Childhood Studies

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

Student satisfaction

Our BSc Childhood Studies course has 94% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2020).

Real-world experience

Choose a work placement to experience different provision for children, young people and families across the city.

Rewarding careers

Our sought-after graduates work with charities and non-profit organisations, pursuing careers in social work, teaching and educational psychology.

Childhood Studies at Bristol

You will develop a holistic understanding of childhood, adolescence and children's needs, 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.

Through academic study, theoretical understanding and thoughtful debate, our students explore real-world issues that include children's rights (nationally and globally), therapeutic work with children, child neglect, adolescent crime, and play and creativity. You will benefit from studying with active researchers whose work is focused on children and families.

Our School for Policy Studies is home to internationally renowned lecturers and researchers from a wide range of disciplines – an ideal environment for you to explore your interests and delve into a specialism.

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

We are a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in applied data analysis relevant to research in the social sciences.

I've enjoyed the multidisciplinary aspect of my course; I have a better understanding of the roots of relevant problems and possible solutions. Bristol is a very conscious city with initiatives to help improve social issues.

Alena, BSc Childhood Studies

Career prospects

Our courses develop skills and knowledge that are highly sought after by employers.

Our degrees provide an academic foundation for careers in fields such as:

  • education
  • children's therapy
  • social work
  • family support
  • law and social justice
  • global children's charities and non-governmental organisations
  • government and the civil service
  • primary and early years teaching
  • children's marketing and research.

Our degrees also provide a clear route into academic study.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

All our degrees are designed to introduce you to the interdisciplinary study of childhood and adolescence and allow you to specialise as you progress through the degree.

The first year enables you to explore constructions of childhood and to discuss contemporary issues, debates and challenges in global childhood. You will begin to develop an understanding of child psychology and education that will further your critical academic and research skills.

Subsequent years allow you to develop your own specific pathway through the degree, depending on your particular interests and career choice. For example, you might follow a pathway in education, psychology, early years provision, social work, or law and justice, or you may choose a mix of units across pathways.

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 through our work placement unit.

You can choose to take a four-year Study Abroad degree, with a year studying at one of our prestigious partner universities overseas before returning to Bristol to complete your final year. To find out more about where you can study abroad visit Global Opportunities.

You may decide to study MSci Childhood Studies with Innovation, where you will apply your childhood studies subject knowledge by translating ideas into plans for digital and creative enterprises, both social and commercial.

Sample units may include:

  • Child and Adolescent Psychology
  • Children and Young People in the Law
  • Education
  • Schooling and Diversity.

Q-Step programme

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

We offer the option of three- and four-year degree programmes that combine core disciplinary learning with enhanced quantitative skills training in applied data analysis relevant to research in the social sciences.

Find out more about our 'with Quantitative Research Methods' course offerings.

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 childhood studies degrees provide an in-depth understanding of the needs of children and young people, from birth to 19 years old, within a framework of children's rights and their political, economic and social environments.

These courses 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.

Childhood studies is located within the School for Policy Studies, bringing together the academic excellence and policy expertise of staff from a range of disciplines.

Through research projects and your dissertation you will develop a critical mind and 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.

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

What kind of student would this course suit?

The interdisciplinary nature of childhood studies courses makes them ideal for students from a variety of different backgrounds who want to develop a holistic understanding of childhood.

Childhood studies at Bristol will suit anyone who has an interest in children and their families and how they are affected by social issues and policies, as well as those interested in child psychology, sociology, education, law and social policy.

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

We also offer the opportunity to study childhood studies alongside management or in combination with innovation or quantitative research methods. Additionally, there is the option to add a year of study abroad.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Our courses are taught through 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.

Courses are assessed through 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 that are highly sought after by employers.

Our degrees provide an academic foundation for careers in 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. Our degrees also provide a clear route into academic study.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

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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