World-leading research

Join a rich learning community, with 98% of the school's research classed as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' (REF 2021).

Real-world experience

Choose a work placement to experience different provision for children, young people and families across the city.

Rewarding careers

Our sought-after graduates pursue careers in a range of areas, including social work, teaching, educational psychology, the civil service, children's charities and non-governmental organisations.

Childhood Studies at Bristol

You will develop a holistic understanding of childhood, adolescence and children's needs, combining elements of education, psychology, law, social work and social policy. Topics of study include children's rights, development, learning, play, identity, safeguarding, mental health and diversity.

Through academic study, theoretical understanding and thoughtful debate, our students explore real-world issues such as national and global children's rights, therapeutic work with children, child abuse and neglect, youth justice, social harm and research with children. You will benefit from studying with active researchers whose work is focused on children and families.

Our School for Policy Studies is home to internationally renowned lecturers and researchers from a wide range of disciplines - an ideal environment for you to explore your interests and delve into a specialism.

Through the course units you study and your dissertation, you will develop a critical mind and become an active researcher, fostering sought-after skills that will equip you for a wide range of careers.

We are also a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in applied data analysis relevant to research in the social sciences.

I've enjoyed the multidisciplinary aspect of my course; I have a better understanding of the roots of relevant problems and possible solutions. Bristol is a very conscious city with initiatives to help improve social issues.

Alena, BSc Childhood Studies

Career prospects

Three children sitting together looking up at something.

Our courses develop skills and knowledge that are highly sought after by employers.

Our degrees provide an academic foundation for careers in fields such as:

  • education
  • children's therapy
  • social work
  • family support
  • law and social justice
  • global children's charities and non-governmental organisations
  • government and the civil service
  • primary and early years teaching
  • children's marketing and research.

Our degrees also provide a clear route into academic study.

Course structure

A close up of a child's hand colouring in a picture.

All our degrees are designed to introduce you to the interdisciplinary study of childhood and adolescence and allow you to specialise as you progress through the degree.

The first year enables you to explore constructions of childhood and to discuss contemporary issues, debates and challenges in global childhood. You will begin to develop an understanding of child psychology and education that will further your critical academic and research skills.

Subsequent years allow you to develop your own specific pathway through the degree, depending on your particular interests and career choice. For example, you might follow a pathway in psychology, children's health and nutrition, social work, or social harm and justice. Alternatively, you may choose a mix of units across pathways.

During the second year, there is an opportunity to gain real-life experience of working in a range of organisations and supporting children and families through our optional work placement unit.

You can choose to take a four-year Study Abroad degree, with a year studying at one of our prestigious partner universities overseas before returning to Bristol to complete your final year. To find out more about where you can study abroad, visit the Centre for Study Abroad.

Some of the units you can take on the course may include:

  • Child and adolescent psychology
  • Children and young people in the law
  • Youth sexualities and gendered violence
  • Children in a global context
  • Children and social harm
  • Family support
  • Child nutrition, activity and health.

Q-Step programme

Two people working together on a laptop.

Childhood studies is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in the social sciences.

We offer the option of a degree course that combines core disciplinary learning with enhanced quantitative skills training in applied data analysis relevant to research in the social sciences.

Find out more about our courses with Quantitative Research Methods.

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