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Early Childhood Studies

BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code


Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022


Harcourt Hill

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: a maximum of 8 years


School of Education

UCAS Tariff Points



Are you interested in how young children learn, interact and grow? You can explore this fascinating stage of development with our Early Childhood Studies course.

You will:

  • look at childhood from a sociological perspective
  • expand your knowledge of child psychology
  • recall your experiences of childhood and reflect on them to develop your understanding.

You will critique experimental, observational and field studies. And your learning will be based on theory, research and practice.

The course covers a range of topics that include: 

  • UK early years policy
  • a young child’s digital environment
  • how adults support children’s learning
  • health and wellbeing
  • media reports about children
  • inclusion
  • knowledge of practice.

You'll have the opportunity to take placements across a range of early years settings. 

On graduating you'll have the practical experience, academic and professional skills for a range of careers in the sector.

Students leaving seminar

How to apply

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

For more information about how we are supporting applicants impacted by Covid-19, please see our information for applicants page.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29


Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27


Further offer details

The course welcomes a wide range of students with many different academic backgrounds. You may have studied either arts or science subjects at school, and you may have a mix of A and AS-levels, hold vocational qualifications or have completed an access course. Above all, enthusiasm and a keen interest in human development and children's learning are the key attributes of our students.

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions:


Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.


All applicants will be screened for fitness to practise and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, November 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Nov 20)

International / EU full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, November 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Nov 20)

International / EU full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

On this course you’ll be going on placements in early years settings; you'll self fund travel to and from your placements.

You’ll also need a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check. This costs about £50. You may also need to pay an extra fee of about £15 to keep your DBS up-to-date.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment

You will begin by learning:

  • how very young children grow and develop, both in the family and in different cultures
  • examining how toddlers make sense of the world around them through play and interaction with adults.

As well as theory you will carry out practical, hands-on work. As part of this you might observe and work with young children in different settings.
Your compulsory modules provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills you'll need to complete the course successfully. We have a diverse range of optional modules. So as you progress through the course, you can focus on particular areas of study that interest you.
You will also research particular topics in early years education. Research interests of our staff include:

  • children’s language acquisition
  • the nature of children’s thinking
  • children and new technologies/media
  • outdoor learning
  • children’s spirituality
  • children’s identity. 

There is also a strand of research related to understanding professionalism and multi-agency working in the early years.

Student studying

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Working with Children 1 (double)

You’ll gain the real-life experience you need to succeed in your Early Childhood Studies Degree. You’ll explore how children learn, and focus on:

  • learning through play
  • children in early years settings
  • children’s representations 
  • child development in action.

You’ll gain hands-on experience by visiting early years and childcare settings, and explore and examine UK early years policy. You’ll have fantastic preparation for practice, as you get to know key issues such as:

  • safeguarding
  • child protection
  • ethical and inclusive practice
  • attachment theory in practice.

Research and Professional Practice (double)

You’ll gain the critical skills you need to study early childhood and succeed in your degree. You’ll learn how to analyse a range of texts, including:

  • academic research
  • government policy documents
  • media reports about children.

You’ll develop core critical reading skills and learn to produce and share information, as you engage in group activities and study key texts. You’ll acquire a strong understanding of the critical issues in Early Childhood Studies, and the skills to create pressing arguments around them. You’ll also develop key skills in academic reading and writing, unlocking your potential for excellence.


Listening to Young Children

What are children’s rights? How can we listen to children, and hear their voices? In this module, you’ll understand the core perspectives in listening to children, and how we can put these into practice. You’ll gain a key knowledge of early childhood, and how early childhood policy is set. You’ll build vital analytical skills for your degree, as you get to know the international context of policy and practice. You’ll reflect on your own responses to these practices, and decide your own approach to these issues.

