BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies - University of Portsmouth
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BA (Hons)

Early Childhood Studies

UCAS codeLX53

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Includes national and international perspectives of early childhood

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This degree focuses on factors that shape the lives of young children (0-8) in today’s society and enables you to develop a vision of what future care and education might look like. Education, sociology, psychology, health, welfare and social policy are key subjects that give you a breadth of knowledge and experience which will be invaluable to your future career.

You will have the opportunity to select options from a wide range of subjects. This enables you to tailor your degree to your particular interests. The option units are delivered by lecturers who have undertaken research and practice in the specialist area you want to develop skills in.

Employability and informing career choices are incorporated into the programme including work experience. There is a further opportunity to do a placement year in this country or abroad.
There is the opportunity to follow a route that includes Early Years Initial Teacher Training to gain the EY ITT award - also available to graduates through our GradCert Early Years Initial Teacher Training programme. 

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • develop and challenge your understanding of theories and contemporary issues for young children and their families
  • learn from staff who are experts in practice and research within education, health, psychology, inclusion and social care
  • be supported by an assigned personal and learning development tutor
  • benefit from relevant work placement opportunities and volunteering with local schools or charities

On our National Student Survey students say “Feedback is prompt and lecturers are approachable”, with staff who are “extremely passionate about what they are teaching”

What opportunities might it lead to?

Studying in the School of Education and Childhood Studies can lead you onto a variety of career pathways, some of which may require postgraduate study. You will be able to apply for a range of roles in education, social care and health related areas. Please note that this course does not provide Qualified Teacher Status.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • early years teaching/ training
  • family support service
  • management in early years
  • healthcare and health promotion
  • social work
  • work in the voluntary sector
  • environments that support children and young people with special educational needs and disability such as speech and language therapy


Portia Newton, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies 2017

Aside from my academic growth, my studies have helped me form my ethos to carry forward into practice, and given me a fuller understanding of the ways in which I can be an advocate for early years education. All of the lecturers are passionate about their fields, and as a result inspired me to reach goals I would have never thought possible. I enjoyed my time so much I'm coming back next year to continue my studies!”

Portia Newton, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies 2017


Education, Childhood and Youth Studies

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Hands-on opportunities to work in a relevant educational setting
  • The support available to all students
  • The flexibility of unit options that enable you to tailor your study to your own interests

Browse all courses in Education, Childhood and Youth Studies

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

In the first year of this degree, you will be introduced to a broad range of skills and knowledge that will support you in your study. The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies focuses on constructs of childhood, child development and how young children needs are met, particularly within the context of the family and early years settings. You will study:

  • Child and Youth Development
  • Children, Young People and Social Policy
  • Equality and Diversity in Practice
  • Health and Wellbeing of the Young Child
  • Perspectives of Early Childhood Education

Year two

The second year of this degree aims to consolidate the themes introduced in the first year. Study of how government policy influences and impacts practice will be considered in greater depth. The use of options at this stage will enable you to start focusing on a specific area of interest. You will also have the opportunity to experience paid or voluntary work with children if you take the Life Elective in an option this year.

  • Global Childhoods
  • Professional Practice in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Just Playing?
  • Research with Children and Young People

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Children’s Literature
  • Children’s Social Minds
  • Communicative Strategies for Children
  • Development of Learning
  • Digital Natives
  • Gender, Race and Education

Year three

Your third year will focus on curriculum requirements, policies and the rights of the child as you specialise in an area of interest through your choice of dissertation and options.

  • Dissertation / Major Project
  • Promoting Early Learning (0-3)
  • Developing and Extending Young Children's Thinking for Learning

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Early Years Teacher Status
  • Behaviour Matters
  • Creativity
  • Children with (Severe) Learning Difficulties 
  • Children, Young People and Religion
  • What’s the Story?
  • Fairy Tales and Folktales for Children
  • Who’s in Charge?
  • Families in Need
  • Won’t Read, Can’t Read: Failing Readers
  • Issues Relating to Children and Young People’s Mental Health
  • Working with Looked after Children
  • Developing Professional Practice
  • Childhood, Youth and Film
  • Introduction to Teaching


We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


We pride ourselves on the quality of teaching and student support on this course. Learning takes a variety of forms including group-based activities, seminars, tutorials, individual and group presentations, poster presentations, project work, elearning activities and lectures.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 78% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 14% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 76% studying independently and 10% on work placement
  • Year three students: 10% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 90% studying independently and 0% on work placement


We use a range of assessment methods to ensure that you reach your academic potential. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • essays
  • group and individual presentations/projects
  • tests
  • a 10,000-word dissertation

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

  • Year one students: 8% by written exams, 15% by practical exams and 77% by coursework
  • Year two students: 0% by written exams, 10% by practical exams and 90% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework

Tutor's view


Ms Joy Chalke
Early Childhood Studies

The BA Early Childhood Studies provides students with the opportunity to engage with the subject from a range of national and international perspectives which support a deepening knowledge and understanding of the constructions of the young child in the world today.

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Facilities & Features

Study in SECS

The School comprises a body of enthusiastic staff with a range of expertise in the professional and academic sectors. We offer a welcoming learning environment, in a location near the heart of town, the student buildings and the sea front.

3rd Space

A social learning space for you to study or meet up with friends. Small and large groups, or individuals looking for a quiet space or discuss work can find a quiet area which can be screened off. Alternatively, grab a coffee or play a game of pool in between lectures.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

A variety of career pathways will be open to you, some of which may require postgraduate study. These pathways include early years practice and children’s centre roles, alongside new jobs that are developing rapidly in response to current government initiatives.

You may also go on to train as an early years or primary teacher, gain Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS), study as a Speech and Language therapist or undertake a masters degree in Social Work, or another role in education, social care and health. Please note that this course does not provide Qualified Teacher Status; however, in your third year, you can gain EYTS alongside your degree.

Roles our graduates have moved into include:

  • training assessor
  • teacher
  • employability coordinator
  • careers advisor
  • schools liaison officer

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which lets you earn credits toward your degree for work / research placements, volunteer roles or internships undertaken alongside your studies. The option gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability skills, to reflect on the ways in which you've done so, and to learn to express this to potential employers.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Kamila Rorat, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies student 2013

What I really like is that after we finish we don’t have to start working in a nursery. If you would like to choose any other workplace, for example, working in the police, a hospital, or primary schools or secondary schools, we have the option to achieve something else so the field is very very big because you don’t have to focus just on one area.

Kamila Rorat, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies student 2013

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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