Childhood Studies

Irish College of Humanities & Applied Sciences

Childhood Studies

We are delighted to offer you this Master’s programme in Childhood Studies which is primarily designed for graduates in health, human and social sciences related programmes including such disciplines as social care, social work, early years education and care, nursing, montessori teaching, primary & post primary education, psychology, counselling, psychotherapy, and programmes in cognate areas who wish to study at postgraduate level on either a full-time (over 1 Year) or part-time basis (over 2 Years), who seek to gain specialist knowledge of childhood and youth with a view to expanding their knowledge and understanding of children and young people under the age of 18.

There is little doubt that the care, education and support of young people have been understood and delivered within a reductionist ethos both in Ireland and internationally. Murphy (2015) noted that until fairly recent times that the care and education for children of pre-school age have by and large been seen by the Irish state as a private matter, and the responsibility of parents.

While there has been an improvement in the integration of relevant services in recent years, children of primary and post-primary school age are dealt with by discreet education structures generally and while the state has improved its support for children ( persons under 18) the history of such support has been mired in controversy historically and still remains somewhat disjointed. For example, the care provided to vulnerable young people has been divided between different state departments and agencies, with little integration of services until more recent times.

Despite policy level commitments to the primacy of the family and parents, there is evidence of increased numbers of children and adolescents in state-provided or funded care. Tusla (2019) for example reported that there were 5,985 children in the Agency’s care at the end of 2019, with 91% of those in Foster Care. While that shows a decrease from 2014, Foster Care is only one aspect of Tusla’s support structures. The Agency also reported 56,561 referrals to child protection and welfare services in 2019; 3% (1,425) more than in 2018 (55,136). More poignantly, it reported a total of 92,000 children living in consistent poverty and a further 190,000 children at risk of poverty.

This programme addresses the needs of practitioners and graduates who wish to develop their knowledge and professional competence in areas focusing on professionally supporting childhood development and should be of particular relevance to existing Level 8 graduates of programmes in areas such as Early Learning & Care; Primary & Post Primary Education, nursing, social care, psychology, sociology, social science, youth work and community studies and related disciplines.

This programme has been designed to accommodate the needs of both new and recent graduates as well as those students currently holding positions in the children and young people’s workforce, including those wishing to advance their careers or indeed change careers.

Applicants should be driven by a desire to be professional leaders and agents for collegial support and change; recognising the special contribution that higher education in these fields (using a range of scientifically established paradigms and approaches) can make to professionals involved in supporting children to realise their potential.

Structure of Course
Learners can complete this course on a full-time basis over 1 year and on a part-time basis over 2 years. Attendance would normally require attendance in person (either in class or on Zoom) on 1 evening per week (6 pm to 9 pm) and Saturdays (9.30 am to 4.30 pm) in the academic year from September to July. The timetable has been structured to optimise the utilisation of online learning via Zoom which allows the learner to access classes using on-line facilities.

Learner on the Full-Time route would study and submit for assessment 4 modules in Semester 1 (40 ECTS), while those on the Part-Time Route would submit 2 Modules (20 ECTS) in Semester 1. In this semester learners focus on fundamental Modules associated with the programme. while in addition to this on the full-Time option, are also taught a 10 ECTS Module on Research Methodologies and Design to support them with their Dissertation Module.

On the Part-Time route, this Research Module is taken in Semester 4. The Dissertation Module commences in Semester 1 and is due for completion and submission in Semester 3 for Full-time Students and Semester 5 for Part-Time Students.

In Semester 2, learners on both the Full and Part-Time options will complete a total of 30 ECTS of topic focussed learning as well as completing their Practicum module (10 ECTS) .

Students will complete the Programme on submission of their Dissertation Module at the end of Semester 3 on the full-time route and Semester 5 of the Part-time route. Those students who exit the programme without completion of their Dissertation will be eligible for an Exit Award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Childhood Studies.

Subjects taught

The following are the modules that have to be completed on this course which means a total of 90 ECTS have to completed for the Award of MA in Childhood Studies.

• Critical Perspectives on Child & Youth Development 10 ETCS
• Research Methodologies & Design 10 ETCS
• Curricular & Pedological Approaches in Early Learning & Care 10 ETCS
• Governance & Professional Leadership in Child and Adolescent Practice 10 ETCS
• Contemporary Discourses in Early Learning and Care 10 ETCS
• Practicum 10 ETCS
• Dissertation 30 ETCS

Entry requirements

The knowledge, skills, and competence required to successfully participate in and complete this Level 9 programme will normally require applicants to have successfully achieved a Level 2:2 award in a relevant Level 8 degree.

Those who have completed other relevant educational programmes or have relevant professional experience etc., where Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) and Acquired Prior Learning (APL) can be applied to the programme by submission of programme content, qualification, and assignments equivalent to an appropriate Level 8 award at an Honours 2:2 standard, can also be considered. Candidates over 23 years of age who hold significant professional qualifications and or can demonstrate appropriate learning from experiential or other sources of learning may apply through a Recognition of Prior Learning route (RPL). For non-native speakers of English, an IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) is required. Candidates may study on either a full-time or part-time basis.

All applicants will be required to attend for interview to ascertain their suitability for the programme.

In the case of overseas applications, whose first language is not English, applicants will have to provide either certification of completion of a primary degree through the medium of English or submit the official results of English Language competency demonstrated through the completion of English language proficiency tests indicating a minimum score of to B2+ in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL). Certification may be evidenced through the production of a certificate of IELTS Level 6.5 or equivalent) or equivalent competency tests, if applicable.

All international applicants must meet the visa requirements for study in Ireland.

Successful applicants would be required to complete Garda Vetting at the College.


1 Year (Full Time) 2 Years ( Part Time)

Available at our Dublin and Limerick Campuses

Enrolment dates

Start Date: September 2024

Post Course Info

Where Can I progress to on completion of the course?
On successful completion of the MA in Childhood Studies, learners will be qualified to access Level 10 Programmes on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Blended,Daytime,Evening,Full time,Part time

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