Plymouth Institute of Education

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

Take a fresh look at childhood. Exploring the theory and reality of children’s early years from many points of view, this innovative course will help you find your niche in this competitive sector. Investigate issues through the lenses of sociology, social psychology, history, and philosophy. Work directly with young children and their families during the Work Based Learning module. Graduate with a clear view of where your career is going.

Make the most of the opportunities presented by being part of a department that has strong links with universities in Europe, Canada, Africa and the USA and through the International Students’ Exchange Programme.

Key features

  • Explore the relationships between play and learning in your own studies as well as in child development
  • Expand your options beyond traditional teaching and open up further career opportunities in education, social care, community work, psychology, management and research.
  • See for yourself how theories and policies are applied in practice by visiting a wide range of provision for children and families.
  • Learn on the job during the work-based learning placement.  You will gain the practical skills employers are looking for.
  • Take a broader view of children’s development by studying the subject in practical, historical and international contexts.
  • Develop essential skills through a variety of coursework-based assessments – from essays, surveys and child observations to group presentations and video commentaries.
  • Learn from experienced lecturers and tutors who are actively engaged in national and international research projects.
  • Make the most of the opportunities presented by being part of a department that has strong links with universities in Europe, Canada, Africa and the USA and through the International Students’ Exchange Programme.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In the first year, you’ll get an overview of the factors that affect children’s lives and begin considering your own professional identity within the sector. You’ll explore how children grow and develop, drawing on the latest research around thinking, playing and learning. You’ll also gain an understanding of different approaches to observing children. Modules on social policy and equality and diversity will introduce you to key contemporary issues.

    Core modules
    • EEC406 Places and Spaces for Learning and Playing

      Throughout this module students will be introduced to a range of places and spaces that facilitates children¿s learning and play. There will be opportunities to link these experiences with academic theories with an aim to support the students¿ skills in noticing and understanding the process of learning.

    • EEC411 An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies

      A series of lectures given by members of the Early Childhood Studies team, focusing on their own research, interests and enthusiasms, and weekly seminars, will introduce students to the wide range of areas of study which are included in Early Childhood Studies. The diversity of interests and approaches introduced in lectures will be balanced by process of developing study skills and dispositions and integrating themes and ideas by means of active engagement in small seminar groups.

    • EEC413 Children in Society

      This module will focus on the complexity and diversity of young children¿s experiences of growing up in contemporary societies. It will examine some of the key structural changes in important social institutions and early years¿ services and how these affect and influence the lives of young children.

    • EEC414 Understanding Development; Biology and Psychology

      In this module we will explore the nature of the disciplines of biology and psychology. We will look at how biologists and psychologists study young children. We will look at some current biological and psychological perspectives of child development. Students will carry out psychological tasks with young children and reflect upon the implications of what they have found and the nature of their own learning and understanding of children and themselves.

    • EEC415 Politics for Equality

      This module explores the concepts of equality, inclusion, diversity and anti-discrimination and investigates cultural structures, discrimination, social exclusion, power and participation. Students will consider the impact of political and policy developments at global, European, UK and local levels drawing on theoretical frameworks and real examples, including students¿ own experiences, to explore how culture and policy impact on young children and their families.

    • EEC432 Multi Professional Perspectives

      An introduction to the diversity of early childhood settings, their structures and the varied heritages of the practitioners that work with them/in them. Notions such as communication, team work, working with parents and as part of a multi-professional team are explored along with an understanding of self as a reflective practitioner

  • Year 2
  • Your second year focuses on developing your analytical and reflective skills, and expands your hands-on experience during the work based learning module. You will continue to develop your understanding of research while studying children’s development and communication. Throughout this year you will be encouraged to make links with your learning in practice and your academic learning, which will enable you to have a greater understanding of young children and their families lives.

  • Final year
  • In the final stage of the course you will be helped to make the transition from ‘knowledge consumer’ to ‘knowledge producer’. You will use your developing knowledge and experience to challenge, extend and critique other people’s ideas and your own. You will plan and carry out a research project to develop and disseminate understanding of what you have identified as an area of interest and you will continue to develop your capacity to act as a strong advocate for young children and families.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Early Childhood Studies programme specification 6776

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 - 112

Academic requirements

A Level: From a minimum of two A levels. Other combinations will be considered. Preference for social science, health and social care, early years, childcare subjects/qualifications but others are considered.

BTEC: DMM-MMM. Preference for social science/health & social care/early years/childcare qualifications but others are considered

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

International baccalaureate: 26–27 overall. Preference for social science/health and social care/early years/childcare qualifications but others are considered.
English accepted within - Advanced Level = 4, Standard Level = 5
If overseas and not studying English within IB – MUST have IELTS: 6.0 overall with 5.5 in all elements

Pass Access to HE Diploma with at least 33 credits at Merit or Distinction

Third year entry possible with foundation degree or HND in a related subject.

Although it is preferable to achieve GCSE grade C/4 or above in English language and Mathematics for this course, it is not mandatory and the admissions tutor will consider alternative grades. If you choose to go on to study a PGCE, EYITT or a health-related course you will require them. Please contact the Admissions Team on 01752 585858 or email, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.

Individual offers for this course may vary.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered. Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns about meeting the entry requirements listed above we would encourage you to contact the Admissions Team on 01752 585858 or email, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.

English language requirements

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Non-academic requirements

  • All candidates will be required to complete a satisfactory DBS (formerly CRB) Enhanced Disclosure, register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority and complete a criminal convictions self-declaration form.
  • All candidates will be expected to demonstrate an active interest in work with young children, evidenced through placement/practice experience.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,400 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts and Humanities additional costs.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

  • @ Students say: "Early childhood studies is not about learning how to teach children but learning about children and their families' lives"
  • , Visit a wide range of early years settings that are used by children and their families
  • ' Learn on the job with work-based modules
  • A 88% of students agreed staff made the subject interesting (NSS)
  • } 100% students agreed that staff are good at explaining things (NSS)

DBS assessments and other requirements

It is important to note all offers of a place to study with us are made subject to receipt of satisfactory screenings prior to starting your course.

If you do not pass these checks satisfactorily you will not be able to start a course with us.

Learn more about DBS assessments and other requirements

Graduate insight

Student experience

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies graduate Hannah Lunnon shares her experience studying her degree with the University of Plymouth. 

Careers with BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

Do you dream of working with young children, in a children’s centre, nursery or school setting or as a social worker or psychologist or as a researcher? Wherever you want to end up, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is a great place to start.

It’s the combination of academic knowledge and practical skills that makes graduates from this course stand out from the crowd.

Learn more about careers with BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies


* These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Discover Uni (Unistats) is updated annually in September.