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Masters Degrees (Childhood Studies)

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Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Childhood Studies at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017). Read more

Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Childhood Studies at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).

This course aims to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of children and childhood.

Key Features of Childhood Studies

Performance:

- strong links with a range of international networks and similar university departments in Europe and around the world

Teaching and Employability:

- excellent learning experience and cross cultural views because of international student cohorts

- opportunity to continue studies to pursue a PhD supervised by a well-qualified member of the team

- opportunity to take part in a local field trip

The course in Childhood Studies is designed for a wide range of professionals working with children.

A broad range of topics are covered and students are encouraged to critically reflect on their practice and address theory and research relevant to their own interests in Childhood Studies.

The Childhood Studies course will:

- reflect upon the nature of childhood as a concept and the way in which it comes to be construed as it is

- consider holistic child development in contemporary society

- reflect on childhood and family policy in a variety of contexts

- consider professional roles (one’s own and others) in relation to services for children and their families

- encourage critical analysis of research in relation to childhood

- encourage professional reflective practice.

Modules

Modules on the Childhood Studies course may include:

Researching Childhood

Understanding and Observing Child Development

Child Health

Children's Rights and Safeguarding Children and Young People

Perspectives on Play

Advanced Practice with Children

Therapeutic Work with Children

Childhood Illness

Childhood Nutrition and Growth

Staff Expertise

Team members are active researchers and their work is well published in Childhood Studies.

Childhood Studies students are encouraged to publish their own research – thereby demonstrating the high quality of their work.

Team members include:

Amy Brown – an expert in child health

Jill John – an expert in safeguarding and children’s rights

Pete King – an expert in child development and children’s play across children’s services.

Justine Howard – an expert in child development and play across children’s services

Zac Maunder – an expert in children’s emotional health

Postgraduate Community

The College of Human and Health Sciences has a vibrant postgraduate community with students drawn from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. The College is known for its friendly, welcoming and supportive environment, which combined with its extensive facilities, state-of-the-art technology and superb beachside location, helps to ensure that students benefit from an exceptional student experience.

In addition, Childhood Studies students have access to a wide range of excellent facilities and equipment for realistic workplace experiences.



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Prepare young learners with the skills, confidence, and motivation they need to excel in school and beyond through our MS in Early Childhood Studies program. Read more

Prepare young learners with the skills, confidence, and motivation they need to excel in school and beyond through our MS in Early Childhood Studies program.

There are few professions as rewarding as those that involve nurturing the developmental needs of children. Our master’s in early childhood development non-licensure degree program empowers you to deepen your understanding of child development and learning, expand your knowledge of effective programs and services, and enhance your ability to link issues of equity and inclusion to how students learn and grow.

You already have the desire to make a difference. With our master’s-level early childhood development degree, you can gain the knowledge and professional competencies that prepare you for leadership roles, in and out of the classroom.

After the first course, you can take one course at a time, earn your degree faster by taking two courses at once, or choose a combination of the two throughout the program to fit your changing needs.

And Walden now offers two ways to earn your degree. With Tempo Learning® by Walden, you have the option to choose your learning experience depending on your learning style and preferences. Whether you want to study alongside classmates in a traditional course-based program or earn your degree at your pace, there’s an option for you to achieve your dreams.

MS in Early Childhood Studies Degree Specializations

Walden’s MS in Early Childhood Studies program offers a variety of specializations to help you meet your personal and professional goals.

Career options

Expand Your Career Options

Prepare for a variety of roles in the early childhood field, including:

  • Child and family advocate
  • Public policy coordinator
  • Child development instructor
  • Professional development facilitator
  • Lecturer in early childhood studies
  • Child care administrator
  • Assistant director of a child care center
  • Director of a child care center or program
  • Owner of a child care center
  • Preschool director
  • Program administrator for early childhood programs


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The social study of childhood is the focus of this innovative MA, which takes a global and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of childhood and youth from 0-18. Read more

The social study of childhood is the focus of this innovative MA, which takes a global and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of childhood and youth from 0-18.

Drawing on sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, philosophy, human geography and inclusive education among others, this programme will give you an understanding of the lives of children and young people in different social, cultural and educational contexts around the world. Core modules will give you a sound knowledge of concepts and approaches in the study of childhood, but you’ll also be able to choose optional modules to suit your interests and career aspirations.