Growing up in the 21st Century (double)

How does growing up in the 21st century affect children? In this module, you’ll explore how family and culture affects the learning and development of young children. You’ll gain a firm knowledge of the major theories around young children and how we understand them, including: 

  • attachment theory
  • socio-ecological theories (the relationship between people and their environment)
  • psychological theories.

We’ll also look at how these theories relate to families. You’ll explore the major social development of childhood and investigate how children are active members of society. 


Listening to Children

Optional modules

Education, Childhood and Youth in Popular Culture

How are schools, teachers and students represented in popular culture - from films to literary works? You’ll dig into recurring educational themes in our society, and how they reflect current debates on education, childhood and the role of the teacher. You’ll ask whether popular culture simply reproduces stereotypes about teaching and schools, or whether it can give us a new perspective on education. And you’ll consider why, as a culture, we’re so keen on reliving our school days through television and books. 

Introduction to Child and Adolescent Development

How do developmental issues impact children’s learning? You’ll gain a sound knowledge of development, and the developmental themes behind children’s learning. You’ll explore key developmental concepts that affect a child's capacity for learning, and evaluate alternative theoretical models of the learning process. You’ll also consider such topics as: 

  • the developing brain
  • constructivist and social constructivist approaches to making sense of the world
  • family, school, friends and other contexts for learning 
  • active engagement in learning - exploration and play 
  • self expression and creativity.

Young Children's Outdoor Learning

You’ll explore how young children learn through play. You’ll also discover how adults plan exploration and play for children in outdoors environments. You’ll get to grips with two key areas: 

  • maintaining good provisions and interactions in an early years outdoors area
  • teaching and learning through the Forest School approach. 

You’ll look at how children and adults interact in a variety of situations. You’ll also gain core knowledge of health and safety training, as you study issues such as: 

  • children as risk-takers
  • off-site travel
  • maintaining a safe environment.

You’ll develop core analytical skills as you explore how research and government policy affect children’s outdoor learning. 


Year 2

Compulsory modules

Child Development (double)

How do children develop? You’ll understand the key aspects of a child’s developmental processes, and the relationship between learning and development. You’ll get to grips with a variety of perspectives, and gain a firm understanding of child development. You’ll explore themes such as:

  • perceptual development
  • language development
  • cognitive development (constructivist and social constructivist approaches)
  • physical development
  • play
  • moral development
  • development of self and identity
  • emotional development, deprivation and enrichment,

You’ll also consider a range of influences on children’s development, such as heredity and social influences, and examine creativity and the theory of mind.


Research in the Early Years

What are the ethical issues of doing research on children? You’ll gain the core tools you need to carry out effective research in early years. You’ll develop the confidence and expertise to succeed in your degree, and understand the research methods that social scientists and educational practitioners use, including:

  • interviews
  • observation
  • questionnaires.

You’ll have a grounding in reliable and valid research, giving you fantastic skills for your future career.


Working with Children 2* (Double)

You’ll gain the core knowledge and practical skills to work as an early years practitioner. You’ll complete a safeguarding course, giving you the most up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding practices when you start your career. You’ll develop key knowledge of the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) policies and frameworks. In your second semester, you’ll do a placement in a childcare or early years setting. You’ll put your knowledge into practice, and enhance your expertise in the field, ready for your career.

Preparing for the Dissertation

This module gives you the skills and knowledge to excel at your dissertation. You’ll gain a thorough knowledge of topics that will prepare you for every stage of your dissertation. You’ll learn how to plan your dissertation, analyse research and write up a powerful argument. You’ll gain a valuable critical awareness of yourself as a researcher, as you get to know the processes involved. You’ll also understand the key ethical procedures of fieldwork, allowing you to work successfully in the field.


Optional modules

Inclusion, Special Needs and Disabilities

How can we provide a strong and inclusive education for children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities? You’ll gain a clear understanding of the policy and practice relating to special educational needs. You’ll acquire core critical skills as you examine SEN legislation, and analyse discrimination. You’ll develop key self-awareness as you challenge your own attitudes and beliefs around SEN and disabilities. 

