Early Childhood Studies

There's still time to apply for September

Register your interest

Study options


BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code:
Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
3 Years
Start date:
19 September 2022

Learn outside the classroom

Learn beyond the classroom with our Woodlands Nursery and Forest School practitioners

Specialise in your field

Choose your area of early childhood expertise with a pathway in Special Education Needs and Disabilities, Mental Health and Wellbeing, or Education for our Sustainable World.

Outstanding Research Impact

87% of our research impact is recognised as "very considerable" or "outstanding" (Research Excellence Framework 2021)

A degree from our Early Childhood Studies programme is ideal if you want to gain a graduate-level qualification that will enable you to work with children aged from birth to 8 years old.

Become a key part of the development of the next generation of superstars, leaders and inspirational people with a degree in Early Childhood Studies. At Staffordshire University, our Early Childhood Studies course is dedicated to taking you on a personalised journey. With a number of pathways of study to choose from, you’ll be able to tailor your degree to the area of education you are interested in. While in the first year you’ll study general principles and curriculum models that are critical across the board, you’ll have the chance to specialise in one of the following areas in your second and third years, or continue to study the area as a broad discipline.:

  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHWB)
  • Education for our Sustainable World (ESW)

With our pathways, you will be able to tailor your modules to gain a recognised expertise in unique areas, whether it’s developing a specialist insight and critical understanding of SEND practice, gaining knowledge and skills to promote and support child wellbeing in MHWB, or motivating actions for sustainable development in ESW.

This degree will prepare you for many types of employment and is supported by employers within the industry. Graduates from our Early Childhood Studies degree have progressed into primary Teacher Training, early years teaching, social work, further education, charity work and management. You'll gain placement opportunities across the birth to 8 years old age range and you'll establish lifelong networks that you can use throughout your career.

On successful completion of study, depending on your choice of specialism pathway, we will issue you with one of the following awards:

  • BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
  • BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Special Education Needs and Disabilities)
  • BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Mental Health and Wellbeing)
  • Ba (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Education for our Sustainable World)

Work placements

During your degree, you’ll have the chance to undertake work-based learning in appropriate settings; exploring your role within the setting and reflecting upon your ability to immerse yourself in the team to stimulate, engage and maintain learning. You will be encouraged to find volunteer work associated with an early childhood context and, where needed, have further directed setting-based experience to accompany specific modules.

Students on our Early Childhood Studies degrees have worked with:

  • Schools
  • Colleges
  • Early years settings
  • SEND settings
  • NGOs
  • Private training organisations
  • Local Councils
  • Armed Forces
  • Prison Service
  • Local Authorities

The Education Department works with local, regional and national employers alongside international university partners to provide students with placement and work experience opportunities both in the UK and abroad. Previous locations have included Italy, Spain and China. We are currently planning this years’ student visit to Tübingen, Germany.

All students will attend work placements in early years settings throughout the programme, they will be expected to undertake work based activities in preparation for their teaching and learning sessions. These may include information exercises such as locating relevant policies and resource audits for review and discussion. Observations of children or work processes in the placement/work setting may be used to inform discussion, such as analysing children's needs, involvement in the planning process or the preparation of work focused learning materials. Placement records will provide support for learners on placement and all students will be supported by a work-based supervisor within the setting.

Course content

As an Early Childhood Studies student, you will develop knowledge and understanding of the factors that impact on children’s learning, development, health, and wellbeing within the 0-8 age range.

In your first year, you will study three core modules which are shared with the Education Studies programme. Studying within a multi-disciplinary context, you’ll learn in a collaborative manner and develop a deeper insight into the wider educational sector. You’ll develop a firm foundation of the necessary knowledge, academic and professional skills which you’ll build upon in your second and third years.

In the second and third year of your studies, you will develop specialist knowledge through studying a further four core modules. You can then elect to follow a specialist pathway and increase your knowledge in areas of professional interest. Our pathways include:

  • Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) – this pathway enables students to develop a specialist insight and critical understanding of SEND practice and appropriate pedagogical approaches for children and young people with SEND.
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing – this pathway enables students who have an interest in promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing to develop an informed understanding of the factors that can impact on mental health and wellbeing and the knowledge, skills and dispositions required to promote and support children and young people.
  • Education for our Sustainable World – this pathway enables students who have an interest in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding required to support and motivate learners to act for sustainable development. Students who elect to study on this pathway will have the opportunity to complete an outdoor learning module which will take place in the Forest School.

