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Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)

UCAS code: L520

What is the nature of early childhood? How has our understanding changed over time and how is that different in different societies? Study early childhood with us to explore the perceptions and realities of early childhood and consider how we can make positive changes to their lives. Expand your learning further on field trips across the UK and Europe.


Course length: 3 years full-time
6 years part-time
Start dates: September 2024
September 2025
Location: Edge Hill University
Example offers: BCC-BBC (A Level) or DMM (BTEC) View full entry criteria
Subject(s): Sociology and Social Sciences
Faculty: Arts and Sciences
Department: History, Geography and Social Sciences

On this early childhood studies degree, you’ll explore the nature of childhood, of young children and their families, and the provision made for them. You will reflect on your own childhood in order to understand how it has been shaped by wider social and cultural influences. You will study the latest developments in the field from a range of different perspectives in order to analyse children’s lives and how we can positively influence their outcomes.

You will apply theories from disciplines including sociology, psychology and philosophy to critically analyse issues around policy and legislation for young children and you will learn about alternative theories which will allow you to consider the diverse experiences of young children and families locally, nationally and internationally.

There are lots of job opportunities in the early years sector. The early childhood studies course will help you expand your interest in children’s early years development, or prepare for a career working with children aged 0-8.

You’ll go on field trips in the UK and Europe. You’ll also have the chance to achieve an Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Certificate (ECGPC) – this will allow you to enter the job market for professional early education roles up to level 6. You’ll be a step ahead of graduates who don’t have the certificate.

You’ll develop transferable skills throughout your degree. This opens up a range of career or further study options, beyond working with early years.

Watch this video to learn more about our early childhood studies degree.

Course features

  • International students can apply

  • Learn a language option available

  • Sandwich year option available

  • Studying abroad option available

  • Work placement opportunity

What you'll study

The degree starts with an introduction to early childhood studies to equip you with the analysis tools you need for Year 2 and 3. We’ll talk about childhood in the broad context of world development and change. We’ll also introduce you to social and developmental psychology, social policy, and education studies. In Year 1, you can enrol on the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Certificate (ECGPC) which you’ll complete across all three years of your degree.

Compulsory modules:

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Introduction to Child Developmental and Social Psychology
Children and Young People in Society
Early Years Pedagogy
Introduction to Social Policy and Welfare
Working with Young Children and Families

One of:

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Exploring the Social World
New Venture Creation
Language 1

Year 2 of the early childhood studies degree is about developing your academic and research skills and investigating contemporary perspectives on early childhood education and care. With optional modules, you can explore a range of topics in early childhood studies including early years education, health and social care, or social work. If you’re working towards the ECGPC, you’ll do more work placements and use the knowledge you’re gaining from your modules to add to your portfolio.

Compulsory modules:

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Contemporary Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Care
Becoming a Social Researcher

Four of:

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Children, Family and the State
Children, Food and Sustainability
Children’s Cultural Worlds
Early Years Specialism
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Promoting Equality in Childhood
Representations of Childhood and Popular Culture
Doing Social Research
Work-based learning and Employability
Language 2

Year 3 of the early childhood studies course lets you focus on critical theory and practice of the early years sector, including education, social services, and social work with children and their families. Explore ways of working with young children in an anti-oppressive and inclusive way. In this year you can also study early childhood education and care in an international context, take part in an international field trip, complete a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice, and complete your ECGPC.

Compulsory modules:

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Contemporary Issues in the Early Childhood, Education and Care

Three of:

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Contemporary Theory, Policy and Practice in Education Services
Critical Autism Studies
Critical Perspectives on Children’s Health and Well-being
Enterprise Management
Graduate Practitioner Professional and Reflective Practice
International Perspectives on Early Childhood, Education and Care
Issues of Professional Practice
Self-Directed Study
Social Work with Children, Young People and Families
European Field Trip
Work-based learning and Employability 2
Language 3

Where your course includes optional modules, these are to provide an element of choice within the course curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements. Some restrictions on optional module choice or combinations of optional modules may apply.

How you'll study

The early childhood studies programme is taught via lectures, presentations, seminars, workshops, small group work and tutorials. Sessions are often interactive and make use of tutor and student presentations, video recordings, newspaper articles, ICT-based learning and research evidence. The emphasis is on student-centred learning, which encourages you to raise questions, evaluate sources, critique theoretical debate and develop your own analyses.

