Advanced Child Protection - PCert, PDip, MA


The Advanced Child Protection MA is a distance learning programme which runs on a part-time basis for two or more years. The programme is for experienced professionals and is fully accredited by the University of Kent.

The MA gives a 360-degree perspective on child protection, introducing you to the viewpoints of academics, practitioners, organisations, parents, children and young people, integrated with contemporary research theory and policy. The impact that technology has on protecting children as well as the effect of the globalisation of the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable children is considered throughout.

The MA has attracted national and international students, all with a variety of experience in child protection. The opportunity to access this diverse pool of knowledge, within an environment that allows you to question and excel, has made the Advanced Child Protection MA a success.

About the Centre for Child Protection

The Centre for Child Protection is part of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) and is the first centre of its kind in Europe. Combining research with distance learning programmes and a range of innovative serious training games, the Centre for Child Protection is leading the way in building knowledge and training opportunities for professionals working in this area.

The Centre is led and informed by a team of experts in the field of child protection. With many years of experience in both research and practice, we are committed to improving the provision of continued professional development to enhance the skills of those involved in child protection.

The Centre’s range of serious game simulations provide research-based case studies and opportunities to explore the complex dynamics involved in making professional assessments and decisions in these contexts.

Think Kent video series

Dr Jane Reeves, Director of Studies MA Child Protection and Co-Director of the University of Kent Centre for Child Protection, discusses the use of advanced simulation and gaming techniques in the training of child protection professionals. How can approaches and technologies from the gaming and entertainment industries aid teaching and learning and assist in the protection of children and young people?

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path and these cases are assessed individually.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.


A group of postgraduates sit outside the Kennedy Building on the Canterbury campus

Keep updated

Sign up here to receive all the latest news and events from Kent  

Sign up now

This field is required
This field is required
Please enter a valid email address
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required

View our Privacy Notice

Course structure

Duration: 2 years part-time

Teaching is based on guided study using an online learning environment (Moodle), videoed expert lectures, online seminars, 'serious games', acted and filmed role play, as well as web-based weekly forums.

During the programme you:

  • develop innovative techniques for professional training and support
  • translate and apply the latest research and knowledge to inform best practice
  • create diverse and flexible learning programmes
  • address gaps in post-qualification training provision and opportunities
  • facilitate safe and realistic environments in which child protection professionals can develop and enhance their skills and professional practice.

We also offer a variety of 10 week online distance learning standalone MA modules. Visit the Centre's pages for more information.

The modules can be taken on their own or as a taster to Master's-level study. All the work is completed online where you participate in online forums and have access to journal articles and specialist materials. After successful completion of the assignment, the module is equivalent to 20 credits at Master’s level. For further information, see the Centre for Child Protection website.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Compulsory modules currently include

This course introduces students to the logic and methods of social research. It aims to familiarize students with central topics in research design and the ethics of social research so that they can apply this knowledge to their understanding of fields of social and public policy. The module introduces students to both positivist and critical/interpretive approaches and the debates behind their selection for conducting research. It will invite them to consider how research questions are generated and answered. It will enable students to identify common mistakes in the social research methods used to develop sector relevant policy and how to effectively and systematically address issues. Topics will also include: ethics and informed consent; sampling for qualitative and quantitative research; methods of primary and secondary data collection, methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis. It will give them an opportunity to learn and practise introductory skills in the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.

Find out more about SO926

This module will provide students with a historical and contemporary perspective of child abuse and examine child and family centred practice, and will allow students to explore definitions of abuse, nationally and internationally. A significant area of research will be drawn upon with regards to the role of men in child protection. The module will also introduce key agencies in the field. The child protection simulations created by the Centre for Child Protection around child sexual exploitation (Looking for Lottie) and radicalization (ZAK), are embedded in this module.

Find out more about SO927

The aim of this 10 week module is to focus on contemporary child protection policies and practice and provide the current legal context for child protection. In particular it will discuss policy and practice following the Munro Review (2011) and it will draw upon the implications of inter-professional and interdisciplinary research, theory and practice pre- and post- Baby Peter Connelly. The module will focus upon key agencies in child protection and practitioner communication skills. Students will be introduced to the Centre's child protection simulation, 'Rosie 2', where they will have the opportunity to analyse the different skills of practitioners involved in child protection practice.