Research insight

MA Childhood Studies is taught in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Families, Lifecourse and Generations (FLaG) in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, a forum for researchers and research users which offers a wide range of seminars, workshops and training to help you expand your knowledge for a wide range of careers.

Course content

From the beginning of the programme you’ll develop your understanding of childhood and youth through a core module focusing on academic thinking, policy and practice from a range of different perspectives. You’ll also learn more about undertaking research with children and young people, gaining the skills and knowledge to conduct research in a range of different settings.

During the programme you’ll choose one or two optional modules directly related to childhood studies from the range we offer. If you decide to take only one, you’ll choose another optional module from the Faculty of Education, Social Science and Law to suit your interests and career plans – from racism and ethnicity studies to aspects of international educational management.

Throughout the course you’ll be building your research skills and gaining a broad base of knowledge. You’ll put this to the test in your critical study, when you complete an independent piece of research on a related topic of your choice by the end of the programme in September.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation 60 credits
  • Theorising Childhood and Youth 30 credits
  • Research with Children and Young People 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Childhood Studies MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Childhood Studies MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods, including lectures as well as seminars, tutorials and workshops that allow you to discuss in more depth the issues arising from the course reading. However, independent study is also an important element of the degree, allowing you to pursue your own interests and develop your skills.

Assessment

Most of the modules on this programme are assessed by essays. However, you’ll also submit a project report for the Research with Children and Young People module.

Placement opportunities

The MA Childhood Studies programme has links with both Leeds Children's Services and Tutti Frutti children's theatre company; both of which offer exclusive internship opportunities to students studying on this course.

Career opportunities

This programme has been designed to meet the needs of graduates who plan to use the knowledge and skills they will gain in a wide range of careers involving children. We expect this to include educational, social or health settings as well as NGOs. You’ll also be prepared for further study in related areas such as education, social policy, sociology or psychology.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website



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MA Childhood Studies is based on an informed and critical approach to the academic study of childhood and youth and is intended to reflect both the desires and ambitions of postgraduate students and the philosophical traditions and current developments in the social studies of childhood and youth. Read more
MA Childhood Studies is based on an informed and critical approach to the academic study of childhood and youth and is intended to reflect both the desires and ambitions of postgraduate students and the philosophical traditions and current developments in the social studies of childhood and youth.

This taught Masters course has been developed for postgraduate students or senior professionals interested in specialised or advanced study of childhood and youth. It will, therefore, be of particular interest to those wishing to be or already employed in the children and young people’s workforce. In line with recent international developments in social studies of childhood and youth, the MA Childhood Studies is transdisciplinary in approach but has a strong emphasis on perspectives drawn from sociology, social policy, geography, anthropology and history. The course is informed by the United Nations Rights of the Child (UNCRC) framework and draws on current methodological standpoints in childhood and youth research that emphasis participation. It is committed to adopting a ‘child/young person - centred’ philosophy throughout, and reflects the principles of protecting the rights and interests of children and young people and the increasing importance of participation. The changing conditions of childhood and youth and the ways in which children and young people themselves experience and understand their everyday lives is emphasised.

The aims of the MA (including PG Dip/PG Cert) Childhood Studies are:

• To offer an innovative, dynamic and flexible programme that critically considers developments in the academic study of childhood and the changing contexts of childhood and youth in a globalised world.
• To critically explore the cultural and social constructions of childhood and youth and the implications that they have had and continue to have on children and young people’s everyday lives.
• To advance students’ knowledge of the complexity of understanding the relationship between children’s rights, the ideologies and responsibilities for welfare and the lived realities of children’s and young people’s diverse experiences.
• To provide a robust theoretical framework for students to develop an integrated and critically aware understanding of childhood and youth studies and to cultivate a critical and analytical approach to contemporary methodological advances in childhood research.
• To develop in students a range of intellectual skills reflecting both the ethos of lifelong learning and the rigour required at M level, a high level of student autonomy and self-direction in order to facilitate the student to demonstrate initiative, originality alongside integrity and ethical judgement in their advanced scholarship and to become influential and effective specialists in the field of childhood and youth studies.

