MA Education (Early Childhood Studies) – Bath Spa University

Education (Early Childhood Studies)


Postgraduate degree

Key facts

MA Education (Early Childhood Studies)
School of Education
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
One year full time or two years part time.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We're generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent.

Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work.

Please contact our admissions team for more information:

Study educational issues in depth, covering policy, practice and education theory, in our Master's in early years education.

  • Explore constructions of childhood.
  • Benefit from in-depth study of children from birth to eight.
  • Focus on ethical, cultural and social perspectives of early childhood.

Due to Covid-19, we have made some changes to teaching and learning for the 2020-21 academic year: we have blended high-quality virtual engagement with in-person teaching on campus when possible. Blended learning will continue to some extent in the 2021-22 academic year and we will continue to keep the situation under review in light of ongoing Government guidance. If you’re planning on joining us in September 2021 we will communicate with you about specific details of how your course is taught nearer the time.

Early childhood education is recognised globally as being crucial for laying the foundations for lifelong learning and development, as critical aspects of social, emotional and cognitive development are established in a child’s early years.

During the course, you’ll develop your knowledge and understanding of how children develop and learn in social and cultural contexts. You’ll be introduced to different pedagogical approaches, including international perspectives, that will encompass a critical analysis of the cultural construction of childhood.

This Master's in early childhood education incorporates modules that will enhance your understanding and insights into developing quality educational provision for young children.

"I chose the MA... to have a better career development and to understand children's behaviour more. I also wanted to find a better way to improve my life experiences and to further my current knowledge. Throughout the course I had a chance to explore the comprehensive child development theories that I have never touched before."

Jing Cai, MA Education (Early Childhood Studies)

What you'll learn


You’ll gain a deep insight into education. We’ll teach you to question:

  • The nature of learning and teaching is in different countries and cultures
  • The relationship between education and the economy
  • How education is changing as it becomes marketed
  • How education systems are managed
  • Who takes decisions about the curriculum and teaching
  • How far governments go (and how far they should go) to control education
  • What the role of professional educator is
  • The role schools and universities may take on in the future
  • The role of education in the knowledge economy
  • Whether education is becoming an instrument of capitalism.

Course structure

Trimester one
In your first trimester you'll undertake modules which provide a firm foundation for your MA. You'll have opportunities to evaluate and critically analyse issues and challenges whilst focusing on political, ethical, cultural and social issues both in early childhood and in education in general.

The course draws on theoretical insights into the study of early childhood which challenge and inspire, whilst considering the impact of national and international trends. Children’s right to play and to learn through play are important features in this first trimester and throughout the course.

Trimester two
In your second trimester, you'll explore perspectives of outdoor pedagogy while beginning to consider the focus for your dissertation as you engage with research methodology and the importance of research in early childhood education.

You'll continue to consider ethical ways to engage with children, their families and communities in areas such as education for sustainability, engagement with nature and the importance of space and place.

Trimester three
In your third trimester you'll study and research an aspect of early childhood education theory, policy, or practice in depth for your final 15,000 word dissertation. You'll be guided by a specialist supervisor and will also be able to attend research seminars and workshops if you wish. The dissertation is an opportunity to explore and critique a topic of your choice and is a fitting way to complete your Master’s journey at Bath Spa.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

  • Education and Society
  • Research Methods in the Social Sciences
  • Dissertation
  • Education and Globalisation
  • International Higher Education
  • Early Childhood: Education, Culture and Society
  • Perspectives of Outdoor Play
  • Leadership in Practice
  • Leading, Mentoring and Coaching
  • Education Policy
  • Research and Professional - Part 1
  • Research and Professional - Part 2

How will I be assessed?

There are no written exams on this course; each module is assessed through coursework.

How will I be taught?

You’ll be taught through lectures and small group seminars. There are also individual tutorials and good opportunities for extended discussion with tutors. Analysis of ideas through discussion is the key to teaching and learning in the programme. Some lectures and seminars occur during the day. Others take place from late afternoon.



Governments worldwide are now making early childhood education a priority and increasing their investment in provision for young children. You’ll acquire specialist expertise in an area of education that is rapidly expanding and opening up new career opportunities.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

You'll be taught at our Newton Park campus.


You'll have access to Bath Spa University's:


Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate.

UK students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £7,585
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

UK students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £3,793
Year 2 Published Jan 2022

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024

International students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £14,045
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

Some students apply for our MA having completed their PGCE with the intention of postponing their entry to the profession, whereas others apply before making a decision whether to become a teacher. Some are already teachers who wish to develop their understanding of the role.

The content and subject matter of your first degree is open. Some students have educational studies as a first degree, while others studied subjects from marine biology to music, or are experts in alternative fields. In some circumstances, professional work in education (e.g. PGCE) or related field can be assessed as appropriate credit for "prior learning" (APL) and a reduction in the number of credits required to pass the programme can be negotiated.

We attract students from a range of countries, including Cyprus, the Republic of The Gambia, the United States, Germany, Indonesia, China, Japan and Australia, as well as the United Kingdom. Students are expected to have an Honours degree from a recognised Higher Education Institution in the UK, although we often accept applicants with appropriate experience that we consider sufficient and comparable, or an equivalent degree from overseas. Equivalence of overseas students' academic qualifications is assessed by NARIC.

If English is not your first language, you'll need to provide evidence of proficiency in the English language. The Admissions Team assesses applications individually, but for postgraduate courses we're looking for an IELTS score of between 6.0-7.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component (Writing, Listening, Reading and Speaking).

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the "apply now" button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Get ahead

Read the following and ask questions:

  • Robin Alexander: "Culture and Pedagogy"
    Pedagogy in French and Russian schools is more alike than in England and the United States. Why might that be?
  • Mike Bottery: "Education, policy and ethics"
    Do education systems increasingly devote themselves to the needs of the globally economy? Should they?
  • Norman Fairclough: "Language and Power"
    IRF (initiation, response, feedback) is a common discourse interaction in classrooms. Is this a good or a bad thing?

Want to apply for this year? 

Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180

Course leader: Lone Hattingh

"Education (Early Childhood Studies)" is a name revision to the programme currently running as "Education (Early Years)".

Website feedback to