child holds an adult's hand

MScChild & Youth Care Studies (distance learning)

Why this course?

Developed within the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS), this programme has a fresh, engaging curriculum that covers globalised childhoods, international policy contexts, the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), bringing up children and research methods.

The programme is aimed at students with an interest in developing positive strategies for affirming and developing the professional identity of child and youth care practice. It draws from a variety of disciplines and approaches including child and youth care, social pedagogy, sociology, psychology, health, education, social work and social policy.

You'll develop theoretically informed, practice-based understanding of issues related to the social, political and cultural contexts of children and youth.

The programme considers and examines theoretical and policy contexts, child development in the lifespace, management and leadership, intervention methods, critical reflection, relational practice and research methods.

The role of the state, non-governmental agencies and private organisations in the provision of child welfare services will be examined along with the internationalisation of child welfare policy through developments such as UNCRC.

A range of approaches and traditions of child care practice will be considered, including child and youth care, social pedagogy, residential child care and social work.

You'll study

The course is made up of different modules and you’re expected to complete the six taught modules over a 16-month period. A further eight months is allowed for completion of a practice-based dissertation.

Core modules include Globalised Childhoods: Theoretical and Policy Contexts; Child Development in the Lifespace; Management and Leadership; Critical Reflection and Relational Practice; Interventions; and Research Methods. 

Teaching staff

Course content

Compulsory classes

Globalised Childhood: Theoretical & Policy Contexts

The aim of this class is for you to be able to develop an understanding of the approaches underpinning child and youth care.  You'll be able to critically review the historical and current discourses which influence the nature of child and youth care services in their own country and elsewhere.

In charting the development of child and youth care, you should be able to draw links between the nature of provision and prevailing socio-political and cultural factors including, where relevant, legislation and social policy. The global adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) will be examined and its influence on child care practice globally critically analysed.

Child Development in the Lifespace

The aim of this class is for you to critically analyse how your understanding of child development helps you to understand children and inform their practice. You'll explore and critique key research and theories of child development and childhood to support a developmental orientation that informs your understanding and assessment of children and youth.

The impact of disability, adversity, disadvantage, discrimination, abuse, separation, grief and loss will all be considered as well as the skills involved in observing, assessing and understanding children and youth in their lifespaces.

Management & Leadership

The aim of this class is provide you with a critical understanding of the key concepts of management and leadership and their importance in creating and maintaining effective therapeutic child and youth care environments.

The importance of organisational culture will be explored alongside an analysis of the key managerial and leadership qualities, emotional intelligence and empathy, which are necessary to promote the growth and development of individuals and teams.

Critical Reflection & Relational Practice

The aim of this class is to encourage you to critically evaluate your interactions with children and youth with a view to developing and enhancing skills in the area of relational practice.

You'll engage with Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) and Video Enhanced Reflective Practice (VERP) as a means to develop your ability to critically reflect upon your communication skills and use of self in addition to improving your self-awareness and practice in a manner where you model and demonstrate reflexivity.


The aim of this class is to encourage you to evaluate interventions with children and youth across a range of child and youth practice areas with a view to you developing effective practice and programmes of intervention.

There will be an examination of the components of effective therapeutic milieu and programmes, and you'll be encouraged to consider a specific intervention or change that you implement in the workplace.

Research Methods

The aim of this class is to encourage you to be research minded, and provide you with an understanding of the nature, characteristics and ethical considerations involved in research in child and youth care.

In doing this, you'll develop a critical understanding of the philosophical and methodological aspects of carrying out research with children and youth.

Masters Research Project

This is a substantial independent study class which forms the final, compulsory, element in the MSc in Child and Youth Care Studies by Distance Learning programme.

It involves carrying out an investigative and developmental programme of work which is of professional relevance to you. This will be assessed on the basis of a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words. The work enables and obliges you to draw on the skills and insights acquired in the taught element of the Masters programme.

Learning & teaching

The programme is delivered entirely online with no attendance required.

Modules involve a range of individual and group tasks in addition to live online sessions where the student group will participate in online seminars.

You’ll require:

  • access to a reliable computer with sufficient processing capability
  • an excellent broadband connection
  • the ability to run applications such as Adobe Connect, Adobe Reader, Flash Player, Java and Windows Media Player

Entry requirements

To be eligible for this course you require a first degree or relevant professional qualification, or a combination of qualifications and experience demonstrating capacity for postgraduate study.

You’ll also require sufficient access to child care settings through which you can evidence programme and practice requirements. This will involve you working or volunteering in a child care setting either part or full-time throughout the duration of the programme.

The course assessments will require you to:

  • analyse and reflect upon agency policy of your workplace/employer
  • undertake a case study assessment of a child or youth you are working with or have worked with
  • analyse and reflect upon issues of leadership and management in your agency
  • video yourself in practice with a child or youth and/or work colleague for the purpose of reflecting upon your communication skills and relational practice
  • plan and implement a possible intervention modification within your agency
  • plan and undertake a research project relevant to your agency/workplace

These requirements are designed in a way that makes the course accessible to everyone working in a child care setting. They are also broad enough to allow those in external management, supervisory and training/education positions to do so.

The course is not suitable for anyone not currently working, volunteering or connected to a child care setting. Evidencing this requirement will form part of the application process. 

English language 

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 6.0) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Visa and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

The tuition fee is for the entire programme and not a yearly payment.


  • 2017/18 - £4,300

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £4,300


  • 2017/18 - £4,300

How can I fund my course?

Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

Contact us


Child and Youth Care Studies

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

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