BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies - University of Portsmouth
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BA (Hons)

Childhood and Youth Studies

UCAS codeL590

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Understanding what it means to be a child

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This degree allows you to examine the lives of children and young people aged 8 to 25, at local and global levels. It empowers you to work with them and make a positive impact on their lives. Education, sociology, psychology, health, welfare and social policy are key subjects that give you a breadth of knowledge and experience which will be invaluable to your future career. You will also put your learning into practice through a work placement.

You can tailor this course with options from a wide range of subjects. All option units are delivered by lecturers who have undertaken research and practice in the specialist area you want to develop skills in.

Employability and informing career choices are incorporated into the programme including undertaking work experience. There is a further opportunity to do a placement year in this country or abroad.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Reflect on and criticise the theories and contemporary issues for children and young people
  • Make the most of learning opportunities with a personal and learning development tutor
  • Get involved with work placement opportunities, or volunteering with charities or local schools

On our National Student Survey students describe our staff as “extremely passionate about what they are teaching”; “Feedback is prompt and lecturers are approachable”; “Lecturers really engage us and share their work experiences in their field.”

What opportunities might it lead to?

Studying in the School of Education and Childhood Studies can lead you onto a variety of career pathways, some of which may require postgraduate study. You will be able to apply for a range of roles in education, social care and health related areas. Please note that this course does not provide Qualified Teacher Status.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • education and training
  • youth service
  • healthcare and health promotion
  • social work
  • the police
  • work in the voluntary sector
  • environments that support children and young people with special educational needs and disability


Gemma Isaj, BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies 2017

The lecturers are supportive, interesting and engaging and this really helped me to develop my thinking. Additional extras such as the book club and symposiums helped me to enhance my professional practice and the array of great academic support helped me to enhance my grade. The university provides all round support and now I feel confident and ready to work and support children and their families and excited about the next steps.

Gemma Isaj, BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies 2017


Education, Childhood and Youth Studies

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Hands-on opportunities to work in a relevant educational setting
  • The support available to all students
  • The flexibility of unit options that enable you to tailor your study to your own interests

Browse all courses in Education, Childhood and Youth Studies

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

In your first year you will be introduced to a broad range of skills and knowledge that will support you throughout your study as well as units that focus on the nature of schooling and young people in the context of a changing society.

Core units in this year include:

  • Child and Youth Development
  • Children, Young People and Social Policy
  • Equality and Diversity in Practice
  • Health and Wellbeing of the Child and Young Person
  • Introduction to Educational Contexts

Year two

As well as consolidating the themes covered in the first year, you will start to focus on a specific area of interest. You’ll also have the opportunity to experience paid or voluntary work with children and young people as part of the Faculty electives programme.

Core units in this year include:

  • Global Childhoods
  • Professional Practice with Children and Young People
  • Youth Culture
  • Research with Children and Young People

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Children’s Literature
  • Children’s Social Minds
  • Communicative Strategies for Children
  • Development of Learning
  • Digital Natives
  • Gender, Race and Education

Year three

Your third year will give you the opportunity to specialise through your choice of dissertation topic and a further range of optional units.

Core units in this year include:

  • Dissertation
  • Young People’s Relationships & Aspirations
  • Families in Need

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Behaviour Matters
  • Creativity
  • Childhood, Youth and Film
  • Children with (Severe) Learning Difficulties
  • Children, Young People and Religion
  • Crime, Justice and Young People
  • Fairy Tales and Folktales for Children
  • Introduction to Teaching
  • Issues Relating to Children and Young People’s Mental Health
  • Who’s in Charge? 
  • Won’t Read, Can’t Read: Failing Readers 
  • Working with Looked After Children

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


We pride ourselves on the quality of teaching and student support on this course. Learning takes a variety of forms including group-based activities, seminars, tutorials, individual and group presentations, poster presentations, project work, e-learning activities and lectures.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 78% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 15% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 79% studying independently and 6% on work placement
  • Year three students: 10% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 90% studying independently and 0% on work placement


We use a range of assessment methods to ensure that you reach your academic potential. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • essays
  • group and individual presentations/projects
  • tests
  • a 10,000-word dissertation

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 8% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 85% by coursework
  • Year two students: 0% by written exams, 5% by practical exams and 95% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework

Tutor's view


Dr Sue Parfect
Childhood and Youth Studies

Students who choose to study Childhood and Youth Studies develop an insightful understanding of the complex world of 21st century children, young people and families and how they are supported by social and voluntary services.

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Facilities & Features

Study in SECS

The School comprises a body of enthusiastic staff with a range of expertise in the professional and academic sectors. We offer a welcoming learning environment, in a location near the heart of town, the student buildings and the sea front.

3rd Space

A social learning space for you to study or meet up with friends. Small and large groups, or individuals looking for a quiet space or discuss work can find a quiet area which can be screened off. Alternatively, grab a coffee or play a game of pool in between lectures.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

You will have an array of employment options open to you. The course is excellent preparation for a career in teaching at either primary or secondary level, although as mentioned it does not provide Qualified Teacher Status so further study would be required.

However, this course is not just for aspiring teachers. You can also go down the route of educational research, educational publishing, youth or social work, plus many other commercial or public sectors career paths.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • training assessor
  • teacher
  • employability coordinator
  • careers advisor
  • schools liaison officer

Example of what one of our graduates has gone on to do:

  • Youth Service, Trainee Youth Worker – running projects for young people

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which lets you earn credits toward your degree for work / research placements, volunteer roles or internships undertaken alongside your studies. The option gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability skills, to reflect on the ways in which you've done so, and to learn to express this to potential employers.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Hildah Mapeta, BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies student 2013

I am hoping to get a job in youth work. I am currently a volunteer with a youth offending team as a community referral order panel member, and I feel this course will open new opportunities for me.

Hildah Mapeta, BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies student 2013

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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