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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Programme and Aims


The MSc/Diploma in Childhood Studies is an established and intensive interdisciplinary degree, designed to explore issues such as child law and its implementation 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.

By taking an inter-disciplinary approach, this degree aims to provide an advanced understanding of how theories, policies and practice conceptualise 'childhood' and opportunities for critical review and analysis of how well they meet the needs and rights of children. It provides the opportunity to develop skills in research and consultation with children and young people.

Overall degree learning objectives

By the end of the degree, combining both taught and independent learning, you should:

  • Be able to provide a critical evaluation of a range of conceptual frameworks of 'childhood', 'child development' and 'children's rights', across academic disciplines.
  • Know and be able to discuss critically the key principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
  • Be able to evaluate the congruence between selected legislation, policy and practice and conceptualisations of 'childhood' and children's rights.
  • Have developed knowledge and analytical perspectives on particular areas of legislation, policy, theory and practice that affect children.
  • Have knowledge of ethical and practical considerations in working directly with children and young people, whether in service provision, consultations or research.
  • Have participated in group discussions and been involved in active group learning.
  • Have gained experience in accessing and critically analysing policy documents and reports, including web resources.
  • Have gained experience in the critical analysis of statistics and research reports/ papers.
  • Have undertaken research training in qualitative and quantitative research.

In order to meet these objectives, students are not only required to attend courses but are also expected to undertake a minimum of 3 hours a week of independent study for each session of a course.

You will find more detailed information by consulting a recent example of the programme handbook, available here.