child reads picture book with early childhood studies student
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2019


The next generation needs people with an understanding and vision of what future care and education looks like. If you want to make a difference in the lives of young people, and shape the conversation and strategies around early years development, this course will meet your ambitions.

On this BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree course, 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 experience

On this Early Childhood Studies degree course, you'll:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the first 8 years of children's lives and develop the skills you need for a career in the early years sector
  • Examine the issues that shape the lives of young children in society and explore what future care and education could look like
  • Study the sociology, psychology, welfare and policies surrounding young people
  • Draw from current issues, using national and international viewpoints to explore the development of children in their first experiences at home and in initial education
  • Be taught by experts with experience across several disciplines, and hear from regular guest speakers and our network of relevant local organisations
  • Tailor your study to suit your interests and workplace ambitions
  • Choose whether to do a traditional dissertation or work-based unit for your final project
  • Complement your studies with our research seminars, guest speakers and School Book Club where you'll grapple with issues alongside other students and lecturers

You can also tailor your studies to include the Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) award. This doesn't give you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), but it does mean you can become a fully qualified teacher with specialised training for children birth to five years. Following your studies, you could go on to do a PGCE and gain QTS if you wish.

Optional pathway

You can follow an optional psychology pathway through this degree. You'll get to choose units in psychology, which will lead to BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Psychology award when you graduate.

Careers and opportunities

When you complete the course, you’ll be prepared to take on roles in education, social care and health related areas. You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level.

Our previous students have gone on to roles in:

  • early years teaching and training
  • nursery practice
  • play work
  • family support services
  • management in early years
  • healthcare and health promotion
  • social work
  • the voluntary sector
  • environments that support children and young people with special educational needs and disability

Roles our graduates have gone on to include:

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

You'll get help and support in finding a job and planning your career from our Careers and Employability service throughout your studies and for up to 5 years after you leave the University.

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 student

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies course

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.

Units currently being studied

Core units in this year include:

  • 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

There aren't any optional units in this year.

Core units in this year include:

  • 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

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Core units in this year include:

  • 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.

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.

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.

I went on to study for my PGCE and my degree equipped me for this really well. I was lucky enough to go on to land a job teaching Year One in an amazing school!

Abigail Evans , BA Hons Early Childhood Studies student

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • group-based activities
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • individual and group presentations
  • poster presentations
  • project work
  • lectures

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

You can also use many of the facilities and get support from Faculty staff in the evenings and weekends. There’s no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

How you're assessed

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 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

Entry requirements​

Entry Requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

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

See alternative English language qualifications

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £13,900 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

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

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.


How to apply

To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – LX53
  • our institution code – P80

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

Not quite ready to apply?

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

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

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.