Early Childhood Studies

BA (Hons)

Find a course


Key facts

UCAS code


Start dates

September 2023 / September 2024


Harcourt Hill

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: a maximum of 8 years

UCAS Tariff Points



Children today face complex futures - and an uncertain world. Technology is rapidly changing children’s lives - and their rights. Perceptions of gender identity are shifting. And austerity has impacted children’s development across the UK and the world.

Early Childhood practitioners with specialist skills and professional knowledge are needed - now more than ever - to support children and families with the challenges of the 21st Century.

And when you study Early Childhood Studies at Oxford Brookes, you’ll explore the most significant issues facing children today - like:

  • digital technologies and children’s understanding of the online world
  • inequality, and its impact on children and families
  • children’s emotional health

You’ll also build sought-after practitioner skills for a career working with children, families and communities. You’ll build hands-on experience through your placements. And you’ll graduate with convincing experience on your CV, ready to progress into fields like:

  • Teacher training
  • Play therapy
  • Special educational needs
  • Social work and more
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.

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: admissions@brookes.ac.uk


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 part-way through the course for students who have credit from previous learning or relevant professional experience.

Find out more about transferring to Brookes. If you'd like to talk through your options, please contact our Admissions team.

Application process

Full time Home (UK) applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home (UK) applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time international applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

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

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

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 are detailed below.

Learning and assessment

In your first year, you’ll learn about how children develop. You’ll explore outdoor learning and play. You’ll examine children’s rights. And you’ll investigate the pressures of growing up in the 21st Century. You’ll also get hands-on experience with children and families, through your first placement in an early years setting.

In your second year, you’ll start pursuing your interests. You might explore gender in childhood. Or you could examine how technology impacts children. You might learn about special educational needs, or children’s literacy. You’ll also carry out your second placement - strengthening your practical skills.

In your final year, you’ll start building specialist skills and knowledge. You might explore how inequality impacts childhood. Or look at education systems across the world. You’ll also carry out your final placement, where you’ll finesse your practitioner skills.

You can also develop more specialist knowledge throughout your degree, in areas like:

  • Gender
  • Literacy and reading
  • Outdoor learning
  • Special educational needs
Student studying

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Placement 1: Working with Children

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 engaging with work placement opportunities in 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.

Child and Adolescent Development

You'll explore important aspects of childrens’ and adolescents' development from different perspectives. You'll learn theoretical knowledge about how growth, play, and learning interconnect in development. 

You'll also explore practical applications for supporting holistic development. You'll draw on theories from:

  • developmental psychology
  • sociological and anthropological research.

You'll also study practitioner texts and theoretical materials related to supporting children and adolescents' learning and development.

Nurturing Inclusivity

You'll focus on the importance of nurture and care in education, with a specific emphasis on promoting inclusion and wellbeing. By studying this module, you will learn about inclusive practices and how to put them into action. This will help you prepare for work placements and to gain insights into policy and legislation in this area. You'll also explore the long-term effects of promoting inclusion and wellbeing for everyone. 

We'll look at national and international perspectives on how children and young people experience inclusion and understand diversity. You'll consider various perspectives from different fields such as:

  • history
  • sociology
  • psychology
  • and philosophy. 

You'll examine policy, teaching methods, and actual practices related to fostering inclusivity. You will gain an understanding of how to create an environment that reflects the needs of all individuals by reviewing research and analyzing relevant materials.

Introduction to Studying in Education

While studying early childhood and education you'll read various texts, such as:

  • research papers
  • government policies
  • and media reports. 

It's important to learn how to interpret texts and gain knowledge creation understanding.  On this module you'll start to develop key academic and study skills necessary for higher education:

  • library skills
  • literature searches
  • academic writing
  • essay planning
  • and referencing. 

Additionally, you'll also learn through an academic integrity course. You'll focus on personal learning, with opportunities for reflection. You'll finish the module able to work on your own or collaboratively. You'll also advance your skills for academic reading and writing. 

Optional modules

Pedagogies to Promote Play

You'll focus on understanding play from various personal and professional perspectives. Exploring how children, young people, and adults engage in play, make decisions, and express their creativity. You'll also look at the role of professionals in developing effective teaching methods. To support exploration and play  in different environments:

  • indoors
  • outdoors
  • or in virtual settings.

Throughout the module, you will learn how children use play to express their knowledge, skills, ideas, and interests. You'll examine the importance of inclusion in play. Also you'll be evaluating the impact of physical and virtual creative spaces on promoting play.

You'll study the foundations and principles of play, helping you to identify appropriate strategies and interventions to meet the needs and preferences of individuals and groups. We'll also explore how to create play spaces and places, as well as develop an understanding of managing "risky" play.

Pedagogies to Promote STEAM

You'll start an exploration of how educators can support and encourage curiosity and exploration in children, through the use of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). 

You'll focus on understanding and developing teaching methods that can enhance childrens' learning. Incorporating STEAM concepts into each of these areas. You will have the chance to 

  • investigate
  • observe
  • and create opportunities for hands-on experiments and problem-based learning. 

