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Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 2 years

UK/EU fee

£5,040 (2020/21)

International fee

£5,040 (2020/21)

Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date




Online course description

If applying for September 2020 intake:
Application deadline is 6 September and term starts 21 September, so apply now.

From September 2020, the University of Derby will be one of a few universities in the UK to offer an online graduate level part-time course in early childhood studies.

If you already work in an early childhood setting and hold a Level 5 qualification, this course allows you to top-up to a full BA (Hons) degree with two years of online study. This course will deepen your knowledge of early childhood studies to meet the demands of integrated care and education for children from birth.

An online top-up degree is ideal if you currently juggle work and family commitments.

Your learning is supported by a research active academic team

You will develop a broad understanding of early childhood education and care that can be applied in social care and health, education and related areas. You will be taught by experts in the field and will benefit from the latest research discoveries from a committed multi-disciplinary academic team. This will ensure your learning is relevant, up to date and meets the highest professional standards.

26thout of 121 UK institutions**Guardian University Guide 2020
Goldstandard teaching**Teaching Excellence Framework

Critical application of theory to practice

Explore how children develop, learn and think from birth to eight years, building the professional skills and knowledge to meet their needs. You’ll advance your professional development through studying core modules including The critically reflective practitioner, child protection and leadership. The curriculum is structured to provide a cohesive focus on the key aspects of childhood studies from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

By working in a collaborative online learning environment, you will broaden your horizons in your learning by sharing experiences with your fellow students from across the world.

Enhance your professional development plan (PDP)

This online course will allow you to integrate personal development planning (PDP) into your workload. Opportunities throughout the online course for PDP are included through the application of learning materials to current practice within early childhood studies, as well as the use of critical reflection within modules.

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.

This course supports your development of early years study, synthesising theory and practice in an applied and critical manner. The course is structured into five key modules including:

Stage 1Stage 1

Code: 6EY501

Child Protection

This module is intended to extend your existing theoretical and practice-based knowledge and understanding of the role of Early Years’ practitioners in protecting children from abuse and supporting children at risk.

The module examines the current legislative and procedural framework for child protection and the responsibilities of the multi-disciplinary team within us.

You will explore the legislative and procedural framework for protecting children and the role of the different agencies and multi-disciplinary teams involved and their approach to child protection.

The socially constructed nature and incidence of child abuse within the culture and cross-cultural contexts of British society will be explored.  Effective models of practice will be examined with reference to both the role of practitioners in supporting children at risk and examples of failures to provide such protection.

Consideration will be given to the individual’s personal and emotional response to abuse in the context of the professional requirements in this area. You will be asked to reflect on your own understanding of child abuse and the wider influences on this to develop a critical and considered approach to this sensitive issue.

Module learning outcomes

1. Articulate and discuss issues relating to the role of legislation and child protection procedures in supporting the child at risk. 

2. Critically examine and analyse the role of different agencies and professional within the child protection process. 

3.  Demonstrate a sound understanding of the roles, including their own role, of the multi-disciplinary approach to child protection.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6EY502

Leadership in Early Childhood Education

This module will address some of the key issues for leaders in early years’ settings and the challenges they face.

This will include consideration of the professionalism agenda, the different types of leadership styles and development of leadership skills.

This module will involve analysis and discussion of theories of management and leadership relevant to early childhood education and care settings. Central themes of leadership and effective team development and the processes required for the management of change will be examined. It will provide opportunities to explore the role of interpersonal communication skills for enhancing leadership for individuals and the wider professional team.

The legislative framework, within which leaders in early childhood settings work will be examined, alongside the role of developing good practice in line with policy and organisational aims.

Module learning outcomes

1. Demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of the overall framework within which Early Childhood Education and Care leaders work. 

2. Critically examine the skills and abilities required for leadership in early childhood setting and discuss the ways in which leaders can develop and promote good practice. 

3. Critically draw on your own experience and the theory of conflict resolution with reference to emotional literacy. 


More information
20 Credits

Code: 6EY503

The Critically Reflective Practitioner

This module explores ideas and theories about the purpose of critical reflection and its use to practitioners and students.

