IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Centre for Longitudinal Studies

The home to four of Britain's internationally-renowned cohort studies, charting social change and the reasons behind it.

Director: Professor Alissa Goodman

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) is an Economic and Social Research Centre (ESRC website) Resource Centre.

Our centre manages four of the UK's internationally-renowned cohort studies:

  • 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS)
  • 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70)
  • Millennium Cohort Study (MCS)
  • Next Steps, formerly Longitudinal Study of Young People in England

About us 

Birth cohort studies

What are the birth cohort studies?

The cohort studies are a type of longitudinal research. They follow people's entire life course so it's possible to build a complete picture of what it's like to grow up, live and work in the UK. By comparing data from different cohort studies, we can chart social change across different generations and start to untangle the reasons behind it. The depth and breadth of these datasets make them one of the most valuable sources of information for social research, policy and practice.

Each birth cohort study follows the lives of a group of people all born at the same point in time. Every few years, the cohort members are surveyed in order to collect information on a variety of different things, such as physical and mental health, family circumstances, parenting, education, and employment.

British birth cohort studies

The internationally-renowned British birth cohort studies are the oldest of their kind in the world. There are four national birth cohort studies in the UK: 1946, 1958, 1970, and 2000-01. With three of these studies based at CLS, IOE houses more British birth cohort studies than any other academic institution.

See more about:

How do I access the data?

Data from the studies is available free of charge to researchers from the UK Data Service (UKDS). The UKDS provides instructions for accessing the data on its website, or you can visit the CLS website for information on accessing the data from "Next Steps" and the 1958, 1970 and Millennium Cohort studies. 

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Our staff

See information for all our staff: Our people (CLS website)

Find more about our researchers, publications, activities, groups and themes: UCL Research Portal, IRIS

Study with us 


CLS contributes to the teaching offered by the Social Research Institute. The cohort studies provide rich data that can be used by those completing Masters dissertations and those working towards a PhD.

Doctoral Research

CLS welcomes enquiries from individuals who would like to base their doctoral research on analysis of data from the cohort studies. Further information about potential supervisors within CLS, current research students and recently completed PhDs is available on the CLS website

Master's Degree

CLS contributes to the Social Research Methods MSc, co-ordinated by the Social Research Institute.

Short courses

We offer Research Methods short courses - see Short Courses.

Possible funding for these courses may be available from the Research Methods NCRM Training Bursaries (NCRM website).


Our research

Key messages

  • The CLS cohort study datasets are unique high-quality, valuable resources for research in a range of social, economic and biomedical disciplines
  • CLS is a centre of excellence in cohort study research and management
  • CLS drives innovation in longitudinal research methods, cohort study management, survey methodology, and data management and shares learning and best practice with others
  • CLS helps data users navigate the complexity of cohort study data by providing training, documentation and other support
  • Evidence from the CLS cohort studies has improved individuals' lives, and is a valuable source for policy and practice development, and for informing individual behaviour
  • Evidence from the CLS cohort studies helps to paint a clearer picture of British society by charting social change and highlighting the reasons behind it.

Ongoing research projects

CLS Cross-Cohort Research Programme (CCRP)

Funded by the ESRC for three years (April 1, 2015 - March 31, 2018). The intergenerational transmission of advantage and disadvantage is at the heart of academic analysis across a wide range of disciplines and is central to many policy concerns both in the UK and internationally.

Healthy Lifestyles

  • Intergenerational influences on physical activity
  • Parental working hours and the prevalence of obesity
  • Childhood mental health trajectories
  • Alcohol use across the life course and its links with health and wellbeing

See details on Healthy lifestyles: Cross Cohort Research Programme 

Social Mobility

  • Parent's wealth in childhood and its relationship with children's development
  • Social mobility mechanisms and consequences
  • Education and occupational aspirations

Further details:

Featured research

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Our centre is an internationally recognised interdisciplinary Economic and Social Research Centre (ESRC) Resource Centre.

CLS staff offer a range of consultancy services. Particular areas of expertise include:

  • Longitudinal data analysis
  • Survey and sampling design
  • Labour market activity
  • Ethnicity
  • Equal opportunities
  • Social capital and social participation
  • Childcare
  • Child Development.


Latest news

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Forthcoming events

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