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MA in Childhood and Youth

This postgraduate degree offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of childhood and youth – covering aspects of theory, policy and practice. It’s for graduates with a background in childhood and youth studies; sociology; health and social care; anthropology; psychology; or education. It would be particularly relevant for those working with, or aspiring to work with, children and young people, as well as those who want to advance academically and professionally.

Key features of the course

  • Equips you with the critical tools to analyse policy and to reflect on your own practice.
  • Designed to help you develop professionally and meet the diverse and changing needs of children and young people.
  • A strong focus on multi-agency working and inter-professional practice.
  • Offers a choice between a short research project or literature review.

Masters degree

Course code
F55
Credits

Credits

  • 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.
180
How long it takes
3-6 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

There are two routes through this qualification:

  • Route 1 for students starting their studies from October 2018 onwards.
  • Route 2 for students who started their studies before October 2018. If you’re following this route, you must complete your studies by 31 December 2020.

Route 1

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

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

Register
60 05 Oct 2019
Or the discontinued module E807

120 credits from:

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

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

Register
60 05 Oct 2019
 
MA Childhood and Youth dissertation (E810) – planned for October 2020 60 Oct 2020

Route 2

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

60 credits from the discontinued module K802.

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

Register
60 05 Oct 2019
Or the discontinued module E807

60 credits from:

 Module Credits Next start
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

See full description

Register
30 02 Nov 2019
Development: context and practice (T877)

This module provides a conceptual framework for analysing the complex, contested contexts in which development takes place, and a critical analysis of development management practice.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2019
Understanding children’s development and learning (ED841)

Examines children’s development and learning in cultural, educational and social contexts and how children shape their own development through meaningful interaction with others.

See full description

Register
60 05 Oct 2019
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D860, D864, E848, E805, E855, E856, E859, ED840 and TU871

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


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 20th March 2019.

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 this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. 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 successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a MA in Childhood and Youth entitling you to use the letters MA (CY) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

You may also want to claim the related Postgraduate Certificate and/or Postgraduate Diploma:

If you started studying before October 2018 you can claim the Postgraduate Certificate in Integrated Practice in Childhood and Youth (C97) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Integrated Practice in Childhood and Youth (E78). To gain all three qualifications you must study them in sequence (postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and then the MA). If you started studying before October 2018 and you are using credit transfer, you will not be able to claim both the Postgraduate Diploma (E78) and this MA.

If you are starting your studies in October 2018 you can claim the Postgraduate Certificate in Childhood and Youth (K32) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Childhood and Youth (E93).

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Regulations

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. 

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.

Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check

The research project option in E810 is only available if you are a UK resident as you will need to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check (or equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Students in Scotland will also need to 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 should choose the literature review option for E810. There is a literature review option in E810 which will suit students who are unable to obtain UK DBS clearance.

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 on E810. 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.

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 is 7 years.

If you started studying for this qualification before October 2018, check the final start date of modules that you are planning to study:

  • The two compulsory modules Children and young people’s worlds: frameworks for integrated practice (E807) and Critical practice with children and young people (K802) started for the last time in October 2018.
  • The 60-credit option module, Understanding children’s development and learning, (ED841) starting for the last time in October 2019.
  • The two 30-credit option modules,  Continuing professional development in practice (U810) and  Development: context and practice (T877), will be available beyond October 2019. However, U810 has an entry requirement that you need to have completed at least 150 hours of CPD over the last 34 years.

Career relevance

This 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, BA (Hons) Early Years or Early Childhood, BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary) 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 and the voluntary sector including charities and NGOs. You should ensure that you check entry requirements for specific professional areas before embarking on study. 

This course will be attractive to professionals working with children and young people in areas such as early years provision, education, social work, nursing, healthcare, youth work, youth justice or the voluntary sector. It should also be of interest if you’re seeking to advance academically and professionally, move into the profession or within the sector, and if you have (or want to move into) a senior, managerial or supervisory role.

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