You'll also join discussions on the challenges and difficulties that may arise when implementing STEAM in different educational settings.

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

Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Studies

You'll explore important developments and changes that have shaped the Early Childhood sector. You'll examine the issues from a theoretical standpoint and take a critical approach to current policies and practices, helping you further progress your academic skills.

A key focus of the module is the early childhood education and care workforce. You'll delve into topics such as the similarities and differences in disciplinary perspectives and values when it comes to education and care provisions. You'll also have the space to question your own educational and practical experiences. Helping you provide an evaluation of familiar situations and practices based on theoretical knowledge.

Becoming a Researcher

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.


Placement 2: Developing Practice and Pedagogy

You'll build the knowledge, practical skills, and competence needed to work as an Early Childhood professional. You'll learn important topics such as safeguarding, inclusivity, and ethical practices. You'll also analyse relevant policies and frameworks that shape Early Childhood practice and teaching approaches.

Throughout the module, you will explore the pedagogy and practice of early education. You'll look at the current issues and debates in the field of early childhood care and education. You'll examine theories and research that supports effective practice. You'll also reflect on the role of adults in supporting children during their first eight years of life.

You will go on placement in an appropriate setting. This allows you to connect policy and research to real-life practice with children aged from birth to eight years old. This will help deepen your academic understanding of the field. Helping you focus on developing suitable teaching approaches. 

Optional modules

Creative and Therapeutic Approaches

You'll learn about therapeutic interventions and creative approaches that support people in different situations. You'll cover various therapies, including:

  • play therapy 
  • art therapy
  • medical health therapy
  • physical health therapy
  • occupational health therapy 
  • and mental health therapy. 

You'll explore the application of approaches to individuals, families, and communities. By the end of the module, you will be able to use this knowledge in your own field, considering individual and group therapy, educational support, supervision, and safeguarding.

Children with Diverse Needs

You'll build on what you learned in previous modules. You'll focus on celebrating diversity. Including ways to support children, families, and siblings in accessing services to meet their needs. 

You'll look at a wide range of needs that can affect children and families. You'll also look at educational settings and communities, going beyond special educational needs. You'll examine the issues and difficulties surrounding inclusive services for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities. 

Our goal is to help you understand how policies and practices related to special educational needs have evolved over time. We'll also delve into the legal framework that governs special educational needs provision.  Also we'll discuss discrimination and challenge you to reflect on your own attitudes and beliefs.

Outdoor Learning

You'll learn about the natural environment and its importance in relation to childrens' learning and development. 

You'll explore ways to enhance learning experiences. You'll look at engaging in ecological projects and developing your understanding of global climate issues. 

You'll also examine outdoor learning and environmental education in: 

  • early years settings
  • schools
  • and communities.

Unequal Childhoods

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

  • economies
  • ethnicity
  • Education
  • genders
  • cultures
  • 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.

Children's Literature

In this module, you'll deepen your knowledge and understanding of children's literature and the importance of positive early literacy experiences for young children. You'll have the opportunity to read and think about a variety of texts and authors, with a focus on picture books. Also you'll discuss the significance of diversity and representation in children's literature.

You'll develop your critical reading skills and explore how words and pictures work together. You'll look at how children learn to read. You'll also learn to choose texts that support their reading development and enjoyment. 

Finally, you'll consider how the digital world might affect children's experiences with literature.

Supporting Wellbeing

You'll build on what you've learned in your first year. You'll explore ways to support people's physical, mental, social, and emotional needs through education. You'll review existing policies and practices that aim to promote wellbeing.

Throughout the module, you'll develop a critical understanding of the factors that influence health and wellbeing in 

  • children, 
  • teenagers, 
  • and adults. 

You'll gain insights into the complexities of supporting and promoting wellbeing within the education system. This includes working together with different agencies and facing practical challenges when planning, implementing, and evaluating strategies and services for mental health and wellbeing in schools.

The Social World of Childhood and Youth

Do you remember how you felt as a child? We’ll explore the world of children, and how our ideas about childhood have changed through time. You’ll consider the impact of different models of socialisation on children. And you’ll explore the factors - cultural, structural and experimental - which develop a child’s identity.  We’ll make good use of life and historical material. 

Independent Study Module

You'll have the opportunity to focus in depth on a specialist area of research or other co-curricular topic not otherwise available in modules on the course.

You'll discuss with your academic supervisor on what you will focus on. Your independent study focus will be approved by this module's leader.

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.

Placement 3: Graduate leadership in Practice

In your final placement module of the Early Childhood Studies program, you will have the chance to show what you've learned. Showing how well you can work as an Early Childhood professional. 

You'll have the support to reflect on your role as a graduate in the field and encourage you to take on different responsibilities. You'll build on your previous knowledge of 

  • policies
  • safeguarding
  • inclusivity
  • ethics
  • teaching approaches
  • and professional roles in the field. 

Your reflection will help you connect theory with practice. Through your reflection you'll expand your knowledge and challenge your practices. Empowering you to lead and make a difference rather than being a 'student' in the workplace.

You will complete a placement in a suitable setting. This will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the provision, deepen your academic understanding of the field, and showcase your skills as a graduate leader in practice. 

