BA (Hons) 

Accredited by University of Warwick


BA (Hons)


3 years full-time




200 hours per year




View Fees


We are the only Birmingham institution to offer Graduate Practitioner Competencies

Opportunity to progress onto a teaching qualification on completion

Early childhood is viewed as the most formative period of our lives, shaping the foundations for our whole future. If you are passionate about working with young children and their families, our Early Childhood Studies (Graduate Practitioner) degree will give you the knowledge and experience to become a highly qualified graduate practitioner and open the doors to a rewarding career helping to meet the needs of children.

Covering work with children aged 0-8 years, our early childhood course is one of the first UK degrees (and the only one in Birmingham) to incorporate the new Graduate Practitioner Competencies. The course will assess you in nine key areas and grant you a licence to practise in a variety of areas within the sector when you graduate, as well as helping you stand out among the competition. You will learn about key characteristics of childhood, wider issues around development and how to help children grow by creating new learning opportunities such as play-based learning.

Combining theory with practice, our Early Childhood Studies degree also allows you to acquire extensive work experience across a variety of placements throughout your course, as well as going on visits to experience different childhood approaches first-hand. On top of this, you will have the chance to gain additional qualifications ranging from Makaton training to Paediatric First Aid, plus additional enrichment opportunities such as introductory Lego therapy and baby massage sessions, equipping you with a wealth of skills by the end of your studies.

If your calling is to become a teacher, you can progress onto our PGCE Primary Education QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) postgraduate course, specialising in working with children aged 3-7 or 5-11.

Why choose this degree course?

  • WORK PLACEMENTS – From day care and nurseries to primary school mentoring and special education, gain real-life experience on a variety of placements throughout your degree
  • ENRICHMENT – Widen your skills with enrichment opportunities such as Lego therapy, Makaton training, baby massage, paediatric first aid and food hygiene
  • INDUSTRY APPROVED – Our course includes the Graduate Practitioner Competencies developed by the ECSDN (now included in the QAA Early Childhood Studies Subject Benchmark Statements with practice at Level 6 recognised by the DfE)

Our facilities

Our learning spaces ensure you have the right environments to build your knowledge, from lecture theatres to interactive group working spaces and extensive library resources.

Course breakdown

  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3

Core Modules

Equality, Diversity and Inclusive Play

The module explores graduate practice within an early years context. It supports the development of a reflective approach as teaching young children to accept and celebrate difference is a process that must begin with early years graduates firstly reflecting on their own attitudes and values. The content allows for the identification of the key role and responsibilities the professional has to play in promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity in practice, which is essential in improving outcomes for all children and families within today's society.

Growth, Learning and Development

Early child development is the period of physical, cognitive, and social growth thus laying the foundations for a productive and healthy life for a child in today's society. This module will review the areas and stages of child development and examine a range of child developmental theory in relation to how children change, grow and learn over the course of childhood with an emphasis on describing how development is shaped through internal and external influences, such as the role of the child's immediate environment and the role of culture in influencing and shaping development. The key role of the graduate practitioner will be examined in relation to the use of observations in practice and the importance of this role in meeting the diverse developmental needs of young learners in today's early years sector .

Introduction to the Early Years Framework

This module will provide you with essential skills to support your career within the Early Years sector. You will learn about the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and gain essential knowledge regarding its underpinning philosophy, content as well as practical skills to use within settings. Play underpins all aspects of the EYFS; you will be provided with interactive enrichment and learning opportunities which will support you to develop your own play pedagogy.

Nurturing Children's Health and Well-being

This module will start to develop the student's awareness of how the Social Determinants of Health influence the health and wellbeing of a child, from conception and throughout childhood. The external influences of mass media, public policy, health rights and public health interventions will be examined to identify how they contribute to the health and well-being of children.

Pioneers, Pedagogy and Philosophy

This module will consider the fundamental principles underpinning early year's pedagogy by exploring key pioneers that influence today's practice whilst also introducing contemporary pedagogical practices, both in a national and international context. Content will consider approaches used by other countries including, the Nordic Countries, Italy and New Zealand and explore how they differ from the approaches used within the UK.

The Child in Society

This module aims to develop your awareness and understanding of childhood within contemporary Britain and will develop on your understanding of the world a child inhabits. It explores the current influences on a child's life and examines the contribution of parents, carers, families, communities, and services to children's childhoods.

Core Modules

Child Protection and Safety in Practice

This module provides the framework of understanding for practitioners, regardless of their domain of practice, to be able to recognise children at risk, identify signs of abuse, understand the legislative framework, and the concept of interagency working, which underpins practice, and enables practitioners to act swiftly to ensure that the best interests of the child are served. This module will enable you to: - Provide a comprehensive framework of knowledge in relation to safeguarding children: this can be applied to safeguarding children in practice in a variety of settings. - Provide a flexible framework for assessing and managing risk. - Provide a framework for multidisciplinary practice, and safe and effective cooperation, in relation to safeguarding children.

