Childhood and Youth (MSc)
1 Year (not available until 2015/16) (Full-time) / 2 Years (from 2014/15) (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)
Childhood and Youth Studies is a growing field of inquiry across the social sciences. This course offers a unique opportunity to study in one of the UK’s leading centres for childhood and youth based research. The aim of the programme is to help students develop the ability to critically analyse dominant understandings of childhood and youth, learn about methodological approaches to research with children and young people, and consider the impact of childhood and youth policies and practices through a sociological lens. The programme is suitable for students wishing to work in child and youth-focused research, policy and advocacy roles in the private, public and voluntary sector, both nationally and internationally. It provides a good foundation for those wishing to go on to further training in a variety of professional fields involving work with children and young people, such as education, health and social care, family policy, youth work, justice, international development and charity work. The programme will also be attractive to individuals already working with children and young people in a range of different roles and professions.
The programme is distinctive because it offers exciting opportunities for students to work in a truly inter-disciplinary social science environment and to benefit from a breadth of substantive, theoretical and methodological expertise with leading childhood and youth scholars. Members of the School of Social Sciences Childhood and Youth Research Group operate at the forefront of public policy debates, advising and steering at local and national levels on a range of contemporary issues (e.g. sexualisation, domestic violence, adoption) and drawing on their own world-leading research. Two of the modules on the programme are taught as a cluster of day-long workshops, each focusing on cutting-edge policy and research issues. These modules will appeal to practitioners and policy makers who want to enhance their substantive or methodological knowledge on key areas of childhood and youth policy and practice. They also provide the opportunity for students on the full programme to engage with contemporary issues and debates through a more focused and practical lens, with leading specialists in the field.
Two of the modules on the programme are taught as a cluster of day-long workshops, each focusing on cutting-edge policy and research issues. These modules will appeal to practitioners and policy makers who want to enhance their substantive or methodological knowledge on key areas of childhood and youth policy and practice. They also provide the opportunity for students on the full programme to engage with contemporary issues and debates through a more focused and practical lens, with leading specialists in the field.
This programme is aimed at practitioners, policy makers and postgraduate students who want to develop their knowledge of childhood and youth through a sociological lens and consider what it means to conduct research with children and young people at an advanced level. It offers the opportunity to examine leading theories, methodologies and research evidence in order to understand the relationship between the conceptualisation of childhood, methodological approaches to researching with children and young people and the social impact of childhood policies and practices in a variety of social and cultural contexts and across the young life course. Graduates from this programme will have a theoretical, methodological and substantive foundation from which they can critically evaluate how contemporary social structures, institutions, media, policies and practices impact upon children and young people’s everyday lives. The MSc in Childhood and Youth has been designed to be of value and relevance to students from both the UK and overseas.
The MSc in Childhood and Youth is organised around a sequence of three 20-credit specialist modules in education, two 30-credit modules in social science theory and research methods, and one 60-credit supervised dissertation on a childhood and youth topic of your choice. The three specialist modules that make up the core of the MSc in Childhood and Youth are as follows:
Module 1: Contemporary Issues in Childhood and Youth Studies (20 credits)
This module will focus on core theoretical approaches to understanding childhood and youth in culture and society from a number of disciplines, as well as consider a range of substantive issues and areas of contemporary research in children and youth studies. The module is intended to introduce students to and develop their knowledge of childhood and youth studies as an academic discipline, particularly through sociological approaches to the subject. The module will offer students the opportunity to critically evaluate the status of contemporary childhood and youth through reference to a range of social contexts, markers of difference and key issues and debates in the field.
Module 2: Childhood, Youth and Policy (20 credits)
The module will enable students to learn about and critically evaluate selected public policies and professional practices affecting children and young people in Wales, the UK and internationally. The module will cover developments in theoretical and legal approaches to childhood that have affected children and young people in recent decades, particularly children’s rights, citizenship and participation. Using key examples such as child poverty, child protection and adoption, childhood and sexuality, the module will include consideration of how policies are formulated, implemented and evaluated, paying attention to evidence-based policy making and political contexts. This module will be taught in 2 x 2-day workshop blocks.
Module 3: Research with Children and Young People (20 credits)
This module is intended to introduce students to and develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of methodological approaches to researching with children of all ages across a variety of social and cultural contexts. The module will offer students the opportunity to critical evaluate key methodological debates and techniques to researching with children and young people. Possible themes include: techniques and paradigms, the significance of power and researcher reflexivity; child protection and research ethics, diversity and difference; creative and participatory approaches; researching sensitive topics; communication, engagement and impact. This module will be taught in two 2-day workshop blocks.
All students on the MSc in Childhood and Youth are required to take Contemporary Issues in Childhood and Youth Studies and at least one of the other two specialist modules. In some cases, students may opt to substitute one of these two modules with an alternative specialist module from one of the School’s other postgraduate programmes that fits their own particular learning interests. These may include modules such as: Changing Modes of Professionalism; Debates in Educational Research; Democracy, Politics and Institutions, Global Educational Alternatives, International and Comparative Skills Systems, Responses to Crime, Safety and Justice, Social Contexts of Education, Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century; Visitor Studies. Please note that module availability on both the MSc Childhood and Youth and other programmes may vary from year to year.
