Education (Early Years)


Postgraduate degree

Key facts

MA Education (Early years)
Institute for Education
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
One year full-time (three trimesters). Two years part-time (six trimesters).

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We are 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: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

Study educational issues in depth, covering policy, practice and education theory.

  • Analyses politics and policies in education.
  • Allows you to study educational topics in depth.
  • Has a strong international perspective.

Education is much more than the study of teaching. Our programme is designed to get you questioning the assumptions that lie beneath educational policy and practice. The MA in Education Studies offers a mixture of theory and reflection on practice, within an international context.

This course is for prospective teachers, as well as non-teachers looking for a new career path. If your ambition is to teach in a school, this Master's in early childhood education is ideally suited (although it is not itself a UK teaching qualification).

Most of our students, however, have no intention of teaching. They are attracted by the academic nature of this award, by its habit of enabling new thinking about things that seemed like common sense, and by the prospect of improving academic skills and qualities, and applying them in educationally-related fields.

“The lecturers are experts in their fields and are clearly enthusiastic about their subjects … I particularly like the structure of the course; the combination of seminars, lectures and tutorials within small groups gave opportunity for discussion and full engagement with the course content.”

Lizbeth Bullough MA Education 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 study one award core module, Early Childhood: Education, Culture and Society. In addition, you will complete the module Education: and Society.

Trimester two
In your second trimester, you'll study the compulsory core module, Social Science Research, which introduces a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and methods. In addition, you'll take a second module: Perspectives of Outdoor Play, which includes concepts of engagement with nature, space, place and education for sustainable development. While undertaking these modules, you'll develop a proposal, and plan and carry out research for your dissertation with the support of your supervising tutor.

Trimester three
In your third trimester you'll write up your Dissertation. The dissertation enables you to study and research an aspect of early childhood education theory, policy, or practice in-depth, while being guided by a specialist supervisor.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the course handbook or definitive programme document for full details on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Education and Society
  • Early Childhood: Education, Culture and Society
  • Perspectives of Outdoor Play
  • Research Methods in Social Science
  • Dissertation.

How will I be assessed?

There are no written exams, and each module is assessed by coursework. This typically involves an essay of 2,500 words for a 15 credit module and 5,000 words for a 30 credit module. Sometimes assessment is by verbal presentation.

Your dissertation will be 15,000–20,000 words and worth 60 credits. It focuses on an area mutually agreed with a specialist tutor, who will offer you guidance and support.

Subjects vary widely, from the nature and quality of Supply Teaching in the UK, to the education of women in the Gambia, from the role of the modern Museum Educator, to the theoretical role of education in the unification of Cyprus. To achieve the award you’ll need 180 credits in total.

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.



Many of our graduates seek new career paths in educational management, training or in related fields.

Some wish to continue their expertise in Education Studies and gain a broader and deeper view of education.

Others wish to gain employment in, say, a museum or gallery setting, while others start with the intention of taking their studies further - to PhD level - and seek eventual employment in an academic institution.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

MA Early Years Education is taught at Newton Park campus.


UK and EU students full time

Course fees
2018/19 entry £6,995
2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019
2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

UK and EU students part time

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

2018/19 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £3,500
Year 2 Published Jan 2019

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2019
Year 2 Published Jan 2020

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2020
Year 2 Published Jan 2021

International students full time

Course fees
2018/19 entry £12,900
2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019
2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

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. For overseas applicants who are non-native speakers of English, a minimum language level of IELTS 6.5, or equivalent, is required.

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?

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk
Course leader: Lone Hattingh
Email: l.hattingh@bathspa.ac.uk

Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk