Interdisciplinary Master in Family, Children and Youth Studies
This interdisciplinary study programme, which is being offered for the first time in the 2015 autumn semester, trains graduates in the domains of family sciences and children and youth research. Candidates acquire specialist skills and methods in the disciplines of law, psychology, educational sciences, the social sciences and humanities. Depending on graduates' choice, during the master's course they engage more deeply with either family sciences or children and youth studies. A master's degree equips graduates to apply specialist and methodological skills acquired in matters of law, psychology, the social sciences and humanities to family, children and youth issues, and to think and work in an interdisciplinary manner. The course is based on the close collaboration of the Institute for Family Research and Counseling with the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Humanities.
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Profile of the study programme
The purpose of the master programme is to train graduates in family sciences and children and youth research.
The master programme is interdisciplinary and involves the combined study of law, psychology, educational sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. Skills taught on the master's degree course give students a coherent understanding of social and cultural issues concerning the family, children and young people. Firstly, the study of psychology provides insights into the individual and his or her relationships within the family, and the latter's role in determining intellectual and physical performance and health. The law courses teach students about social frameworks in relation to the family. Social changes and political processes are reflected in legislation and jurisprudence, and these are discussed and analysed in the law part of the course. Educational sciences discuss issues of learning and teaching; the issues investigated here include teaching processes in the context of the family, school and recreation and the best bases for education in infants. The social sciences and humanities studies allow students to reflect on childhood, youth and the family in a socio-cultural and historical context. Sociological developments are reflected in legislation and jurisprudence on family affairs and family policy requirements. Through discussions on psychological family processes, explanations of legal frameworks, an outlining of positive underlying conditions for children in their social environment and an investigation of social development in relation to the family, the students acquire a broad, scientifically supported perspective on which to build a deeper understanding of family, children and youth issues.
The master programme comprises three obligatory base modules, each of equal value, in law, psychology/educational sciences and the social sciences and humanities. Candidates also choose one elective, enabling them to acquire more in-depth knowledge of one specific area, either family, or child and youth. This elective also comprises the method seminars required for the interdisciplinary master's thesis.
The University of Fribourg is one of the first to provide a study programme which offers interdisciplinary family, children and youth studies. On the one hand this consolidates graduates' previously acquired knowledge, while on the other it teaches them sound methodological skills and specialist knowledge in the other disciplines making up the course. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme is also strengthened by the presence of master's candidates from a variety of other courses who attend the same classes, discussing issues and sharing ideas. Lastly, candidates apply this interdisciplinary work method by writing a master's thesis with an interdisciplinary slant. This study programme is multilingual, allowing candidates to attend courses in English, French or German.
Learning outcomes and career openings
Graduates of the master's degree course will be capable of applying their specialist skills and methods in the fields of law, psychology, the social sciences and humanities to family, children and youth issues. The planned training will prepare graduates for work with child and adult protection agencies, youth offices or the social services. In this sphere of work, they will be equipped to offer the interdisciplinarity that is increasingly demanded on a scientifically sound basis. International and non-profit organisations involved in work with families and children (such as UNICEF, ICRC, Pro Juventute and other charities) also use the specialist knowledge that is taught in this interdisciplinary master programme.
Structure of studies
90 ECTS credits + 30 ECTS credits as an option in a minor study programme, 3-4 semesters
Holders of a bachelor's degree awarded from a Swiss university or holders of a bachelor's degree awarded by a foreign University, provided that the bachelor's degree is recognised and considered equivalent by the University of Fribourg, can be admitted to a master's degree course with additional requirements (can be completed during the master's degree course). According to existing agreements, holders of a bachelor's degree awarded from a Swiss university of applied sciences can also be admitted with additional requirements.