In addition to these three specialist childhood and youth modules, all students on the MSc in Childhood and Youth are also required to take two 30-credit modules in social science theory and research methods. These modules are:
Module 4: Principles and Practices of Research Design
This module provides students with an introduction to the principles and practice of social science research design and methods. It introduces students to the main data collection methods used in social sciences and provides a common grounding in how to critically evaluate the research of others and make appropriate choices in their own research projects, enabling them to specify, design and conduct a research project. Seminars in this module help students understand how to apply research principles and practices to the field of childhood and youth studies in particular.
Module 5: Critical Perspectives in Social Science
This module introduces students to, and advances their understanding of, some of the leading theoretical perspectives and concepts in the social sciences. The module draws on a range of sociological theoretical perspectives and conceptualisations (for example equality, power, values, gender, ethnicity, class and social reproduction) to explore the ways in which theoretical insight can add understanding to our knowledge of the social world and everyday practice. Seminars in this module help students understand how to apply theoretical perspectives and concepts to the field of childhood and youth studies in particular.
Finally, all students in the MSc in Childhood and Youth are asked to produce a 60-credit, 12,000 word dissertation on a childhood and youth topic of their choice. This dissertation involves a small scale independent piece of research. This enables students to develop their interests in a substantive area related to the programme, and to put into practice the knowledge and skills developed through participation in the taught modules. Each student will be allocated a personal dissertation supervisor to assist in planning, conducting and writing up the research project.
The teaching on the MSc Childhood and Youth Programme is research-informed and led by internationally renowned researchers and scholars in one of the foremost childhood and youth studies research groups in the UK. The programme benefits from being located in an inter-disciplinary environment.
The modules that comprise the programme employ a diverse range of teaching including lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials, and independent guided study. Students have the opportunity to develop and practice advanced oral and written communication through formative tasks such as presentation of preparatory reading, group problem-based learning tasks, group presentations and substantive assessment including essay, project report and poster presentation. Most of the modules involve weekly meetings over the course of a three month academic semester, except for two of the modules on the programme, which are taught as a cluster of day-long workshops, each focusing on cutting-edge policy and research issues.
On successfully completing the MSc in Childhood and Youth, you will have significantly enhanced your ability to:
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of core theoretical perspectives through which childhood and youth is currently understood and defined, within an interdisciplinary context.
- Describe, understand and explain key issues and debates in contemporary society affecting children and young people.
- Critically reflect upon and analyse legislation, policy and practice relating to children and young people.
- Demonstrate knowledge of methodological and ethical considerations in undertaking research with children and young people, including an in-depth understanding of child-centred research.
- Critically evaluate existing knowledge, scholarship and research, and appreciate competing claims and theoretical perspectives.
- Apply knowledge and skills and show originality in thinking by tackling both familiar and unfamiliar problems.
- As appropriate, evaluate, synthesise and interpret data, and be able to collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret data in the form of a project or dissertation.
- Demonstrate high level academic and personal skills applicable to own research or scholarship, such as writing, oral presentations, problem solving and group work, and the use and application of information technologies in, for example, literature searches, research methods, and data analysis and presentation.
- Dr. Peter Hemming’s research and teaching interests focus on the areas of children, young people and religion, children and experiences of schooling, faith-based education, sociology of education, citizenship studies and sociology of religion.
- Professor Sally Holland’s research and teaching interests include child and family social work, social policies for children and families and childhood studies. She is director of CASCADE - Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre, which aims to promote research informed practice and practice-informed research.
- Dr. Kate Moles’s research and teaching interests focus on place, identity, young people, qualitative methods and the interaction between policy, history and place-making.
- Professor Emma Renold’s research and teaching interests include participatory methodologies with children and young people, young masculinities, femininities and sexualities, marginalisation, pathologisation and young abject subject, and critical theory.
- Dr. Stuart Tannock’s research and teaching interests focus on the areas of critical youth studies, education in a global context, alternative education, theories of education and social justice, immigration, and labour movement and community based organising.
Applicants should normally hold, or be close to completing a first or second-class undergraduate degree in a social sciences or humanities subject. However, other applicants will be considered if they can demonstrate, through recent and relevant experience, that they have the ability to undertake the course.
Applicants whose first language is not English are required to obtain a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with at least 6.5 in writing and 5.5 in the other sub-sections.
Full details of Cardiff University's English Language requirements can be found here.
How to Apply
Applications should be made via the Online Application Service.
Applications should be made via the online applications service. Please make sure that you explain clearly in your personal statement why you are interested in applying to the MSc in Childhood and Youth. You should refer explicitly to the particular aspects of this course and its modules that most interest you, and what topics or themes you are hoping to learn more about in taking it. If this information is not included, this may cause delays in processing your application, and the School may contact you with a request for further information. The deadline for applications from international students for this course is 1st August 2015. The deadline for applications from home students for this course is 1st September 2015.
UK & EU Part Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
International Part Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
Next intake: September each year
Name: SOCSI Taught Masters Administrator
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0284 / +44 (0)29 2087 5178
Name: Dr Peter Hemming
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 70911
Fax: +44 (0)29 208 74175
Email: +44 (0)29 208 74175