Undergraduate Course
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Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years

UK fee

£9,250 per year (2024/25)

International fee

£14,900 per year (2024/25)

UCAS points

104-112 (September 2024 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

The best bits

  • 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
  • Opportunities to focus on modules specific to your personal interests and careers aspirations (subject to demand)
  • Broaden your experiences with opportunities including paediatric first aid training and 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

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.

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.

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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. 

Professional credibility

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. Please note, to gain level 3 or 6 practitioner status, you will need to hold a GCSE or Functional Skills qualification at grade C/4 or above in English and Maths. If this is not the case, we can provide funded options to undertake these, alongside your undergraduate studies.

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:

You’ll have a conversation with your personal tutor when you start your studies to decide which of these 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 ChildhoodThink 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. 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 PGCE Primary, 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:

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Graduate level practitioner competencies

The University of Derby offers 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:

  1. Advocating for young children’s rights and participation
  2. Promote holistic child development
  3. Work directly with young children, families and colleagues to promote health, well-being, safety and nurturing care
  4. Observe, listen and plan for young children to support their well-being, early learning, progression and transitions
  5. Safeguarding and child protection
  6. Inclusive practice
  7. Partnership with parents and caregivers
  8. Collaborating with others
  9. 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, Senior Lecturer: BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies lecturers, students and graduates talk about the course and how it can benefit a career working with young children

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

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.

Explore our Outdoor Learning SpaceExplore our Outdoor Learning Space

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

Emma Twigg in the classroom.

Emma Twigg
Programme leader

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

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

2024 entry

These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2024 entry. Contextual offers may apply to students who meet certain criteria.

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points104-112
T LevelMerit
GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade 4/Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification
Access to HEPass 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)

Fees and funding



£9,250 per year

£1,155 per 20 credit module


£14,900 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

If you are in Year 13 and applying for a full-time undergraduate course (including our joint honours courses), we recommend that you apply through UCAS.

Apply through UCAS

If you are applying to study part-time, or already have your qualifications, or wish to join at Year 2 or 3, you should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University


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).

Student testimonial quote from Charlotte Baker
Charlotte Baker, Early Childhood Studies graduate

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.

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
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
Optional costs not included in your fees

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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