All students can choose to build a national and a European field trip into their optional studies. This involves an intensive, brief period of study in London and/or a major European city such as Amsterdam.

Timetables for your first week are normally available at the end of August prior to enrolment in September. You can expect to receive your timetable for the rest of the academic year during your first week. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities.

How you'll be assessed

Progress and achievement are assessed using a variety of methods, such as essays, case studies, portfolios, poster and oral presentations, analysis of interview findings, completion of directed tasks, and enquiry reports.

There are no formal written examinations as part of the current assessment methods on this degree.

Who will be teaching you

Staff are engaged in cutting-edge research in a number of crucial areas of social science, including subjects of contemporary significance, such as child protection, disability, mental health and sexuality and gender studies.

Your degree will be supplemented by a series of research seminars and other talks. These will feature academic staff and visiting guest speakers from a range of professions and organisations.

Entry criteria

Entry requirements

Typical offer 104-112 UCAS Tariff points. No specific subjects are required.

Example offers

Qualification Requirement
A Level BCC-BBC.
BTEC Extended Diploma (or combination of BTEC QCF qualifications) Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM).
T Level Overall grade of Merit.
International Baccalaureate (IB) We are happy to accept IB qualifications which achieve the required number of UCAS Tariff points.
Access to Higher Education Diploma 45 credits at Level 3, for example 9 credits at Distinction and 36 credits at Merit or 15 credits at Distinction and 30 credits at Merit. The required total can be attained from various credit combinations.

Please note, the above examples may differ from actual offers made. A combination of A Level and BTEC awards may also be accepted.

If you have a minimum of two A Levels (or equivalent), there is no maximum number of qualifications that we will accept UCAS points from. This includes additional qualifications such as Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), AS Levels that haven't been continued to A Level, and General Studies AS or A Level awards.

English language requirements

International students require IELTS 6.0, with a score no lower than 5.5 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

If your current level of English is half a band, one band, or one-and-a-half bands lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.

How to apply

Apply full-time

Apply online through UCAS

Read our guide to applying through UCAS to find out more about the application process.


Apply as an international student

Please see our international student pages for further information about how to apply as a prospective international student.

Part-time applications require a direct application to Edge Hill. Please select the year of entry that you wish to apply for.

Apply for September 2024 part-time.

Apply for September 2025 part-time.

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

Did you know?

If you join a full time undergraduate degree at Edge Hill University, we will guarantee you the offer of a room in our halls of residence for the first year of your course.

Discover our accommodation


Geosciences buildingThe Department of History, Geography and Social Sciences is based in the Geosciences building. The contemporary facilities combine with a friendly and supportive learning environment to ensure that your studies are a rich and rewarding experience.

The Geosciences building features a large lecture theatre, small group teaching rooms, IT facilities and smaller tutorial spaces. There is also a large social area which encourages a more informal and interactive style of learning.

Where you'll study



Tuition fees

UK Full-Time


a year

UK Part-Time

£77 per credit

for 360 credits



a year

The University may administer a small inflationary rise in tuition fees, in line with Government policy, in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

Financial support

Subject to eligibility, UK students joining this course can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of tuition fees. UK students enrolling on the course may also be eligible to apply for additional funding to help with living costs.

Please view the relevant Money Matters guide for comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals can ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). If you are an EU student who does not have settled or pre-settled status, or are an international student from a non-EU country, please see our international student finance pages.

Your future career

This course will help you prepare for a wide range of careers, in areas like:

  • the early years sector
  • social services
  • education
  • health authorities
  • the voluntary sector
  • the private sector

You’ll have specialist knowledge of children’s development from ages 0-8, and transferrable skills that will help you in any role. You might also like to complete further specialist study and postgraduate studies.

Achieving an Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Certificate (ECGPC) alongside your degree could significantly enhance your employability and bring you more opportunities. You will have over 80 hours of work experience, as well as a portfolio of evidence to show what you’re capable of.

Having the ECGPC means you can apply for roles requiring an early education professional up to level 6. You’ll be at a real advantage compared to graduates without the certificate.

Course changes

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, however our courses are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of professional bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Track changes to this course

Discover Uni: Full-Time Study

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Download our course leaflet