Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years

UK fee

£9,250 per year (2022/23)

UCAS points

72 (September 2023 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Top 30for Education**The Guardian University Guide 2022
Top15overall satisfaction for Education**Complete University Guide 2022

Interested in our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies but worried that you don’t have the formal qualifications you need? We now offer the degree with a foundation year so that you can enjoy all the benefits of this distinctive course and achieve your full honours degree in four years.

  • Start at foundation year stage if you have the ability and ambition to study for a degree but don’t meet the formal entry requirements to apply for the full honours degree
  • 96% of Derby graduates were in work or further study within six months of completing a full-time degree. (HESA, 2016)
  • Progress to a career where you can make a genuine and lasting difference to children’s lives: this course is an excellent foundation for fulfilling roles in health, education and social care
  • Discover how children develop, learn and think from birth to eight years, gaining the professional skills and knowledge to meet their needs
  • From stage one onwards, you'll undertake a work placement for one or two days each week to gain valuable practical experience working with young children
  • You'll have the opportunity to apply for a place on a four-week international placement at a school in Milan
  • Enjoy learning which is relevant, up to date and meets the highest professional standards, inspired by our multi-disciplinary academic team

By taking a foundation year, you will gain a firm grounding in the skills and knowledge you need to complete our full BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies. It provides an excellent introduction to a fascinating subject and gives you the opportunity to complete the honours degree in four years – even if you don’t possess the formal qualifications you would normally need.

Your first steps into a rewarding profession

There can be few more worthwhile careers than working with young children, helping them to reach important milestones and to develop skills that will last a lifetime.

On our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Foundation Year you’ll consider the importance of early childhood from a broad range of perspectives and gain a solid understanding of how children develop, learn and think from birth to eight years.

You’ll build your skills in identifying and meeting children’s holistic needs and explore all the challenges and opportunities faced by early years professionals working in a variety of children’s services.

The role of professional and personal development is an important theme for this course. By spending a substantial amount of time on placement from stage one onwards, you'll be able to draw on your own practical experiences with young children.

We also give you the opportunity to achieve extra qualifications as part of your studies, such as the British Red Cross Paediatric First Aid certificate which is valued by employers. 

Real-world learning on placement

You’ll undertake a placement for one or two days each week, building your skills in working with children and boosting your employability.

Thanks to our close partnerships with nurseries, children’s centres and other early years employers across the region, you will have the chance to experience working in different settings. As well as developing your observational and reflective skills, this will help you make more informed career choices for the future.

There is also the opportunity to go on fieldtrips to places such as the Museum of ChildhoodThink Tank Museum and Eureka Children’s Museum.

Build a global outlook

We offer you the chance to apply for an international placement so that you can gain valuable new perspectives on the profession. Successful applicants spend four weeks in Milan - working in a pre-school and living with a local family.

Other European fieldtrips have seen our students visit the famous Peto Institute in Budapest to gain insights into its groundbreaking work with children who have complex disabilities. Such international experiences look great on your CV, while enhancing your confidence and independence.

Experience and expertise

Our academic team is highly experienced and includes renowned researchers and published authors. This means your course is underpinned by the latest thinking and innovative ideas which are changing the face of early childhood studies.

We undertake important studies into subjects ranging from creativity for early years professionals to social constructions of childhood, from the pressures faced by new parents to ways of engaging fathers in early years settings.

There may even be the chance for you to contribute to fascinating research initiatives yourself. Our students have, for instance, worked with school children and community groups to draw up ideas for improving the play and educational potential of various parks in Nottinghamshire. 

We also run annual conferences where you can share findings from your own projects with an audience of fellow students and practitioners.

High student satisfaction rates

You will receive plenty of encouragement and guidance from tutors who are approachable, dedicated and passionate about their subjects.

You’ll learn in our Kirtley Building which offers first-rate facilities for our Education and Childhood Studies students. It includes specially designed collaborative learning spaces and a large hall for practical activities and observing learning in action.

Explore your personal interests

The variety of optional modules on offer means that you can tailor your studies to match your personal interests and career aspirations. These modules could cover themes as diverse as children’s literature, family dynamics, health and inequality, child protection and children across the world.

Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more

Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.

Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.

What you will study

    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.