Find out more about SO928

This module provides professionals with in depth knowledge about current assessment practice including the Attachment and Relationship-Based Practice Project. The likelihood of maltreatment is significantly higher where a child demonstrates disorganized attachment behaviour and this thread runs throughout the module, paying special attention to the behaviour of the caregiver. The module is suitable for a wide range of professionals who work with complex family circumstances.

Find out more about SO929

The aim of this module is to focus on how the individual child protection professional inner world is affected by and, in turn, effects the institutional practices embedded in the workplace in terms of working in child protection. Moreover, the module also looks at how the inner world and emotions of the individual are managed and how ‘hot cognitions’ involved in child protection work are addressed. Organisational and workplace features are considered from a psychosocial perspective, particularly in terms of different models of supervision, and individuals are encouraged to reflect upon their own position within organisations and how this can be optimized in circumstances where risk needs to be managed.

Find out more about SO931

Optional modules may include

This module aims to provide students with a chance to develop a critical understanding of international child protection practice. It will facilitate critical discussion and expression of informed views on various types of international child protection interventions used by agencies across the world , exploring issues of diversity, anti-oppressive practice, cultural and emotional intelligence and the politics of international policies design,. The module will significantly consider service users' perspectives of the support, which is available as well as what works and what does not work. It will consider implications and interpretations of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Child across the world and robustly evaluate this legislation in practice. This module also aims to critique and consider partnership collaboration in working across boards in the best interest of protecting the rights of children.

Find out more about SO979

This module aims to provide students with a chance to discuss various types of intervention used by agencies in child protection, exploring issues of diversity, anti-oppressive practice, cultural and emotional intelligence. Targeted interventions as well as universal services will be considered. The module will significantly consider service users' perspectives of the support which is available as well as what works and what does not work.

Find out more about SO930

Compulsory modules currently include

The dissertation is a major component of the MA and its content and intellectual standard should reflect this. Whilst the dissertation does not have to demonstrate the kind of originality required for theses submitted for degrees by research, it should have a wider scope, including a research element, and contain more detail and sustained argument than other coursework assignments. The overall aim of this Module is to build on the theoretical and methodological material included in the six compulsory modules. It addresses practical questions of research and writing the dissertation and the construction of the dissertation itself. It also follows on and draws on the use of research materials (qualitative and quantitative data); using research and resources (libraries, documentation, and the internet); and drafting and writing, including the use of appropriate academic style and format. The dissertation will be library-based and not field research.

Find out more about SO995

Teaching and assessment

A range of assessment methods ensure that theory and research relate to contemporary professional practice.

Programme aims

Our aims are to provide students with:

  • detailed knowledge of child protection and safeguarding research, practice and policy from a variety of inter-professional perspectives
  • the knowledge to understand, respect and reflect on the roles of all professionals involved in child protection and to explore methods of communication between agencies
  • advanced knowledge of contemporary child protection practice in the UK and globally
  • the ability, through the use of innovative techniques, to explore the potential complexities and risk involved in child protection assessment and to explore different methods of working
  • the opportunity to visit and revisit complex child protection scenarios, through the use of serious games, case studies, research, forum discussions and acted, filmed role plays, and the ability to apply knowledge from Serious Case Reviews to promote best practice
  • with opportunities to critically evaluate support, help and current intervention strategies in child protection
  • the ability to reflect on your own practice and situations that promote ‘hot cognitions’ in child protection and to explore how to react in an emotionally intelligent way
  • to critically evaluate research and theoretical perspectives in key areas of child protection work
  • the ability to work in a manner which respects diversity and equality.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • social research and critical evaluation of different paradigms and perspectives in child protection
  • definitions, prevalence, causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect including research and sociological and psychological theories
  • contemporary child protection practice and policies including service delivery contexts and partnership and inter-disciplinary working
  • perspectives on assessment and observation including planning and re-assessment
  • support, help and intervention and what works how and when
  • the unconscious at work – the organisational dimensions of risk management
  • values and ethics in child protection
  • how to plan and undertake a dissertation.     

