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Postgraduate study

The Children's Issues Centre's interdisciplinary postgraduate qualifications are intended to meet the needs of a diverse group of professionals who work with children, young people and their families in such fields as social work, education, justice, law, health, psychology, family support and community development, and who have an interest in studying current research, policy and practice issues which affect the development, well-being and rights of children and young people. The courses are also an option for internal postgraduate students at the University of Otago studying in relevant disciplines.


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Children’s Issues - no enrolments are currently being accepted in 2019.
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Child-centred Practice - no enrolments are currently being accepted in 2019.
  • MA in Childhood and Youth Studies
  • PhD

Papers available

CHIC401: Understanding Children and Childhood: Theory into Practice
Not offered in 2019

Semester 1 - 30 points

A critical examination of historical and demographic trends, contemporary theoretical explanations of child development and well-being, and the practice framework of primary, secondary and tertiary levels of intervention with children/families/whānau.

CHIC402: Promoting Children's Participation and Protection
Not offered in 2019

Semester 2 - 30 points

Focuses on the interface between research, policy and practice, and critically examines the challenges faced by children/families/whānau when family transitions or abuse/violence occur. Considers how services and practitioners can effectively respond.

CHIC407: Child-centred Practice
Not offered in 2019

Semester 2 - 30 points

This paper provides an inter-disciplinary perspective on child-centred practice. It is designed for professionals in education, health, law, social work and related disciplines who work with children, young people and their families.

CHIC480: Research Study

Semester 1 or 2 - 30 points

Carrying out a small-scale independent research study on a child-centred practice issue.

Download a brochure about the postgraduate qualifications and available papers (PDF, 2.1MB).

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Teaching staff

Comments from previous students

"I learnt such a lot. It changed the way I think about children’s issues and the course really expanded my vista. Excellent course."

"This has been a great course for me and has encouraged me to carry on with post-grad study."

"Excellent lecturers, excellent guest speakers. The whole course was brilliant."

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Current and recent postgraduate thesis students

Katy Falcous (MA in Childhood and Youth Studies)
Motherhood and infancy: Exploring attachment theory and social policy in Aotearoa New Zealand

Gabby Bruce (MA in Childhood and Youth Studies)
How do social workers assess the parental capacity of pregnant adolescents?

Natasha Munro (MA in Childhood and Youth Studies)
ECE services within a public health model: A case study in a rural community

Nicola Liebergreen (PhD)
How do Niue youth negotiate intimacy online?

Kerri Cleaver (PhD)
Spaces to talk: Ngāi Tahu women and their experiences with the foster care system and identity

Megan Gollop (PhD) - Completed 2016
Moving on? Parents' perspectives on the impact of post-separation relocation disputes

Michael Gaffney (PhD) - Completed 2012
The school experiences of a learning disabled student

Mary Ann Powell (PhD) - Completed 2010
Rural New Zealand childhoods: Social constructions and lived experiences

Please refer to staff profile pages for additional postgraduate students based in other Departments being supervised by Centre staff.