The MA Childhood Studies course is delivered on a flexible, blended learning basis using both traditionally taught elements of the course with lectures, seminars and tutorials during study days, weekend learning programmes and a research summer school and through new media technologies and the online learning environment. Combined, these provide an effective and dynamic space for engaging students and effectively promoting student learning through a knowledge sharing philosophy.

The course team have a commitment to high quality teaching and they incorporate a wide variety of technological tools and learning and teaching techniques to form a collaborative space that enables a seamless transition between classroom based and online learning. Tutors are able to monitor understanding and clarify and expand on points quickly and efficiently to support student learning. Using audio and video, online lectures, links to key reading and relevant web based materials these methods of technology enhanced learning are part of a blended learning programme. whilst some modules can be studied by students at a time and pace that best suits them, other modules have a more structured approach in their design and students access the course content on a week by week basis. All modules are designed to offer students a shared learning experience with other students and module tutors. They involve discussion boards and blogs and more interactive learning tools and techniques as well as the self-study materials, downloadable documents, email, eportfolio||, podcasts and vodcasts found throughout the course.

Students will require access to Broadband either at home, in their workplace or in a public library and standard PC or MAC technology. Ipods/Mp3 players would be helpful to also facilitate mobile learning for students to download and listen to podcasts.

The course uses a range of different assessment strategies, which could include: essays and reports; critical reviews and commentaries; analytical exercises; individual or group presentations; a project-based or work-experience report; a dissertation; computer-based assessments and informed discussion and debate via module Blogs.

Most modules run along the UCS based semester September to June but the actual arrangement of the taught content of the modules varies. Some modules can be accessed and studied on a more flexible, independent basis than others allowing greater autonomy in student learning whilst other modules follow a more structured approach and provide a more formalised approach to learning with study days, weekend workshop or a summer school. All modules fulfil UCS requirements in providing the necessary hours of study for students to succeed and obtain credits and masters level. A full-time student is expected to study 3 modules in one year, giving 120 credits and undertake a 60 credit research dissertation. A part-time student will take either 40, 60 or 80 credits per year as taught modules and finally the 60 credit research dissertation.

Students can expect to have to study between four to five hours per module each week and to spend at least an equivalent amount of time per week in additional reading and set learning activities and preparing for assignments. Students will be provided with timetables and learning schedules when they join the course. Personal tutorial advice is a key feature of the course and the course team offer students support either on a face-to-face basis, via telephone or personalised blog.

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Accelerate Your Success Through Competency-Based Education. Few professions are as rewarding as those that nurture children’s developmental needs. Read more

Accelerate Your Success Through Competency-Based Education

Few professions are as rewarding as those that nurture children’s developmental needs. Our non-licensure MS in Early Childhood Studies delivered through Tempo Learning™ will improve your ability to work with children in diverse environments so you can promote positive learning experiences for all children and will empower you to:

  • Deepen your understanding of child development and learning.
  • Expand your knowledge of effective programs and services.
  • Enhance your ability to link issues of equity and inclusion to how students learn and grow.

Tempo Learning™

The MS in Early Childhood Studies program delivered through Tempo Learning™ by Walden is a custom-paced, competency-based education option for working professionals, meaning that your progress is measured by the mastery or demonstration of skills, abilities, and knowledge in a particular area of study.

Each competency we include in your path to a degree has been carefully designed by expert faculty with input from employers, with your education and future employment in mind.

This custom-paced online program allows you to learn and advance on your own schedule. Walden faculty engage proactively with you on each competency, sharing their expertise to ensure you gain the knowledge needed to impact your career. In addition, your real-life experience and prior knowledge can be used to demonstrate what you already know and potentially accelerate your progress to save time and money.

