BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education

About the course


This programme is for those wishing to become graduate practitioners in the early childhood sector. It focuses on young children’s education, development and care from conception to the age of 7 years and students will have the opportunity to become self-aware, reflective graduates able to operate in multi-professional contexts. The programme content draws on international research and practice, including global perspectives of children, different Early Childhood curricula and established as well as emerging theory.

Year 1 modules focus on personal and professional development as well as on theory. In Year 2, theory is linked to practice through work-related learning and a placement (or in your own work place). The final year includes a research project and you can specialise in a particular area of interest based on a choice of different modules. 

Why choose this course?

The course can be studied both full and part time, making it suitable for students who have recently completed A levels, as well as Early Childhood practitioners who are already in employment and wish to enhance their level of qualification. There is currently one entry point at Level 4 for those starting their first degree.

Students will have the opportunity to become self-aware, reflective graduates able to operate in multi-professional contexts.

Entry requirements...

2017 entry 

UCAS have introduced a new tariff for 2017 entry so the points being asked for are substantially different to previous years.

104 UCAS points 

IB - 104 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above.

Access to Higher Education qualifications are welcomed with a profile of 45 Level 3 credits at merit or above.

Maths and English Language GCSE Grade 4 or above (Grade C or above under the old grading structure).

All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band. 

If you do not have the required IELTS or equivalent for direct entry on to your degree programme, our Pre-sessional English and International Foundation courses can help you to achieve this level.

For country specific qualifications, please visit our Your Country page.

2018 entry 

104 UCAS points 

GCSE Maths and English Language at grade 4 or above (Grade C in English Language and Grade D in Maths under the old grading structure)

IB - 104 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above (with the remaining points to come from a combination of HL, SL and Core).

Key staff

Module tutor (Creativity & Learning) Carol Timson
Carol Timson’s teaching areas include music, music & movement, and creativity.
Find out more about Module tutor (Creativity & Learning) Carol Timson

Module Tutor Chris Collins
Chris Collins has a particular interest in children and staff well-being. She teaches child development, interprofessional education, and personal and professional development.
Find out more about Module Tutor Chris Collins

Module tutor (Global Perspectives and also Transitions) Dr Lyn Trodd
Dr Trodd has a particular interest in child development, children’s experience of transitions and international education.
Find out more about Module tutor (Global Perspectives and also Transitions) Dr Lyn Trodd

Module tutor (Global Perspectives) Dr. Bushra Connors
Dr Connors teaches on a number of different programmes focusing on wide spectrum of topics in relation to philosophy of education, politics and economics.
Find out more about Module tutor (Global Perspectives) Dr. Bushra Connors

Module Tutor Nancy Small
Nancy Small is a High Scope specialist and takes a particular interest in different pedagogical approaches.

Module tutor (Personal and Professional Skills) Professor Joy Jarvis
Professor Jarvis is Professor of Educational Practice and introduces students to learning in higher education.
Find out more about Module tutor (Personal and Professional Skills) Professor Joy Jarvis

Placement Tutor and Module Leader Sue Nimmo
Sue Nimmo teaches on a range of different programmes with a specific emphasis on creativity and learning, child development and early childhood pedagogy.

Programme Leader Ute Ward
Ute Ward is responsible for the whole programme and teaches on several modules ranging from global issues to research matters. Her own research interests focus on the work with parents and families and on professional development.
Find out more about Programme Leader Ute Ward


The School of Education has an excellent record of employment. Graduates from this degree will be equipped for careers with children and families in a range of different sectors and roles. They can enter into employment as graduate professionals, offering theoretical knowledge and understanding as well as practice experience. Graduates will also have the underpinning knowledge to progress to Postgraduate teacher training courses (dependent on other selection criteria) or to continue studying for a Masters Degree.

Work Placement

The second year of the course focuses on applying theory to practice through work-related learning. To support this you will undertake an extended placement in an early childhood setting of approximately 22 days. Your learning in the taught modules during Year 2 is closely linked with your experience in the placement. If you are already in work you may not need an additional placement but the placement tutor may recommend some visits to other settings.

Study Abroad

This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad in Year Two through the University's study abroad programme. Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme.

