Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

UCAS points

72 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

This course is available as a Joint Honours degree.

View Joint Honours optionsView Joint Honours options

Course description

Top25for Education**The Guardian University Guide 2020

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.

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.

To broaden your international outlook further still, there may be the opportunity to study abroad in the second semester of stage two. We have agreements with universities in Amsterdam and Brussels under the Go Places, Go Further international exchange scheme.

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

You will study modules such as

  • English
  • Maths
  • Study Skills for Undergraduate Study
  • Children’s Literature and Education
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Psychology of Education
  • Sociology of Education
  • Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology

If you already have level 2 English and Maths at grades C or above, you will not be required to take English and Maths as core modules.

  • Early Emotional and Social Development
  • Early Language and Communication
  • Play and Creativity
  • Self-Management and Study Skills
  • The Emerging Practitioner
  • The Growing Child
  • Children’s Health
  • Child Protection
  • The Developing Practitioner
  • The Early Years Researcher

Optional modules:

  • Children Across the World
  • Emerging Literacies in the Early Years
  • Creative Approaches to the Curriculum 0-8 Years
  • Family Dynamics
  • The Young Child in School
  • Wellbeing from Birth
  • Technology in Early Childhood (New for 2018/19)
  • Contesting Childhood
  • Critically Reflective Practitioner
  • Independent Study

Optional modules:

  • Child Protection
  • Children’s Voices
  • Creative Possibilities and Opportunities in Early Childhood
  • Health and Inequality
  • International Perspectives
  • Leadership in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • The Young Child in Transition
  • Vulnerable Children and the Law
  • Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability (New for 2018/19) 

Please note that modules may be adapted or added to ensure that the degree meets changing requirements in the sector.

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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Find out more about Early Childhood Studies

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 Open DayBook your 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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Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-levelN/A
Specific requirements at GCSE

GCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at L2 as part of your course of study.

IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

An Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service certificate cleared by the University is required for this course. We will contact you with information on how to complete this once you have applied. More information.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*





* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

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

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit


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. If you’re interested in leading the curriculum in the Foundation Stage, you could also apply to study our PG Cert Early Years with Early Years Teacher Status (0-5).

Headshot of Helen Simmons smiling

Dr Helen Simmons
Programme leader

Dr Helen Simmons is a Senior Lecturer and the Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and 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.

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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

Download programme specification

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.

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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