Available in clearing

 - Call +44 (0)1332 592019

Course details

Study options

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

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2019/20)

International fee

£13,250 per year (2019/20)

UCAS points

112 (September 2019 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start dates

January, September


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

This course is available as a Joint Honours degree.

View Joint Honours optionsView Joint Honours options

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

Course description

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:

  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 and Helen Simmons, Programme Leaders: BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

Top25for Education**The Guardian University Guide 2020

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. 

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.

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.

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

Real-world learning lies at the heart of this course. You’ll undertake a placement for one or two days each week, building your skills in working with children and boosting your employability.

We liaise closely with nurseries, children’s centres and other early years employers across the region, so you’ll gain practical knowledge of what it is like to work in different settings as well as developing your observational and reflective skills.

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. 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.

If you would like to widen your international outlook further still, you also have the opportunity to study abroad in the second semester of stage two. Under the Go Places, Go Further scheme, we have agreements with universities in Amsterdam and Brussels where you can explore a new culture and enhance your career potential.

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.

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, 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:

University of Derby athlete overlaid on neon green chevrons pointing right on a black background

Our Clearing hotline is now open

It’s not too late to secure your place for September. Call our Clearing hotline on +44 (0)1332 592019 to secure your place for 2019.

Contact our Clearing teamContact our Clearing team

What you will study

You will study modules such as:

  • 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
  • Developing Employability
  • 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.

Students welcoming guests to a Buxton Open Day

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

You’ll be assessed using case studies, essays, independent research, online tests, posters, presentations and reports. There are no exams.

Entry requirements

September 2019 typical entry requirements

UCAS points112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
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.

A Disqualification by Association (DBA) statement is required for this course. In some circumstances an Ofsted Waiver may also be required. We will contact you with information on how to complete this when required. More information.

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

2019/20 Fees


£9,250 per year

£1,155 per module


£13,250 per year


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.

Full-time students applying to start in January should apply directly to the University.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International 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.

Students applying to start in January should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


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).

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

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.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

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.

Contact us Contact us

† Additional information about your studies

Full-time: September. January starts available for part-time, level 6 students only.

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, state-of-the-art 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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