Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)


From climate change and economic austerity to the development of artificial intelligence (AI), the 21st century brings many challenges and factors that are shaping childhood experiences.

The next generation needs people with an understanding and vision for what the future of education will look like in this rapidly changing world. If you want to make a difference in the lives of young people, and influence the conversation and strategies around early years development, then this BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree is for you.

You’ll explore the theory and lives of children from birth to 8 years old. You'll develop the skills, knowledge and experience to become a confident early years practitioner and prepare yourself to take on roles in areas such as education, social care and health.

What you'll experienceOn this Early Childhood Studies degree course, you'll:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the first 8 years of children's lives
  • Learn the skills you need for a career in the early years sector and related careers in areas such as developmental psychology, education, healthcare and the social sciences
  • Examine the issues that shape the lives of young children in society and explore what the future of education might look like
  • Study the sociological, psychological, political and philosophical issues affecting childhood today
  • Reflect on current issues, exploring national and international perspectives to investigate child development and different forms of education throughout the world
  • Be taught by experts with experience across multiple disciplines and hear from guest speakers with unique insight and expertise in the field of childhood and education
  • Tailor your study to suit your interests and ambition with a range of work placement opportunities and experiences
  • Choose how you conduct your own research by undertaking a dissertation or project-based module in your final year
  • Apply your knowledge of theoretical principles by taking part in experiential activities in our simulation suite and the settings you'll work in during your career

How you're assessed

Assessment methods include:

  • Essays, reports and reflective accounts
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Individual and group project work including the opportunity to work towards a Major project in liaison with a local employer
  • An online portfolio
  • Developing a simple Wordpress or Google Sites website

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark. You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 8% by written exams, 15% by practical exams and 77% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 10% by practical exams and 90% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • Group-based activities
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Poster presentations
  • Project work
  • Lectures

You'll also have opportunities to apply what you learn with children in outdoor environments such as forests and beaches.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

Accessible online learning including lectures, workshops, discussions and a variety of module-specific online resources.

Careers and opportunities

When you complete the course, you’ll be prepared for professional roles in childcare, education, social care and health-related areas, as well as other professional fields.

You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level.

What can you do with an Early Childhood Studies degree?

Previous students have gone onto to work in the following areas:

  • Early years teaching – with Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)
  • Primary teaching – with a PGCE or SCITT (School-Centred Initial Teacher Training) leading to QTS (Qualified Teacher Status)
  • Pedagogical leadership in early childhood
  • Therapeutic play – with further training
  • Family support services
  • Early years provision and setting management
  • Health and wellbeing promotion
  • Primary teaching assistance
  • Play work
  • Family support work
  • Research related to your specialisms
  • Professional consultancy
  • Freelance educational provision
  • Private tutoring
  • Professional nannying
  • Forest school leadership and training
  • Special educational and disability needs

You could develop your skills and knowledge to postgraduate level by doing a Master's course, such as MA Education Studies or MSc Educational Leadership and Management.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course. We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary roles that will complement your studies and build your links within the industry.

We'll also be available to help, advise and support you for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.

Placement year

After your second year of study, you can do a paid placement year, working within local schools and organisations. This lets you put your knowledge and skills to work while developing your links with employers.

You’ll get mentoring and support throughout your placement, to ensure you’re getting the most out of the year.

BA (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time, Sandwich Study Mode
3 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

University of Portsmouth in Pictures

Latest Updates from University of Portsmouth

Location of University of Portsmouth