The Open University
Childhood and Youth (F55) MA
The Open University

Key Course Facts

Course Description

This postgraduate degree offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of childhood and youth – covering aspects of theory, policy and practice. It is ideal if you are a graduate professional working with children and young people and seek to advance academically and professionally. It’s also suitable if you’re not currently working with children and young people but are looking to move into the profession. The degree deepens understanding and develops practice through a wide range of case studies within a global context that link theory to practice. These include education, the family, the law, children’s rights, politicised childhoods, participation and voice, consumerist childhoods, ethnicity, religion, child criminology, child sexuality, and multi-cultural childhoods. It also offers you flexibility within the final dissertation module, where you’ll choose between a small-scale inquiry or an extended literature review and research proposal. It will be of particular interest if you have completed an undergraduate degree in Childhood and Youth Studies, Early Years or Early Childhood, Education Studies (Primary) or Health and Social Care.

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 small-scale inquiry or an extended literature review and research proposal.

  • Gives you the option to count your previous study towards this qualification, helping you pay less and finish sooner.

Entry Requirements / Admissions

Requirements for international students / English requirements

IELTS academic test score (similar tests may be accepted as well)

Get advice on which foundation courses are best for you to still study Childhood and Youth (F55), MA, if you do not meet the minimum requirements in terms of UCAS score, A levels, or English language 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. Please note: It is a legal requirement in the UK, rather than an Open University requirement, that you must obtain Enhanced DBS clearance (or equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) in order to work with children on the module, Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth​ (E822). 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 the country in which you are proposing to conduct your study 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).


Average student cost of living in the UK

Rent £518
Water, gas electricity, internet (at home) £50
Supermarket shopping £81
Clothing £35
Eating out £33
Alcohol £27
Takeaways / food deliveries £30
Going out / entertainment (excl.alcohol, food) £24
Holidays and weekend trips £78
Transport within city £17
Self-care / sports £20
Stationary / books £13
Mobile phone / internet £13
Cable TV / streaming £7
Insurance £51
Other £95
Average student cost of living £1092

London costs approx 34% more than average, mainly due to rent being 67% higher than average of other cities. For students staying in student halls, costs of water, gas, electricity, wifi are generally included in the rental. Students in smaller cities where accommodation is in walking/biking distance transport costs tend to be significantly smaller.

University Rankings

Positions of The Open University in top UK and global rankings.

See all 16 university rankings of The Open University

About The Open University

The Open University was established in 1969 in Milton Keynes, and is the largest university in the UK for undergraduate education. The OU is among the most prestigious distance-learning institutions in the United Kingdom, enjoying numerous awards and accreditations, including Triple Crown status for their Business School.

Student composition of The Open University

Students by level of study Academic year 2020/21 - Full-time equivalent student enrollments published by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) on 10 February 2022
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List of 436 Bachelor and Master Courses from The Open University - Course Catalogue

Where is this programme taught

Distance Learning
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