The Doctorate in Childhood Studies (DChild) is a partly taught and partly research based Professional Doctorate which has proved to be both successful and convenient for middle and senior managers and other professionals who wish to further their careers by enhancing their academic knowledge and research skills through developing and expanding on their existing expertise.

You can undertake pathways through taught modules that have an emphasis on child care/child protection; children and education; and children/young people and youth justice.

It represents a unique opportunity to pursue an original research project informed by research training and a range of theoretical perspectives on the lives of children and young people. Exploring the experience of childhood across the age spectrum, in different social and political contexts, this research degree places a strong emphasis on the links between social justice, rights, lived experiences and outcomes.

Childhood Studies highlights

The programme content is delivered intensively through group teaching in two and a half day blocks (usually Thursday-Saturday lunchtime).

World Class Facilities

  • The modules are delivered in the University's Graduate School.

Internationally Renowned Experts

  • This unique programme is delivered by leading international academic experts in specialist fields including sociology, law, social work, psychology and education.

Student Experience

  • The Professional Doctorate in Childhood Studies is delivered through interactive and innovative methods including electronic resources, online discussion forums and, in the near future, podcasts.
  • Credit Transfer Participants who have completed a Master’s degree within the last 10 years that involved a substantive element of educational research methods training, including a research-based dissertation or project, may be eligible to transfer credit (a maximum of one module).
  • You can can avail of additional specialist training courses and opportunities for networking that are offered by the Graduate School and other events run at Queen’s University Belfast.
“A unique opportunity where experienced professionals can work together to explore the issues facing children and young people, exchange ideas and build on their expertise so that they can take forward new approaches in their work.”
Dr Karen Winter, Programme Director

Course content

Course Structure

Course Details
Students are required to take eight taught modules, five of which are core and three of which are chosen from a menu of options, plus a research thesis.

Core Modules

Students must complete the following five 30-credit core modules:

Children’s Rights: Research and Practice
Psychological Approaches to Researching Childhood
Qualitative Research: Methods, Data and Theory
Quantitative Research: Methods, Data and Theory
Sociological Approaches to Understanding Children and Childhood

Optional Modules (all 30 credit except where stated)

Childhood, Rights and Justice
Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood
Researching Children and Young People in Educational Settings
The Professional as Researcher
Youth and Social Justice (20 CATS)
Youth Justice: Theory, Law and Practice (20 CATS)

The above list is indicative and not prescriptive.

This programme involves cross-School collaboration and a multi-disciplinary suite of optional modules. The modules are designed to ensure that students acquire interdisciplinary, theoretical and methodological research knowledge within the field of Childhood Studies. Modules are delivered in the Spring and Autumn each year in the splendid surroundings of the historic Graduate School which provides world-class graduate education creating synergy between academic and business communities.

People teaching you

Dr Karen Winter
DChild Programme Director
Email: k.winter@qub.ac.uk Dr Karen Winter is a qualified social worker. Her research interest arre children and young people known to and in the care of social services.

Teaching Times

Morning and Afternoon

Career Prospects

The Professional Doctorate provides an excellent opportunity for knowledge transfer into students’ professional environments. There is growing support for the course from organisations that work with children and young people.

Students who register on the professional doctorate programme are employed in senior management positions in the fields of social work, social care, social science research, education and youth justice in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the UK and internationally.

Obtaining the professional doctorate has enabled candidates to secure addional repsonsbiliities in existing posts and to move to new posts. For others the doctorate has been instrumental in securing their permanent postion and/or enhancing their promotion within their organisation.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Learning and Teaching

Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:

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Additional Teaching Information

You will complete the programme on a part-time basis using our e-learning suite of materials which includes access to an on line discussion forum. The teaching per module is delivered intensively over a two and half day period from Thursday morning to Saturday lunchtime inclusive.

Modules are delivered in Spring and Autumn each year. Each module is taught in the splendid surroundings of the newly renovated Graduate School which provides world-class graduate education.

Contact Teaching Hours per Week

3 hours per week x 10 weeks = 30 contact hours for 30 CATS module plus additional sefl directed study

Indicative Number of Modules per Semester

2 modules


Assessments associated with this course are outined below:

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Comprises a mixure of assignments, completion of on line commentaries and audits of professional practice. Each module is assessed by one 5,000 word assignment or research project.


The Graduate School

Entry Requirements

Entrance requirements

Applicants should hold a primary degree (normally 2.1 Honours or above) or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University and a Masters degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Evidence of these qualifications must be presented at the time of application.

Performance profiles (grades etc) may also be required to ensure suitability of the applicant for Doctoral study. Applicants will be asked to attend for interview. Applicants will normally be expected to have at least five years' full-time professional experience at a senior level in a field of work related to children, young people and their families. Participants who have been accepted on to the DChild programme will be required to enrol and attend an induction session prior to their first module.

Closing date for applications: Tuesday 31st July 2018.
Late applications may be considered.


For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) £5,500
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £5,500
Other (non-UK) EU £5,500
International £15,700

All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2018-19 and relate to one year of study only. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs. If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Childhood Studies costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

How do I fund my study?

From the academic year 2017/18, the Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2018 Entry.

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