Optional modules

STEAM in Pedagogy and Research

You'll look at how we can study teaching and research from different viewpoints like,

  • science
  • technology
  • engineering
  • the Arts
  • and maths. 

By examining things from different angles, you'll get a better understanding of the whole picture instead of just focusing on one. We'll learn about the similarities and differences between these approaches on paper and in practice. We'll also discuss creativity and how it's seen from psychological, sociological, and teaching perspectives.

Environments for Learning

You'll build on what you already know about learning and growing up. You'll explore different places and spaces that help us learn and develop. By studying and thinking about physical and psychological spaces, you will gain a better understanding of where and how learning can happen. You'll also learn about the role that professionals play in planning and creating these learning environments in different settings.

You'll discuss practices and places that try to address challenges. Also you'll consider how to make sure these environments are accessible to everyone and celebrate diversity.


Children in the Outdoors: Critical Issues

You'll explore the discourse around children being in the natural environment. You'll also look at the contested discussions about children being outdoors. 

You'll build on previous knowledge you've gained about children learning outside and playing in ways that might be a bit risky. We'll look at how children use and feel about natural spaces like,

  • forests
  • adventure playgrounds
  • and parks. 

Also you'll learn how these places can help children learn about the environment and understand important issues, through programs like Forest School or Environmental Education.

Children, Youth and Families in Society

You'll study how people think about and treat children, young people, and families in the UK. You'll look at different ideas and beliefs about them, how they interact with society, and how society responds to their needs. 

You'll explore different ways that children, young people, and families are raised and influenced by society. Also you'll consider the cultural and personal factors that shape policies and practices. As part of the module, you will choose a specific topic to study on your own. You will investigate how society has viewed and supported a particular group of people. Whether they are children, young people, or families.

The Team Around the Child

You'll learn about different jobs that help and speak up for children. Especially those who may be in difficult situations. Those who have less, feel left out, or have no support. You'll study how professionals like, 

  • caregivers
  • teachers
  • various health professionals
  • and social workers

play important roles in caring for children and their families. 

You'll also look at how they communicate, collaborate, and work together in partnerships. You'll gain understanding of how these individuals from different fields can come together. To support children's well-being and growth, making their lives better.

Compassion and Care in Practice

You'll build upon what you've learned before about inclusive teaching methods. You'll focus on ways to help others grow and develop, showing kindness, understanding, and strength when providing care. 

You'll look at compassion and care practice, considering different theories and ideas. Then you'll explore how these concepts apply to various professions. Also you'll learn about the current policies in the UK and study educational approaches that emphasize compassion and care. Throughout the module, you'll use research to gain knowledge and understanding, building your critical thinking skills in exploring these topics.

Representations of Childhood

In this module, you'll become more aware of the portrayal of childhood in different:

  • cultures
  • media 
  • and throughout history. 

You'll look at how people have understood and depicted childhood. Including the depiction of schools, teaching professionals, and children themselves. You'll also have the opportunity to choose a specific topic that interests you, so you can dive into researching it.

International Contexts and Comparisons

You'll learn about education and care policies and practices. You'll look at previous practices and compare them in the four countries of the UK. You' ll also study education and care practice in different cultures and countries. 

You'll see how education is part of programs that can help development in countries. Also you'll look at how provision and policy differs between countries, and look at it from different points of view like 

  • financial support
  • political support
  • and media perceptions. 

To understand how it works in real life, you'll study real projects from around the world. You'll learn about important things in education and care. Seeing how different countries develop their education systems.

Independent Study

In this module, you will work on your own project, choosing a suitable topic or set of topics. The module leader will guide you and provide supervision. Your project may involve practical work if relevant. The specific focus of your project and how it will be assessed will be discussed and agreed upon by the module leader and you. Instead of traditional lectures, you will have tutorial support to help you throughout the module.


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

Learning and teaching

You’ll learn at our Harcourt Hill campus, home of our School of Education, where you’ll have access to specialist education teaching spaces. You’ll explore forest school approaches in our outdoor learning spaces and be able to borrow teaching resources from our Education Resources Centre. You can choose to live at Harcourt Hill - or apply for a space in any of our other halls across Oxford.

You’ll also spend time every year out on placement. On placement, you’ll apply your knowledge as a professional and build sought-after practitioner skills. We can support you in finding a placement and actively encourage you to be proactive to source an early years setting that suits your personal interests.

Many of our students work part-time as private tutors, nursery school bank staff or in after school clubs, you can use this as your work placement and your timetable is designed to accommodate this.



Field trips




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 Oxford 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

You’ll graduate with valuable professional skills and knowledge - and a convincing CV. You’ll be a strong communicator and problem-solver - essential skills in the 21st Century workplace. And your placements will build your confidence working with children and families from all types of backgrounds and communities. You’ll finish your degree equipped to progress into fields like:

  • teacher training
  • social work
  • play therapy
  • family support
  • special educational needs
  • or pediatric nursing.

Students also progress on to postgraduate study in education as well as psychology, sociology, law and professional qualifications like teaching and social work.

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.