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Early Childhood Studies

BA (Hons)

Undergraduate degree - single honours

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
School of Education
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
Three years full time, or four years full time with professional placement year. Part time available.
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: X312 or X313
Campus Code: A,BSU

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed under 'Typical offers' in the main column below. For combined courses, please check both subjects. If your qualification is not listed, please email with your specific details.

Explore issues in early childhood and gain practical experience of working with children and families.

  • Employability focused to enable achievement of the sector-recognised Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies.
  • Intellectually stimulating programme with 80 planned days of placement.
  • Explore real local and global issues in Early Childhood with engaging and experienced tutors.

University of the Year for Social Inclusion

Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024

#7 in the UK

for Student-Staff Ratio in Education (Guardian University Guide, 2024)

On this dynamic course, you’ll develop a critical understanding of childhood, babies, children and families from multi-disciplinary and global perspectives. Informed by the latest research and our Centre for Research in Early Childhood (REACH), you’ll examine current debates and explore concepts such as play, development, ethics, wellbeing, social justice and leadership.

Through 80 days of planned placement activity, you’ll gain essential skills and knowledge of inclusive and collaborative practices to make a positive impact on children’s lives and shape your future career. You might also apply for our Certificate in Global Citizenship or opt for a study visit or international placement.

If you apply for a PGCE during your final year of study, you'll receive a guaranteed PGCE Primary and Early Years interview.

Open Days

Get a taste of life at Bath Spa – come to one of our Open Days.

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"This experience provided me with the opportunity to explore practice in the early years, which I had never really done before. I was able to participate in lengthy placements, which allowed me to gain substantial experience and develop what I had learnt from seminars."

Jessica Samuels, student

What you'll learn


You’ll gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • Social, cultural, historical, political and economic contexts of early childhood
  • Approaches to working with babies, young children, families and communities
  • An understanding of global issues and debates, such as young children as active participants in the lives and practices of families, societies and cultures
  • The processes which shape early childhood and young children's lives, including ethical principles and children's rights
  • Educational research and enquiry methods
  • Skills which support participation, critical engagement, and intellectual independence.

In addition to this, you’ll gain skills that will make you attractive to employers. You’ll learn to present your ideas confidently in a variety of forms, use ICT for various professional purposes and work collaboratively.

Course structure

Year one
Year one will introduce to you contemporary and global issues in childhood, the education and care of young children from birth to eight years, and the importance of reflection as a professional tool. Through your studies and placement, you’ll explore theoretical and research perspectives underpinning how children develop and learn. This includes a focus on children’s creativity, wellbeing, rights and participation.

Year two
During your placement and studies in year two, you'll develop your professional identity as an early childhood educator and gain a deep understanding of the care, development and learning of children between birth and eight years old. You’ll question how current social, political and cultural perspectives impact the lived experiences of children and their families, and critically examine issues such as equity and social justice, diversity and inclusion and digital technologies.

Year three
In year three you’ll continue in placement and gain an understanding of leadership in early childhood settings. Alongside this, experiential learning will support your knowledge of effective ways of leading a team, reflective practice, and working with parents, carers, families and communities. You’ll analyse concepts such as play and playfulness, ethics and democracy. Through balancing independent work with one-to-one support, you’ll carry out research in a chosen, specialist area and prepare for your future career.

How will I be assessed?

You’ll be assessed through coursework. There are no exams.

Assessments could include essays, group presentations, research-based reports and portfolio-based work. We’ll provide you with regular feedback on how well you're doing and give you regular guidance on how to improve your skills, knowledge and understanding.

How will I be taught?

Teaching is through a mix of lectures, seminars and individual tutorials. Seminars are usually more informal than lectures – they're opportunities for you to discuss, ask questions and get involved in activities and debates.

You’ll be taught by experienced and respected University staff. Throughout the course they’ll introduce you to their specialisms and research interests.

You’ll also benefit from visiting speakers – these include early childhood setting leaders, play therapists, children’s services, educational advisers, specialist researchers and international visitors.

To find out more about how we teach and how you'll learn, please read our Learning and Teaching Delivery Statement.

Course modules

This course offers or includes the following modules. The modules you take will depend on your pathway or course combination (if applicable) as well as any optional or open modules chosen. Please check the programme document for more information.

