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Programs / Arts / Child Studies

Program Details

Professionals working with children and youth face many challenges involving complex relationships with families, communities and governments. Child Studies at Carleton prepares you for careers in this demanding area. The program was originally developed for graduates of Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs, but the broader scope of the new curriculum allows for entry into the program without an ECE diploma. Through core courses in child studies and other relevant disciplines you will learn about a wide range of topics (e.g., children’s rights, policy and practice) pertaining to children and youth in Canada and around the world.

A unique program

Carleton University is one of only a few universities in the country to offer advanced education in child studies.

Practitioners working with children and youth face the challenge of working in a variety of settings and assuming multiple roles and responsibilities. They engage in complex and changing relationships with parents and the community, as well as with various levels of government. The Child Studies program at Carleton provides you with the knowledge and skills needed for such diverse work experiences.

The Child Studies program was originally developed specifically for graduates of Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs, but direct entry is now available, which means that you do not need an ECE diploma to apply. If you have an ECE diploma and are selected for admission to the Child Studies program, you will be granted up to five credits upon admission, allowing you to enter directly into second year.

An interdisciplinary approach

Child Studies is a genuinely interdisciplinary program. Several courses are designed specifically to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the field of child studies, and we also offer courses that have relevance to both global/international and Canadian contexts. In addition, you will be able to choose from a wide range of courses offered in other Departments at Carleton University (e.g., Sociology, Anthropology, Public Affairs, Social Work, Psychology, Neuroscience, Journalism and History).

One of Carleton’s greatest assets is its location in the nation’s capital. As a student here, you will be able to take advantage of all that Ottawa offers, including access to the federal government, cutting-edge research facilities, national and international organizations and numerous national museums.

Bachelor of Arts (General)

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

 

Bachelor of Arts (BA) (General)

A total of 15.0 credits are needed for the Bachelor of Arts (General) program. You will study the same topics as students in the Honours program and will select elective courses in collaboration with the Child Studies Coordinator. Upon graduation, you may meet the requirements to apply to a BEd degree program.

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

The Honours program in Child Studies is an intensive, in-depth study of the field, and requires a total of 20.0 credits for completion. You will study a range of topics that will be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective through courses offered within the Child Studies program, as well as courses offered in other departments. You will also take a science or computer science credit, as well as an arts and social sciences credit. You will choose your own elective credits, though the courses must be approved by the Child Studies Coordinator.

Honours students are encouraged to develop an area of expertise. Possible options include sociocultural issues, management, human rights or child development. Your area of specialization will be highlighted in a fourth-year Honours thesis.

Small seminar course

In your first year in the program, you will study in small seminar courses, Issues in Child Studies I and Issues in Child Studies II, which are limited to Child Studies students. We have designed these seminars to help ease your transition to university life, as well as to give you the chance to get to know other students in your program. Topics of study vary from year to year.

A sample first year

  • 1.0 credit in Childhood in the Global Context and Childhood in Canadian Context
  • 1.0 credit in Introduction to Psychology I and II
  • 1.0credit in Introduction to Sociology I and II
  • 0.5 credit in any second-year Canadian Studies or Indigenous Studies course
  • 1.5 credits in electives

The workplace

A degree in child studies can help qualify you for a variety of professions in a wide range of settings such as, for example, community-based organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, humanitarian and philanthropic organizations, childcare centers and schools, and the private sector. Note: an ECE diploma is required for careers in Early Childhood Education.

Graduate studies

Graduates of our program are generally well qualified to pursue graduate studies in a variety of fields (e.g., child studies, psychology, sociology, developmental neuroscience or human rights). If you think that you may wish to pursue an advanced degree, you are encouraged to investigate graduate programs early and to discuss your course selection with the Child Studies Coordinator in order to ensure that your program meets the relevant graduate-level requirements.

Professional programs

Many professional programs, including teaching and social work, encourage well-rounded applicants from a variety of backgrounds to apply. Child Studies can qualify you for entry into an accredited professional teacher-training program (Teachers’ College) and can also provide a strong foundation for other programs.

What students are saying about Child Studies


The Child Studies program is an exciting and interactive way to build on the knowledge you have gained through Early Childhood Education, and the interdisciplinary approach touches on psychology and sociology while giving you an opportunity to expand your knowledge in other areas of science, history and the arts. The chance to complete an honours project gives you an opportunity to gain research skills and make important connections with professionals in the child studies field.
Ashley Richardson, fourth-year student in Child Studies