If you’d like to make a genuine and lasting difference to children’s lives, our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is an excellent foundation for vital roles in health, education and social care.
- 97% of students said they were overall satisfied with this course in the National Student Survey 2022
- Explore how children learn and develop from birth to eight years, building professional skills and knowledge to meet their needs
- Engage in a variety of placements across the three years meeting the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies and enabling you to achieve practitioner status
- The opportunities to focus on modules specific to your Personal interests and careers aspirations (subject to demand)
- Broaden your experiences with opportunities including a four week international placement at a school in Milan, paediatric first aid training, the opportunity to carry out primary research which could lead to published work
- Benefit from the expertise of a multi-disciplinary academic team who will ensure your learning is relevant, up to date and research informed
- If you complete this course and meet the entry requirements for PGCE Primary, we will guarantee you an interview - see below for full details.
There can be few more rewarding professions than working with young children, helping them to reach important milestones and to develop skills that will last a lifetime. Our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree is your first step to a successful and worthwhile future.
Explore how children develop
You’ll gain a thorough understanding of early childhood from birth to eight years, exploring how children develop, learn and think. You’ll look at the importance of early childhood from a broad range of perspectives.
Our focus throughout is on identifying and meeting children’s holistic needs, so you’ll consider 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, you'll draw on your own practical experiences with young children to advance your knowledge.
Our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies course enables you to gain practitioner recognition if you do not already hold a practical qualification relating to the field.
A contemporary and relevant course, it is included in the Department for Education’s new qualifications list for settings that deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage for children. Our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies enables you to gain practitioner recognition if you do not already hold a practical qualification relating to the field. We offer the following routes to the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies:
- BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies, on completion of Stage 3 (360 credits). This route is known as ‘non-practitioner route’ and is academic only, with no full and relevant practitioner status attached to it. The Level 5 work experience (within the Developing Employability Module at Stage 2) links to the University employability agenda.
- BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies (with Practitioner Options), on completion of Stage 3 (360 credits). Students that complete this route achieve, via assessed work placement, their full and relevant Level 3 practitioner status.
- BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies (with Graduate Practitioner Competencies) (360 credits). Students that complete this route can be counted as full and relevant at Level 3 and meet the early childhood competencies demonstrating practice, skills, and knowledge at Level 6. More details can be found here.
You’ll have a conversation with your personal tutor when you start your studies to decide which of the following routes you’re going to take and the practitioner status you’ll graduate with, following completion of your degree.
Information about qualifications and assessed placements can be found on the Department for Education website and the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN) website.
It means that your qualification will be well regarded by prospective employers – and this is reflected in our strong track record for enhancing students’ career prospects. Latest statistics show that 98.2% of our Early Childhood Studies graduates were in employment or further study within six months of completing the course.
You have the opportunity to achieve extra qualifications as part of your studies, such as the British Red Cross Paediatric First Aid certificate which is an important asset for employers.
Practical experience on placement
Whilst studying our degree you will undertake a variety of placements which will allow you to develop your professional identity whilst working within the early childhood sector. Whilst on placement you will be able to apply theory to practice using a critically reflective approach.
There is also the opportunity to go on fieldtrips to places such as the Museum of Childhood, Think Tank Museum and Eureka Children’s Museum.
Broaden your horizons
Thanks to our strong professional links overseas, you’ll have the chance to apply for an international placement. Successful applicants spend four weeks in Milan, working in a pre-school and living with a local family. It’s an experience which will build your independence, give you valuable new perspectives and provide an impressive addition to your CV.
Other European fieldtrips have seen our students visit the famous Peto Institute in Budapest to gain insights into its ground breaking work with children who have complex disabilities.
Be inspired by leading experts
Our course is delivered by a highly experienced team, including influential researchers and published authors. It means your course is shaped by the latest thinking and innovative ideas which are changing the face of early childhood studies.
Our staff have conducted important studies into a wide range of subjects, 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.
You may even take part in 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.
Our annual conferences also give you the chance to share findings from your own projects with an audience of fellow students and practitioners.
A vibrant learning experience
We pride ourselves on offering a friendly, welcoming learning environment where you will receive plenty of encouragement and guidance. Our tutors 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.
Students will also learn off site which includes opportunities to learn off site e.g. forest school sessions.
Flexibility and choice
If you already have appropriate qualifications and experience, you could start this course at stage two or three.
We offer a variety of optional modules so that you can tailor your studies to match your personal interests and career aspirations. These could cover themes as diverse as children’s literature, family dynamics, leadership, ISEND, health and inequality, child protection and children across the world.
Guaranteed interviews for our PGCE Primary
If you complete this degree and meet the entry requirements for our , we will guarantee you an interview during your final year of undergraduate study (subject to places being available).
Places on our PGCE are highly sought after, so we recommend you apply as early as possible once UCAS opens.
Terms and conditions:
- There are a limited number of places on the PGCE Primary. Once the course is full, applications will close and no further interviews will be held
- Interviews are guaranteed for students who meet the entry requirements for the PGCE Primary, including GCSE grades, degree classification, experience and successful completion of the Skills Tests
- An interview does not guarantee an offer to study on the course
The University of Derby Leads the Way
From September 2018, The University of Derby will be one of only four Universities in the country to offer graduate level practitioner competencies for students studying BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies from Stage 1 of the degree.
The Competencies have been developed by members of the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) in consultation with students and employers, with an aim of ‘strengthening a graduate-led Early Childhood workforce that is responsive to workforce needs and improves outcomes for children’ (ECSDN, 2018).
Students that achieve the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner competencies will meet the nine competencies through assessed observations of practice, practice-based tasks and academic assessment.
The Early Childhood Graduate Competencies are:
- Advocating for young children’s rights and participation
- Promote holistic child development
- Work directly with young children, families and colleagues to promote health, well-being, safety and nurturing care
- Observe, listen and plan for young children to support their well-being, early learning, progression and transitions
- Safeguarding and child protection
- Inclusive practice
- Partnership with parents and caregivers
- Collaborating with others
- Professional development
'We are delighted to have been part of the development of these competencies and to be able to offer our students this important opportunity. These developments will enhance reflective practice, graduate employability and the progression onto post-graduate study. The Early Childhood Competencies will not only serve to strengthen the practice of our students and their critical application of theory to practice but will also make an important contribution towards meeting our on-going aim of building a graduate led workforce for children and families.' Carol Fenton and Dr Helen Simmons, Senior Lecturers: BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
You’ll be taught through lectures, seminar activities and tutorials to support you through your assessments and group work.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed using case studies, essays, independent research, online tests, posters, presentations and reports. There are no exams.
These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2023 entry.
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade 4/Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|Access to HE||Pass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 15, Merit: 24, Pass: 6|
Additional entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS: 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each skills area)
This degree is your chance to shape and influence many young lives. Early childhood roles are a rapidly growing area of employment in the UK – opening doors to stimulating careers in the independent, private, public or voluntary sectors.
Well qualified and dedicated early childhood professionals are in demand across health, education and social care settings. Our graduates are now enjoying successful careers as early years practitioners and managers. You’ll also find there are ample opportunities for promotion and progression to leadership positions in children’s services.
Our degree is an excellent platform to broaden your career scope by taking additional qualifications. 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 can 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 will be guaranteed an interview for our PGCE Primary if you meet the entry requirements.
You could also apply to study our PGCE Post-14 (Education and Training) or PG Cert Early Years with Early Years Teacher Status (0-5).
† Additional information about your studies
Full-time: September. January starts available for part-time, level 6 students only.
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.