    Kedleston Road, Derby Campus entrance

    Undergraduate Open Days

    The best way to find out if studying at Derby is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the city and campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

    Book your Undergraduate Open DayBook your Undergraduate Open Day

    How you will learn

    You’ll be taught through lectures, seminar activities and tutorials to support you through your assessments and group work.

    How you're assessed

    During your foundation year you will be assessed mainly by coursework, and with some in-class tests.

    From stage one onwards, you’ll be assessed using case studies, essays, independent research, online tests, posters, presentations and reports. There are no exams.

    Children playing in a forest area

    Outdoor Learning Space

    Learn how to apply education in an outdoor setting, using nature to improve the personal, social and technical skills of children.

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    Personal academic tutoring

    Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

    Find out more about personal academic tutoring

    Who will teach you

    Headshot of Helen Simmons smiling

    Dr Helen Simmons
    Programme leader

    Dr Helen Simmons is a Senior Lecturer and the Pathway Leader of the MA Education (Early Years Pathway) at the University of Derby. Helen has undertaken research and publication relating to leadership in the early years and early years policy, and her thesis focused on surveillance within modern motherhood.

    View full staff profileView full staff profile

    Entry requirements

    2023 entry

    These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2023 entry.

    RequirementWhat we're looking for
    UCAS points72
    A LevelDDD
    T LevelPass
    GCSEGCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at Level 2 as part of your course of study
    Access to HEPass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2

    Additional entry requirements

    English language requirements

    IELTS: 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each skills area)

    Fees and funding

    2022/23 Fees (August 2022 - July 2023)


    £9,250 per year





    Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

    Additional costs and optional extras

    How to apply

    Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

    UK students

    Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS.

    Apply through UCASApply directly to the University


    This is the ideal time to embark on an Early Childhood degree. Well qualified and dedicated early childhood professionals are now in demand across health, education and social care settings. This is a rapidly growing area of employment in the UK, with new opportunities emerging in the independent, private, public or voluntary sectors.

    This qualification is your chance to shape and influence many young lives – and the value of the foundation year route is that you can start your study journey even if you don’t initially meet the entry requirements for the full honours degree.

    Our graduates are now pursuing successful careers as early years practitioners and nursery managers. There are ample opportunities for promotion and progression to leadership positions in children’s services too.

    You could also advance to further studies to broaden your career scope. Some of our graduates have, for instance, gone on to train as children’s nurses by undertaking a shortened two-year Paediatric Nursing qualification. You could also consider our exciting range of postgraduate courses, including the MA Education or MA Social Work.

    Please note that this course does not lead to Qualified Teacher Status. However, if you’d like to train to be a teacher, you can apply to study our PGCE Primary.

    Contact us

    If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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    Additional information about your studies

    Teaching hours

    Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

    Additional costs and optional extras

    We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

    Please also note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, if your course offers fieldtrips, the location of these may change or be cancelled. If this happens, you will be communicated to in advance and we will do our very best to seek out other practical opportunities to ensure your experience is not affected.

    The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

    Included in your fees
    • The initial DBS check
    • Accredited Paediatric First Aid training
    • Resources used during creative workshop sessions
    • Induction activities and visits Any in-class visits (Guest workshops)
    • All visiting speakers to enhance module content e.g. Social Worker, Health Visitor, Early Childhood Academic Discipline Area Conferences such as Early Childhood Studies Conference, Contesting Childhood Conferences, Education & SEND Conferences and Symposium, Careers Conferences
    • Placement travel costs that exceed stated amount per day (2020-21 stated amount currently £5 per day) for the mandatory days/hours required for the placement module (Level 5) and practitioner status requirements (Level 4-6) (policy guidance must be followed)
    Mandatory costs not included in your fees
    • Replacement DBS check if lost approx. cost £50
    • Placement travel costs that exceed £5 per day
    Optional costs not included in your fees
    • Certificated Makaton training, British Sign Language approx. cost £295 which includes registration and exam fees. Students can pay by instalments.
    • Field trips abroad that offer enrichment opportunities – these are optional, approx. cost £430-£1000
    • You may choose to buy textbooks, journals, data sticks, stationery texts
    • Memberships to sports clubs and societies encouraged but not mandatory, approx. cost £17 for Athletic Union membership plus club fee and £7 for societies card plus society fee

    Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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