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Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights - MA

Course Description

The Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights MA will introduce students to a range of contemporary social theories about childhood and children's rights, critically explore social constructions of childhood, and consider the implications these have for professional practice and research with children and young people.

Degree information

This programme provides students with the opportunity to gain an understanding of sociological theories and concepts of childhood and children’s rights, including a recognition of the varied childhoods experienced by children in richer and poorer contexts and how these are shifting in a globalising world. It also helps students develop their critical analytical skills and improve their theoretical understanding and professional practice when working with, and for, children.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (90 credits), one optional module (30 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules
-Children's Rights in Practice
-Social Theory
-Theories of Childhood and Society

Optional modules
-Researching Childhood*
-Understanding Research


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 20,000 words.

Teaching and learning
Taught modules run in the evenings and/or over a one-week intensive block. Teaching is delivered face-to-face and through lectures, discussions and debates, and analysis of readings, images, and films. In addition there are tutorials for essays and dissertation preparation. Participants are encouraged to reflect upon their own experiences and backgrounds in teaching sessions. Each core module is assessed by 5,000-word written assignments.


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as international NGO staff, children's charity workers, child advocacy workers and policy advisors. Graduates are also working as teachers and early years practitioners, while others have jobs as university and college lecturers and researchers.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Project Worker, Barnado's
-Research Advocacy Officer, Approach Ltd

Why study this degree at UCL?

This MA explores cutting-edge research and theorising about young people's experiences and their social status in varied global contexts. It is unique in its sociological attention to childhood, children's rights, and children and young people's participation in society.

Students are introduced to internationally-renowned academic experts and international children's organisations and have the opportunity to explore their own areas of interest or professional practice.

The MA is based in UCL Social Science which houses three prestigious, research intensive units. Together they provide a foundation for world-leading work in childhood studies, social work, social pedagogy, families and health-related studies with a strong professional dimension.

Visit the Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights - MA page on the University College London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

W'Ayendjina Antchandie

"UCL recognises the importance of networking as a necessary step towards helping students with their career. The programme offered many opportunities to meet with professionals from a number of fields in childhood and children's rights. We had seminars, talks, and research symposium with academics, practitioners from NGOs, and with alumni now working in children's rights organisations for instance. Due to the quality of the programme, tutors and researchers receive job and internship advertisements, which are subsequently passed on to students. "

(Student Profile)

Clara Freixes Ramoneda

"This programme helped me find a research placement and a job in a community trust with young people, evaluating the impact of activities and improving the service's outcomes for the young people participating. Overall my experience at UCL was really great. The programme was dynamic and well organised, and the support from teachers was simply fantastic."

(Student Profile)

Lizzie Streeter

"I often attend networking events, for example the London Transition Network and Participation Works Network for England (PWNE) at City Hall, as well as events for trustees and local government workers. With lectures in the evening, I am able to fit studying around my full-time job."


Entry Requirements

A second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in social science, media or cultural studies, humanities, education or a related field. A similar qualification in another subject is also acceptable if combined with experience in child care, health, education or children's advocacy. All applicants should preferably have experience of working with and for children.

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