Developing Research

This module aims to provide you with the opportunity to engage in semi-independent research and to further develop your personal, graduate and professional skill sets within a vocational field. It develops knowledge and expertise of the design, implementation and evaluation of action research and offers a series of transferable skills which can be utilised in both employment and higher level study. The module encourages you to take a critically reflective and reflexive stance to your own practice, specific institutional practices, action research as a process and to professional standards.

Effective Leadership and Management Skills

Clear management and leadership is essential within the sector if you are to provide a quality environment for children. This module examines what leadership and management means within the context of the early years sector, what the differences between leadership and management are and, the range of skills that are necessary to be a good leader and a good manager within a formal setting.

SEND within the Early Years Sector

This module will develop students' understanding of Special Educational Needs and Disability in the Early Years, exploring the concept of SEND and the legislative framework underpinning practice in early years care and education. The importance of inclusive practice and environments will be investigated, along with appropriate adjustments, interventions and resources to meet children's needs and promote their development. The importance of working with parents and children in ensuring equitable provision will be stressed throughout.

Theoretical Perspectives of Child Development

This module encourages students to develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of the key principles and theoretical underpinnings of development and learning in children between the ages of birth and five years of age. Both classical and contemporary developmental theories (and the differing range of perspectives which inform them) will be thoroughly explored and evaluated with a view to identifying how such theories might be used as a means of understanding and measuring normative and atypical development. The module requires students to attend a minimum of 200 work-based placement hours and for this to be accompanied by a passed placement appraisal.

Choose 1 optional module

Children of the Future

During this module you will explore the concept of gender through a sociological perspective, its categorisation and the development of gender diversity within British society. You will consider the development of children's sexual identity, (heterosexual, gay, lesbian and bi sexual), age awareness and prevalence, considering concepts such as 'Gender Neutral', 'Gender Nutroise', 'Gender Binary', 'Biological Sexual Ambiguity', 'Gender Affirmative Model' and 'Transgender' within contemporary Britain.

Creativity and Play in the Early Years

This module recognises the underpinning significance of play in children's learning and development and is concerned with raising awareness of the necessity to develop the creative ability of children. Pedagogical implications for fostering imagination, motivation, problem solving, making connections and divergence within early years settings will be examined, alongside the factors which may affect the development of creativity. Students will examine current theories and debates related to creativity and the arts and its role in children's learning and have the opportunity through placement, to develop their own practice to maximise the opportunities they create to nurture young children's natural creativity.

Transitions of Childhood

The module is aimed at professionals who through their professional role will work with children, young people and families who are undergoing (or who are likely to undergo) Transition and/or Change. It will equip the student with the theoretical understanding of the processes of both predicted and non-predicted transition/change. Students will have an understanding of the variety of models of transition/change and the skills to identify and discard inappropriate models. Students will learn to consider barriers to transition/change and develop strategies to address them and reflect on the observable behaviours that indicate to what extent the individual child and carers around them are coping with the transition/change. They will identify strategies to address a range of issues artising from this, which is likely to include signposting. Finally, the module will enable the students to reflect on their role, as a professional within the transition/change process.

Core Modules

Dissertation (SEHC)

Engaging in individually selected and directed research is one of the highlights of an undergraduate degree and in this module you will be introduced to the skills and competences needed to explore your selected topic in depth to ensure you gain the most from this opportunity. Research at this level can be a daunting process but you will be appointed a dissertation tutor who will help guide you through this important and rewarding process.

Enhancing Employability for Graduate Practice

Developing and recognising graduate competencies for the early year's workforce will enable you to set yourself apart from the crowd, presenting to future employers the skills necessary to undertake your professional role in a competitive employment arena. The vocational practice you experience on this module will enhance your professional development by advancing and consolidating your theoretical knowledge, increasing your professional skill set skills and enriching your personal and professional confidence.

Leading and Managing Systems

The module explores leadership and management, contemporary issues and current trends in order to enhance quality assurance and to support change that may improve the educational/child centred experiences of children in the early years. The module content encourages students to identify their settings'/ work place needs and to work collaboratively with the staff, other professionals, children and their families in order to devise and implement an action plan for creating improvement and change.

Choose 1 optional module

Children's Voice

You will explore the concept of children's voice through a range of theoretical perspective. In doing so you will develop a critical understanding of how to support children's voice, participation and agency in a professional context.

Pedagogical Leadership in Play

This module encourages students to develop a critical and comprehensive understanding of the key principles of pedagogical leadership within play and learning environments. Both contemporary and classical theoretical frameworks concerning leadership and management are critically evaluated with a view to exploring how such theories afford us a frame through which to view and develop best practice in leadership. The module focusses on the diverse ways in which early years practitioners design, develop, execute and assess pedagogical leadership in play and learning.