Gender in the 21st Century

How do gender and gender stereotypes affect teachers and learners? You’ll explore how issues of gender shape society, culture and education. You’ll gain core critical skills for your degree, as you analyse how the media and education, as well as how children are socialised, play vital roles in shaping teachers and learners. You’ll investigate these key issues, relate them to your own experiences, and apply your thoughts to key educational theories.

Cultural and Arts-Based Learning

You’ll examine how students can learn through exciting cultural activities. You’ll look at activities including:

  • exploring cultural sites and learning contexts
  • cultural artefacts and arts-based activities. 

You’ll study core theories of learning in key areas of the arts, including art, drama, music and film, and consider the significance of these areas in the educational curriculum. You’ll put core theories around culture and learning into practice, as you go on field trips and take part in practical activities at Oxford’s famous museums and galleries. You’ll gain fantastic critical skills, as you analyse how cultural artefacts and activities support learning. 


Literature for Young Children

How can young children fall in love with reading? You’ll gain a strong understanding of the rich range of books for young children. You’ll develop core skills in reading critically and reflectively as you analyse the relationship between words and pictures in children’s texts. You’ll learn how to select texts that support language development, and focus on phonological (sound patterns and their meanings) awareness, and reading development. 

Young Children's Health and Wellbeing

How does a child’s health and wellbeing shape their future success? You’ll get to grips with the importance of children’s health and wellbeing. You’ll learn the roles and responsibilities of health professionals working with young children to ensure their wellbeing. You’ll gain a sound knowledge of issues including: 

  • health inequalities
  • health promotion
  • health provision for young children.

You’ll also have the chance to explore children’s inner lives and spirituality, and to understand the adult’s role in supporting children’s emotional and spiritual health.

Children in the Digital World

How do media and technology impact children’s lives and their understanding of the world? You’ll use key academic theories to explore these dynamic questions and how the issues are relevant in education. You’ll explore direct examples of media and technology, and gain core practical skills for your degree as you make links between theory and real life situations.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Dissertation (Double)

You’ll undertake independent research on a topic in Early Childhood Studies which fascinates you. You’ll have the support of an expert supervisor who will help you negotiate a key issue in Early Childhood Studies and develop it into a dissertation.

Reflective Practice (Double)

You’ll enhance your confidence and skills in working as a practitioner in an early years setting. You’ll discuss current issues, and reflect on your own practice in the light of current policy and research. As a group, we’ll focus on reflection as means of bringing together theory and practice, with an emphasis on group reflection. In your practice in your placement, you might focus on issues such as: 

  • deepening understandings of curriculum organisation and delivery
  • focusing on the individual needs of the child
  • addressing issues of inclusion, individual achievement or well-being 
  • focusing on relationships with parents and the community.

As part of the module, you’ll also complete a reflective journal.


Optional modules

Controversial and Contemporary Research in Education (double)

Why is education such a hotly argued topic? You’ll investigate controversial issues in education from previous modules, and explore new and pressing ideas. You’ll gain core teamwork and research skills for your future career, as you pursue these issues through group discussion and individual research. You’ll build key critical skills for your degree, as you evaluate evidence from sources ranging from popular media to policy texts, as well as academic texts on education. 

You’ll also enjoy seminars with guest speakers, where you’ll engage with the latest educational debates and expertise. 


Becoming a Reader (Double)

How do children become readers? You’ll look at children's literacy, investigating theories and debates about how children become readers. You’ll get to grips with the key ways that children learn to read, including: 

  • decoding skills
  • comprehension of text
  • attitude and motivation. 

You’ll look at different forms of literacy in an era of digital communication. You’ll gain the skills to understand a range of developmental theories, and articulate your own arguments.


International Comparisons in Early Childhood Care and Education

You’ll examine core policies and practices in education. You’ll gain important analytical skills for your degree, as you consider the differences in education policy between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You’ll analyse how international evidence in education impacts services in these four UK countries.