Find out more about Study abroad opportunities


Year 1

Core Modules

  • An Introduction to Interprofessional Education

    The module is designed to give students the opportunity to work in multi-professional groups in order to improve understanding of a range of professional roles and encourage co-operative learning and working. The rationale for and benefits of inter-professional working are explored. Learning will be through multi-professional group seminars and tutorials that require students to access and gather appropriate data from a range of sources and apply this to a series of practice-based, simulated scenarios and exercises

  • Creativity and Learning

    This module takes an experiential learning approach and you will explore a range of creative activities. Through taking part in a range of arts and craft activities you will be able to reflect on your own feelings when given choices and to consider what they, in turn, could offer children. You will be expected to visit some settings during the module to discover what creativity and creative practice looks like in settings other than their own.

  • Early Childhood Development

    In this module you will explore the development, education and care of babies and young children from a range of perspectives. Recent research, current issues and the use of observational skills will be highlighted. You will develop an awareness of the uniqueness of each child and family and will explore how to adapt practice to meet individual needs. The module will encourage you to reflect on your own childhood to promote empathy and greater understanding of child development and theory. You will begin to develop your pedagogical creed.

  • Global Perspectives on Childhood

    This module uses the study of national and international educational contexts to enable you to examine key concepts affecting young children and their families around the world and in the UK. The module is inquiry-based and includes the development of a website to disseminate to early childhood professionals the knowledge created by small student research groups. Through the study of global issues, government policy and case studies from different countries an understanding of global citizenship and awareness of intercultural issues is fostered.

  • Personal and Professional Skills

    This module is designed to support your knowledge and understanding in relation to the personal and professional skills required to work effectively in early childhood settings. It will draw on your experience and encourage you to explore and reflect on your own beliefs and values as well as your skills and attributes. You will consider how these may impact your future work with children, families and other professionals. The module will give you the opportunity to start developing the academic skills embedded throughout the programme.


Year 2

Core Modules

  • Child Study

    This module builds on the inquiry you undertook in the module Designing an Inquiry and your learning from the Pedagogical Approaches module in the previous semester. It will enable you to understand and critique case study research, as well as undertake your own child study using some of the data you gathered in the previous semester. You will use additional research methods to gain information on a child, evaluate the data and based on your understanding of child development and pedagogy, argue for appropriate activities to enhance the child’s education and care.

  • Children’s Wellbeing

    This module is designed to build on the holistic view of children in the context of early childhood practice which was introduced at level 4. You will investigate current and emerging theory, research and policy relating to the health and wellbeing of children and explore the implications for practice. Embedded in the module is the expectation that you will learn how to draw on a range evidence to substantiate your view through the interrogation of texts, discussing issues in seminar and in whole class groups and individual research and study.

  • Designing an Inquiry

    This module extends your learning from the Global Perspectives on Childhood module from Year 1 by introducing different research methods commonly used in educational settings. You will gain some knowledge and understanding different research tools. You will explore a range of observation techniques in early childhood settings, compare and contrast their merits and shortcomings when observing young children, and interpret the information gathered.

  • Pedagogical Approaches

    This module will enable you to build on your knowledge of early childhood environments in the UK and develop your understanding of different pedagogical approaches and curricula. These will be drawn from a wide range of different countries and perspectives, for example, Montessori’s approach, the Reggie Emilia philosophy, Te Whariki, and the Early Years Foundation Stage in the UK. The curricula and approaches are examined to reveal underpinning concepts of children, teaching and learning in the relevant cultural, historic, political and economic context. You will reflect on your practice or placement experience to understand and critique the application in practice of different theoretical approaches and the role of the adult within them.

  • Psychological Perspectives

    This module uses psychology to provide perspectives on different ways of understanding children and adults in early childhood settings. You will use psychological theory as a critical tool to examine young children’s learning, care and education. The engagement with psychological concepts and perspectives will help you to understand potential connections and discontinuities as well as enable you to plan appropriate interventions to support young children.

  • Transitions in Early Childhood

    You will examine different aspects of, and approaches to, early childhood transitions, and will develop ideas of ‘good practice’ in supporting young children’s transitions. Module content will include consideration of how transitions can affect children’s well-being such as chronic illness, special educational needs and disability. You will also consider how transitions can provide significant challenges to those who work with young children, challenging their own assumptions and theories as well as their practice.