Socio-Historical Aspect of Childhood

This module is designed to provide an insight into the social, historical and cultural construct of 'childhood'. C hildhood is made up of a series of discourses influenced by shifts in political policy, economic factors and industry needs, cultural influences, religion, philosophy, technology and the changing needs of society. Content will investigate the impact of such change upon children, the notion of 'childhood', and the place of children within society from a historical perspective. Key factors affecting children's lives throughout the ages will be discussed and the concept of 'childhood' explored through a range of theoretical perspectives and social contexts.

The modules listed above for this course are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up to date and informed by industry as well as the latest teaching methods. On occasion, we may need to make unexpected changes to modules – if this occurs, we will contact all offer holders as soon as possible.

Entry requirements

Academic entry requirements

An overall average of at least 65% in 12th Standard from both State and Central Examination Boards.

Advanced entry to certain undergraduate degree programmes may be possible for students who hold a UK HND or India Diploma in a relevant subject.

English entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need a recognised English Language qualification to meet the entry requirements onto a degree programme.

English Entry requirements for students applying from India  

Board Minimum Requirement (2021)
CBSE B Grade
ICSE 60%
Cambridge B Grade / 6 Pointer
Maharashtra State 60%
Andhra Pradesh 60%
Kerala 60%
Karnataka 60%
West Bengal 60%

If you do not have one of the above qualifications, please see here for the full list of accepted alternatives.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS 6.5 with no element less than 6.0

Other requirements

Students on this course are subject to the Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise Policy, together with a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. University College Birmingham will co-ordinate and fund the completion of the DBS check.

Key information



Estimated breakdown of assessment for this degree course:

  • Coursework – 100%

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024 (UK website).

Additional qualifications and training

A variety of other enrichment opportunities will also be offered to further widen your skills and knowledge base in support of your future career and study aspirations, with funding available via Kick-Start (see information below).

  • Makaton training – a unique programme designed to support spoken language, helping children to communicate
  • Baby massage plays an important role in understanding how a baby communicates in the first few years. You will have the chance to receive training in this area
  • You will have the opportunity to learn Lego Therapy – an intervention designed to help children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with any social communication difficulties

Please note that the above may be subject to change as new initiatives develop within the sector.

In addition, a Paediatric First Aid and a Food and Hygiene certificate will be offered during the final year of study to support your employability. University College Birmingham will fund these requirements for all students.

Tuition fees

UK students

If you are a UK student enrolling on a standard length Foundation Degree or a BA/BSc at University College Birmingham, your fee for this academic year will be £9,250. A half-year tuition fee is £4,625. There will be no change to this tuition fee for the forthcoming two academic years (2022/23 and 2023/24).

View undergraduate fees

International students

If you are an international student enrolling on a full-time foundation degree or a BA/BSc in 2022/23, your fee for this academic year will be £13,500 per year.

If you complete a placement year, there will be an administration fee of £500 for a full year, or £250 for a half-year placement.

View international fees


As a new student studying this degree full-time, you will receive £300 per year via our Kick-Start Scheme (eligibility criteria applies). This scheme will support your studies and future career by contributing to course-related materials, uniform or selected items on campus. You might even qualify for an additional £500 per year.

UCBconnect - meet other students on your course

Starting university is an exciting time, but we understand that it can sometimes feel a little daunting. To support you, we have created a platform called UCBconnect, where you can meet other students who have applied for the same course at University College Birmingham, before you start studying here.

As soon as you have been made an offer, you will be sent an invitation via text and email to complete your user registration and join UCBconnect. For more information, please visit ucb.ac.uk/ucbconnect.


Of newly qualified teachers were employed in a teaching role within six months of completing training 

Work placements

Work placements are vital for gaining real-life experience and for building your confidence and skills before you finish your course – and they may even lead to a job when you graduate. Our hired@UCB team can help find the ideal placement for you.

Our BA Early Childhood Studies course includes a mandatory requirement of 200 hours on placement each year. Year 1 and 2 placements will focus on early years, while the Year 3 placement will be determined by your eventual career choice.

Work alongside experts in your sector

A snapshot of some of the employers we have worked with:

  • Aston University Nursery and Pre-school
  • Birmingham Centre for Arts Therapies
  • Arden Primary School
  • Queen Alexandra College
  • James Brindley Parkway
  • Little Scallywags Day Nursery
  • St Thomas Centre Nursery
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, please be aware that opportunities to travel abroad for placements, project work or residential trips may be affected by government travel restrictions. Please visit our updates and FAQs page (UK website) for information.

My biggest concern in trying to find the right university was ensuring I was going to be supported. University College Birmingham made the transition from college easy, welcoming and supportive. After my degree, I plan to stay on to complete my PGCE. It’s so amazing that I’ve had the opportunity to study at college, move up to university and then complete my PGCE all in one place.

Grace Burns Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)

Career opportunities

  • Family support worker (graduate)
  • Mental health nurse
  • Social worker (NHS)
  • Learning mentor
  • Early years teacher/primary school teacher
  • Special educational needs coordinator (SENCO)

Please note: The examples of roles are to serve only as a guide.


Our dedicated careers, employability and placements team is here to support you in every step towards your future.

Find out more

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