BA(Hons) Early Childhood

A child in his early years
Entry year
Course code
Tariff points
Education and Childhood
Three years; full-time
Programme leader
Joe Brown

This course is open for applications.

Page last updated 6 December 2021


This course provides an excellent foundation for careers with children, or for further study.

Why study early childhood?

Recent research has established the importance and quality of learning from birth.

Now is a really important time to consider how children explore their world.

This degree in early childhood considers ideas that are central for children's lives and their education, as well as the wider business world. This means graduates in early childhood are sought after for a wide range of employment opportunities.

Why UWE Bristol?

BA (Hons) Early Childhood is an intellectually demanding and enjoyable course.

You'll examine issues around children's place in society, education, special educational needs, children's learning and development, language and reasoning and environments for children.

Exploring issues affecting children between birth and eight years old, you'll link theory to practice, and understand social, psychological and philosophical factors in children's lives, learning and development.

Undertaking work-related experience is a central aspect of the degree. You'll spend time in early childhood settings in each year of the course.

Develop key communication, interpersonal and critical thinking skills, including learning to work effectively with others, organise information and ideas, and present your ideas clearly and confidently. Develop research skills. Learn to reflect on your own and others' practice.

By the end of the course, you'll be qualified to work at level 3 in an early years setting, or level 6 if you opt for the Early Years Teacher Status route.

Where can it take me?

Focusing on the areas that most interest you, through your modules and assessments, you'll graduate in a confident position for your career.

You'll be equipped to work at managerial level in childcare and educational settings, children's services and family support.

Many students study for an early years or primary postgraduate teaching qualification, or for a master's degree in social work, psychology, play therapy or speech and language therapy.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year one

You will study:

  • Constructions of Childhood
  • Exploring Play
  • Children's Rights, Health and Wellbeing
  • Working with All Children
  • Guided Studies*.

*Only to be taken in exceptional circumstances.

Year two

You will study:

  • Becoming a Researcher.

Plus, optional modules (the number depending on credit requirements) from:

  • Children's Meaning Making
  • Early Childhood Policy and Comparative Curricula
  • Leadership and Professional Futures
  • Reflective Practice
  • Becoming an Early Years Teacher 1
  • Guided Studies*.

*Only to be taken in exceptional circumstances.

Final year

You will study:

  • Dissertation or Guided Study (45 credits)*

*Can be taken in negotiation with the programme leader

Plus, optional modules (the number depending on credit requirements) from:

  • Debating Childhoods
  • Emerging Languages and Identities
  • The Development of Reasoning
  • Becoming an Early Years Teacher 2
  • Core Subject Knowledge for becoming an Early Years Teacher
  • Guided Studies (30 credits)**

** Only to be taken in exceptional circumstances and never where the 45 credit Guided Study has beenchosen in place of the Dissertation.

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

Learn through formal lectures, seminars and workshops, tutor and student-led study groups, one-to-one tutorials and online support.

Gain the skills to practise as an early years practitioner, qualified to level 3, or level 6 if you take the Early Years Teacher Status route.

Develop your ability to work independently and collaboratively, and build valuable graduate skills such as self-starting and problem solving.

Explore different approaches to early childhood in a range of cultural settings. Critically compare different perspectives on early childhood, drawing on sources such as children's voices, parental voices and educational voices, as well as theorised perspectives.

Learn how to handle competing, and sometimes conflicting, accounts of childhood and understand the theoretical and empirical basis of these differences.

Build your ability to process and critically evaluate information and assess the reliability of information. Find out how to interpret complex and controversial material sensitively and well.

Learn to use new software for writing, reporting and presentations, as well as for keeping up to date on policy developments and current research and debates.

Craft your skills as a researcher, working with academics and partners who are helping to shape new thinking in the field. You'll have opportunities for work-related learning, and carry out your own research in early years settings.

You'll also develop strong enterprise skills, exploring innovative practice models, hearing from guest speakers and broadening your perspective on careers and opportunities.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Find out more about our academic staff, their teaching expertise and research interests.

Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*:

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year

Study time

This is a full-time course, but you'll have sufficient space in your week for other commitments, including work-related learning.

You should be motivated and able to learn independently. We will provide you with the support and help you need to study effectively on your own.


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

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Approximate percentage of marks awarded by each assessment method*:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year



Work experience hones your skills and industry knowledge, making you a sought after graduate.

