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MA Childhood Studies

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Institution code: 

Full-time: One year

Part-time: Two or three years

This course starts in September.

Typical Offer: 
An Undergraduate degree with a minimum classification of 2:2. An appropriate work placement may be required.
Qualifications and relevant experience working with children and young people will be considered on an individual basis.


MA Childhood Studies is a taught Masters programme which takes an informed and critical approach to the academic study of childhood studies and is underpinned by a children’s rights approach. This programme would be of interest to undergraduates looking to progress to the postgraduate level and professionals interested in specialised or advanced study of childhood. 

The MA Childhood Studies is an interdisciplinary course with a strong emphasis in the social sciences, including perspectives drawn from sociology, history, English, social policy and anthropology. The course is informed by the United National Rights of the Child (UNCRC) framework and is committed to a child-centred philosophy. Modules will reflect on the principles of protecting the rights and interests of children and young people, and the increasing importance of their participation in these discussions. This course explores the diversity of childhoods, from local issues to global trends, and puts a focus on the international conceptions of what a child is and how to advocate and support children. This curriculum is continually updated and developed to reflect the changing landscape of children's rights. 

Career Opportunities

The curriculum encourages students to develop their own interests and professional practice through the dynamic study of childhood. This postgraduate programme supplements an undergraduate degree and provides an advanced understanding of current, and challenging issues facing practitioners, including good practices for diversity and inclusion, trauma and risk, and social justice. In the current move towards evidence-based practices, the research skills gained through this degree will help to enhance your career prospects and give you the leading edge on current practice. A postgraduate degree can help you advance to work on an international level for governmental agencies, charities and public bodies or to take up a leadership position within your current workplace. A postgraduate degree also gives you advanced knowledge and skills needed for further study, such as a PhD or other advanced training programmes, including counselling and social work.

Whether you want develop niche expertise or refine analytical or research skills, this course will give you the ability to demonstrate self-direction, autonomy, and it will provide an up-to-date, in-depth knowledge of social policies affecting children and families. 


Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This degree uses a flexible, blended approach, so face-to-face lectures, seminars, and tutorial support are complemented by online resources, interactive learning tools, and self-study materials. All modules are designed to offer students a shared learning experience with other students and module tutors while remaining flexible to demands of everyday life. Additionally, the course team incorporate a wide variety of assessment strategies, which may include formats such as essays and reports, critical reviews and commentaries, informed discussion and debate, analytical exercises, individual or group presentations, and project-based or work-experience reflections. In the final stages of your degree, you also have the opportunity to conduct a small-scale final project with the support and guidance of experienced supervisors who are experts in their field. All taught sessions take place at our main campus in Ipswich and online materials are made available through the online learning environment, Brightspace. 


Course Aims

  • To offer an innovative, dynamic and flexible programme that critically considers developments in the academic study of childhood and the changing contexts of childhood in a globalised world.  

  • To critically explore the cultural and social constructions of childhood and the implications that they have had and continue to have on children'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 diverse experiences. 

  • To provide a robust theoretical framework for students to develop an integrated and critically aware understanding of childhood 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 Masters 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 studies.

Course modules

Taught modules run from September to May, and the summer is used for independent study and research. Taught, face-to-face sessions take place on at University of Suffolk main campus in Ipswich. Online sessions can be completed remotely through our online learning environment, Brightspace. To attain the full MA, you will need 180 credits, for the PgDip 120 credits, and for the PgCert 60 credits.

The course has three essential, core modules and a number of optional modules. Core modules include:

  • Making Children: The Social Construction of Childhood since 1870 (20 credits)
  • Critical Perspectives in Childhood Studies (20 credits)
  • Research Methods (20 credits) 
  • Dissertation (60 credits) 

You then can select three optional modules. The following is a list of our optional modules:

  • Empowering Looked After Children: Trauma, Attachment and Educational Provision (20 credits)
  • Globalisation, Social Justice and Children’s Rights (20 credits)
  • Children’s Literature: Through the Looking Glass (20 credits)
  • The Time of their Lives? Childhood and Risk in the British Empire since 1800 (20 credits)
  • Embodied Childhoods: Self-identity and Development (20 credits)

A full-time student can expect to study 120 credits from September to May and undertake their dissertation in the summer term. A part-time student, depending on how study is paced will take either 40, 60, or 80 credits per year as taught modules, and finish their dissertation after all taught modules are completed.

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record


Fees and finance


    • UK full-time tuition fee: £8,748 p.a
    • UK part-time tuition fee: £972 per 20 credits (please contact the Student Centre for further information)
    • International full-time tuition fee: £13,995 p.a

    Further Information

    At the University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for.


    Entry requirements




    Course Leader for MA Childhood Studies, Associate Professor in Childhood and Education

    Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies

    Lecturer in Childhood Studies

    Course Leader, MRes Social Sciences and Humanities

    Lecturer in History

    Course leader for MA Creative and Critical Writing

    Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Youth Studies