Childhood play and development facilities

Early Childhood Studies with Psychology BA (Hons)

Develop the skills you need for a career in the early years sector and make a difference to the lives of young people with our Early Childhood Studies with Psychology degree course.

Key information

UCAS code:


Typical offer:

104-112 UCAS points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
Start date

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If you want to make a difference in the lives of young people and understand what makes them tick, you can combine the study of childhood and psychology on this BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Psychology degree.

You’ll explore the theory and lives of children from birth to eight years old, covering themes such as cover education, health and welfare. And you'll study psychology to build your understanding of children's individual and collective behaviour and how this affects their development.

At the end of the course you'll be set for a career in roles such as early years practitioner, therapeutic play worker, youth worker, teacher and social worker.

Course highlights

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the first eight 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
  • Be taught by staff that are active in research into areas such as animal cognition, autism, forensic psychology and quality of working life
  • Use specialist psychology equipment and facilities, including an observation suite, toddler and infant laboratory, psychophysiology laboratory, psychology of applied cognition laboratory, and digital analysis and video editing suite
  • 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
  • Hone the soft skills that employers value including teamwork, communication, problem solving, self-motivation and time management
  • Complement your studies with our research seminars and guest speakers where you'll grapple with issues alongside other students and lecturers
  • Run simulation activities to examine the responses of children to play and learning in the controlled environment of our practice suite
  • Have the opportunity to learn a foreign language for free as part of your degree, choosing from Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements​

To do this degree, you need to apply for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies course. This is because it's a ‘pathway’ degree.

You’ll study Early Childhood Studies in depth and add Psychology as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3. You’ll graduate with a BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Psychology degree when you finish the course.

These are the entry requirements for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies course.

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBC-BCC
  • UCAS points - 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

Selection process

Applicants must pass Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before starting their professional placement working with children and young people.

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

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

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, such as with a PGCE course that would give you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

What can you do with a Early Childhood Studies degree?

Previous students have gone on to work in:

  • therapeutic play - further training may be required
  • teaching
  • healthcare
  • social welfare
  • the police force
  • early years teaching and training
  • nursery practice
  • play work
  • family support services
  • early years management
  • healthcare and health promotion
  • social work
  • the voluntary sector
  • special educational and disability support

What jobs can you do with a Early Childhood Studies degree?

Specific roles that our graduates have gone on to include:

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

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

A global survey of 1000 business leaders by the Harvard Business Review [...] found that the skills most in-demand by employers are those in which Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts graduates specialise – from communication, problem solving and creativity, to research and analysis. 

Ian Diamond, The British Academy

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.

We'll also be available to help, advise and support you for up to five years as you advance in your career.

This course allows you to take the Professional Experience option in your third year. 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.


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

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

What you'll study

Core modules

You’ll learn how to carry out research ethically when working with communities and organisations to address real-world issues.

You’ll develop your own research proposal with expert guidance - from forming questions to methodology design.

Build transferable research skills you’ll use throughout your degree, from reflective practice to clear communication of your findings.

You'll explore key theories and research on the ways children and young people develop, including physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth.

By the end of the module, you'll have a better understanding of how to support children's wellbeing and development.

You’ll look at the factors that affect children's development in terms of health and wellbeing, including government policy and current social issues.

You'll think about the challenges that families face and the issues that have emerged after the pandemic.

This module will help you develop your ability to communicate and advocate effectively for children and young people, and to achieve knowledge components of Early Childhood Studies Graduate Practitioner Competencies.

You’ll study pioneering ideas that planted the seeds for contemporary approaches to play, creativity and holistic development.

You’ll investigate how partnerships between homes and educational settings can foster children's success, and learn how to plan and carry out early learning experiences. To bring this to life, you’ll complete a 25-day (150 hours) placement with children aged 0-8 years, offering an invaluable platform for professional and personal reflection.

You’ll develop skills in independent thinking, teamwork, problem-solving and project work, and get to grips with academic writing, referencing procedures, and the use of technology to enhance your skills.

You’ll also begin developing your ePortfolio, a personal collection documenting your learning journey.

Core modules

On this module, you'll explore the vital role of play in the lives of babies and children up to the age of 12, examining theoretical perspectives and research on the subject.

You'll discover how a child’s age and their individual needs shape the kind of play they engage in. You'll learn how important it is that adults working with children support and join in with them in play, and how to design enriching play environments.

You'll finish the module understanding the cognitive, social and emotional benefits of play, ready to nurture children's growth through purposeful play experiences.

You’ll learn how to apply classroom concepts in a practical setting, giving due consideration to any needs children may have when it comes to gender, class, race, disability and family life.

You’ll reflect on your own learning to articulate your personal and professional development goals, and relate your learning and experience to your career goals and training needs.

This module gives you the opportunity to achieve assessed work based learning at either Early Years Educator (Level 3), or to build upon your knowledge and experience in working with young children in the EYFS in order to develop their professional practice. You'll also continue to work towards completion of the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies (Level 6).

You’ll weigh up the main developmental processes in psychology, and look at cases of psychological individual difference.

You’ll draw on data to enrich your understanding, and by the end of the module, be able to recognise, recall and discuss psychological constructs, subject specific terminology and empirical applications.