As well as shorter work-based projects and briefs throughout,you'll spend time in early years settings in Year one, explore professional roles in a setting in Year two, and spend a longer period of time in an early years setting in your Final year.Your second year placement could either be in the UK or overseas.

Learning about children's interactions and their preoccupations in a real-world setting will give you insight into working with young children, complementing and enhancing your academic studies.


Fieldwork includes visits to industry and assignments in and around Bristol throughout the course.

Study facilities

Our modern, purpose-built facilities offer high-quality teaching rooms, excellent IT facilities, equipment that can be loaned out, and an open learning area.

Many of your course materials, books and other reading will be available online. Friendly staff are always on hand to help when needed.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Work independently/time management

All students are expected to be able to motivate themselves and learn independently, as employers regard this as an important graduate skill. We actively encourage you to learn independently by providing you with the support and help needed to study effectively on your own and manage your time well.

Communicate effectively

Studying Early Childhood involves understanding the philosophical, social and psychological context of young children's learning and development. The modules you study will give you the opportunity to improve your capacity to write and speak well and to understand diverse approaches to early childhood in a range of cultural settings. The assignments that you carry out will encourage you to make use of a diverse range of media and improve your ICT skills.

The course encourages learners to critically compare a range of perspectives on early childhood, drawing on sources such as children's voices, parental voices, educational voices, as well as theorised perspectives. The ability to understand a range of voices and to critique diverse perspectives provides a sound footing for work with, and on behalf of, children in care, educational and policy settings and in the wider workforce.   

Hear what our students think about their time here.

Interpret data and articulate ideas successfully (problem solving)

Early Childhood requires a disciplined approach to argument and data based on a variety of perspectives. This means that you need to be able to deal with competing and sometimes conflicting accounts of childhood and understand the theoretical and empirical basis of these differences. By developing your ability to process and critically evaluate information, you will develop your skills to assess the reliability of information, to understand complex and controversial material and to interpret it sensitively and well.

Develop interpersonal skills

Whether you choose to work in education, Early Years settings, children's support services or in the wider world of business, the Early Childhood course will help you develop excellent interpersonal skills, through the practical collaborative tasks you are required to undertake. Both empirical and library based tasks are undertaken and presented individually and collaboratively.

Develop IT skills

You will learn how to use ICT packages for writing, reporting and presentational purposes, as well as for keeping up-to-date on policy developments and current research and debates via the Internet.


Careers / Further study

Tailoring what and how you study, you can shape the course towards your chosen career path.

Your skills will prepare you for a range of managerial careers in childcare or educational settings, children's services and family support.

You'll be qualified to work in early years setting at level 3, or if you've taken the relevant optional modules, at level 6.

You could go on to postgraduate study, including training for early years or primary teaching and Early Years Teacher Status. Or you could progress to a postgraduate degree in play therapy, speech and language therapy, social work or psychology.

You'll be guaranteed an interview for our PGCE Primary and Early Years courses.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and help find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our Employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

See also:

Prospects - careers in teaching and education


Supplementary fee information

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 104
  • GCSE: Grade C/4 in English Literature or Language, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Literacy and Numeracy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • English Language Requirement: International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

    *The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: No specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.
  • Irish Highers: No specific subjects required.
  • T Levels: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be eligible for BA(Hons) Early Childhood (with Foundation Year).

Additional requirements

All applicants will be required to complete:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check*
  • health checks*

*All information will be treated in confidence and only taken into account when absolutely necessary.

International applicants

For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the Country Information pages. If you are an international student and do not meet the academic requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

If you are applying to study at UWE Bristol and require additional support to meet our English language requirements, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.

Route into PGCE Primary/Primary Early Years

For those considering this degree as a route into PGCE Primary/Primary Early Years, you will also need GCSE Grade C/4 or above in Mathematics and Science, or equivalent.

Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) pathway

The undergraduate route to EYTS follows the BA(Hons) Early Childhood degree, but those successful in gaining a place for the EYTS award will study some specialist options. By successfully graduating with EYTS alongside the BA(Hons) Early Childhood, you will be qualified to lead the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in Early Years Settings and may teach in academies, free schools and independent schools.

Please see the EYTS page for further details and additional entry requirements for this pathway.

Read more about entry requirements.

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

Full Time

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