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Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies (Online Distance Learning) MA

Learn about the course below

Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies (Online Distance Learning) MA

September 2024
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
Full-time or part-time via online distance learning
£9,800 (UK)*
£12,600 (INT)*
Course leader
Nathan Fretwell

Please note: There will be no intake for this course in September 2024. The next intake will be September 2025.

The children’s workforce needs innovative and creative leaders who are confident in working with diverse communities to promote social justice. This distance learning programme empowers you to transform the lives of children, young people and families, by working together to make social change.

Why study MA Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies at Middlesex University?

An MA in Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies will prepare you for working with children, young people and families and become a leader for social change in the context of diverse societies.

This course is ideal for graduates with an interest in working with children and families, or taking a role within formal education who have a strong sense of community and want to explore how to make real social change through their work.

We welcome students from a variety of backgrounds and subjects, as long as you have a passion for education and change.

Our course at a glance

  • Practice making change with children, young people and families through placements that give you the chance to carry out real-world investigations
  • Study completely online so you can study at your own pace or still get access to our teaching if you don't live in London
  • Undertake your own research project in the second semester and explore a topic of your own choosing
  • Get support from a supervisor to plan our your personalised path through the course, based on your career aspirations.

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on the MA Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies?

The course is built around the following core ideas:

You'll explore radical ideas about engaging with diversity to contribute to social justice. You'll look at the world through various lenses including feminism, anti-colonial perspectives and critical pedagogies of love and hope.

Social change
You'll practice making social change by working with children, young people and families through placements and work experience modules, which focus on having an impact in the real world.

You'll reflect on policies that affect children, young people and families, drawing on case studies from around the world. You'll understand the chain of events through which policies affect our lives and the spaces for social change within this; from the influences on policy-makers to the enactment of policies in everyday routines.

What will you gain?

You'll learn how to think with theory to help tackle old problems in innovative ways. You'll understand how policy shapes practice, and crucially, how practitioners can work with policy to promote social justice.

You'll grow as a person and a professional, understanding your strengths and development needs so you can maximise your positive impact in working with others.

  • Modules

    • Interrogating Policy and Practice for Social Justice (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will investigate how policy works to define and reflect diversity, how professionals enact policy and how it affects children and young people by using case studies from around the world. You will develop your capacity to critically understand and work with policy to pursue social justice in a context that is relevant to your work interests.

    • Dangerous Ideas: Thinking with Theory to Problematise Childhood and Education (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will focus on a range innovative theoretical frameworks to question common-sense perceptions of diversity in order to generate new insights into practice with children and young people. You will focus on putting these ideas into practice, generating novel solutions to real-life problems.

    • Researching Children’s and Young People’s Lives (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module focuses on practical research strategies for working with children and young people. You will encounter and use a range of strategies and examine the legal and ethical aspects of undertaking research. You will develop practical skills and devise a research proposal for an individual research project.

    • Communities of Change: Making a Difference through Service Learning (30 credits) - Optional

      This module is about volunteering or working within an organisation to contribute to improving children’s lives. Placements can be in informal education settings, charities, museums, community groups or any other relevant organisation. The focus is on learning through making a positive difference and developing advanced skills for employability.

    • Enacting Policy: Promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Practice (30 credits) - Optional

      This module will support you to evaluate the impact of an innovation you design and to report the findings to demonstrate your ability to have a positive impact on practice.

      This module is aimed at those who are already employed in a role working with children.

    • Individual Learning (30 credits) - Optional

      This module enables you to design your own unique learning project. A supervisor will help you identify your own learning objectives and guide you to structure a project that meets your own individual interests.

    • Professional Practice Research Project (60 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will give you the opportunity to devise and conduct your own research project with young people. The outcomes will be reported through a conference paper, presented at the university, and a research article, written in the format of an academic journal. Practical workshops and an individual supervisor will provide support to develop your practical skills and confidence required to communicate your findings in the required formats.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

We aim to model a wide range of teaching strategies and approaches on the course which you can adapt to your own setting.

How is the MA Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies taught?

This course is a distance education online learning course. It's full-time for one year or part-time for two years depending on your other commitments.

Almost all of our students have other responsibilities during their studies (whether it's work or caring responsibilities or both) and we have designed our course to ensure that it's possible to thrive while balancing your various commitments.

The main modules on theory and policy are at the core of the programme and ensure you develop a strong identity. Research methods are taught in the first semester and this enables you to undertake your own research project in the second semester. Optional modules can be scheduled to fit around your placements or employment.

You'll also have the option to undertake practice-based learning. If you're already working, you can complete an action research project in your workplace to develop leadership skills – innovating and evaluating inclusive practice. If you're not yet working in your preferred sector, you'll be supported to find a placement in an organisation that works with children where you can gain valuable hands-on learning.


All modules are assessed through coursework, spread throughout the year, and all coursework is supported by formative tasks and feedback from tutors. You will share your own research through a conference paper and journal article in order to develop your advanced presentation skills.

All the assignments will focus on developing your practical skills and applying knowledge to the real world.


Most of the learning is asynchronous, which is to say students work through most of the material at their own pace and post activities and work online. There are some live online sessions for people to join to discuss lessons and activities. There are also regular individual tutorials to construct a personalised plan and track progress. The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:


Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:

2 hours

Tutor set learning activities

Average hours per week, per level:

6 hours

This information is likely to change slightly for 2024/25 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We'll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online.
  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.


You have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK/International
  2. Additional costs
  3. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MA Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies support your career?

The course will help you develop a career working with children, young people or families. This might be a career in children's services, teaching, youth work, social work, advocacy or campaigning work.

At the outset, you'll have the opportunity to plan your own personalised route through the programme (with an experienced supervisor) to ensure you build the skills and competences most suited to your career aspirations.

This plan will incorporate the assignments you complete, the research you conduct and the placements you are offered to ensure you build a coherent evidence base for future employers.

Dr Nathan Fretwell
Course Leader / Senior Lecturer

Dr Fretwell researches the relationship between the state and children and families. Most recently, he has researched the advocacy work of parent campaigners.

Dr Lee Jerome
Professor in Education

Dr Jerome researches children’s rights and citizenship education. His most recent research is an investigation of the impacts of the Prevent duty in education.

Dr Jacqueline Harding

Dr Harding leads on the Research Methods module. She is a respected specialist in children’s television, developing innovative research strategies and consulting widely with television production companies.

Dr Mona Sakr
Module leader - Dangerous Ideas

Dr Sakr researches early childhood education. Most recently, she has developed a model of social leadership in early childhood through global dialogues.

Professor Jayne Osgood

Professor Osgood researches early childhood education through a feminist new materialist lens. She edits the Bloomsbury series ‘Feminists Researching Gendered Childhoods’.

Dr John Barker
Module leader - Research Methods

Dr Barker researches childhood and youth from a children’s geographies background. His latest research investigates the experiences of university students with caring responsibilities.

Dr Lynette Morris
Module leader - Action Research

Dr Morris is a researcher in early childhood education with expertise in practitioner and action research. She researches the emotional dimension of working in early years.

Dr Leena Robertson

Dr Robertson examines young children’s experiences of learning from a sociocultural perspective, with a particular focus on diverse and complex language contexts.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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