Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:


  • Level:


  • Duration:

    3 years Full Time
    4 years with Foundation
    3-6 years Part Time

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK 24/25:

    Full Time: £9,250
    Part Time: £1,540 per 20 credit module
    Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250

  • Fees International 24/25:

    Full Time: £15,200
    Integrated Foundation Year: £15,200

  • Location:

Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries

0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries

+44 (0)1604 893981

Follow the Early Years team


The BA Early Childhood Studies degree at the University of Northampton takes a holistic approach to the development of young children, from conception to the age of eight and provides opportunities to apply this learning in placement settings. The degree draws on a range of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, early years pedagogy, policy, law, health, philosophy, and leadership and management, providing you with the breadth of knowledge to pursue careers in early childhood education and care, education, health and social care.

The part time route for the degree in early childhood studies is ideal for anyone looking to fit study around existing commitments. You could expect to be on campus for approximately eight hours per week. If you are not already working in a related role you would also need to attend a placement for half a day per week. In addition to the taught sessions you would need to commit around six hours per week to independent study.

Top 10 For Childhood And Youth

The University of Northampton is a top 10 institution for Childhood and Youth Studies in the Complete University Guide league tables for 2022.

Top 10 in Childhood & Youth Studies, from the Complete University Guide League Tables 2022

Updated 30/11/2023


  • Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies
  • Arranged placements are an integral part of the Early Childhood Studies course
  • Trips and opportunities to visit a European country to enhance learning
  • Paediatric and Mental Health First Aid training included as part of the course
  • Guaranteed interview for PGCE Primary Education (5-11) (QTS) on completion (T&Cs apply)
  • HP Laptop and software included with this course for eligible students.*
  • Guaranteed paid internship with the Northampton Employment Promise.

*See eligibility criteria, terms and conditions apply

Course Content

  • The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree has been designed to contribute towards achieving the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: SDG3 Good Health and Wellbeing and SDG4 Quality Education.

    This Early Childhood Studies course will give you a broad understanding of the theoretical and professional issues that underpin the care and education of infants and young children. By studying the perspectives of various disciplines and professions you will be prepared for a career in any aspect of Early Childhood Education and Care, equipped to work with families and colleagues from a variety of professions.

    You will gain an understanding and awareness of the rapidly evolving nature of early childhood education and care provision in England, Europe and throughout the world. Divided into specific modules, this childhood studies degree covers children’s development and learning in the context of the family, the community and wider national and international contexts. You will benefit from specialist sessions with professionals in the fields of special educational needs, social work, cultural diversity and creative and therapeutic approaches. You will receive paediatric first aid training as part of the course.

    You will study a range of subjects relevant to early childhood over the three years of the programme including:

    • child development and theories of learning and play
    • children’s health and wellbeing
    • respecting and protecting children’s rights
    • Safeguarding children
    • equality of opportunity
    • family and community experience and support
    • multi-professional and inter-disciplinary collaboration
    • reflection on your own experience and learning

    Taught sessions, reflective written tasks and self-evaluation in the Personal Learning Portfolio (PLP) will ensure that you have the opportunity to fully analyse the significance of the context for your academic study and research. Your tutors and placement mentors will provide ongoing feedback to support your personal, professional and academic development.

    We are so committed to Early Childhood Development, we have campaigned to ensure that Early Childhood Development is at the heart of the post-2015 Development goals. For more information, watch our video on the campaign for Early Childhood Development.

    The Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies evidence your development of skills within this field and indicate that you have the enhanced skills, and knowledge, that are needed when working with young children and their families.

    Placement opportunities are a real strength of our early childhood studies degree, enabling you to consolidate your academic learning in practice. You will also have an opportunity to visit or study in a European country to see the early years provision in a different context.

    Graduate Practitioner Competencies

    Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies

    These Competencies focus heavily on the application the academic elements of degree programmes in placements. You will meet the nine competencies through assessed observations of practice, practice-based tasks and academic assessment.

    The nine 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

    The BA Early Childhood Studies is taught by a team of experts in the fields of early childhood studies, education, health, inclusion and social care, giving you real, practical knowledge that will be invaluable in your future career.