Professional Roles in Early Years

How do different professionals work together to support the health and education of young children? You’ll gain a strong grounding in the partnerships which support early learning and care, both historically and today. You’ll build on the knowledge you gained from your Reflective Practice module and dissertation, as you engage with key themes such as workforce development, partnership and workplace communication. You’ll understand children’s rights in the home and other settings, and analyse the roles of parents and professionals in the welfare and education of young children. Legislation which affects the roles of workers in early years sectors will also be a topic.

Researching Child Development

You’ll get to grips with child development and the strengths and weaknesses of key approaches to the subject. You’ll gain core analytical skills as you critique experiential, observational and field studies. You’ll also gain fantastic research and project management skills for your future career, as your design and carry out an investigative study.

Unequal Childhoods

Not all childhoods are equal. You’ll reflect on the ways we respond to differences in:

  • ethnicity
  • race
  • social class
  • ability. 

You’ll build on your knowledge of equality, diversity and human justice that you’ve gained from earlier modules. You’ll also increase your knowledge of United Nations conventions and United Kingdom equality legislation, increasing your professional understanding of legislation and equality.


The Principled Professional

Gain fantastic preparation for work as a professional early years practitioner. You’ll explore the core elements of the professional’s role in early years settings and other employment contexts. You’ll develop a strong understanding of professionalism, giving you the best chance to succeed in job interviews and your future career. You’ll also grow into a strong advocate for the wellbeing of children and their families.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Our teaching methods include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • discussion.

When you have completed your course, you will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the developmental needs of children and the role of the family in supporting that development
  • an appreciation of how practice in childcare and early learning can be informed by theoretical perspectives
  • a comparative understanding of how policy and practice in childcare and early learning varies across the international context
  • effectiveness as a problem solver, team worker and sensitive mediator
  • the knowledge and skills required as a professional working in education or child care
  • informed critiques of the role of agencies in the support, protection and education of young children
  • knowledge and promotion of equal opportunities in childcare and education
  • an understanding of how early childhood and childcare practice can influence human development.

Field trips

We are always keen to explore ways in which you broaden your experience of education and development. In the past we have visited The Gambia developing long standing relationships with schools and colleges and we are actively exploring international opportunities in other parts of the world, aiming to be responsive to students' needs and interests.



Assessment methods used on this course

Early Childhood Studies modules are 100% assessed by coursework. These could be presentations, essays and/or project reports.

Assessment for some modules includes group assignments that encourage collaborative and team working skills.

Study Abroad

You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

After you graduate

Career prospects

Graduates of the Early Childhood Studies course embark on a variety of careers when finishing their studies. 

Many students use Early Childhood Studies as the basis to go on to train for related jobs such as teachers, social work, educational psychology, play therapy, youth and family work. Recent graduates have taken up jobs in educational publishing and educational charities.

Some students use the degree as a platform to go onto careers in a wide variety of areas such as marketing, law and business. 

Throughout the course there are regular opportunities for students to meet with careers advisers. A key principle of our approach to teaching and assessment is that it should equip students with key work skills such as team working and presenting to an audience. The direct practical experiences and reflection on the link between theory and practice within the course are also significant factors in our students' subsequent employability.

Examples of jobs that recent Early Childhood Studies graduates have gone on to are: 

  • Local Government Communications Support Worker
  • Therapy Support Worker with the NHS
  • Forest school Leader
  • Primary school Manager
  • Nursery Nurse
  • Development Assistant, National Museum of Wales
  • Children's Centre Outreach Worker. 

Further study

The course can lead to a PGCE (Primary), also offered at Oxford Brookes. You may continue your studies at master's level, perhaps following a specialist Post Graduate Certificate in Challenging Behaviour or Children's Literature. We also offer a range of MA Education courses, including the MA Education: Childhood and Youth Studies. 

Student profiles

Free language courses

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.