Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

BA (Hons) Childhood Studies

This course offers you a broad interdisciplinary approach to understanding childhood and youth which will support you in pursuing a wide range of careers.

You’ll be taught by experts in anthropology, education, psychology, sociology and social policy who use their research to inform their teaching. You will critically examine current social and political questions and debates on childhoods in the UK and internationally.

The programme takes a child-centred approach, encouraging you to consider the rights of children and the perspectives of children on all matters that affect them. It has both theoretical and practical components – you’ll benefit from opportunities to gain practical experience of working with children and young people to apply your theoretical knowledge.

From the start of the degree you’ll study the key disciplines that comprise childhood studies – anthropology, education, psychology, sociology and social policy – and learn about what each of these disciplines can bring to an overall understanding of childhood and youth. For example, you’ll examine how key theories can develop our understanding of children’s development, health and welfare, their inclusion, and their peer and family relationships.

You’ll consider questions such as:

  • How do children learn to read and how can we support their reading development, whatever their needs?
  • Should children and young people contribute to decision-making in schools, and how do children’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) inform this debate?
  • How far should the state determine how parents bring up their children?

In each year, you will undertake a series of core modules that build on previous years, complemented by optional modules that allow you to explore topics that suit your interests and career plans.

In your final year you’ll also plan and undertake a piece of independent research for your dissertation which will relate to childhood and youth. This will allow you to put into practice theories from across the disciplines you have studied, to select an area of interest to pursue and to gain experience of doing a real-life research project with or about children and/or young people.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Children, Young People, Families and the State 20 credits
  • What is a Child: Child Development and Learning 20 credits
  • What is a Child: Social Construction of Childhood 20 credits
  • Play and Learning 20 credits
  • Introduction to Childhood Studies 5 credits

Optional modules

  • Social and Cultural Worlds of Childhood and Youth 20 credits
  • Children's Rights and Social Justice 20 credits
  • Building a Career from Education Studies 20 credits

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Health, Well-being, Childhood and Youth 20 credits
  • International Perspectives of Pedagogy and Practice 20 credits
  • Approaches to Research: Theory and Practice 20 credits
  • Psychological Approaches to Understanding and Supporting Children's Learning 20 credits

Optional modules

  • Students into Education 1 20 credits
  • Inclusive Education 20 credits
  • Literacies and Learning 20 credits
  • Supporting Families? Analysing the Theory and Practice of Family Support 20 credits
  • Violent and Sexually Offending Young People 20 credits

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Critical Debates in Childhood and Youth: Research 20 credits
  • Dissertation 40 credits
  • Children, Families and Cultural Diversity: Philosophical Perspectives 20 credits

Optional modules

  • Supporting Learning in Children with Additional Needs 20 credits
  • Child Welfare and Young Children 20 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Childhood Studies BA in programme catalogue

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods, including lectures supported by workshops and seminars that allow you to focus on and discuss topics in greater depth. You’ll also benefit from our extensive use of online resources through the virtual learning environment (VLE).

Our lectures focus on research findings and how they can be used in policy and professional practice with children and young people. Lectures are often interactive, allowing you to discuss issues with your peers, and/or watch or listen to and discuss videos and podcasts. We frequently invite guest lecturers, esteemed experts in their fields, to share their research and professional insights with you.

In addition, independent study is an important element of the course, allowing you to prepare for lectures through reading or through researching an issue, and as you progress you’ll move towards more independent yet supported study.

Because there is so much expertise in this subject area at the University of Leeds, you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to attend lectures and seminars in the areas of Childhood studies both within the School of Education and beyond.


We aim to use a variety of assessment methods in order for you to build a core set of transferable skills in critical and analytical thinking, problem-solving, independent and team-working, synthesising information, oral presentation and in social and psychological or educational research. You’ll be assessed using a range of methods that allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding.

The type of assessment will vary depending on the modules you choose. Current methods of assessment include essays, reports, literature reviews, poster presentations, reflective logs, exams, and project work undertaken for your dissertation.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB not including General Studies or Critical Thinking.

In general we expect applicants to have two ‘traditional’ academic subjects at A-level. See our Accepted A-level subjects document to see which subjects we accept.

GCSE: grade C or above in English Language, or an equivalent qualification, or an appropriate English language qualification.

Alternate Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Complete 60 credits with 45 credits at Level 3 including 30 credits at Distinction and 15 at Merit or above.



Cambridge Pre-U


International Baccalaureate

34 overall (5,5,5 higher).

Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)


Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AAABB overall (BB at advanced level).

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.


We accept a wide range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Education undergraduate admissions team.

International foundation year

If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

- University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)

- Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)

- Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

It is also possible to study this programme part time. The programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. Find out more about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience at the Lifelong Learning Centre.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If youre unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

School of Education Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £15,750 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU students starting in 2017, the fee for 2017/18 will be £9,250, subject to parliamentary approval of changes to higher education funding. We anticipate that we will be able to confirm the 2017 fee in late 2016. 

The fee may increase in future years of your course, as permitted by law. Although the basis of future fee increases is not guaranteed, we expect the government to allow fees to increase in line with inflation. For example, the increase of 2.8% for 2017/18 was based on the governments forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students starting in 2017 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans for the duration of their course. Read the full government statement

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, youll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Career opportunities

This degree will enable you to develop a multidisciplinary perspective on issues relating to childhood and youth, offering a sound basis for various career paths. These could include teaching, educational work in museums, educational psychology, youth and community work, play therapy, social work, speech therapy, nursing, child and family law, and working in children’s organisations such as UNICEF, The Children’s Society or Save the Children.

Many of our students have chosen to pursue further study in the School of Education, for example, on the MA Childhood Studies, MA Special Educational Needs, or teacher training.

Throughout your studies, there will be opportunities to strengthen your CV. For example, you could gain practical insights into how professionals work with children and young people through the module Students into Education, where you could shadow an educational professional and reflect on how the ideas you learn on the programme apply in practice.

Volunteering opportunities with children and young people are also formally organised by the University of Leeds and current students are regularly visiting and reading to children in hospitals or working with children in schools. Representatives from the careers service currently visit the School of Education each week and run drop-in sessions for BA Childhood Studies students.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Placement opportunities

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

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