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Child and Youth Care (MA)

Child writing on a whiteboard with teacher and children behind sat on the floor

Program Overview

Format: Full-time, Part-time

Degree Earned: Master of Arts

The Master of Arts program in Child and Youth Care (CYC) intensively explores three thematic streams:

  • Clinical Child and Youth Care Practice
  • Management and Policy Development in Child and Youth Care
  • Child and Youth Care Approaches to Research.  

This program focuses on the theoretical and practice-oriented approaches related to young people facing adversity in myriad contexts, and covers issues and themes that include trauma-informed care, resilience, life-space intervention, critical and anti-oppressive perspectives, and management and policy development in child and youth serving settings.

Through innovative pedagogy which incorporates an extensive focus on reflective practice, field learning opportunities, and the integration of social innovation and use of Self and Self in relational practice throughout the curriculum, the MA program teaches and promotes leadership in child and youth care, with an emphasis on children’s rights and the daily experiences of youth within institutional and community-based services.

The program is designed as a one-year (12 months) full time program, with a one term (Fall) residency requirement. The winter term and spring/summer sessions can be completed in class or online. Students must complete four required courses, two elective courses, a six-week, full-time placement, and a Major Research Paper (MRP). All required courses are offered during evenings.

A part-time option exists for students currently employed in the child and youth care sector on a full time basis. There are limited spots for this option, and admission requires an interview in addition to all other admission requirements.

PDF fileDownload the program brochure

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At a Glance

  • Completion of a four-year undergraduate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited institution with a minimum grade point average (GPA) or equivalent of 3.00/4.33 (B) in the last two years of study:
    • Undergraduate Child and Youth Care (CYC) degree from a Canadian university; or college of applied arts in Ontario; or
    • Completion of an undergraduate degree in Family Studies, Child and Youth Studies from a Canadian university, plus 2,080 hours (one year, full-time) of direct service experience in a child and youth service setting. Note: Hours of direct service requirement is waived if student has a Child and Youth Worker/CYC diploma from an Ontario college; or
    • Completion of an undergraduate degree in an allied discipline (Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Early Childhood Studies, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Aboriginal Studies), plus 4,160 hours (two years, full-time) of direct service experience in a child and youth service setting. Note: Hours of direct service requirement is reduced to 2,080 hours (one year, fulltime) if student has a Child and Youth Worker/CYC diploma from an Ontario college.
  • Statement of interest covering the following three components (400-600 words each):
    • Core concepts, issues and themes in CYC practice
    • Your aspirations for leadership in CYC practice
    • Your potential major research paper (MRP) interest areas
  • Resumé/CV
  • Two academic or professional references

For detailed fees information visit Fees by Program.

  • Anti-violence efforts in schools
  • Black youth and school discipline
  • Child and youth participation
  • Child protection
  • Child sexual abuse, child sexual abuse images online (CSAIO), child sexual exploitation
  • Children’s rights and citizenship
  • Clinical CYC practice
  • CYC approaches to research
  • International CYC practice
  • Management and policy development in CYC
  • Narratives from Indigenous Elders
  • Online relational practice
  • Organizational change
  • Over-representation of black youth in child welfare
  • Peer violence among incarcerated youth
  • Relationships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples
  • Residential care and treatment
  • Rights-based approaches
  • Trauma
  • Faculty members with access to the Ontario government, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, NGOs
  • Highest research funding per faculty member*
  • Intensive Policy Analysis certificate program
  • International placements and connections
  • Social Innovation programs and lecture series
  • TA/RA positions in CYC research and undergraduate program

* Faculty of Community Services

  • Advanced Clinical Practice in CYC
  • CYC Research Methods
  • CYC Theory
  • International CYC Practice
  • Management and Policy Development in CYC
  • Online Relational CYC Practice
  • Social Innovation in CYC Practice
  • Supervision in CYC Practice

Admissions Contact

Graduate Studies Admissions Office
11th Floor, 1 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON
Telephone: 416-979-5150
Fax: 416-979-5153

Program Contacts

Dr. Judy Finlay
Graduate Program Director
Research areas: Peer violence among incarcerated youth, children's rights and citizenship, narratives from elders, relationship among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples
Telephone: 416-979-5000 ext. 4809

Amber Rebello
Program Administrator
Telephone: 416-979-5000 ext. 2288
Fax: 416-979-5153

“The CYC MA program will open your mind, challenge your assumptions and has the ability to change your life, if you let it.”

Hailey Kavanagh, CYC BA and CYC MA alumna
Male grad student sitting on bench beside window with city outside

Student Profile

Graduate education helped Travonne Edwards (child and youth care MA alumnus) amplify his efforts in helping youths facing adversity.

student working at a desk

How to Apply

Once you’ve made an informed choice about which program(s) you are going to apply to, preparing your application requires careful research and planning.


At Ryerson, we understand that pursuing graduate studies is a significant financial investment. Funding comes from a combination of employment contracts (as a teaching assistant), scholarships, awards and stipends. There are a number of additional funding sources – internal and external – available to graduate students that can increase these funding levels.

Finding a Supervisor

Students should apply to the program first. Applications that meet the minimum requirements of the program will be forwarded to faculty members in the program for review. Successful applicants will be invited to visit the program and meet with faculty members that are interested in supervising them as a graduate student in their research group. A matching system is used to find the best students/supervisor match (using input from both applicants and faculty members). After a suitable match is determined, an official offer of admission will be sent with the supervisor named in the offer.