Degree Specializations

The MS in Early Childhood Studies program delivered through Tempo Learning™ by Walden offers specializations to help you meet your personal and professional goals:

Expand Your Career Options

Prepare for a variety of roles in the early childhood field, including:

  • Child and family advocate
  • Public policy coordinator
  • Child development instructor
  • Professional development facilitator
  • Lecturer in early childhood studies
  • Child care administrator
  • Assistant director of a child care center
  • Director of a child care center or program
  • Owner of a child care center
  • Preschool director
  • Program administrator for early childhood programs

 



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The Doctorate in Childhood Studies (DChild) is a partly taught and partly research based Professional Doctorate which has proved to be both successful and convenient for middle and senior managers and other professionals who wish to further their careers by enhancing their academic knowledge and research skills through developing and expanding on their existing expertise. Read more

The Doctorate in Childhood Studies (DChild) is a partly taught and partly research based Professional Doctorate which has proved to be both successful and convenient for middle and senior managers and other professionals who wish to further their careers by enhancing their academic knowledge and research skills through developing and expanding on their existing expertise.

You can undertake pathways through taught modules that have an emphasis on child care/child protection; children and education; and children/young people and youth justice.

It represents a unique opportunity to pursue an original research project informed by research training and a range of theoretical perspectives on the lives of children and young people. Exploring the experience of childhood across the age spectrum, in different social and political contexts, this research degree places a strong emphasis on the links between social justice, rights, lived experiences and outcomes.

CHILDHOOD STUDIES HIGHLIGHTS

The programme content is delivered intensively through group teaching in two and a half day blocks (usually Thursday-Saturday lunchtime).

WORLD CLASS FACILITIES

  • The modules are delivered in the University's Graduate School.

INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED EXPERTS

  • This unique programme is delivered by leading international academic experts in specialist fields including sociology, law, social work, psychology and education.

STUDENT EXPERIENCE

  • The Professional Doctorate in Childhood Studies is delivered through interactive and innovative methods including electronic resources, online discussion forums and, in the near future, podcasts.
  • Credit Transfer Participants who have completed a Master’s degree within the last 10 years that involved a substantive element of educational research methods training, including a research-based dissertation or project, may be eligible to transfer credit (a maximum of one module).
  • You can can avail of additional specialist training courses and opportunities for networking that are offered by the Graduate School and other events run at Queen’s University Belfast.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Course Details

Students are required to take eight taught modules, five of which are core and three of which are chosen from a menu of options, plus a research thesis.

Core Modules

Students must complete the following five 30-credit core modules:

  • Children’s Rights: Research and Practice
  • Psychological Approaches to Researching Childhood
  • Qualitative Research: Methods, Data and Theory
  • Quantitative Research: Methods, Data and Theory
  • Sociological Approaches to Understanding Children and Childhood

Optional Modules (all 30 credit except where stated)

  • Childhood, Rights and Justice
  • Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood
  • Researching Children and Young People in Educational Settings
  • The Professional as Researcher
  • Youth and Social Justice (20 CATS)
  • Youth Justice: Theory, Law and Practice (20 CATS)

The above list is indicative and not prescriptive.

This programme involves cross-School collaboration and a multi-disciplinary suite of optional modules. The modules are designed to ensure that students acquire interdisciplinary, theoretical and methodological research knowledge within the field of Childhood Studies. Modules are delivered in the Spring and Autumn each year in the splendid surroundings of the historic Graduate School which provides world-class graduate education creating synergy between academic and business communities.



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The MA Early Childhood Studies provides an opportunity to engage critically with ideas, theory and research for those with an interest in supporting young children and their families. Read more
The MA Early Childhood Studies provides an opportunity to engage critically with ideas, theory and research for those with an interest in supporting young children and their families. This award encourages critical reflection on diverse social and professional settings that engage with children and families as well as the social structures that support them.

Early Childhood Studies questions the purpose and operation of the systems and structures that support the upbringing of young children. It also explores theories of identity and agency to consider how individuals sit within societies’ structures and expectations. In a time of significant shifts in education, health and welfare services for young children and their families; the ability to apply knowledge and understanding in reflective, responsive and responsible ways to promote values of social justice, are all part of being an engaged and active professional.

The MA in Early Childhood Studies challenges students to think deeply about their own professional contexts and settings as well as the social structures around them. The award draws widely on (inter)disciplinary perspectives that illuminate early childhood in order to think about, and take forward practice.

We encourage applications from practitioners, professionals and leaders who might be working (or volunteering) in a diverse range of roles in education, health, social welfare/care, community, and other settings, and in the public, private, and voluntary or social enterprise sectors. We aim for an inter- and multi-professional student group on the award for the cross-fertilisation of knowledge, experience and expertise that can be brought to bear, and as it reflects complex challenges in practice and collaborative imperatives.

