Institution / Open University In Ireland
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Childhood & Youth

This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of childhood and youth underpinned by a commitment to integrated practice. It is ideal if you want to enhance your knowledge of this area, whether you’re already working in the field or planning to do so. You’ll begin by exploring the family; law; children’s rights; politicised childhoods; participation and voice issues; consumerist childhoods; education; ethnicity and religion; child criminology; child sexuality; and multi-cultural childhoods – within a worldwide context, using case studies linking theory to practice. Finally, an extended piece of writing will help you examine the changing policy, organisational, personal and professional contexts of work with children and young people.

Key features of the course
• Equips you with the critical tools to analyse policy and to reflect on your own practice
• Designed to help you develop professionally and meet the diverse and changing needs of children and young people
• A strong focus on multi-agency working and inter-professional practice
• Offers a choice between a short research project or literature review.

Entry requirements

You must have a bachelors degree from a UK university (or equivalent) to study this course. Your degree can be in any subject, although childhood and youth studies, sociology, health and social care, anthropology, psychology or education are particularly relevant.

Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check
The research project option in E807 is only available if you are a UK resident as you will need to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check (or equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Students in Scotland will also need to meet the requirements of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme. (visit for more details). The criminal record check must be appropriate for the setting in which you intend to carry out your research. The DBS (or equivalent) must bear the same name as given in your post-registration agreement form. You also need permission from your employer to undertake this work. If these conditions cannot be fulfilled then you should choose the literature review option for E807.

Please note: It is a legal, rather than an Open University requirement, that you must obtain Enhanced DBS clearance in order to work with children on E807. This is the responsibility of you and your employer and not The Open University. If you are in doubt about your eligibility, or to find out more, you should contact the relevant agency in your country for more information.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 7 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.


How long it takes
3 - 4 years.

The minimum time to complete is expected to be three years – exceptionally, students study two 60-credit modules in an academic year to complete quicker, but this option requires students be able to commit about 30 hours per week to their studies which is not practical for most students, especially those in full-time employment. If you are considering registering for two 60 credit modules in the same academic year we strongly advise you to talk to an educational adviser on 029 2167 8780 or at

When planning your studies, please check the final start date of modules that you are planning to study as part of this qualification so that you can be certain of securing your required modules. The two compulsory modules Children and young people's worlds: frameworks for integrated practice (E807) and Critical practice with children and young people (K802) are available for the last time starting October 2018. There will be at least one 60-credit optional module starting in October 2019.

When planning your studies, please check the final start date of the modules so that you can be certain of completing the required modules within the available timeframe.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
This course will be attractive to professionals working with children and young people in areas such as early years provision, education, social work, nursing, healthcare, youth work, youth justice or the voluntary sector. It should also be of interest if you’re seeking to advance academically and professionally, move into the profession or within the sector, and if you have (or want to move into) a senior, managerial or supervisory role.

The case studies in Children and young people’s worlds: frameworks for integrated practice (E807) are drawn from around the world, so this module is very suitable if you are based in the UK or further afield. The themes covered by Critical practice in work with children and young people (K802) are relevant to policy and practice worldwide, but you need to be aware that most of the examples in the study materials are drawn from the UK context.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also look at our OU study and your career pages to find out about potential career opportunities related to OU subject areas.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

You can study the modules in any order. We recommend that you study no more than 60 credits a year.

To gain this qualification, you require 180 credits as follows

120 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules Credits Next Start:
Children and young people’s worlds: frameworks for integrated practice (E807) 60 7th Oct 2017
Critical practice with children and young people (K802) 60 7th Oct 2017.

Plus 60 credits from the following optional modules:
Optional modules Credits Next start

Continuing professional development in practice (U810) 30 06 May 2017
Development: context and practice (T877)
30 01 May 2017
Understanding children’s development and learning (ED841) 60 07 Oct 2017

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D860, D864, E848, E859, ED840, TU871.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.


On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a MA in Childhood and Youth entitling you to use the letters MA (CY) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

You may also want to claim the Postgraduate Certificate in Integrated Practice in Childhood and Youth (C97) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Integrated Practice in Childhood and Youth (E78). To gain all three qualifications you must study them in sequence (postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and then the MA) please note that if you are using credit transfer you will not be able to claim both the Diploma (E78) and this MA.

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