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Master in Science in Child Studies

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  • Academic Title
    Master in Science in Child Studies
  • Course description
    Programme Details

    The University of Lincoln offers an MSc in Child Studies, with the possibility of obtaining a Certificate or a Diploma for parts of the course. The degree is offered from September 2008 on a full-time basis (for one year), or a part-time basis (for two years).

    Who is the programme for?

    The programme is for students interested in working with children, or planning a research career focused on children. The programme covers social, cognitive, mental and emotional development, and policies, ethical and legal issues relating to children.

    What can you expect from the programme?

    The MSc in Child Studies is unique in the UK in giving students a solid background in psychological, policy, ethical and legal issues relating to children from birth till adulthood. The course addresses the cognitive, social mental and emotional development of children, explores ethical, legal and policy issues in working with children, and provides students with a foundation in research methods that is focused on children. The course will be taught by experienced staff with a background in Psychology, Social Policy, Law, Ethics and Social Work, thus addressing both theoretical and practical issues. Students can profit from several unique features of the Lincoln University research environment, such as the Lincoln Babylab, guest lectures by Prof Paul Harris from Harvard University, and a strong link with the Forensic Psychology programme.

    How is the programme structured?

    The course is structured around eight core modules, plus the completion of a research dissertation.

    Advanced Child Development I and II

    These two modules consider such topics as visual attention, attachment, categorisation, child safety, friendship, language, motoric development and trust from different angles: the social and cognitive aspects of these topics, their possible neuropsychological foundations, relevant cross-cultural or critical period issues, psychological tests and research methods relating to these topics, and the implications of atypical development.


    The ethics unit considers ethical theories as derived from the history of philosophical theory, from new developments in the area (e.g. the biological basis of ethical intuitions), the application of ethical principles to psychological testing, the application of ethical theories in working with children, and the development of ethical theories by children.

    Social Justice

    This module examines the position of children and young people in the contemporary world, focusing in particular upon issues of social justice and power, but drawing upon related debates, such as those around criminal justice and human rights. It begins with a consideration of policies and practices towards children and young people in the United Kingdom (while drawing upon examples and insights from Western Europe), and progresses on to a wider comparative approach, including global poverty and HIV/AIDS and their impact upon children and their futures.

    Children’s Law

    This module covers those aspects of family law that consider children’s rights and obligations, the rights and obligations of children’s guardians, UK law, European and International Law (e.g. United Nations), and the role and status of NGO’s. The legal principles are illustrated and applied in relation to real life situations.

    Forensic Child Psychology

    This module considers forensic issues and mental disorders as they affect children, and the perpetration of offences by children. The focus is on providing an understanding of how critical events result in developmental pathways which lead to emotional and psychological problems relate to offending behaviour. The module includes developmental trauma and attachment, child protection, effects of victimisation, child / youth offending, etc.

    Basic Research Methods & Skills

    This module covers an introduction to research design and statistics. It provides an overview of basic statistical processes where SPSS is used as the main method of data analysis. The module works towards an understanding of more complex statistical methodologies. (Students with a solid background in this area may instead be offered the opportunity to be trained in basic programming skills relating to experimental designs, such as Labview and E-Prime).

    Advanced Research Methods & Skills

    This module covers more advanced qualitative and qualitative methods, procedures and research design issues.

    Research Dissertation

    The thesis allows students to explore in more detail their interests in a specific area of Child Studies. It allows for the opportunity to design, implement, analyse and write-up a substantial a piece of empirical work.

    A Certificate, Diploma or MSc in Child Studies?

    One semester full-time or two semesters part-time (four modules) will lead to a Certificate in Child Studies, two semesters full-time or four semesters part-time (eight modules) will lead to a Diploma. A thesis in addition to the Diploma requirements will lead to an MSc in Child Studies.

    What qualifications do you need?

    We are looking for motivated students who at least have a 2:1 at BSc/BA level, or who have a proven track record of working with children. Admission will be based on a CV and an interview.

    When and where is the programme taught?


    Assessments for this course will be diverse. E.g., the Advanced Child Development modules require a report understandable to the general public, the development of an experimental design and a research report, the Ethics module requires an essay, and the Research Methods & Skills modules assess student’s ability to statistically evaluate data-sets.

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