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Doctorate in Childhood Studies

There's a real sense of being taught by experts. With a great network for students and amazing facilities, studying at Queen's University was exceptional.

Michael Hoy, Year 4 Doctorate in Childhood Studies, head of Service, Southern Health and Social Care Trust.

Course Director: Dr Karen Winter

This degree 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 outsomes. Its delivery is supported by academics with a wealth of expertise in their specialist fields that include sociology, law, social work, psychology and education.

Course Content

Over a period of five to eight years part-time, students will complete four core modules, four optional modules, a research plan and a 50,000 word dissertation to PhD standard.

Core Modules

  • Sociological approaches to understanding children and childhood
  • Psychological approaches to researching childhood
  • Qualitative research: methods, data and theory
  • Quantitative research: methods, data and theory


Optional Modules

  • Children's rights: research and practice
  • Childhood, rights and justice
  • Pathways and outcomes for children in care
  • Critical perspectives in early childhood
  • Youth and Adolescent perspectives
  • Contemporary issues/research in developmental psychology
  • The professional as researcher
  • Survey methods in education
  • Experimental methods in educational research
  • Researching children and young people in educational settings
  • Philosophical and ethical issues in educational research
  • Narrative and arts based research approaches



Special Features

The Professional Doctorate in Childhood Studies is part-time. All modules are delivered intensively through group teaching that takes place over two a a half day (usually Thursday- Saturday) in the newly furbished Riddel Hall.

It is possible for students to undertake pathways through taught modules that have an emphasis on child care/child protection; children and education; and children/young people and youth justice.

Modules are also supported by access to e-books, the use of online resources and access to discussion forums.

Students can avail of additional specialist training courses and opportunities for networking that are offered by the Postgraduate Centre and other events run at Queen's University Belfast.

Entry Requirements

  • A primary degree (or equivalent recognised qualification) and an appropriate higher masters level qualification
  • Professional experience in a field related to children and/or youth services, which normally should not be less than 3 years
  • Good supporting references
  • Selection will include an interview

Career Opportunities

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.


Further Information

For more advice regarding the content of this course, please contact:
Ms Victoria Nesbitt
DChild Administrator
School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work
Telephone: (028) 9097 1481

Closing date to apply online: 15 August 2014

The interview date will be scheduled for Wednesday 27th August 2014.


Scholarship opportunities

Click here for more information on potential scholarship opportunities.


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