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Early Childhood Studies - BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

The Early Childhood Studies degree at London Metropolitan University was one of the first degrees of its kind in the UK, developed to meet the demand for well-qualified early childhood specialists working with young children and their families across all sectors.

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A unique feature of this undergraduate degree is that it's designed for both experienced practitioners and those new to the early childhood field. As well as offering flexible study opportunities, our degree includes assessed practice, which means tutors visit/appraise you in professional settings. This appraisal, combined with our entry requirements is important for you to be classified as having a license to practice. These factors will impact your salary when you seek employment in the early years’ sector.

The focus of the course is the study of the play, development and learning of children from birth to six years old in a sociocultural context and the implications this has for practice in early childhood settings. The course emphasises the links between theory and practice, and highly values the development of professional and academic skills and knowledge.

This degree will equip you to implement effective practice with children and families in a range of situations and to act as an advocate for their rights and wellbeing. The early childhood studies course team includes writers and researchers at the forefront of the field who are passionately committed to enabling, empowering and inspiring students to make transformational changes to their own lives and to the lives of children, families and communities. We'll aim to do this by:

  • valuing our students' individual experiences and existing knowledge
  • embracing different opinions and experiences
  • ensuring that issues of equality and social justice underpin our work
  • engaging in continuous critical reflection and analysis
  • working with integrity, energy and enthusiasm

Continue through regular consultation regarding the needs of the workforce. This results in bespoke course development and continuing professional development training. Many students also benefit from employer/employee tuition fee funding.

The course team is closely linked to all the major early childhood national organisations as well as having connections with academic colleagues and students internationally through their teaching and research activities.


Assessment is based on coursework with no formal examinations.

Entry requirement for full-time students

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • 112 UCAS points achieved through a Level 3 qualification in early years/childcare, ie NVQ3, CACHE/BTEC Diploma or a recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma in a related subject
  • two references and evidence of an enhanced criminal records check
  • GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above, or equivalent such as Functional Skills or Key Skills at Level 2

We recommend that you have GCSE Maths at grade C or above, but this is not an essential requirement for entry to the programme.

Entry requirement for part-time and distance learning students

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of two years’ full-time employment experience of work with young children
  • current employment as a practitioner with children from birth to six years, or be able to undertake a placement in an early childhood setting for a minimum of two hours per week per module studied
  • met the standard entry requirements of a Level 3 qualification in early years/ childcare: ie NVQ3, CACHE/BTEC Diploma or a recognised access to higher education certificate in a related subject
    two references and evidence of an enhanced criminal records check
  • GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above, or equivalent such as Functional Skills or Key Skills at Level 2

If you don’t have traditional qualifications or can’t meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Early Childhood Studies Extended Degree BA (Hons).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Due to statutory requirements, we are not able to offer sponsorship under the Tier 4 visa route for this course. We will be happy to consider those falling into this category for an alternative suitable course on request. Overseas nationals who already hold an alternative visa in a suitable category or have been granted permission to remain in the UK indefinitely, and EU nationals may be considered for admission but please note that an additional international enhanced police check will be required.

Accelerated study

If you have relevant qualifications or credit from a similar course it may be possible to enter this course at an advanced stage rather than beginning in the first year. Please note, advanced entry is only available for September start. See our information for students applying for advanced entry.

Specific qualifications that may make you eligible for advanced entry to this course include an Advanced Diploma in Childcare and Education (ADCE), a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a foundation degree in early childhood studies.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday

    This module will examine approaches to the early childhood curriculum in England and a selection of other countries and how these curricula relate to range of theories of learning and pedagogical approaches. The development of and relationship between pedagogy and curriculum will be located within social and political contexts and the practical implementation of curriculum approaches will be explored.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    This module considers issues of identity development and diversity and their implications for the care and education of babies and young children. Equality issues, including the legislation surrounding special educational needs, children’s curricular entitlement and developing a listening culture will be explored.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    This module explores theoretical perspectives on babies’ and young children’s personal, social and emotional development ages 0-6 . The impact of cultural and social factors will also be considered and the implications of these theories and factors for provision and practice with children aged within the birth to six age range will be explored.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester
    • autumn semester - Tuesday morning
    • autumn semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module aims to develop the students’ understanding of the theoretical and the practical aspects of providing for babies’ and young children’s communication and linguistic development. It encourages students to examine and debate fundamental issues relating to communicating in a multi-lingual environment and considers the importance of cultural and social aspects as part of the process. The relationship between symbolic representation and language learning is explored.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester
    • spring semester - Tuesday morning
    • spring semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module considers a range of theories of babies’ and young children’s cognitive and representational development. Approaches to curriculum implementation that support the creativity and learning of babies and young children and the way in which they represent or express ideas and feelings will be analysed.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    This module prepares students for their second professional placement and offers students the opportunity for assessed practice in a work setting in order to gain occupational practice recognition in early childhood. The taught element focuses on pedagogy, roles and responsibilities within the multidisciplinary context of early years settings. During the professional placement students undertake a range of observations and hands on practice supportedby setting mentors and university supervising tutors.
    The placement consists of day and block placements in a range of settings providing care and education for children from birth to 6 years old and their families.

