Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights MA

London, Bloomsbury

This MA will introduce you to a range of cutting-edge social theories about global childhoods and children's rights. Through engagements with research-active lecturers studying varied and transnational childhoods, professionals from charitable and government sectors, and international activists, you will explore new possibilities for achieving social justice for children and young people.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

A second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in social science, media or cultural studies, humanities, education or a related field. A similar qualification in another subject is also acceptable if combined with experience in child care, health, education or children's advocacy.

All applicants should preferably have experience of working with and for children.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This programme provides you with the opportunity to identify, examine, and understand key sociological perspectives on the complex links between childhood, children's rights, and social justice. You will cultivate understandings of the shifting social status of children and childhood, considering emerging forms of inequality. You will develop conceptual and research skills to analyse how social, political and economic changes affect childhoods, as well as young people's contributions and creative responses to dynamic global contexts.

Who this course is for

This MA is relevant for applicants interested in academic careers researching childhood and those seeking to develop professional practice with children, both in the UK and other international contexts. It is especially relevant for applicants aiming for careers in children’s services; education, health, legal, policy, and social care sectors; youth work; and children’s rights organisations.

What this course will give you

This MA explores cutting-edge research and theorising about the politics of children and childhood. Examining childhood in global contexts, as well as how childhood is cross-cut by class, `race', gender, and ability, will enable you to question taken-for-granted assumptions about children and childhood. Historical perspectives will support you to identify and examine how childhoods are shifting in contemporary contexts of neoliberalism, (post)colonialism, conflict, digitisation, and transnational migration. Undertaking this programme will provide you with the skills and knowledge to critically analyse, and develop innovative approaches to, local and international childhood policy and professional practice with children, and conduct rigorous childhood research for social change. You will have the opportunity to hear from internationally-renowned academics and leading international children's organisations, and engage with a diverse group of students from around the world. The MA is based in the UCL Social Research Institute, which houses seven prestigious research-intensive units. Together they provide a foundation for world-leading work in childhood studies, social work, social pedagogy, and sociology of the family.

The foundation of your career

Students on this MA will develop skills for:

  • conducting creative, participatory and change-orientated research with children and young people
  • critically analysing childhood policy and professional practice with children
  • contributing to public debates about challenging issues ranging from child labour to children's use of social media
  • undertaking collaborative projects with diverse participants
  • exploring and developing innovative approaches to working with and for children and young people

With a home in a vibrant centre of research on childhood and children's rights, you will have the opportunity to build networks with research-active staff and students from around the world, attend departmental events with visiting childhood scholars, and find out about volunteer, study, and work opportunities with children's organisations.

Recent alumni career destinations for the MA Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights include: Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Charlton Athletic Community Trust; Project Worker at Barnardo's; Research Advocacy Officer at Approach Ltd; Research Assistant at the Australian Human Rights Commission on the Children's Rights Team; Programme Officer at ActionAid India and PhD study.

Read more about two of our alumni :


The MA SCCR prepares graduates for successful careers in international child-related fields. As a graduate of this programme, you will be equipped to work in a broad range of roles such as international NGO staff, children's charity workers, child advocacy workers, policy advisors and in research roles. You will also have the background to move into leadership roles in your current career. Graduates have gone into leadership roles in early years, schools, health, law and other child-related professions. Inspired by their MA studies in a dynamic and growing field of academic scholarship, graduates also go on to doctoral-level study. There are a wide range of programme and university-wide resources available to assist students in exploring and developing career pathways.

Teaching and learning

Face-to-face teaching includes lectures from research-active academics, professionals from charitable and government sectors, and international activists. You will have the opportunity to discuss readings, case studies, images, and films through guided conversation and debate. You are also encouraged to reflect upon your own personal, academic and/or professional experiences during sessions.

An online environment is provided for readings and interactive activities between teaching sessions. 

Each core module is assessed by a 5,000-word written assignment, and the dissertation is a 20,000 word piece of independent research. There are tutorials for essay preparation and seminars to support dissertation research.

A 30 credit module includes 30 hours of contact time (with additional contact time available through Module Leaders' office hours) and 300 hours personal study time which includes reading, preparing activities for class and writing your assignments.

The Dissertation module is 60 credits and has 600 hours personal study time alongside approximately 18 hours contact time.


You will study two core modules in the first term: (SOCS001) Critical Theoretical Debates about Global Childhoods and Society and (SOCS0014) Researching Childhood.

In the second term you will select one 30 credit optional module OR two 15 credit optional modules. You will also take the core module (SOCS0002) Children’s Rights in Global Perspectives at the end of the second term.

From January until September you will work on your dissertation, which will include workshops and individual supervision.

In Year One:

You will study one core module in the first term: (SOCS001) Critical Theoretical Debates about Global Childhoods and Society.

In the second term you will select one 30 credit optional module OR two 15 credit optional modules. You will also take the core module (SOCS0002) Children’s Rights in Global Perspectives at the end of the second term.

In Year Two:

You will study one core module in the first term: (SOCS0014) Researching Childhood.

From January until September you will work on your dissertation, which will include workshops and individual supervision.

You will have between two and five years in which to complete the programme. You do not have to take modules every year. The modules are taken in generally the same order as on the part-time pathway. Following approval by the Programme Leader, module order can be varied.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights.


Students may choose to organise and undertake fieldwork in relation to their research for their dissertation, but this is not a requirement. If undertaken, fieldwork must be self-funded.


The programme is well-connected with a range of organisations offering voluntary placements to students. Organisations are invited to come and discuss these opportunities with students in the first term and further opportunities are advertised as and when these become available. Undertaking a placement is not mandatory for the programme. 


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society Virtual Event series

Please note that there are 27 sessions across a range of subject areas. IOE is ranked number one for education for consecutive nine years and the world's leading centre for research and teaching in education, culture, psychology and social science. If you’re interested in enhancing and progressing your career in education and related social sciences, why not join our open events? You’ll get to meet the programme team, ask any questions you have and find out what it’s like studying at UCL.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £14,100 £7,050
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their report or dissertation.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights at graduate level
  • why you want to study Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Got questions? Get in touch

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