This award is part of the Manchester Met Faculty of Education postgraduate Professional Development Programme.

About the Course

MA Early Childhood Studies is designed to inform a wide range of professionals in inter and multi-professional settings, in education and related health and social welfare/care. The course encourages students to explore and develop their thinking about the nature of young children, their social worlds as well as the social, political and professional structures that surround these.

Assessment details

Assessment is by coursework for each unit and a full assignment brief is available for each unit. Assessment tasks always allow you to pursue your own thinking and interests within the parameters of the unit and award. Formative feedback is available and built in for every unit.

For taught units (30 credits) the assessment is 5000 words equivalent. The final (60 credit) dissertation is 12-14,000 words.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) is possible for some credits on this award and with the agreement of the Award Lead on your route through the award. Award of a PGCE recently (within the previous five years) allows advanced standing on the programme up to 60 credits; waiver of some credits may also be possible (under the Manchester Met Accreditation of Prior Learning Policy) if you have a recent or relevant certificated award at Level 7.

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You follow this specialist route if you are a practitioner working or intending to work in the early years sector. You draw on your own personal and professional experience, practice and interests to explore an area of early childhood studies that is particularly relevant to you and your career development. Read more

You follow this specialist route if you are a practitioner working or intending to work in the early years sector. You draw on your own personal and professional experience, practice and interests to explore an area of early childhood studies that is particularly relevant to you and your career development. If you have previously studied this area at undergraduate level, you can build on the knowledge you have already gained.

Course details

This MA has a full-time and a part-time route. Both routes have taught sessions which are scheduled to enable working professionals to attend. You study 180 level 7 credits made up of four modules plus a final dissertation. 

The core modules enable you to update your knowledge and skills and give you the opportunity to reflect on your professional practice whilst developing your understanding of theoretical models and current debates. There is a strong emphasis on the application of your studies to your professional context.

You study two modules; Using the Literature to Inform Educational Research and the Dissertation. You choose your topics which should be around current debates and issues in early childhood studies.

What you study

This MA has a full-time and a part-time route. Whichever route you choose you will study the same modules which are all scheduled on a Tuesday evening to enable working professionals to attend. You study 180 level 7 credits made up of four modules plus a final dissertation. The core modules enable you to update your knowledge and skills and give you the opportunity to reflect on your professional practice whilst developing your understanding of theoretical models and current debates. There is a strong emphasis on the application of your studies to your professional context.

You study two modules; Using the Literature to Inform Educational Research and the Dissertation. You choose your topics which should be around current debates and issues in early childhood studies.

Course structure

Core modules

  • Combining Professional and Academic Practice
  • Contextualising Education
  • Dissertation
  • Educational Research: Practice and Planning
  • Using the Literature to Inform Educational Research

Modules offered may vary.

Teaching

How you learn

You share experiences and perspectives on aspects of practice. You study with students from other programmes who are from a variety of educational settings and backgrounds – this sharing gives you the opportunity to develop a systematic and critical understanding of the breadth and depth of knowledge in educational research and practice. You can develop a sense of belonging to the programme while being able to discuss and explore your own area of interest. 

Peer-led discussion on research and practice issues raised in sessions provides the opportunity for interprofessional discussion and debate, and the opportunity to consider relevant issues from the perspective of other professional educational groups which supports you to integrate and synthesise a diverse range of knowledge. You share taught sessions with the Education Doctorate, enhancing the range and type of discussions held within sessions as well as encouraging you to consider your progression after the programme.

How you are assessed

Staff have a wide range of educational backgrounds and specialist interests to support for your cross-disciplinary interests and multi-agency working. Another important element is how we support your transition to studying at level 7. You are offered academic support to help you understand the requirements of master’s level study; to develop your skills in academic writing and referencing, critical thinking and critical writing; and in the key IT skills such as literature searching. The assessment allows you to reflect on your own practice and context, and produce assessed work that benefits your working context. Student feedback on the programme has consistently highlighted the level of support from the staff as a major contributor to their success.



