MA Childhood and Youth Studies is based on an informed and critical approach to the academic study of childhood and youth and is intended to reflect both the desires and ambitions of postgraduate students and the philosophical traditions and current developments in the social studies of childhood and youth.
This taught Masters course has been developed for postgraduate students or senior professionals interested in specialised or advanced study of childhood and youth. It will, therefore, be of particular interest to those wishing to be or already employed in the children and young people’s workforce. In line with recent international developments in social studies of childhood and youth, the MA Childhood and Youth Studies is transdisciplinary in approach but has a strong emphasis on perspectives drawn from sociology, social policy, geography, anthropology and history. The course is informed by the United Nations Rights of the Child (UNCRC) framework and draws on current methodological standpoints in childhood and youth research that emphasis participation. It is committed to adopting a ‘child/young person - centred’ philosophy throughout, and reflects the principles of protecting the rights and interests of children and young people and the increasing importance of participation. The changing conditions of childhood and youth and the ways in which children and young people themselves experience and understand their everyday lives is emphasised.
The aims of the MA (including PG Dip/PG Cert) Childhood and Youth Studies are:
To offer an innovative, dynamic and flexible programme that critically considers developments in the academic study of childhood and youth and the changing contexts of childhood and youth in a globalised world.
To critically explore the cultural and social constructions of childhood and youth and the implications that they have had and continue to have on children and young people’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 and young people’s diverse experiences.
To provide a robust theoretical framework for students to develop an integrated and critically aware understanding of childhood and youth studies and to cultivate a critical and analytical approach to contemporary methodological advances in childhood and youth research.
To develop in students a range of intellectual skills reflecting both the ethos of lifelong learning and the rigour required at M 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 and youth studies.
These aims will inform the aims of individual modules.
The learning outcomes are the measurable skills, understanding and attributes able to be demonstrated by the student in fulfilment of the course aims. The learning outcomes have been informed by the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England Wales and Northern Ireland (2008) and augmented by outcomes which reflect the course philosophy and the distinctive transdisciplinary nature of Childhood and Youth Studies.
Upon completion students will be able to demonstrate:
A systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of contemporary issues and recent developments which are at, or informed by, the forefront of childhood and youth studies.
A comprehensive understanding of the appropriate techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship and originality in their application of that knowledge and in addressing issues in relation to children and young people.
A conceptual understanding of children’s rights and welfare that enables the student to evaluate critically complex issues, both systematically and creatively, to evaluate improving outcomes for children and young people.
Advanced scholarship of childhood and youth studies through a critical evaluation and analysis of methodologies and previous/current research to propose new research questions and directions.
The skills required to exercise independent learning and to develop these skills to a high level so as to work with self-direction and originality, to communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences so as to contribute to the academic study of childhood and youth.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The MA Childhood and Youth Studies Course offers students the opportunity to study at postgraduate level on either a full-time or part-time basis who wish to gain specialist knowledge of childhood and youth. The course has been designed to accommodate the needs of both new and recent graduates and those students currently holding positions in the children and young people’s workforce or wishing to advance or change careers.
The MA Childhood and Youth Studies course is delivered on a flexible, blended learning basis using both traditionally taught elements of the course with lectures, seminars and tutorials during study days, weekend learning programmes and a research summer school and through new media technologies and the online learning environment. Combined, these provide an effective and dynamic space for engaging students and effectively promoting student learning through a knowledge sharing philosophy. The course team have a commitment to high quality teaching and they incorporate a wide variety of technological tools and learning and teaching techniques to form a collaborative space that enables a seamless transition between classroom based and online learning. Tutors are able to monitor understanding and clarify and expand on points quickly and efficiently to support student learning. Using audio and video, online lectures, links to key reading and relevant web based materials these methods of technology enhanced learning are part of a blended learning programme. whilst some modules can be studied by students at a time and pace that best suits them, other modules have a more structured approach in their design and students access the course content on a week by week basis. All modules are designed to offer students a shared learning experience with other students and module tutors. They involve discussion boards and blogs and more interactive learning tools and techniques as well as the self-study materials, downloadable documents, email, eportfolio||, podcasts|| and vodcasts|| found throughout the course.
Students will require access to Broadband either at home, in their workplace or in a public library and standard PC or MAC technology. Ipods/Mp3 players would be helpful to also facilitate mobile learning for students to download and listen to podcasts.
The course uses a range of different assessment strategies, which could include: essays and reports; critical reviews and commentaries; analytical exercises; individual or group presentations; a project-based or work-experience report; a dissertation; computer-based assessments and informed discussion and debate via module Blogs.
Content and Modules
Most modules run along the UCS based semester September to June but the actual arrangement of the taught content of the modules varies. Some modules can be accessed and studied on a more flexible, independent basis than others allowing greater autonomy in student learning whilst other modules follow a more structured approach and provide a more formalised approach to learning with study days, weekend workshop or a summer school. All modules fulfil UCS requirements in providing the necessary hours of study for students to succeed and obtain credits and masters level. A full-time student is expected to study 3 modules in one year, giving 120 credits and undertake a 60 credit research dissertation. A part-time student will take either 40, 60 or 80 credits per year as taught modules and finally the 60 credit research dissertation.
Students can expect to have to study between four to five hours per module each week and to spend at least an equivalent amount of time per week in additional reading and set learning activities and preparing for assignments. Students will be provided with timetables and learning schedules when they join the course. Personal tutorial advice is a key feature of the course and the course team offer students support either on a face-to-face basis, via telephone or personalised blog.
The MA Childhood and Youth Studies course aims to develop effective learning networks and communities in a supportive learning environment that constructs, develops and supports student learning through a variety of tools currently in everyday use for learning including e-learning. The majority of the course is constructed through lectures and tutorials, podcasts, video and screen casts together with weblogs and discussion groups. Tools like Wikis and social bookmarking create a highly interactive, innovative and creative learning environment that promotes critical thinking and personal reflection. The learning and teaching strategies employed encourage social interaction and strive to develop a knowledge sharing philosophy and include supervised problem-based learning, project work, seminar discussions and debate and tutorial sessions as best suited to the associated learning environment. The course has set out to improve the relevance of student learning experiences to the world of work including supporting students in developing the advanced skills employers are seeking.