Study Childhood & Youth Studies: A Comprehensive Subject Guide

Embark on a journey through the world of Childhood & Youth Studies with our comprehensive subject guide. From the foundations of child development to the societal impact of youth culture, this guide is your gateway to understanding the complexities of this dynamic field. Explore the nuances of childhood and youth, and gain insights into the challenges and opportunities they present in today’s society.

Childhood & Youth Studies

Table of Contents

What is Childhood & Youth Studies?

Childhood & Youth Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field dedicated to the comprehensive examination of the experiences, development, and circumstances of children and young people. This area of study explores the intricate dynamics of childhood and adolescence, emphasising their societal, cultural, and individual dimensions.

Within Childhood & Youth Studies, scholars investigate the multifaceted aspects of child development, including physical, cognitive, emotional, and social growth. They also scrutinise the societal structures, policies, and practices that impact children and young people, with a focus on promoting their well-being and addressing challenges they may encounter.

This field delves into various critical areas such as education systems, family dynamics, youth culture, health, and the legal and ethical considerations surrounding children’s rights and protection. Researchers in Childhood & Youth Studies employ a diverse range of methodologies, from qualitative and quantitative research to ethnographic and observational approaches, to gain insights into the lived experiences of children and youth.

Why Study Childhood & Youth Studies?

Studying Childhood & Youth Studies offers several compelling reasons:

  1. Understanding Development: It provides insights into the critical stages of child and adolescent development, helping us comprehend the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes that occur during these formative years.

  2. Promoting Well-being: Childhood & Youth Studies equips individuals with the knowledge to support the well-being and positive development of children and young people, contributing to healthier and happier lives.

  3. Influencing Policy: Graduates in this field can play a crucial role in shaping policies and practices that affect children and youth, advocating for their rights and improving societal conditions.

  4. Career Opportunities: It opens doors to a wide range of career paths, including education, social work, counselling, child advocacy, research, and policy analysis, providing opportunities to make a meaningful impact.

  5. Championing Diversity: Childhood & Youth Studies emphasises the importance of diversity and inclusion, fostering a deeper understanding of the unique experiences and challenges faced by children and young people from various backgrounds.

Best Universities for Childhood & Youth Studies in the UK

Here is a list of the top UK universities in this field according to the latest QS World University Rankings:

RankUniversity Name
1University of Sussex
2University of Leeds
3University of Sheffield
4Swansea University
5University of Suffolk
6University of Northampton
7Nottingham Trent University
8University of Winchester
9University of Portsmouth
10Leeds Beckett University
11University of Plymouth
12Bangor University
13Staffordshire University
14University of Huddersfield
15University of the West of Scotland
16Edge Hill University
17Oxford Brookes University
18University of Derby
19University of Bedfordshire
20University of East London
21University of Central Lancashire
22Coventry University
23Birmingham City University
24Sheffield Hallam University
25University of Bradford
26University of Chichester
27University of Roehampton
28Anglia Ruskin University
29University of Sunderland
30University of Cumbria
31University of Chester
32Liverpool Hope University
33University of Worcester
34Middlesex University
35University of Wolverhampton
36University of Bolton
37Liverpool John Moores University
38York St John University
39University of Essex
40Cardiff Metropolitan University
41Leeds Trinity University
42Bishop Grosseteste University
43University of Hull
44London Metropolitan University
45University of South Wales

Entry Requirements for a Childhood & Youth Studies Degree

Entry requirements for a Childhood & Youth Studies degree in the UK can vary depending on the university and the specific programme. Below are some general guidelines for entry requirements, but it’s essential to check with individual universities for their specific criteria, as they may have variations:

  1. Academic Qualifications:

    • A-levels or equivalent qualifications are usually required. Relevant subjects such as sociology, psychology, education, or health and social care are often preferred, but not always mandatory.
    • Typical A-level offers may range from BBB to CCC, depending on the university and the competitiveness of the programme.

  2. BTEC or Vocational Qualifications:

    • Some universities accept BTEC Extended Diplomas or other vocational qualifications in related subjects as an alternative to A-levels.

  3. International Baccalaureate (IB):

    • The IB Diploma with relevant subjects at higher level can be accepted by many universities.

  4. Access to Higher Education Diploma:

    • Some universities accept this qualification for mature students or those without traditional academic qualifications.