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Why study at Roehampton. We are ranked best modern university in London for the quality of our research (Research Excellence Framework 2014). Read more

Why study at Roehampton

  • We are ranked best modern university in London for the quality of our research (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
  • Roehampton’s School of Education has a historical association with Froebel College which was founded in 1892. As a result, the programme is supported by the renowned Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies, and has developed an international reputation in the field attracting students at postgraduate level from around the world.
  • Students become part of the early childhood research centre with its internationally highly respected research team.
  • Students graduate with a high level of knowledge and expertise in early childhood and strengthened confidence to contribute to, and advance in their chosen career.

Course summary

Early Childhood Studies at Roehampton is committed to babies and young children as people with agency and unique capacities, and to their overall wellbeing from the prenatal period.

The postgraduate programme draws on Froebel’s understanding of the transformative power of young children’s play on their thinking, and the crucial way that adults can either seek to assist or control young children’s intrinsic creativity. In adults’ interactions with children, however, Froebel recognised the profound influence of the community and social context. 

The syllabus is underpinned by an awareness of the influence of these social, cultural and political contexts on young children’s lives, and of the roots and structures of inequality that arise from these issues. The programme will strengthen your awareness and understanding of these influences and explore how you take account of them in action. In these respects, the programme also draws inspiration from the work of Paulo Freire, the radical and pioneering educator. 

The teaching is informed by active research and scholarship in early years policy and practice, as well as leading research into young children’s well-being, thinking and understanding. There is a deep commitment to working in partnership with families and communities and to the development of students’ professionalism, advocacy and leadership.

The programme is relevant, engaging and of professional and personal value for a variety of roles within the early years sector. For those working directly with young children, engagement with the course content will provide a platform for continuing professional development and career progression, while for those involved in early years policy or research, the course offers an opportunity to engage with up current thinking in a broad range of issues.

Content

Students will first look at babies' and children’s capacity for play, how they think, and how they communicate their ideas and emotions though a variety of ‘languages’ such as talk, mark-making, drawing, construction, movement, music and dance. This is studied from a variety of theoretical perspectives, critically looking at the values and assumptions underpinning these views. 

There is special focus on Froebel’s legacy in early childhood practice and other key pioneers in the child-centred tradition, which embodies advocacy and respect for children and their families. You will gain an understanding of the political nature of this work, learn advocacy skills for the well-being of young children and their families and develop effective leadership and collaboration techniques across disciplines in the field of early childhood. Alongside modules going deeper into young children’s emotions and well-being, students will learn skills for undertaking their own social and educational research. These skills will be put into practice with an extended in-depth research-based project, critically enquiring into an identified social or educational problem.

Modules

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation
  • Play, Thinking and Communication

Required module

  • Undertaking Social and Educational Research

Optional modules

  • Early Childhood Pedagogy and Practice
  • Exploring the Froebelian Legacy in Early Childhood Practice
  • Professionalism, Leadership and Advocacy
  • Emotion and the Roots of Wellbeing

Career options

  • Careers in professional practice and leadership in early childhood, education, health and social welfare.
  • Careers in policy making, implementation and administration of early childhood provision.
  • Careers in research and developing the early years workforce in further and higher education.

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This distance-learning programme is designed for professionals working within the early childhood workforce, including those who may not be working directly with children but are involved in developing the early childhood workforce, such as further education lecturers and local authority advisors. Read more
This distance-learning programme is designed for professionals working within the early childhood workforce, including those who may not be working directly with children but are involved in developing the early childhood workforce, such as further education lecturers and local authority advisors.

More about this course

This course is a high quality, contemporary and coherent programme that has been designed to meet the needs of professionals working within the early childhood workforce.

The MA offers you an opportunity to advance your knowledge, understanding and professional practice through engagement with current research and thinking in early childhood. It also involves a reflection on and analysis of your own professional practice. A commitment to equality, diversity, social justice and advocacy are themes central to this programme.

The course is delivered by distance learning using an interactive online platform and individual academic support from tutors. As well as academic content the interactive online platform includes podcasts, video, online discussions and links to identified reading – either as scanned chapters or through access to our wide range of online books and academic journals.

The early childhood studies team has a long history of developing accessible study for the early childhood workforce. London Met was one of the first universities to offer an undergraduate programme designed for those working within the early childhood workforce – both as a face-to-face and distance learning programme.

