Childhood Studies

Our Childhood Studies degrees are interdisciplinary and provide an in-depth understanding of the needs of children and young people from birth to 19 years of age, and the political, economic and social environments in which they grow up. Within a framework of children’s rights, our courses explore childhood in all its diverse forms.

Delivered by a team of internationally renowned academics, our teaching and research considers child and adolescent development; children's health and social welfare; youth justice and social exclusion; education and creativity; and the national and international provision of services for children and young people.

The BSc Childhood Studies degree has been declared the best in the UK in The Guardian's 2018 university league table.

Childhood Studies is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in the social sciences.

Why study Childhood Studies at Bristol?

The Childhood Studies courses at Bristol are unique in being located within the School for Policy Studies, bringing together the academic excellence and policy expertise of staff from a range of related disciplines. This will enable you to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of childhood, and specialist knowledge of aspects of childhood, such as gender and identity, children's autonomy or global child poverty.

You will become an active researcher through research projects and your dissertation, fostering highly sought after skills that will equip you for a wide range of careers.

The School for Policy Studies provides a supportive environment for students to flourish as independent, active learners. Located within the heart of a vibrant city, there are opportunities for students to engage with local organisations and put learning into practice. 

What kind of student would this course suit?

The interdisciplinary nature of our Childhood Studies courses make them ideal for students who want to develop an holistic understanding of childhood. They would suit anyone who has an interest in children and their families and how they are affected by social issues and policies, and those who are interested in child psychology, sociology, education, law and social policy.

Our courses provide an excellent insight into childhood for those who may be considering a career in working with, or for, children and young people, in the private, public or voluntary sectors.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra, Second year, LLB Law

How is this course taught and assessed?

Our courses are taught by a combination of lectures and small-group seminars, which will help you to integrate your learning and see how it can be applied in practice. You will also work in small groups to consider current national and international issues affecting children. You will have the opportunity to visit agencies involved in the provision of children's services and observe children in a variety of settings.

The degree is assessed by a combination of written examinations, coursework and presentations over the second and third years, including a dissertation on a topic of your choice.

What are my career prospects?

Our graduates have an excellent track record of employment, and our courses develop skills and knowledge which are highly sought after by employers.

Our degrees provide an academic foundation for a career in a range of fields, such as education,children’s therapy, social work, family support, law and social justice, global children's charities and NGOs, government and civil service, primary and early years teaching, children’s marketing, and research and development. The degrees also provides a clear route into academic study.

Our three pathways offer the opportunity to combine Childhood Studies with the development of knowledge and skills in three related areas. Childhood Studies with Management has been launched to prepare our many graduates who go into leadership and management roles.

Childhood Studies with Quantitative Research Methods is part of a national initiative to enhance the quantitative skills of social science graduates and can be taken as a three year BSc or as a four-year integrated master's.

Childhood Studies with Study Abroad offers students the opportunity to study in their third year at one of our partner institutions.

Read more about what students from Childhood Studies go on to do after graduation.

Did you know?

  • Students from more than 180 countries study with us, and we share more than 150 exchange links with institutions worldwide.
  • Our Students' Union has over 200 student-run societies, and the Richmond Building, home to the Students' Union, is undergoing a £30-million renovation.
  • 11 Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel prizes.

Subject leaflet

Download the Childhood Studies leaflet 2017 (PDF, 328kB)


Important disclaimer information about our courses.

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