Deep dive into critical matters like bullying, inclusion and resilience. You'll get insight into Transition Theory and how social factors form perspectives, and have the chance to direct your own learning, with a choice of essay topics and the opportunity to engage in dialogues with special guests.

This combo of theory and personal focus builds essential knowledge of the forces forming children's social development

Using existing studies as an example, you'll examine the key issues to think about, such as ethics, protection of the children involved, and data protection. You'll learn how to carry out ethical, meaningful research with children and young people, including quantitative and qualitative research methods that put children first, from observation and focus groups to surveys.

You'll think about how to choose a research area to investigate, and how to design and carry out a research project with children and young people – essential skills that will help you prepare for your dissertation.

Optional modules

You'll also apply the ideas and concepts you learn directly to working with young people, and reflect on your own experiences and approaches to learning.

You’ll look at the factors that shape childhood and the challenges children face, including the development, differences and successes of different education systems and the impact that has on children, teachers, and communities.

You’ll explore the relationships between education and social understandings with a specific focus on identities, inequality, and constructions of childhood.

By the end of the module, you’ll have developed a critical understanding of the complexities that shape childhood around the world.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you’ll apply what you’ve learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You’ll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

Optional modules

We'll help you find and secure a work placement that inspires you in a destination you can explore and make home during your placement year.

You'll have the chance to try out skills and gain experience that'll help you clarify your next career steps, while building capabilities employers seek and applying what you've learned on your degree so far to a real-world working environment.

Return feeling confident and re-energised for your final year or first year of your career, ready to make an immediate impact in whatever you choose to do next.

During your study abroad year, you’ll expand your global perspective and develop additional skills to boost your future career, as well as making memories, new friends and career contacts.

You could also improve your foreign language and intercultural communication skills. This is an amazing opportunity to expand your horizons and set yourself up for your future career by studying abroad and becoming a student ambassador for our university.

Core modules

You’ll focus on the role of the environment and adults, assessing how these factors support young learners to become confident and capable.

You’ll reflect on the impact of your previous experiences and how they have shaped personal values and beliefs, recognising how these can shape your practice.

Focusing on childhood and child development, you'l cover ethics in practice with children and young people. You'll also apply psychological theory to the lived experiences children, families and young people. This module will help you bring together core concepts within health and education-based approaches which encompass psychological theory.

Optional modules

It's up to you what your dissertation or project is about – this will be your chance to showcase your passion for childhood studies by choosing a subject area or topic that most interests you.

You'll draw on everything you’ve learned so far to investigate, analyse, craft and refine your dissertation or project, using existing texts, sources and artefacts to support your arguments and give them context. You'll have the support of a dedicated dissertation tutor to guide you throughout this module.

This real-world, project-based module lets you address an identified need or gap by designing an innovative product, service or resource.

With support from university staff and external partners, you'll demonstrate critical thinking, ethical awareness and project management abilities.

Your final project and presentation will showcase your employability and capacity for high-impact solutions.

You’ll reflect on your experiences in the outdoors and how these experiences shape our approaches to education.

You’ll learn how to carry out effective risk benefit analyses and how to frame your approach to risk as enabling children, young people and adults.

You’ll also take part in debate about the ecological challenges facing us and how we might shape educational practice and policy as a step to action.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you'll apply what you've learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You'll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

They may appear isolated, anxious and fearful, or they may seem unhappy or disturbed. As part of this module, you’ll look at the characteristics of these problems, as well as some of the explanations that have been offered about how these problems arise.

We will also be discussing ways in which we can support children and young people facing mental health difficulties across a variety of settings.

You’ll analyse the role of the adult in understanding a child's experiences through a therapeutic perspective of play.

You’ll connect theory and observations to practice to understand your role in recognising when a child might need further support from a qualified play therapist.

As part of this, we’ll look at a range of focused interventions which benefit children.

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • group and individual projects and presentations
  • tests
  • written examinations
  • practical reports
  • self-led research project
  • a dissertation or work based project

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.


Teaching methods on this course include:

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

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

Teaching staff profiles

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course.

Sarah Jane Barton Portrait

Mrs Sarah Barton

Senior Lecturer

School of Education, Languages and Linguistics

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Read more

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Early Childhood Studies pathway. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 10 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty 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 disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,200 a year (subject to annual increase)

You won't pay any extra tuition fees to another university for taking part in a study/work abroad activity if you choose to do it for the whole academic year. During a year abroad you'll only have to pay a reduced fee to the University of Portsmouth.

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

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 show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

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

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.

You’ll need to cover additional costs, such as travel costs, if you take an optional placement or placement abroad.

These costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the placement, and can range from £50–£1000.

During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, tuition fees for that year are:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)

The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.


You need to choose BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies when you apply for this course, because this is a ‘pathway’ course. This is where you study Early Childhood Studies in depth and add Psychology as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3. You’ll then graduate with a BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Psychology degree when you complete the course.

If you change your mind after you apply, you can choose not to study Psychology in years 2 and 3. You’ll then graduate with a BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree when you complete the course.

How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

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

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

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

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.