The course is underpinned by the following aims to:
-Develop a detailed understanding of current research and thinking in the field of early childhood
-Continuously appraise research and theory and reflect on its impact on early childhood provision and practice with an emphasis on students’ own professional practice
-Develop a sophisticated understanding of the historical, economic, social, cultural and political contexts which impact on the lives of young children and their families
-Develop a comprehensive understanding of and commitment to issues of equality and diversity, social justice and advocacy in relation to the field of early childhood

You are assessed through coursework as well as a dissertation.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2016/17 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:
-Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood (core, 30 credits)
-Distinctive Approaches in Early Childhood Education and Care (core, 30 credits)
-Research Methods and the Dissertation (core, 60 credits)
-Creativity in Early Childhood (option, 30 credits)
-Equality and Inclusion in Early Childhood (option, 30 credits)
-Foundations of Being (option, 30 credits)

After the course

Career opportunities and potential continuing professional development include:
-Advisers to local and national government
-Further and higher education tutors
-Leadership roles within early childhood
-Doctoral research

Moving to one campus

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2017. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

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Programme description. Read more

Programme description

This is an intensive interdisciplinary programme, 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 for child welfare, disability, education, family studies, juvenile justice, social policy and social work.

This programme responds to the increasing importance of the study of childhood in disciplines as widespread as philosophy, sociology and geography. It offers an opportunity to develop skills in research and consultation with children and young people.

You’ll examine the implications of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and gain knowledge and analytical perspectives on particular areas of legislation, policy, theory and practice that affect children. The programme benefits from the childhood studies expertise of academic staff across the University.

Programme structure

Teaching combines lectures, seminars and tutorials, plus a combination of essays and assessed coursework. You will complete three compulsory courses and three option courses followed by an independently researched dissertation.

Career opportunities

This qualification serves both as a conversion course if you wish to pursue careers working with children or children’s issues, and as a career development opportunity if you already have experience in these fields.

Graduates have gone on to a variety of posts, such as employment with national and international non-governmental organisations, research posts and PhD study, and national and local government positions.

You will develop a range of transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.



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If you’re looking to develop your career within the specialist field of early childhood education, then this course could be for you. Read more

If you’re looking to develop your career within the specialist field of early childhood education, then this course could be for you.

In this course you’ll reflect on a range of international attitudes to early childhood education. You’ll also consider the relationship between theoretical perspectives and aspects of practice in early childhood education.

You’ll have the opportunity to focus on current issues faced by early years professionals and you’ll study early childhood education in international contexts. Themes include children’s rights, sociology of childhood, psychological perspectives on childhood and international approaches to early years education.

The course combines knowledge about practical aspects of the early years curriculum with the opportunity to bring a theoretical understanding to help to deepen and challenge your thinking.

The course is tailored around you. You can expand on your early years focus by choosing from a range of options to match your role, experience or organisation to help you progress as an informed, reflective and inspirational practitioner.

On this course you’ll have the opportunity to develop an understanding of critical reflection and how to employ independent learning strategies to enable you to evaluate and inform your professional practice. You’ll also develop and deepen your knowledge and understanding of educational research and be able be able to use these skills in researching an aspect of early childhood studies for your dissertation.

You’ll be taught by an outstanding team of teachers; in fact, we were ranked fourth in the Guardian Guide for Higher Education in 2018. You’ll also have access to our extensive professional and academic network which feeds directly into course design and delivery and to excellent facilities and specialist equipment.



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Recognise and champion the uniqueness of every child as you take an holistic 'whole child' approach to the study of children and the issues that affect them and their families. Read more

Recognise and champion the uniqueness of every child as you take an holistic 'whole child' approach to the study of children and the issues that affect them and their families. Using the latest research, you will explore the theoretical and conceptual terrain of childhood to inform and develop your own practice. This course will enable you to specialise your study through two distinct routes - Early Years and Children & Young People

The Early Years route will see you apply a critical lens to young children's education and care within a variety of settings. The Children and Young People route will focus more closely on critically examining concepts, contexts and practice related to childhood.

We recognise that children are active social agents and meaning makers with the abiloty to both interpret and shape their social worlds. Therefore, each module has been designed to highlight the importance of the child's voice and children's participation.

