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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.
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.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
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.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
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.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of three core modules (90 credits), one or two optional modules (total of 30 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights.
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 is subject to change.
- Critical Theoretical Debates about Global Childhoods and Society
- Children's Rights in Global Perspectives
- Researching Childhood
Up to 30 credits of options drawn from the following:
- Social Theory and the Study of Contemporary Social Problems
- Sociology of Race and Education
- Contemporary Issues in Early Years
- Understanding Education Policy
- Gender, Education and Development
- Gender, Sexuality and Education
- Rights and Education
- Knowledge, Power and the Cultural Production of Gender
- Global Politics of Gender, Sexuality and Security
- Thinking Space
- Postcolonial Cultural Geographies
- Education, Conflict and Fragility
- Promoting Health and Wellbeing: Planning, Practice and Participation
- Education and International Development: Concepts, Theories and Issues
- The Child in Film
Visit the UCL Institute of Education website for more information, including module descriptions, which can be seen by clicking on the module title.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 20,000 words.
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 autumn term and further opportunities are advertised as and when these become available. Undertaking a placement is not mandatory for the programme.
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.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
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 and policy advisors. You will also have the background to move into leadership roles in your current career.
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.
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.
Why study this degree at UCL?
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.
Department: UCL Social Research Institute
What our students and staff say
"I am a Londoner and work full time in London so UCL is the perfect place for me to study. Studying the sociology of childhood provides a unique lens to observe those who are positioned without power. I know that my MA qualification will give me the freedom to explore other research opportunities."
Lucy BensonSociology of Childhood and Children's Rights MA (2018)
"I am now in a senior position in my field and it was continual professional development and delivering results for my employers that has enabled me to get this far. I think UCL has shown me that I still have more to learn, that there is a global perspective of childhood that I need to be more aware of and that the social structures in place need to be scrutinised closely to achieve the best outcomes for children."
Haseena NoushadSociology of Childhood and Children's Rights MA (2018)
Application and 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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
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.
- All applicants
- 31 May 2021
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
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.
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