MA Education (Early Years)

An Education Early Years degree student with a child in an early years classroom
Entry year
Course code
School of Education and Childhood
Full-time; part-time; starts September
Programme leader
Melissa Arrowsmith

For details about applying, please see the How to Apply section under Entry.

Please note that this course is now closed to new applications for September 2023 entry.

Please be aware that we will no longer be offering this course from September 2024 onwards.

Page last updated 25 September 2023


MA Education (Early Years) will support you to develop as a critically reflective practitioner working within the Early Years sector. Through the study of theory and reflection on practice you will gain a deeper understanding of child development and playful learning with particular reference to the EYTS curriculum. Children's engagement with core skills such as mathematical understanding and early reading will be considered in a wider political context.

Phase one of the course is taught together with the Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) course. Gaining the EYTS is a pre-requisite to moving onto phase two of the MA Education (Early Years) course. The EYTS offers two pathways for graduates, a full-time route and an employment-based part-time route. The latter is for graduates who are permanently employed in an early years setting. Full details of EYTS phase one.

You will then progress to complete the full MA Education (Early Years) and carry out an enquiry (research study) focusing on your own area of interest.

Flexible learning environment

This modular course offers a learning environment to help you schedule your study around work and other commitments. Our experienced staff have wide ranging experience and specialisms in Early Years and Education, and will provide support throughout your course.



The MA Education (Early Years) programme at UWE, Bristol is delivered in two parts:

Phase One (one year, full time) leads to the award of the Post Graduate Diploma (PGDip) Education (Early Years) and the professional qualification Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). EYTS enables students to teach children aged 0 to 5 years. This is different from Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which is the equivalent for teaching children aged 3 to 18. QTS is not awarded by the MA Education (Early Years).

In phase one, you'll complete the following modules:

  • Critical Perspectives on the Early Years Foundation Stage: you'll crtically explore the foundations of the Early Years Foundation stage curriculum and how these can be appropriately developed in practice, with particular focus on the prime areas.
  • Qualifying for Early Years Teacher Status: you will be supported in becoming change agents within your practice, learning to become effective leaders and managers.
  • Becoming an Early Years Teacher: This 120-day practice module provides you with the opportunity to work in settings and support in linking theory and practice. You learn to plan and deliver an effective curriculum and develop an enabling environment that meets the needs of all children within the relevant age phase.

Phase Two (one year to three years, full-time or part-time) is an on-line distance-learning top-up to MA, which leads to the masters award in addition to PGDip and EYTS, through successful completion of the following:

  • Researching Education: In this module you will examine approaches to educational research and how this supports professional enquiry and development. You will look at practitioner and action research as well as case study approaches to understanding educational and professional action. There will also be a focus on research methods, the processes of analysis and presentation of argument as well as an examination of ethics and theoretical frameworks.
  • Dissertation: you will focus on the execution of empirical research and writing up your theories. Sections likely to be included are: Introduction; Contextualisation; Methodology; Data Collection and Analysis; Implications; Recommendations and Conclusions.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

The MA Education (Early Years) will be delivered through seminars, group-work, online engagement, directed learning and project supervision.

For more details, see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.


We use a range of assessments across the course designed to enhance your learning and support your future employability. We do not use written exams as part of our formal assessments.

For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Study facilities

UWE Bristol provides a productive environment in which to study the MA Education (Early Years). Its modern purpose-built facilities provide high quality teaching rooms, excellent IT facilities and an Open Learning Area. With friendly staff on hand to help when needed.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Get a feel for the Education and Teaching facilities we have on offer here from wherever you are.


Postgraduate support

Our support includes access to fantastic facilities, study tools and career consultants, plus practical help to access everything from funding to childcare.


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Supplementary fee information

For information about funding for postgraduate courses see our funding pages.


Entry requirements

Graduate route (full-time)

  • An undergraduate degree (or equivalent) comprising at least 320 credits.
  • GCSE Grade C/4, or above, or equivalent in English, Mathematics and a Science.

All applicants will also be required to have:

Selection process

Applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to an interview and asked to demonstrate a reflective approach to working with young children.

Graduate route (employment based, part-time)

  • An undergraduate degree (or equivalent) comprising at least 320 credits.
  • GCSE Grade C/4, or above, or equivalent in English, Mathematics and a Science.

All applicants will also be required to have:

  • a clear Enhanced DBS Disclosure
  • health checks - for Fitness to Teach
  • written agreement from your Setting Manager or Head Teacher for trainees to participate in the course (plus an appropriately qualified staff member to act as senior mentor whilst on placement in home setting)
  • a permanent work contract in an early years setting (not bank staff). A voluntary role is not acceptable for this option, as laid out in the Department for Education (DfE) guidelines.

Selection process

Applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to an interview and asked to demonstrate a reflective approach to working with young children.

Applicants with a teaching qualification or previous master's credits are usually entitled to apply for accredited learning credits in recognition of their prior learning: examples include PGCE with QTS and Masters credits; Masters modules as part of NCTL (formerly TDA) funded courses including SENCO, NAPSLBAs.

International applicants

International students can be offered funded EYITT places as long as the applicant meets all the academic entry criteria* for the EYITT course and is undertaking an unsalaried graduate route (full-time). International students can be awarded EYTS in the usual way on completion.

*Academic entry criteria are:

  • achievement of a standard equivalent to a grade C or 4 in the GCSE examinations in English, Mathematics and a science subject
  • achievement of a first degree of a UK higher education institution or equivalent overseas qualification.

A first degree comprises 300 higher education (HE) credit points of which 60 must be at level 6 of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). Applicants with a foundation degree will need to supplement this qualification with at least 60 credits at level 6 (HE level 3) in order to attain an equivalent single qualification.

The DfE offers support to international candidates on the Get into Teaching website and guidance on training to teach in England if you're a non-UK citizen.

Due to the course structure, international graduates who complete Part One will NOT be eligible for the Graduate Visa.

English Language Requirement

International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The University accepts a large number of UK and international qualifications in place of IELTS. To find details of acceptable tests and the required grades please visit our English Language requirements pages.

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

Read more about our pre-sessional English programme.

How to apply

Graduate route (Early Years Teacher Status)
Please apply using the Apply Now link at the foot of the page, selecting full-time.

Graduate route (employment-based)
Please apply using the Apply Now link at the foot of the page, selecting part-time.

Read more about postgraduate applications

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.

For further information