To fit around your working patterns and personal commitments, you can study over one, two or three years through day, evening and Saturday face-to-face sessions or online via our Virtual Learning Environment.

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Research Excellence Framework 2014: twice as many of our staff - 220 - were entered into the research assessment for 2014 compared to the number entered in 2008.

Core modules

  • Theorising Childhood
  • Critical Discourses in Childhood & Early Years
  • Ethical Research with Children

Option modules

  • Diverse Childhoods: Identity & Inequality (Childhood pathway)
  • Playful Learning & Playful Pedagogies (Early Years pathway)
  • Social History of Education
  • Creative Writing Pedagogies
  • Making Drama (on campus only)
  • Working with Children & Families
  • Ethical Enquiry
  • Literature & Childhood
  • Coaching & Mentoring
  • Critical Review of Contemporary Childhood Research
  • Student Negotiated Learning
  • Developing Early Language & Communication
  • Enabling Environments & Spaces of Childhood
  • Embodied Childhoods
  • Children, Crime & Social Justice
  • Reflexive Research in Practice
  • Childhood & Risk
  • Children's Cultural Words

Job prospects

If you work with children and young people, this course will help you to progress to managerial or senior leadership level. It is also suitable should you wish to pursue a career working in early years or with children and young people in, for example, youth justice, child and family support, policy development and education, or should you want to pursue a doctoral qualification.

  • Early Years Advisor
  • Nursery Co-ordinator
  • Children's Charity Worker
  • Social Worker


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If you’re a teacher, lecturer or trainer in Early Years, or working in an Early Years setting who is keen to boost your professional qualifications and knowledge, this course is for you. Read more

If you’re a teacher, lecturer or trainer in Early Years, or working in an Early Years setting who is keen to boost your professional qualifications and knowledge, this course is for you. It may also appeal if you’re someone who is simply interested in the field of education and have recently completed a degree in Early Years, Education Studies, Social Work or a related subject area.

What's covered in the course?

Highly flexible, this course is an attractive option if you want the opportunity to study without having to give up your job. Our Education Master’s framework allows you to choose your own path by selecting the core modules, area of specialisation and optional modules, that way you can tailor your study to suit your needs and areas of interest.

The modules available explore current issues in education, leadership and management, change and improvement, as well as a flexible portfolio, reflection and research opportunities, leading to a final dissertation.

Why Choose Us?

  • You don't need a Bachelor’s degree to do this course, but you do need professional experience.
  • This recognised qualification will help you to meet a variety of Continuing Professional Development requirements.
  • We’re proud of our high employability rates, with 98 per cent of the School’s postgraduate students in employment or further study six months after their course (DLHE survey results 14/15).
  • If you're thinking of changing your career for a move into teaching please be aware that this course doesn't lead to qualified teacher status.
  • You can use evidence of previous study or relevant experience to claim Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).
  • You'll be able to develop professional knowledge, skills and understanding in your practice, which will support you to offer consistently excellent teaching.
  • You can use this course to put you at the forefront of professional practice in your specialist field or subject. This will enable you to help your students to succeed.


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Childhood studies is an interdisciplinary area of study that puts children and childhood at the centre of its inquiry. It asks questions like 'What is a child?', 'How is childhood changed by wider changes in society?' and 'How do class, gender and "race" shape children's lives?'. Read more
Childhood studies is an interdisciplinary area of study that puts children and childhood at the centre of its inquiry. It asks questions like 'What is a child?', 'How is childhood changed by wider changes in society?' and 'How do class, gender and "race" shape children's lives?'.

International childhood studies put these questions into a global context, to ask how global forces such as war, economy and international development are reshaping childhood.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Of interest to anyone working, or intending to work, with children in service provision, in social policy or in international development, particularly in culturally diverse settings, or anyone who has an interest in cultures of childhood.
Helps develop the skills needed to produce high-quality independent research.
Taught by experts in childhood studies: the programme director is the author of Childhood in a Global Perspective (Polity, 2009) and many other publications on global childhoods.
One of only 2 childhood studies Master's degrees in the UK with an international focus.
We offer student support and have a range of research resources.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated ‘world-leading’ or internationally excellent.

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