Program Overview

The Childhood and Youth Studies program at Carleton, with its focus on youth as well as childhood, and its attention to critical intersectionality as well as children’s rights and youth activism, is the only program of its kind in Eastern Ontario. The newly updated program is designed to address the sustained growth of student demand over the last five years and reflect current trends in research about and with children and young people.It is a relatively new interdisciplinary field that spans multiple epistemologies and methodologies, and it is one of the most active and rapidly growing fields in academia today. Critical childhood and youth studies represents a departure from traditional psychological and educational research “on” children, which limits the agency, voice, and participation of young people. Contemporary critical childhood and youth scholars believe that children themselves are the best informants of their own lives and therefore look at children’s own cultures, meanings and the ways in which they attempt to change their lives and the lives of adults around them. Childhood and Youth Studies courses are designed to be engaging and to reflect our world and society today, providing a holistic context that students will take with them into their future endeavors. In order to prepare graduates for a wide range of careers, the program focuses on skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing, social and historical analysis, and research.

Program Goals

The principal goal of the Childhood and Youth Studies program is to provide a critical interdisciplinary educational experience designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers that involve work with and/or for children and youth. The program structure reflects the belief that understanding the relationship between childhood, youth, culture, child welfare and individual rights of children as well as the economic, social, and political conditions that influence young people’s lives. Childhood and Youth Studies majors will acquire the analytic skills necessary to work effectively with children and youth, gain an understanding of the complex contexts of childhood and adolescence throughout history and today as they will develop a commitment to the welfare of children and youth in Canada and across the world.

Skills and Knowledge You Will Gain From Childhood and Youth Studies

  • Explore the ways that societal structures of power, privilege, and oppression shape the identities of children and youth.
  • Interrogate normative assumptions about children, childhood, and adolescence.
    Collect and analyze relevant information about children and youth from a variety of interdisciplinary sources and fields.
  • Present results from research in childhood and youth studies, both in writing and orally, to promote evidence-based knowledge to policy makers, service providers, and general audiences.
  • Communicate effectively, intelligently and constructively during discussions on topics relevant to childhood and youth studies.
  • Identify strategies for ethical and human rights implications of working with children and youth.
  • Write non-academic reports, policy briefs, pamphlets and posters to communicate about specific issues.
  • Critically review and evaluate strengths, weaknesses and limitations of a variety of childhood and youth research methodologies.
  • Conduct a self-directed research study utilizing appropriate research methods to effectively investigate a special topic related to Childhood and Youth Studies.