  5. GCSEs:

    • Most universities require a minimum of five GCSEs (or equivalent) with grades A*-C (9-4), including English and Mathematics.

  6. English Language Proficiency:

    • If English is not your first language, you may need to demonstrate your proficiency through an English language test such as IELTS or TOEFL.

Jobs for Childhood & Youth Studies Graduates

Here are the career prospects for graduates in this field: 

  • Youth Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Childcare Worker
  • Educator/Teaching Assistant
  • Family Support Worker
  • Counselor or Therapist
  • Child Life Specialist
  • Early Intervention Specialist
  • Child and Family Advocate
  • Educational Consultant
  • Adoption Counselor
  • Children’s Rights Advocate
  • School Counselor
  • Special Education Assistant

What do Childhood & Youth Studies Graduates Career Prospects Look Like?

Over half (59%) of childhood studies graduates are employed in teaching and childcare support occupations (24%), as teaching professionals (21%), or as teaching and childcare associate professionals (14%). Additionally, 6% are working in other educational professional roles. Overall, 64.2% of early childhood studies graduates are employed, with 10.9% pursuing further study, and 9.7% engaged in both work and study.

Salary for Childhood & Youth Studies Graduates

Check out the average salary for graduates in this field: 

Low skilled: £18,000

Medium-skilled:  £18,000

High-skilled: £23,000


Topics for Childhood & Youth Studies Dissertation

Below, we present a diverse array of research areas, each offering an opportunity to delve into the complexities of Childhood & Youth Studies and make a significant contribution to its advancement:

  1. Child Development: Investigate the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development of children and adolescents, exploring factors that influence growth and well-being.

  2. Childhood Education: Examine pedagogical approaches, curriculum development, and educational policies to enhance learning experiences for children and young learners.

  3. Youth Culture and Identity: Explore the formation of youth identities, subcultures, and the role of media and technology in shaping contemporary youth culture.

  4. Child Welfare and Protection: Research issues related to child welfare, including child abuse, neglect, foster care, and policies designed to safeguard children.

  5. Children’s Rights: Study international and national legal frameworks that protect children’s rights and advocate for their equitable treatment and participation in decision-making.

  6. Youth Health and Well-being: Investigate physical and mental health issues affecting young people, including nutrition, mental health, access to healthcare, and substance abuse prevention.

  7. Family Dynamics: Examine the impact of family structures, parenting styles, and family support systems on children’s development and well-being.

  8. Education Inequality: Analyse disparities in educational opportunities, addressing issues like access to quality education, educational attainment gaps, and the effects of socioeconomic factors.

  9. Youth and Social Policy: Evaluate policies and programmes aimed at improving the lives of children and young people, including social services, education reform, and youth employment initiatives.

  10. Childhood in a Digital Age: Explore the effects of technology and digital media on children’s cognitive development, social interactions, and overall well-being.

  11. Youth Empowerment: Investigate strategies for promoting youth leadership, participation, and engagement in decision-making processes at local, national, and global levels.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the UK

One of the most important things to consider is how much the degree is going to cost. Here is a general guide for 2023/2024:

  • For home students in England, universities can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.
  • In Wales, institutions can charge up to £9,000 for home students. However, Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of their tuition fees. This grant is currently not repayable or income-assessed.
  • Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.
  • Scotland does not charge home students fees at the undergraduate level; however, students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are expected to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students from outside of the UK will pay significantly more to study in Scotland.
  • International students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees at universities across the UK. An undergraduate medical degree can cost overseas students up to £58,600 per year. As for postgraduate degrees, the average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.
Besides the tuition fees, there are also several other cost considerations such as food, accommodation, phone bills, books, social life, memberships, and others. Remember to check out our free student budget calculator

Other Subjects to Consider

Given that you are interested in this subject area, you might also want to consider the following options: 

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider your interests, passions, and career goals. Research various degree programmes and their content to see which aligns best with your aspirations.

While earning potential is important, it’s also crucial to select a degree that you’re passionate about and suits your skills. A balance between your interests and potential career prospects is ideal.

Location can impact your overall university experience. Consider factors like cost of living, proximity to industry hubs, and personal preferences.

Evaluate tuition fees, available scholarships, and potential for part-time work. Create a budget to ensure you can manage your finances during your studies.

Consider combining your passions with practical skills. For example, if you love art but want job security, explore fields like graphic design or digital marketing.

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