As an Early Childhood Studies student, you will also be eligible to:

  • Gain an approved qualification which meets the DfE criteria for counting in the EYFS staff:child ratios.
  • Earn the title of Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner through assessment against the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN) graduate competencies.

Academic year

The course operates on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Typically the majority of modules are 30 academic credits with a smaller number of 15 credit modules. Each credit taken equates to a total study time of around 10 hours. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity. Full-time students take modules worth 60 credits per semester, with part-time students taking proportionately fewer credits per semester. All students take a total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits for the degree as a whole. Your overall grade for the course and your degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6.  The full-time course has one start point in September.

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies: Career Destinations

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies: Career Destinations


Education lecturer Alyson discusses potential career destinations after graduating from our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree.

Sorry, this video requires the use of functional cookies which you have not consented to use. Change your cookie settings or watch the video on the provider's website


The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Standard route

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Education for Our Sustainable World

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Entry requirements

  • Typical UCAS offer: 96 UCAS points 
  • A levels: CCC
  • A minimum of GCSE in English, at Grade C or grade 4

All applicants are individually assessed on their qualifications, skills and experience.

We welcome applications from candidates with a CACHE level 3 Diploma.

You may be required to attend an interview.

Students who wish to apply for the PGCE Primary Education following completion of this degree will need GCSE grade C/4 or above in English, Maths and Science.

We understand that you might have experienced a challenging run up to higher education and may have not met the entry requirements as listed. If this is the case don’t worry, contact us and our team of expert advisors can guide you through the next stages of application, or help you find the perfect course for your needs.

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies: Placements

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies: Placements


On our Early Childhood Studies degree you'll experience a range of placements across a range of age ranges.

Sorry, this video requires the use of functional cookies which you have not consented to use. Change your cookie settings or watch the video on the provider's website

For equivalent entry requirements in your home country, please see the information on our country pages.

Choose your country

Check our entry and English language requirements for your country.




You will have the opportunity to train within a variety of schools based across the region, including Stoke, Crewe, Congleton, Stafford and Tamworth. Placements will aim to be arranged to minimise travel as much as possible

School Setting

You will be placed within a range of different schools, working across the primary age range. You will have the opportunity to work within diverse contexts, within a variety of classrooms with experienced school-based mentors and university tutors.


You will be provided with opportunities to prepare you for employment.

Many graduates from our Early Childhood Studies degrees work as education welfare assistants, nursery managers or within social work teams, supporting vulnerable children and their families.

Others have progressed into primary and early years teacher training. Some have entered postgraduate study.

All students have access to Career Connect, our dedicated careers team.

Education Degrees: Learning Outside The Classroom

Education Degrees: Learning Outside The Classroom


Our Education degrees involve much more than just sitting in a classroom as lecturer Alyson explains.

Sorry, this video requires the use of functional cookies which you have not consented to use. Change your cookie settings or watch the video on the provider's website

Teaching and assessment


The teaching and learning strategies on our Education degrees have been carefully designed to maximise the opportunity for you to use and reflect upon work-based learning. This provides practical contexts for the analysis of contemporary issues and problems of a practical and theoretical nature. We also teach through whole and small group discussion, case studies, individual research, verbal questioning, experiential practical learning, facilitated learning observation, one-to-one tutorials, critical reflective practice, tutor modelling of good practice and observation of other professionals.

Students will also receive guest lectures from external bodies, such as the Makaton Charity, to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to teach students with a range of educational needs. 


Your course will provide you with opportunities to test your understanding of your subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally includes practice or ‘formative’ assessments, for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark. There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. This includes a range of coursework assessments, such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations, final year, independent project and written examinations. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

Learning support

In addition to the excellent support you will receive from your course teaching team, our central Academic Skills team provides group and one-to-one help to support your learning in a number of areas. These include study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills); written English (including punctuation and grammatical accuracy); academic writing (including how to reference); research skills; critical thinking and understanding arguments; and revision, assessment and examination skills (including time management).

