Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 1-2 years

UK fee

£5,430 (2024/25)

International fee

£5,430 (2024/25)

Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date




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 one or 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.

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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.

small child wearing wellies in outdoor setting
child and carer sitting outside with toys on a blanket
small child wearing apron painting with green paint

A talk from our academic

Our Programme Lead for Early Childhood Studies, Jenny Boldrin, talks about our online Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) Top-Up course.

Our Programme Lead for Early Childhood Studies, Jenny Boldrin, talks about our online Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) Top-Up course.

View our online Early Childhood Studies course video transcript

If you have any further questions you can contact-us.

Online learning graduate Karen Spring at graduation

How Karen was enriched by her online degree experience

Karen Spring is passionate about working with children. And she decided to study our Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) online top-up degree to gain a deeper understanding of children and their unique childhoods.

Read Karen's storyRead Karen's story

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:

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.

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Online Discovering Online Learning webinar: June 2024

Thursday, 6 June 2024 12.00 - 13.00

During this hour long webinar, we'll take you through how online learning works and what you can expect as an online student with the University of Derby.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

How you will learn

Pace of study

The academic year is made up of three 10-week terms, known as trimesters. We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.

If you opt to undertake the accelerated study plan whereby you will study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.

Should you decide to study on the accelerated rate you should ensure that you have the capacity to fully engage with your studies and achieve the best grades and final award, you will need to balance approximately 40 hours of study per week alongside your professional and personal life and commitments.

If you do choose the accelerated rate of study during the enrolment process, a member of the academic team will contact you to discuss with you the level of commitment involved with this pace of study.

It may be useful to consider studying one module at the standard rate of study before deciding whether to then increase to the accelerated rate of study.

There will be 1/2 virtual classrooms over the 10 week trimester and if you are unable to attend you will be able to download the session to view in your own time.

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.

Student support and guidance

Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:

All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.

Who will teach you

Jenny Boldrin

Jenny Boldrin
Programme leader

Jenny Boldrin is a Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies Degree and the Academic Lead for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies Online Top Up.

View full staff profileView full staff profileExplore all staff on this courseExplore all staff on this course

Get a taste of the course content

Our Early Childhood Studies (Top-Up) BA (Hons) course taster will give you an idea of how online learning works. It includes a selection of content from a course module so you can see what some of our learning material looks like.

You will need to complete a short form to access the course taster.

Try our course tasterTry our course taster

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:

Find out more about our English language requirements

Fees and funding

2024/25 for new entrants

Starting between September 2024 and August 2025.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £905 6 £5,430

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course based on the fee 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.

If you are required to undertake any associate study or additional study as a condition of your offer for the programme, please be aware that the cost for this will be in addition to the programme cost stated above.

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from two payment plan options:

*Please note: the discount for paying your fees up front will only be available to students enrolling for eligible online studies between August 2023 and July 2024 and will not be available for the September 2024 intake onwards.

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 are considering applying for a student loan, please also see our additional guidance on Loans for Online Students.

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

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

Apply directly to the University.

Apply now

For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.

Documents to support your application

In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:

*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.

Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.

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 or MA Inclusion and SEND.

Utilise our Careers and Employment Service​

Whilst you are a student at the University of Derby, and for 3 years after you graduate, our Careers and Employment Service can assist you with job search advice, CV creation, workshops and events, as well as one-to-one appointments with employment advisers to help with career planning and interview preparation.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

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