    This course will help you to:

    • develop knowledge and understanding of early childhood within diverse cultural, inter-disciplinary and multi-professional contexts
    • acquire a critical understanding of relevant theory and research in the field of early childhood and equip you with the skills for independent investigation
    • critically analyse contemporary issues and debates in early childhood policy, practice and services for children and families including international perspectives
    • become an articulate, confident and reflective graduate, capable of making informed career choices and transferring your knowledge to a range of relevant contexts

    Read about how Early Childhood Studies graduate Kym Chalmers is set to join the challenging mission of transforming the lives of the most vulnerable members of society as she joins the Frontline programme.

    Dr Eunice Lumsden, Head of Early Years gives her take on the current Early Years situation.

    Please note the modules shown here relate to the academic year 23/24. The modules relating to the academic year 24/25 will be available from June 2024.

    • Your first placement will give you a grounding in the field of Early Childhood, developing your knowledge and understanding, with a particular focus on the role of communication when working with young children.

      • Module code: EYS1012
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to enable students to develop the underpinning knowledge necessary to understand the role of health in a child?s holistic development and inter-agency approaches in Early Childhood.
      • Module code: EYS1118
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to promote personal, academic and professional development. It supports the transition to higher education and lays down the foundations for reflective professional practice, through engagement with the theoretical perspectives in Early Childhood Education and Care. Research and academic writing skills will be developed.
      • Module code: EYS1120
        Status: Compulsory
        This module introduces students to ethical principles and practice in the study of Early Childhood Education and Care. Students will be introduced to ethical procedures when working with children and families.
      • Module code: EYS1121
        Status: Compulsory
        This module underpins the professional expectations of roles within Early Childhood Education and Care. This explicitly links the skilful application of knowledge to practice, and practice to knowledge developed in other modules, laying the foundations for reflective professional practice through engagement with the theoretical perspectives.
      • Module code: EYS1122
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide an introduction to the development of children with detailed reference to Early Childhood theories. Students will gain the underpinning knowledge necessary to enable them to develop a holistic understanding of all aspects of young children's development that will support all other studies on the programme.
      • Module code: EYS1123
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is students? professional development. It supports the application of theoretical perspectives of Early Childhood Education and Care in a placement setting and the development of reflective professional practice and employability skills.
      • Module code: FHS_IPE20
        Status: Compulsory
    • As you move into your second year you will be more informed and comfortable with the basics of Early Childhood Studies and your placement will focus on the importance of diversity and inclusion.

      • Module code: EYS2113
        Status: Compulsory
        Thr purpose of this module provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of children's aesthetic development. Students will be introduced to a range of creative and therapeutic approaches to working with children. Connections will be made with students practice and placement experinces.
      • Module code: EYS2117
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide interdisciplinary insights into safeguarding children, child abuse and the needs of children 'Looked After' by local authorities. It will provide essential grounding in multi-professional work and holistic approaches to working with children and families.
      • Module code: EYS2118
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide students with an understanding of legislation, policy and contemporary issues related to living in a diverse society. Module content will focus on the features and impact of this diversity, allowing students to analyse a range of contemporary issues related to childhood.
      • Module code: EYS2119
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to focus on young children as active learners in the context of play. It builds on previous modules by examining theories of learning and how these translate into everyday practice. Understanding of the importance of factors influencing children?s learning and ethical research will be developed further.
      • Module code: EYS2120
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to support continuing development of personal, academic study and professional skills. It extends previous learning on communicating and engaging with children and families/carers. It will have a specific focus on reflective practice, multi-professional working and anti-discriminatory practice. Placement opportunities allow the application of this learning and the development of reflective practice. It will also support understanding about the importance of research methods and ethics.
      • Module code: EYS2121
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to give students a sound understanding of the issues and debates related to Special Educational Needs and Disability, inclusion and the impact on learners. Students are encouraged to apply knowledge of and reflect upon these contemporary issues.
    • The final placement of your degree normally takes place in a setting that supports your pathway module choice. There will be a focus on how government policy is translated in practice, giving you the opportunity to distinguish between different services for young children, see exactly what services are on offer and the benefits they can have for families. There is the opportunity to arrange your own placement in consultation with the placement co-ordinator. You will also undertake a self-organised placement to support your individual research project.