It will enable you to recall, explain, analyse and reflect upon your own professional practice and personal development through the nurturing of critical thinking skills. It provides an opportunity for you to bring together your academic and practice-based journey and personal progression.

Building on previous core modules, your focus will be centred on your own self-awareness across your personal, academic and professional progress. You will draw upon what others have said particularly in relation to critical theory and current sector-related issues.

You will produce a personal development plan to reflect on the experience and knowledge you have gained to guide your future development.

Module learning outcomes

  1. Appraise and apply the key concepts and theories in academic literature associated with the role of critical reflection on practice.
  2. Provide reflection on and evaluation of your personal, professional and academic journey.
  3. Evaluate a contemporary issue through application of critical thinking.
More information
20 Credits

Code: 6EY504

Contesting Childhood

This module will develop your critical thinking skills through developing your understanding of childhood; recognising it is a contested phenomenon.

You will explore competing ideas from history, philosophy, psychology and sociology about the concept of ‘childhood’ and children’s development. You will reflect upon current research findings to consider how different groups consider the notion of ‘upbringing.

During this module you will develop an understanding of the competing narratives and discourses about our thinking surrounding the concept of childhood and young children’s development. There will be opportunities to explore research findings, participatory and presentation activities and opportunities to reflect critically from your own learning and practice experiences.

Module learning outcomes

  1. Provide a critical and reflective comparison of modern and post-modern ideas about childhood.
  2. Question how modern and post-modern discourses provide a critical appreciation of young children’s development.
More information
20 Credits

Code: 6EY998

Independent study

This module provides a distinctive and unique aspect to the course. It gives you the opportunity to study independently and research an area of care and education of younger children which is personal to you.

This module will consist of a taught component followed by a self-directed independent component with the support of an allocated supervisor.

The module will provide you with the opportunity to review a range of evidence in relation to your specific topic using systematic and clear methodologies which may be developed further in practice, postgraduate study or research.

Module learning outcomes

  1. Reflect critically upon a defined topic relevant to early childhood studies.
  2. Independently construct and manage a project. Critically appraise and analyse evidence in relation to the area of study.
  3. Articulate the contribution of the study to individual personal development, professional practice and further training or development.
More information
40 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

Who will teach you

Emma Twigg in the classroom.

Emma Twigg
Programme leader

Emma Twigg is a Senior Lecturer and Assistant Programme Leader on the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree at the University of Derby.

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Student wearing headphones at a laptop participating in an online webinar

Study Early Childhood Studies Online at Derby Webinar

Wednesday, 9 September 2020 14.00 - 15.00

Join this webinar to discover more about studying an Early Childhood Studies (Top-Up) BA (Hons) online at Derby. The webinar includes a 30 minute presentation from Dr Helen Simmons, Programme Lead for Early Childhood Studies.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

Entry requirements

You’ll need one of the following:


Exemptions can be made on the basis of prior academic study, professional qualifications or professional experience. Students that have already studied at another institution, completed a training course or have work experience which appears equivalent to one or more modules of this programme, may be able to translate this prior learning into credits towards course modules so that they do not have to study them again. This is called recognition of prior learning or RPL.

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:

For international students, if you do not hold IELTS, we will accept the following:

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2020 and August 2021.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £840 6 £5,040

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

Undergraduate funding options

Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for an undergraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to meet the cost of tuition fees.

If you already hold an honours degree, and you are looking to re-skill or up-skill, you may still be eligible for a loan to study this course.

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

Documents to support your application

You'll need to provide:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


This course is ideal for anyone currently working with children across health, education and social care, or anyone interested in early childhood as an academic discipline. It is suitable for those wishing to broaden their skills and career by taking additional qualifications. Well qualified professionals will find there are ample opportunities for promotion and progression to leadership positions in children’s services.

Following completion of this course, graduates can also consider our exciting range of postgraduate courses, including the MA Education, MA Childhood or MA Inclusion and SEND.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

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