Childhood Studies

An exciting, interdisciplinary subject, childhood studies at Bristol focuses on policy and the rights of children and young people, exploring contemporary debates within a national and international context.

Why study Childhood Studies at Bristol?

Our degrees provide an in-depth understanding of the needs of children and young people from birth to 19 years of age within a framework of children's rights and the political, economic and social environments in which they grow up.

These courses will provide you with a holistic understanding of children, childhood and adolescence, combining elements of education, psychology, law, social work and social policy. Topics of study include children’s rights, development, learning, play, identity, safeguarding, mental health and diversity, among others. Childhood Studies is located within the School for Policy Studies, bringing together the academic excellence and policy expertise of staff from a range of related disciplines.

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

During the second year there is an opportunity to gain real-life experience of working in a range of organisations and supporting children and families via our work placement unit.

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

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, we offer opportunities for students to engage with local organisations and put learning into practice.

Download the Childhood Studies leaflet (PDF, 175kB)

What kind of student would this course suit?

The interdisciplinary nature of childhood studies courses makes them ideal for students from a range of different backgrounds who want to develop a 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 would also suit 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.

We also offer the opportunity to study the subject alongside the related area of management, in combination with quantitative research methods, or with a year of study abroad.

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 careers 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 the civil service, primary and early years teaching, children's marketing, and research and development. Our degrees also provide a clear route into academic study.

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


Important disclaimer information about our courses.

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 (LLB Law)

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