      • Module code: EYS3126
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide a framework for students to develop their understanding of research, to enable them to critique and evaluate published research in relation to work with children and families. Practical exercises will help students to build their own research capacities prior to undertaking research for their Dissertation.
      • Module code: EYS3136
        Status: Designate
        The purpose of this module is to build on and extend previous learning. It is designed to support students in their application of knowledge and skills in health and social care and to inform their practice and research in early years.
      • Module code: EYS3137
        Status: Designate
        The purpose of this module is to support students' further development as reflective Early Years practitioners, who are able to apply their knowledge of theories and principles of child development and organisational and regulatory requirements to their individual practice and pedagogy. It aims to establish confident Early Years graduates who draw on integrated knowledge to lead and support colleagues, raise expectations, manage change, transitions and improve practice within Early Years settings and services being mindful of multi-agency working.
      • Module code: EYS3139
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to involve students in the study of the theory and practice of leadership and management techniques used in the provision of Early Years and children's services. The growing body of international research concerning management and leadership in early years and children's services is analysed and considered, in the context of preparing students for future professional roles in leading and supporting others.
      • Module code: EYS3140
        Status: Designate
        The purpose of this module is to allow students to evidence their knowledge, understanding and skills in order to achieve the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies. Through evidencing high-level academic knowledge students by way of completion of a portfolio of evidence and a viva voce, the student will show that they can meet the competencies.
      • Module code: EYS3141
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to focus on students? professional development. It supports the application of theoretical perspectives of Early Childhood Education and Care in a placement setting and the development of reflective professional practice and employability skills. Students are encouraged to seek placement opportunities, authorised by the Partnership Tutor to ensure that the organisation is providing a suitable safe learning experience. Students will be expected to adhere to the expectations of the placement, and that of the placement organisation. All students will either have a placement visit or, for those students who have organised a placement at a distance from the University, a telephone conversation with a member of the module team.For work-based students the placement is their employment setting.
      • Module code: EYS4105
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to support students design and carry out a small-scale investigation into a topic/aspect of practice or policy of their own choosing within the broad area of services for young children and families. In doing this students are demonstrating graduate skills associated with a significant piece of small-scale independent research. Normally students are expected to have had some preparation in research methodologies and methods before embarking on this module through the completion of EYS 3126.
  • In addition to general entry requirements, applicants are expected to hold GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent in English and Mathematics.

    A typical offer would be:

    • CCC at A Level or,
    • MMM at BTEC or,
    • Pass (C and above) at T Level

    You will be expected to demonstrate your commitment to Early Childhood Studies by having previous experience of working with children under the age of eight.

    Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are also required.

    Integrated Foundation Year (IFY) Entry Requirements

    The standard entry requirements for the Integrated Foundation Year are:

    • DEE at A level or,
    • MPP at BTEC or,
    • Pass (D or E) at T Level
    English Language Requirements

    All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

    • IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent)
      for study at undergraduate level

    For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.

  • 2024/25 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 24/25 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,540 per 20 credit module
    • UK – Integrated Foundation Year (IFY): £9,250 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA/BSc rate).
    • International – Full Time: £15,200
    • International – Integrated Foundation Year (IFY): £15,200
    2023/24 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 23/24 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,540 per 20 credit module
    • UK – Integrated Foundation Year (IFY): £9,250 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA/BSc rate).
    • International – Full Time: £14,750
    • International – Integrated Foundation Year (IFY): £14,750
    Additional costs

    Placement is compulsory on this Early Childhood Studies BA degree and this may involve you traveling between campus and the placement setting. You will be the responsible for the cost of this travel. There are a number of recommended texts to buy during your studies.

    The typical price of course books for each year is as follows:

    • First year: approximately £100
    • Second year: approximately £60
    • Third year: approximately £40

    During the programme you will have the opportunity to join study trips. Previously, these have included a week in Sweden, a term in a European country (through the Erasmus scheme) and trips within the UK. All study trips are optional and the costs vary year on year. Typically, this is £400 for Sweden, flights and in-country expenses for the Erasmus scheme and UK trips vary from around £10. Students normally allow an additional £100-£250 for their overseas expenses.

