York is the only university in Canada to offer a Humanities-based program in Children's Studies.

Ever wish someone listened to you as a child? York's Children's Studies program focuses on the experiences, knowledge and concerns of children. You will learn ethnographic techniques specific to children and their cultures. You'll analyze children's voices in contemporary and historical contexts and gain an understanding of the human condition from the child's perspective. You'll also participate in community-based partnerships and be encouraged to take part in advocacy work.

Children's Studies explores global childhood experiences in philosophical and social terms and their personal, societal and human consequences. Attention is paid to the nature and significance of children's culture – distinguishing between culture created by adults for children and the culture of children themselves. You will learn how to engage children, discern children's voices in historical and cultural contexts and come to understand the human condition from their perspective.

The Children's Studies program is truly interdisciplinary, incorporating expertise and courses from programs such as sociology and psychology. Courses include:

  • The World of Childhood
  • Listening to Children: Ethics and Methodology of Child-Centered Studies
  • Contemporary Children's Culture Internships/Practicums.

Graduates of this program can pursue a wide-range of careers including counsellors, social workers, lawyers, teachers, librarians and international development workers.

  • You are required to participate in community-based programs involving local schools and are encouraged to take part in advocacy work.
  • York is home to the Canadian Children's Culture Collection, a major archive of child-related materials including York-based studies and unique toy collections designed by children.
  • Learn with professors that are actively involved in childhood research and are on the leading edge of storytelling and bullying research in Canada.
  • Join a child/youth-centred club or association. Local chapters of the advocacy groups "Free the Children" and "Right to Play" are found on York's campus and play an important role in the program. The York student club Peace by PEACE works with children, empowering them to prevent, manage and resolve conflict peacefully.
  • York hosts the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution. The Centre supports, conducts and disseminates the results of research on violence and conflict resolution. It also includes a Child/Youth Violence Research Group that supports research and community outreach. York also hosts the Alexander F. Chamberlain speaker series, which features lectures and seminars from leading scholars in the Children's Studies field.

For more information, contact the Coordinator of the program, Professor Peter Cumming.

Possible Career Paths: 
  • children's rights advocate
  • teacher
  • international development worker
  • social worker

You are required to provide official evidence of academic achievement in secondary education. This can be demonstrated through:

  • Final grades under the Ontario curriculum (obtained through correspondence, night school or through TVO)
  • Credentials through other curricula, such as results from Advanced Placement (AP) or Advanced-level courses in the General Certificate of Education (Gene). (Students may register to sit for the AP and GCE examinations as private candidates.)

In the absence of final grades in courses:

  • You must submit the results of standardized tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) with a minimum of 550 (Reading) and 550 (Math) or a composite American College Testing (ACT) score of 24.
  • Your application will be reviewed by an admissions sub-committee. If admitted, you will not be eligible for entrance scholarships. You will be considered for continuing student scholarships at the end of your first year of study, if you satisfy those criteria.
You may also be required to provide proof of language proficiency. You will be considered for entrance scholarships on the basis of your overall averages in the six 4U/4M (Ontario curriculum) or equivalent courses.

We are adding to our database of admission requirements by country. Please check back in October for additional admission requirements by country. General requirements are currently available by country — note that program-specific requirements may apply in addition to general requirements.