Year one (Level 4) modules
  • Introduction to Early Childhood Studies
  • Children’s Voices in Early Childhood
  • Constructions of Early Childhood
  • Research in Early Childhood
  • Introduction to Practice in Early Childhood Settings
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Early Childhood
Year two (Level 5) modules
  • Care, Development and Learning in Early Childhood
  • Professional Practice in an Early Childhood Setting
  • Issues in Early Childhood
  • Early Childhood Pedagogue

Two optional modules, such as but not limited to:

  • Literacy Learning in a Multi Media World
  • Supporting Learners with Additional Needs
  • Environment and Education
  • Youth in Society: Power, Politics and Participation
  • Professional Placement Year
Year three (Level 6) modules
  • Leadership and Teamwork in Early Childhood Settings
  • Play and Playfulness
  • Early Childhood Dissertation: Part 1
  • Early Childhood Dissertation: Part 2

Two optional modules, such as, but not limited to:

  • Learning in Mathematics
  • Childhood, Reading and Children’s Literature
  • Health, Education and Wellbeing
  • Young People, Identities and Subcultures
  • Professional Practice: Supporting the Dyslexic Learning in the Classroom
  • Learning in Science
  • Culture, Creativity and Society: Perspectives in Art Education
  • Identity, Philosophy and Education
  • Symbolic Representations: Young Children Making Meaning


Study abroad

As part of your degree, you could study abroad on a placement at one of Bath Spa’s partner universities.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Placements occur in each year of the programme (25-30 placement days/year) in a range of early childhood settings as part of the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies. These extended placements also enable you to collect practice-based evidence for the accredited vocational qualification ‘Early Years Educator’. 

Optional modules provide further placement opportunities for you to work with young people both locally and internationally. The Institute for Education Partnership Office will arrange each placement for you. We try to ensure you are located within a reasonable distance from where you live; however, you should normally expect to travel using your own or public transport.

Previous students have worked with charities, youth centres and third-sector organisations such as museums, as well as in schools and early years settings.


Early Childhood Studies will provide the basis for you to work with young children in different early years settings and contexts. You may choose to work in educational and training advisory roles in a range of organisations including local community, businesses, local authorities, non-government organisations, charities, museums, art galleries and libraries.

Global Citizenship

INTL Global CitizenshipIf you’re a full-time undergraduate student starting your first year at Bath Spa University, you can apply for the Certificate in Global Citizenship, which you’ll study alongside your degree.

You’ll gain global awareness and add an international dimension to your student experience, and funding is available. On successful completion of the programme, you’ll be awarded a Certificate in Global Citizenship. This is in addition to your degree; it doesn’t change your degree title or results.

Adobe Creative Campus

Develop a wealth of indispensable digital skills that you can take into your future career. One of only three Adobe Creative Campuses in the UK, we provide all Bath Spa students with access to the full Adobe Creative Suite, giving you the tools to communicate creatively, whatever your course or chosen professional field.   

Professional placement year


This optional placement year provides you with the opportunity to identify, apply for and secure professional experience, normally comprising one to three placements over a minimum of nine months. Successful completion of this module will demonstrate your ability to secure and sustain graduate-level employment.

By completing the module, you'll be entitled to the addition of 'with Professional Placement Year' to your degree title.


Before your Professional Placement Year, you'll work to secure your placement, constructing a development plan with your module leader and your placement coordinator from our Careers and Employability team.

How will I be assessed?

On your return to University for your final year, you'll submit your Placement Portfolio, detailing your development on your placement.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

The Early Childhood Studies degree is taught on Newton Park campus.

You'll have access to a range of excellent facilities including:


You can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University’s free equipment loan service. We provide a huge variety of equipment, from cameras to laptops.


2024 entry
Student Annual tuition fee
UK full time £9,250
UK part time £4,625
International full time £15,750

Professional Placement Year

During the placement year, the fee is reduced to 20% of the full time fee. This applies to UK and EU/International students.

  • UK: £1,850
  • International: £3,150

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We're looking for critical and compassionate students who are committed to working with and supporting the lives of babies, young children and families.

Typical offers

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level – grades BBB-BCC preferred
  • BTEC – Extended Diploma grades from Distinction Distinction Merit (DDM) to Distinction Merit Merit (DMM) accepted in any subject.
  • T Levels – grade Merit preferred.
  • International Baccalaureate – a minimum of 32 points are required.
  • Access to HE courses – typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, at Merit or higher).

If you don’t meet the entry requirements above, we may be able to accept your prior learning or experience from outside of formal education. See our Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) page to learn more.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Course enquiries

For further information about the programme or entry requirements, please email us at

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 pages.

Course leaders: Rebecca Digby

Three year course
With placement year

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