MA Professional Studies in Children’s Play

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There’s more to children’s play than meets the eye and we can show you why.

If you are working in or with the field of children’s play, our programme can help you articulate the unique nature of children’s play and its relevance to the current social policy agenda.

Our MA in Professional Studies in Children’s Play is an academic programme that has been developed in conjunction with practitioners and professionals from a range of sectors. The programme aims to meet the needs of professionals including playworkers, early year’s workers, educators, landscape designers, planners, environmental educators, health professionals and animateurs in a variety of contexts; museums, zoos, tourism, public space. The programme places an understanding of the nature and benefits of play for its own sake at the centre of study rather than seeing play as an instrument to achieve other purposes.

The overall aim of the programme is to provide students with the opportunity for both work-based and desk-based active learning and research in order to develop a critical appreciation of the role of adults in providing for, and supporting children’s play.

What is the content of the programme?

The programme is made up of a number of modules and each is worth a set number of CAT points. Students completing 60 CATS are awarded the Postgraduate Certificate, 120 CATS the Postgraduate Diploma and 180 CATS, including Independent Project (Dissertation), the full Masters.

Perspectives on Play

This module focuses on understandings of ‘play’ and the ways in which this phenomenon has been defined and valued from minority and majority world perspectives. The intention of the module is to broaden and deepen understanding to enable practitioners to better articulate and advocate for the importance of children’s play, and to consider how this increased understanding impacts on their professional role.

Play and Space

This module builds on the foundations established in the opening study of play by developing a critical appreciation of the relationship between play and space. Drawing on contemporary concepts from philosophy, biology, psychology, human geography and the social studies of childhood the module will examine the production of space through the complex and dynamic encounters and interplay between human and non-human materials and symbols.

Perspectives on Playwork

This module is designed to be relevant for practising playworkers or those supporting, training or managing playworkers. It builds on the ‘Perspectives on Play’ module to consider how this might be critically applied to playwork practice, drawing largely (but not exclusively) on the UK historical and theoretical foundations for playwork as a specific approach to working with children at play. The approach in the module encourages critical comparison of the diverse practises of the student group.

Applied and Contemporary Practice

This module provides students with the opportunity to undertake a practice based programme of study, which addresses the educational objectives of their course. Students may work individually or in a group with other students. The programme of study will be based in a relevant occupational or applied setting and will incorporate current discipline practice.

Research Methods

The module provides students with an opportunity to reflect critically on the methods and purposes of their subject and/or practice, within the broad context of enquiry, including training in specific methods and/or techniques as preparation for research or professional practice.

Independent Project (Dissertation)

The Independent Project is the single largest piece of assessed work undertaken by the student and is designed to further develop the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the course. The Independent Project provides students with an opportunity to conduct a sustained, intensive and independent investigation into an area of study and to present their findings in a formal manner in accordance with academic conventions and the requirements of the subject.


  • a course which helps develop a critical appreciation of the importance of play in the lives of children
  • a course that draws upon a diverse range of academic disciplines and historical and contemporary research
  • a course which helps develop a critical appreciation of contemporary issues in providing play spaces.

Entry requirements

Applicants will need a good honours degree or show capacity to study at Masters level. You will need to have an up-to-date CRB/DBS check (or equivalent) and access to an environment to observe play for some modules.

Start date

September 2016

Mode of attendance

Part time distance learning with occasional study days.


                      Home       International

Module*      £630                £995

PG Cert       £2,605              £4,550

PG Dip         £4,540              £9,100

Full MA        £6,895           £11,950

*estimated price per 15 CAT module

For more information:

Tel: 01242 715207 Email:

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