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    This module aims to examine a range of theories relating to social constructions of childhood and the implications of this for Early Years practice. It will consider representations of children and childhood, including those in the media. It will consider a range of historical, cultural, philosophical and theoretical perspectives on early childhood such as feminism and post-modernism andincluding lived global childhoods and majority world perspectives

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester
    • spring semester
    • autumn semester - Friday morning
    • autumn semester - Tuesday

    This module focuses upon the main research methodologies used in the study of early childhood, preparing students for their own research projects as well as enabling them to read and critique the research of others.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    This module aims to examine a range of theories relating to leadership and management styles and approaches in the early years. It explores approaches to developing teams and a shared vision, managing change and concepts of quality and evaluating provision. The range of professions and occupations involved in the provision of early years services will be identified and the benefits and challenges of multi-professional working will be explored.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester
    • spring semester - Tuesday
    • spring semester - Friday morning

    This module investigates concepts of families and parenting in a historical and socio-cultural context. It will research working in partnership with families and carers and will critically evaluate multi-professional models and strategies of assessing children and families and working with parents / carers.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)
    • all year (September start)

    Students undertake a piece of independent research and study an area of particular interest in early childhood studies.

    Read full details.

The Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) can be studied as a full- or part-time degree, maximising opportunities for flexible study.

Full-time students will attend classes in the daytime. Part-time students may choose to either attend classes at the University in the evening or study by distance learning, or a mixture of the two (mixed mode).

Full-time students are required to complete assessed professional placements in early childhood settings at Level 4. Applicants who are new to the field without a full and relevant Level 3 qualification who choose to achieve practitioner option are required to complete assessed professional placement at Level 5. The total number of hours required for assessed practice is 400 hours. 

Students who are experienced practitioners are required to be working with young children during their studies in either a paid or voluntary capacity.

Year 1 (Level 4) modules include:

  • Adults and Children as Learners: An Introduction to Studying Early Childhood
  • Perspectives on Children’s Development
  • Understanding Play
  • Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing

Year 2 (Level 5) modules include:

  • Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood
  • Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development Matters
  • Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement: Part 2 (option)
  • Creative Thinking and Representation from Birth To Six (option)
  • Communicating in Multilingual Contexts (option)

Year 3 (Level 6) modules include:

  • Debates on Children and Childhood
  • Reflective Leadership in a Multi-professional Context
  • The Project
  • The Child, the Family and the Wider World
  • Reading Research and Research Methods in Early Childhood

"I find the course content very interesting. The tutors are supportive and the feedback I get on my work is really useful.” Rachel Kent

"The course was a great chance to build on what I already knew and helped me discover interests in areas I didn't consider previously." Billy Olly

"My knowledge in childcare has developed tenfold since taking part in this degree course. The tutors are not only incredibly knowledgeable but also unbelievably supportive giving 100 per cent. It's because of their support and belief in me that I am hoping to apply for my master's degree." Natasha Curzi-Micallef

Graduates of this degree go on to pursue a variety of careers in education, health and social care sectors. The success of our graduates reflects the current need for well-trained graduates who can quickly move up to more senior roles in children’s centres, nursery and primary schools, and other early childhood care and education settings.

Some students go on to specialise in a particular area such as special educational needs, while others take up advisory posts in local authorities or government departments.

A significant number of students continue their professional studies, whether it's through the PGCE route to teaching or at postgraduate level. 

We're investing in an exciting, multimillion pound transformation of the London Metropolitan University campus, between 2016 and 2020. We’re moving all of our activity to one place, our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching locations of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

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How to apply

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

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