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • gathering and interpreting complex information
  • analysing and synthesising theoretical perspectives and research evidence
  • advanced problem-solving and risk management of complex child protection situations
  • evaluating intervention strategies
  • verbal, written and electronic communication skills
  • how to communicate with others across disciplines and professions
  • reflection and professional development skills
  • ICT written and numerical skills.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • the ability to interpret and conduct applied research on a topic relevant to child protection and safeguarding
  • the ability to demonstrate in written and verbal and electronic formats definitions, causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect in the UK and globally
  • the ability to demonstrate advanced understanding of contemporary child protection practice and policy
  • the ability to evidence in written, verbal and electronic formats assessment, re-assessment and intervention strategies
  • the ability to demonstrate understanding of complex support and intervention strategies
  • the ability to determine thresholds of risk and risk management strategies
  • the ability to appreciate and critically evaluate different interprofessional perspectives on child protection.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • communication: the ability to organise complex information clearly, respond to a variety of written sources and present complex information orally at induction and study days
  • numeracy: make sense of statistical materials, integrate quantitative and qualitative information
  • information technology: produce written documents, undertake online research, online forums, online scenarios and work in an online environment
  • work with others on complex tasks: work co-operatively on group tasks, understand how groups function face-to-face and in an online environment
  • improve your own learning: explore your strengths and weaknesses, time management, review your working environment
  • problem-solving: identify and define complex problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.


The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU part-time £4610
  • International part-time £4610

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 


Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research was ranked 2nd for research power in the UK. The School was also placed 3rd for research intensity, 5th for research impact and 5th for research quality (GPA).

An impressive 94% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 99% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research, gaining the highest possible score of 100%.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Professor Jane Reeves : Co-director, Centre for Child Protection; Director, Advanced Child Protection MA

Child welfare; young families; the perspectives of young mothers and young fathers; serious training games and the use of eye tracker technology.

View Profile

Professor David Shemmings : Professor of Child Protection Research

Attachment theory in child protection; Assessment of Disorganised Attachment and Maltreatment (ADAM) and family members’ involvement in child protection processes.

View Profile

Vanisha Jassal : Lecturer in Child Protection

Managing child sexual abuse in South Asian communities; caregiver behaviour and child maltreatment; attachment relations; direct work with children and young people.   

View Profile

Tracee Green : Lecturer in Child Protection

Care Proceedings, court work and PLO; parenting in general; parenting or risk assessments for court or PLO;  supportive interventions with families who have a Child Protection Plan or who are involved in Care Proceedings or PLO.

View Profile


Our Master’s and stand-alone modules give you the opportunity to further your career and expertise in child protection. As well as benefiting from Kent’s academic excellence, you gain insight into multi-agency relationships and responsibilities. The Centre attracts students from across social work, health, education, probation and the third sector, and widens your potential learning experience. The distance learning delivery of the Master’s programme enables you to fit learning around your life and work commitments and you have the chance to apply your knowledge as you progress. Each cohort contains a unique mix of experiences and professions, providing a valuable opportunity for information exchange and networking.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

This course offers you the opportunity to study child protection through distance learning using innovative and cutting-edge techniques and technology. Teaching is delivered through the use of inter-professional serious training games, expert lectures, in the form of audio and videoed podcasts, acted role plays and discussion forums. You access materials and online forums via Moodle, the University's Virtual Learning Environment and are assigned an academic adviser to support you through the duration of the course.

Serious training games

The team at the Centre for Child Protection is leading the way in developing new and innovative ways to deliver training and opportunities for simulated role play for professional development. The serious game concept offers a safe medium to explore and reflect upon child protection assessment. It offers professionals, at all stages of their careers, a unique way to evaluate real-life situations.

The first in the series of games, Rosie 2 promotes the theme of inter-professional practice by exploring the boundaries and challenges of a joint visit to the family by a health visitor and social worker. Rosie 2 was followed by Visiting Elliot which explores a visit to a sex offender in the community. Zak, the third game in the series, focuses on an aspect of internet grooming.

The Centre for Child Protection’s series of serious game simulations provide research-based case studies and the opportunities to explore the complex dynamics involved in making professional assessments and decisions in these contexts.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Apply now

Please note: Application deadline 1 December for the upcoming January start.

Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

Apply for entry to:

Contact us


United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MA at Canterbury

Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896


Subject enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 823684



International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254