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MSc Anthropology of Childhood, Youth & Education

Course Description

This MSc was the first degree of its kind in the world when it was established and is still unique in its thorough-going anthropological perspective on what it is to be a child or to be young. Its key organising principle is that understanding children requires the study of how their relations with others - peers, older and younger children, parents, teachers and other adults - inform their practices, identities and world views.

Through an examination of ethnographic cases from the around the world (including the UK), participants will learn about the different ways in which childhood and youth are understood and conceptualised, along with the different educational forms and processes through which cultural knowledge is transmitted and acquired, and how culture impacts upon these processes.

Course content: Modules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the School on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry. At the time of printing modules were drawn from the following areas:
Compulsory Modules: Anthropology of Childhood and Youth; Anthropology of Education & Learning; Ethnographic Research Methods Parts 1 and 2 .
Optional Modules: Kinship and New Directions in Anthropology; Anthropology of the Body ; Anthropology of the Person
Anthropology of Disability and Difference
Plus two unassessed reading modules: History and Theory of Social Anthropology; Issues in Social Anthropology .
It may also be possible to choose from these modules offered by the School of Sport & Education and the School of Health Sciences & Social Care: Foundation Disciplines of Education* Literature Policy and Analysis* International Development, Children and Youth* Global Agendas on Young People, Rights and Participation* Applied Learning for Children, Youth and International Development* (* these modules will be taught on different days from the normal attendance days.)

Assessment is by essay, practical assignments (eg, analysis of a short field exercise), and a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words. This dissertation is based upon fieldwork undertaken by the candidate. There are no examinations.

The specific topics and/or research problems discussed in the dissertation are a function of the student’s particular research interest in the domain of the anthropology of children, child development and youth, and the data generated by the student’s own fieldwork.

Recent examples of dissertations by students:
The language of learning: how children become learners
ESL children and their friendships
A Greek community school in a London district: ethnic socialisation among third generation children
Youth marginalisation, affiliation and livelihoods in Sierra Leone

Candidates will acquire analytical and research skills that can be used in a wide range of careers. In addition to providing a firm grounding for doctoral research on childhood and youth, graduates will find that the degree enhances professional development in fields such as teaching, social work, counselling, educational and child psychology, health-visiting, nursing and midwifery, paediatric specialisms, non-governmental agencies and international development. Every year, some of our graduates also go on to do further research for a PhD in child-focused anthropology as members of the Centre for Child-Focused Anthropological Research (C-FAR).

Visit the MSc Anthropology of Childhood, Youth & Education page on the Brunel University London website for more details!

Student Profiles

Postgraduate Academic Excellence Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The scholarship is available for PGT courses at Brunel starting from September 2013 and focuses on two key audiences, namely high calibre prospective PG students and our alumni who wish to undertake further postgraduate study at Brunel. It is available to both Home/ EU and International students.In order to attract high calibre students and encourage them to undertake postgraduate study we intend to offer a discount of 15% off the fees for anyone who has obtained a first class undergraduate degree from a UK University, either in the UK or abroad.Whilst Brunel has always offered a reduction in PG fees for Brunel alumni we intend to further incentivise Brunel students to take up postgraduate education by increasing the discount to 15%.

Value of Scholarship(s)

15% of tuition fee


A first class undergraduate degree from a UK University, either in the UK or abroad.

Application Procedure


Further Information



The Brunel International Scholarship - 20+ Awards

The Brunel International Scholarship is an annual award scheme designed to promote talent and encourage excellence in scholars coming to Brunel from around the globe. Partial scholarships are available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students who have been offered a place on a full-time course at Brunel. Please refer to the International Scholarship web pages for more details.

Value of Scholarship(s)

15% of tuition fees


Academic excellence.

Application Procedure


Further Information


Entry Requirements

Normally a good Honours degree from a UK institution; an equivalent overseas qualification; or an equivalent professional qualification (eg teaching/ health/child welfare background)

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