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Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)

University of Gloucestershire

What is Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)?

Make a real difference to the lives of young children and their families, and work towards becoming part of the essential early years graduate workforce. This course will support your development in a wide range of professional skills which are essential for working with children (aged 0-8 years) and families, including those with additional needs.

Our Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) course scored 96% for both teaching and academic support in the National Student Survey 2023 and our education courses are ranked in the top 15 in the UK for teaching and student satisfaction by the Guardian Good University Guide 2023.

You’ll gain real-world experience of putting your skills into practice through a range of work-based placements such as; children’s centres, schools, family refuge centres, gallery education teams, play rangers, nurseries, family support teams and special needs schools. In relation to placements, you’ll have the option to achieve the Graduate Practitioner Competencies (which encompass and build upon the Level 3 Early Years Educator requirements) and ensure that you’ll count as ‘full and relevant’ in early years settings. We are a member of the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network.

With practice in this country firmly under your belt, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Stockholm; an international leader in early years practice. You’ll be able to witness first-hand how they provide for their children and families across a variety of setting types and develop skills in conducting a comparative study (see ‘Trips and Experiences’ below).

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Study style

You’ll be supported by lecturers with a wealth of professional experience, to develop knowledge and understanding of the complex world surrounding young children and their families. You’ll be encouraged to explore areas linked to well-being, education, health, social care, psychology, sociology and media studies.

In your first year, you’ll explore contemporary influences and factors that impact upon children’s lives. We then consider how we may use this knowledge to provide the most enabling environment for children’s development. You’ll develop skills to enable you to ‘tune in’ to children, and to identify their requirements, including for children with additional needs.

Year two focuses on working with children and their families within 21st-century communities, including those who have been marginalised. In addition, you’ll investigate how children learn, the characteristics of effective learning and the impact this can have on their learning dispositions, such as motivation, curiosity, creativity, thinking and self-reflection. We also offer certified paediatric first aid training and safeguarding training, during this year.

In your final year, studying the ‘Contemporary Issues’ module will ensure that you enter the workforce being knowledgeable of the most recent developments and issues impacting upon professional practice, children and families. You’ll also be able to choose from optional modules which cover: the biological, environmental and sociological factors that influence wellbeing; and the notion that lifelong learning within education is the key means of equipping children to meet the challenges that face them in their 21st-century lives.

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Entry requirements

    • 96 UCAS tariff points, CCC at A levels, MMM at BTEC or a Merit in your T-Level.

      If you are using a combination of qualifications to achieve the required UCAS tariff points, they must either include at least 2 A levels, a BTEC or an equivalent qualification.

      We are also interested in hearing from applicants who have a Level 3 Early Years Educator related diploma.

      If you are unsure whether we could make you an offer or you have any questions, just get in touch with our admissions team who will be able to advise you.

    • English Language or Literature and Maths Grade 4/C in GCSE (or equivalent) are normally required.

    • In order to study this course, offer holders will need to complete a satisfactory DBS and Health Clearance check.

    • This course is available with an additional integrated foundation year. This four year option has lower entry requirements – see below – than the other study type/s available.

      Typical offers
      48 UCAS tariff points, DD at A levels, PPP at BTEC or a Pass in your T Level.

      Grade C/4 in English Language/Literature and Mathematics, or equivalent (e.g. Level 2 Functional Skills).

      To apply for the integrated foundation year degree, select the ‘With foundation year’ option from the study types listed at the top of this page before clicking ‘Apply’.

      See course overview for more information about the interated foundation year option.

    • We welcome applications from mature students (aged 21 and over) and do not necessarily require the same academic qualifications as school leaving applicants, although some entry requirements may still apply for Professionally Accredited Courses. We accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas and make offers on an individual basis.

Course modules


Fees and costs

See the further details of fees and potential extra costs when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.
Start date Location UCAS code Fee (UK)
per year
Fee (international)
per year
Sep 2024 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham X312 £9,250 £16,600
Sep 2025 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham X312 TBC TBC

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Possible careers

Graduates from this course can go on to work as:

  • Early Years Manager
  • Early Years Teacher
  • Family Support Worker
  • Children’s Centre Manager
  • Child Protection Officer
  • Play Specialist

Industry links

You’ll gain real-world experience through our partnerships with early years settings and multi-agencies. Our students benefit from these through work placements and guests in lectures. These include schools and children’s centres such as Alderman Knight School, Berkhampstead School, Bettridge School, The Milestone School, The Family Haven (refuge centre) and Battledown Centre for Children & Families.

Learn from industry-experienced lecturers

With diverse expertise in early years and health and social care settings, our lecturers will be able to support you with the diverse range of subject areas you’ll study. You’ll be fully-prepared to progress into a successful career.

Study a course with excellent satisfaction

Our Early Childhood Studies (BA Hons) course scored 97% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2020.

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Ranked in the top 10 in the UK for graduate prospects

Our childhood and youth studies courses are ranked in the top 10 in the UK for graduate prospects by the Complete University Guide 2023.

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Ranked in the top 15 in the UK for student and teaching satisfaction

Our education courses are ranked in the top 15 in the UK for student satisfaction and teaching satisfaction by the Guardian University Guide 2023.

Trips and experiences

You’ll have the opportunity to visit Stockholm in Sweden, an international leader in early years education. You’ll partner with students and practitioners from the University of Stockholm to compare early years teaching best practice and innovation. You’ll be able to witness first-hand how they provide for their children and families across a variety of settings.

There is the option to specialise in children’s mental health and well-being or children’s education and lifelong learning. An international comparative trip is optional.


Across the three years you’ll gain real-world experience of putting your skills into practice through a range of work based placements – such as children’s centres, schools, family refuge centres, gallery education teams, play rangers, nurseries, family support teams and special needs schools.

You’ll also have the option to achieve the Graduate Practitioner Competencies – which encompass and build upon the Level 3 Early Years Educator requirements.

"I love working with children"

“The best thing is the variety of placements that the uni will find for you. I love working with young children, they have no filter.”

Rhian Miles, Early Childhood Studies student

Spotlight on an ECS Graduate's employment

Listen to one of our University of Gloucestershire, Early Childhood Studies graduates as they share with us their employment since graduating. Find out about the opportunities the degree has opened up to them and how it has helped her achieve her employment goals.

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