    Scholarships and Bursaries

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

    For more information about possible funding options, please visit our Fees and Funding pages.

  • At the University of Northampton, everything we do, from funded trips to paid internships, is to give you everything you need to make a difference when you leave.

    If you join our full-time Early Childhood Studies degree at Northampton, you will receive a laptop when your course begins*. The laptops are built to a bespoke custom specification ideal for use in the seminar room, collaborative group work or studying at home.

    Whatever your ambitions, we’re here to help you to achieve them. We’ll support you to identify the skills you’re learning during your course, find your strengths and secure practical experience so that when it comes to applying for jobs or further study you’ll feel confident in standing out from the crowd. We’ve created the Northampton Employment Promise because we are so confident that if you focus on your studies and complete one of our awards you’ll be highly employable by the time you graduate. Putting you in a great position to secure employment or continue your studies.

    To check out the full list of perks, visit our Student Perks page or dedicated International Perks page.

    * UK fee payers only (see Terms and Conditions for further details)

  • The Integrated Foundation Year (IFY) offers a new and exciting route into studying for an Early Childhood studies course, attracting ambitious and driven students who are willing to learn and advance.

    If you have non-standard qualifications or do not quite meet the admissions requirements we can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year programme which includes an Integrated Foundation Year. The Integrated Foundation Year will help you develop the theoretical/practical and academic skills you need, in order to successfully progress to the full award.

    Our four-year courses will enable you to successfully follow the degree pathway of your choice while gaining essential study skills. The foundation year of your chosen degree will be studied on a full-time basis and is aimed at supporting the transition to higher education. Years two, three and four are then studied as a standard degree programme.

  • Are there any study trips?*

    In your second year, you will have the opportunity to spend a term studying and on placement in another European country. If a term is too long then you may prefer to spend a week in an alternative country to compare the Early Years in an alternative culture and context. This will cost around £370.

    We also offer optional study trips within the UK, such as visits to London (approximately £10) and Burghley House (approximately £6). These costs have been covered by the University in the past.

    Are there work placements?

    The Early Childhood Studies degree includes placements in each of the three years, giving context to your academic study and providing you with professional development. You will have up to 25 days on placement in years 1 and 3, and 30 days placement in year 2. You may find that there are additional costs involved with your placements, such as travel. Placements are linked to the graduate competencies and ensure that you will be able to meet the full and relevant criteria at Level 3 to work in early childhood education and care settings.

    How will I be assessed?

    There are no exams on this course. Instead, you will complete written assignments, presentations, projects, posters and professional development portfolios.

    Who can I contact for more information about Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)?

    For more information about the Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) please contact Tanya Richardson.


Eunice Lumsden, Head of Childhood, Youth & Families and Professor
Eunice Lumsden

Head of Childhood, Youth & Families and Professor

Faculty of Health, Education and Society

Peter Goy, Senior Lecturer in Education (CYF)
Peter Goy

Senior Lecturer in Education (CYF)

Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)


Postgraduate and Careers

Guaranteed Interview: Teacher Training

If you complete your degree in Early Childhood Studies with us and apply for the PGCE Primary Education (5-11) (QTS) programme at the University of Northampton during your final undergraduate year, you are guaranteed an interview.

Terms and conditions apply:

  • Interviews are subject to you meeting the entry criteria for the course, we require a minimum 2:2 degree and relevant GCSEs
  • An interview does not guarantee an offer to study on the course
  • Places are limited and applications will close once the limit has been reached

Successful completion of this course can lead onto further studies if required.  BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies graduates could progress on to study PGCE Primary Education (5-11) (QTS) MA Social Work, MSc Child and Adolescent Mental Health, MA Special Educational Needs and Inclusion and many more.

Our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies graduates have gone on to a range of professions, including, but not limited to: early years practitioners, teachers, social workers, child protection roles, advisory roles, play therapists, university lecturers and nursery managers.

Please see the careers map for more information.