  • Study Abroad - BA Early Childhood Education

    This is an optional module that enables participants to study abroad for one semester. The module comprises a suitable programme of study in the field of early childhood education with a partner institution. A learning contract is devised between the University of Hertfordshire and the host institution. The participant’s programme of study will be negotiated and approved by the Programme Tutor (or nominee) in consultation with appropriate others and the host University. It is intended that this module will enable participants to learn through taught or flexible modules and research, or a combination on these components. Participants will reflect upon their experience of studying abroad, which will prepare them for study in their final year and enhance their employability after graduation.

Year 3

Core Modules

  • Developing my Pedagogical Creed

    In this module you will to engage with concepts in early childhood education, using philosophical ideologies. You will explore and critique concepts central to early childhood education theory and practice. Topics may include: children’s rights, differing concepts of childhood; social, cultural, political and economic factors affecting early childhood education and care. This module consolidates skills of criticality, reflection and professional development through philosophical educational exploration and provides scope for you to reflect on their development over the course of your undergraduate studies.

  • Research Project

    This module enables you to investigate an area of early childhood education you are particularly interested in. Lectures and seminars are designed to help you select and define a topic for investigation and implement a research activity utilising appropriate methods for handling and analysing data. You will be involved in independent enquiry, data collection, analysis and presentation of material plus evaluation of the outcomes. Selection and critical appraisal of relevant literature is also required.


  • Developing Mathematics and Literacy in Early Childhood

    In this module you will extend your understanding of children’s holistic learning and development with a focus on supporting mathematical concepts and language & literacy. You will study the characteristics of effective learning in relation to adult-led and child-initiated play and learning opportunities. Through visits to early childhood settings and through reflections on your own practice you will develop your ability plan appropriate learning environments and activities for young children.

  • Interprofessional Working in Early Childhood Settings

    The module is designed to give students opportunities of working in groups in order to improve their understanding of professional boundaries and encourage collaborative learning and working that will bring benefits to children and their families. In particular the multi-professional nature of early childhood services will be explored, including initiatives like children’s centres, Team-around-the-child meetings and family nurse partnerships. Students will enhance their ability to work with different professionals to support children’s well-being, learning and development.

  • Pedagogical Leadership

    This module enables you to develop your ability to lead others to provide learning and development opportunities for young children. You will explore issues of team work, staff support and change management to prepare you for the tasks of a graduate practitioner. Adult learning, team effectiveness and approaches to change management will be explored. This will help you to devise and effectively argue for a change you have identified.

  • Special Education Needs and Disability

    In this module students will develop their knowledge of the varying educational needs and disabilities of young children and how these can be supported in early childhood settings. Amongst the needs considered will be autism, aspergers, dyslexia, hearing impairment and other. In addition to children’s needs the needs of their families will be explored and discussed.

  • Working with Parents, Families and Communities

    This module will enable you to understand and plan effective partnerships with parents, families and communities for the benefit of young children enhancing your confidence and ability as a pedagogical leader. You will explore and critique theory, models and recent research into parental engagement to develop an understanding of effective practice. Topics will include relationship building, barriers to parental engagement, empathy and love in early childhood settings, and inclusion of culturally and ethnically diverse parents. To support the principle of the child in family and society, the module will enhance your understanding of adult and family learning, community development and family support work.

Fees & funding

The government has yet to announce the upper limit of Tuition Fees for applicants wishing to study an undergraduate course in 2018/19. As soon as this information becomes available, our website will be updated and we will contact everyone who has applied to the University to advise them of their Tuition Fee.

Fees 2017

UK/EU Students

Full time: £9,250 for the 2017 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged £1155 per 15 credits for the 2017 academic year

International Students

Full time: £11,350 for the 2017 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged £1420 per 15 credits for the 2017 academic year

*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

View detailed information about tuition fees

Other financial support

Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

Living costs / accommodation

The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

View detailed information about our accommodation

How to apply


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201727/05/2018Apply online (Full Time)
26/09/201726/05/2018Apply online (Full Time)
25/09/201725/05/2018Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201727/05/2018Apply online (Part Time)


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201827/05/2019Apply online (Full Time)
26/09/201826/05/2019Apply online (Full Time)
25/09/201825/05/2019Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201827/05/2019Apply online (Part Time)


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201927/05/2020Apply online (Full Time)
26/09/201926/05/2020Apply online (Full Time)
25/09/201925/05/2020Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201927/05/2020Apply online (Part Time)