and in a matter of moments students can access numerous funding opportunities to help them during their studies.

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