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BA (Honours) Early Childhood Studies

Gain the understanding and practical experience you need to work with children from 0 to 7.

Course length 3 Years
Location City Campus
UCAS X310 Course code

Course description

What you study

Through core modules you develop your understanding of the way children explore, develop, think and learn and the meaning of their play. You increase your understanding of the importance of health and emotional wellbeing to young children and the need to work closely with parents and other agencies to safeguard them.

During your second year you choose two elective modules. There is a variety to choose from and they include forest schools, various aspects of special needs education. You also learn about the importance of play in young children's lives.

There is also the opportunity to travel internationally as part of the Erasmus programme. Erasmus is a student exchange programme which offers studying and working abroad in Europe for three to twelve months.

In your final year you consider children's participation, develop leadership qualities and complete a research project linked to your interests and work-based learning. This provides a strong foundation for any career working with young children and their families.

During the course you gain knowledge in • early childhood education • safeguarding • child development • the health and culture of children under eight years. You can develop your interests and career aims by focusing on particular areas, such as • children’s friendships • forest school • gender and identity • working with families • popular culture • young children’s wellbeing • young children's medical needs • children and autism.

Work placements

As well as theoretical understanding, you develop your professional experience and confidence working in a range of early childhood environments. We offer placement opportunities in a variety of settings, such as • schools • children's centres • woodland schools • outreach work • child minders • independent schools • children's hospitals.

Placements take up around 25 days of each of the first two years and 22 days of your final year. They are designed to give you a wide range of experience in working with young children and families, enhancing your career prospects after you graduate.

You develop a range of practical skills, such as how to • identify and support children’s individual needs • build appropriate and trusting relationships with children and their families • understand play situations in order to develop practice and experiences for young children • listen to children and understand how they think.


Your studies are led by a team of lecturers with extensive and varied professional experience in key services for children and families. Their backgrounds include • social work • health visiting • education and psychology • health, social care and education.

Many lecturers are published authors and researchers, driving forward knowledge in their areas. You take part in small tutorial groups who meet regularly to link practice to your academic studies.

You then build on this experience with work-based learning in relevant maintained, private, voluntary and independent settings, including • children’s centres • schools • preschools • day nurseries • outreach workers • child-minders • specialist support groups.

Early years educator qualification (DFE approved)
If you do not already have a Level 3 early years qualification, you can complete this alongside your degree. This allows you to gain an equivalent award, which lets you take up employment as a qualified member of staff in early years settings. To achieve this qualification you need to possess Maths and English GCSEs.

Forest Schools
If you have an interest in young children’s outdoor learning, you can choose an optional module to gain a Level 2 practical skills qualification in Forest Schools. You link theory to practice whilst in the woods in the south east of Sheffield. You work alongside tutors and wildlife officers to develop your understanding of different learning environments and gain some new practical skills to use with young children.

We are constantly looking for teaching opportunities to reflect current early years thinking and therefore enhance your employment prospects.

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

Five GCSEs at grade C or grade 4 or above, including English language and mathematics. We may accept GCSE equivalents. Plus one of the following

• 104 UCAS points from at least two A levels or equivalent BTEC National qualifications. We accept AS levels. We do not accept General Studies.


• 88 UCAS points from three A levels or equivalent BTEC National qualifications. We do not accept General Studies.

New UCAS tariff points system for courses starting from September 2017. This is significantly different to the current points system and uses an alternative method of calculation. You can find information about these changes on the UCAS website and use the UCAS tariff calculator to work out your points.

• Access – at least 45 credits at level 3 from a relevant Open College Network accredited course

• Grade B from CACHE Diploma Level 3 in Child Care and Education.

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 and a minimum of 6.0 in the writing module and a minimum of 5.5 in all other skill areas.

You also need some understanding of young children (0–7 years old) gained from practical experience, equivalent to 75 hours or more, on a paid or voluntary basis.

Download our application experience guidelines for more information about experience requirements. This document includes important information about your application. Failure to provide sufficient information may result in your application being unsuccessful.

As you will work with children, you must complete a declaration of criminal convictions form. If you are successful in applying, a Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly known as Criminal Records Bureau) check is required.

We consider other qualifications from the UCAS tariff. Applicants with alternative qualifications or a combination of qualifications and work experience are also considered. We welcome applications from people of any age. Please contact us for further advice.

Meeting the qualifications on the entry criteria does not guarantee you a place. You should ensure that you submit a personal statement and reference as these are considered as part of the selection process. Guidelines on personal statements and references can be found on the UCAS website.

Course structure

Three years full-time

Typical modules may include


Modules cover subjects such as • understanding children's development • understanding children's play • health • child protection and safeguarding • understanding children's family contexts • listening to children and understanding participation • leadership in early years services • research project.

We also aim to provide various options to enable you to follow your interests in particular areas. These are flexible each year to reflect the changing landscape of early childhood and your needs as a student.

  • coursework
  • reports
  • essays
  • papers
  • timed assessments
  • book reports
  • self-evaluations
  • individual and group presentations
  • work-based portfolios
  • logs
  • reflective diaries


By successfully completing this course you are able to work in areas such as • children and family services • health and social care • hospitals • teaching assistant • play projects • advisory roles • early years settings.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

For the course fee and further information on scholarships and bursaries please visit our fees and funding pages.

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,250 a year

2017/18 academic year

Typically £12,750 a year

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

You apply for this course through UCAS.

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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