Additional support

Our Student Inclusion Services support students with additional needs such as sensory impairment, or learning difficulties such as dyslexia.


You will normally receive feedback on coursework assessments within 20 working days following the date of submission. Examination feedback may take a variety of formats. However, as a minimum, generic feedback will be made available to all students who take written examinations.

Follow the Institute of Education on social media

Follow the Institute of Education on social media


Our students tell you how to connect with the Institute of Education on social media.

Sorry, this video requires the use of functional cookies which you have not consented to use. Change your cookie settings or watch the video on the provider's website

Your study time will consist of class contact hours, self-directed learning, assessment and placements where appropriate. Your actual contact hours will depend on the subject area, on the option modules you select and professional body requirements. A typical composition of study time for this course is:

Year 1

24% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
76% of time in independent study
0% of time in placements

Year 2

24% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
76% of time in independent study
0% of time in placements

Year 3

24% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
76% of time in independent study
0% of time in placements

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, laboratory or other timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve utilising a range of digital resources including our virtual learning environment; reading journals, articles and books; working on individual and group projects; undertaking research in the library; preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. Your independent learning will be supported by a range of excellent facilities. These include the library, open access computer facilities, informal learning zones, a range of laboratories and specialist teaching areas.

Year 1

17% practical exams
83% coursework
0% written exams

Year 2

27% practical exams
73% coursework
0% written exams

Year 3

47% practical exams
53% coursework
0% written exams


You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teaching training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is research-informed and 80% of our full-time staff in Life Sciences and Education are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.

Amanda Tayler

Senior Lecturer

Amanda's profile


For the course starting on 19 September 2022 the tuition fees are:

Tuition fees for BA (Hons)-Full-time
Study option UK / Channel Islands International
Full-time £9,250 per year of study £14,500 per year of study

UK and Channel Island students: This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation. If the UK government passes appropriate legislation, the fee for subsequent years of study may increase in each academic year. But this increase will not exceed the rate of inflation as measured by RPIX**. Any change in fees will apply to both new and continuing students. The University will notify students of any change as early as possible. Further information about fee changes would be posted on the University’s website once this becomes available.

**RPIX is a measure of inflation equivalent to all the items in the Retail Price Index (RPI) excluding mortgage interest payments.

International students: Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course, as long as you complete it in the normal time-frame (i.e. no repeat years or breaks in study).

Included in tuition fees
Included in the fees:
  • DBS checks where required for assessed modules
  • Loan of subject related requirement where required for modules
Not included in tuition fees
Not included in the fees:
  • Text books are available from the library, but some students chose to purchase their own copies
  • Printing
  • Travel costs to and from placements. We will have available placements within travel distance from the campus, or within proximity of your address.
  • Clothing suitable for placements
  • Any optional field trips
Accommodation and living costs
Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

For more information on accommodation and living costs, please see: Accommodation

Sources of financial support

If you receive funding from Student Finance you may be eligible to apply for additional benefits. Details can be obtained by visiting: www.gov.uk

Scholarships and additional funding

As an undergraduate student at Staffordshire, you may be eligible for additional financial support through one of our scholarships and bursaries. You can visit our funding page to find out more and check your eligibility.

Our students

My first placement was in a nursery and I loved every second of it. The age range is the not the age I want to work with, but the children were all so lovely and they were all such a lovely age. The staff at the nursery were all so helpful and kind, nothing was ever too much trouble for them.

My next two placements were in schools. The schools had diverse cultures and were in different areas of Stoke-on-Trent, which was interesting to see, as one school was more financially stable than the other. I was able to work alongside the teachers and TAs within these placements to help children’s development.

Courtney Taylor

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Stoke-on-Trent campus BA (Hons) Full-time 19 September 2022 Apply now

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations.

Information from discover uni

Have you considered?

Education (Top-up) BA (Hons)

Optional pathways in Education, Education (Early Years).

Study options
Full-time, long top-up

Education Studies BA (Hons)

Optional pathways in Mental Health and Wellbeing, Education for Our Sustainable World, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Study options
Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020