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Early Childhood Studies

BA (Hons) - single

School of Education

Are you interested in how young children learn, interact and grow? Then explore this fascinating stage of development and the crucial role of play in Early Childhood. Consider the role of the adult in children’s development and learning. Examine childhood from a sociological perspective and expand your knowledge of child psychology.
Early Childhood Studies 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 and knowledge of practice.
You will critique experimental studies, observational studies and field studies. Learning will be based on theory, research and practice. We’ll encourage you to recall your experiences of childhood and to reflect on them to develop your understanding and you will have many opportunities to gain work experience.
Early Childhood Studies at Oxford Brookes will equip you with the experience and transferable skills for a range of careers in the Early Years sector and beyond.



Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Harcourt Hill Campus

Course length

  • Full time: 3 years
  • Part time: up to 6 years

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Gain the professional and academic skills, and the practical experience, that you need for a range of careers in the Early Years sector.
  • Explore childhood from a range of perspectives, based on research, theory and practice.
  • Combine theory with direct practical experience of working with young children and early years professionals in a variety of contexts. You can undertake placements across a range of early years settings. 
  • Focus on areas that interest you -  choose from a range of module options.
  • Enhance your learning by participating in a regular forum on early years research. This is open both to students and local practitioners.
  • You will have the opportunity to apply to undertake a twelve week teaching experience in bilingual schools in South America, set up by a partnership between Oxford Brookes and Cognita, a UK based Education group.
  • You will be supported by a teaching team committed to supporting both your academic progress and offering strong pastoral support. 

You will begin by learning about 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.

Underpinning the theory is an important strand of practical, hands-on work in which you may observe and work with young children in different settings. We have strong links to local settings and providers of early childhood care and education, through placement opportunities and a regular forum on early years research.

As you progress through the course, you can focus on particular areas of study that interest you by selecting from the diverse range of modules available.

In addition you 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; and children’s identity. There is also a strong strand of research related to the understanding of professionalism and multi-agency working in the early years.

Study modules

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.

Year 1


These compulsory modules will provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills you will need to successfully complete the course.

Working with Children 1 (double)
Combine theory and practice, with opportunities to visit Early Years and childcare settings, alongside exploring UK Early Years policy

Research and Professional Practice (double)

You will become skilled at interpreting texts critically and becoming familiar with the ways in which knowledge is produced and shared in the field of early childhood studies.

Growing up in the 21st Century (double)

Understand the contested, evolving nature of childhood, while gaining knowledge of the importance of family and culture in the learning and development of young children.

Optional modules:

  • Young Children's Outdoor Learning
  • Listening to Young Children
  • Language Acquisition
  • Education, Childhood and Youth Culture: Film and Literature

Years 2 and 3

Year 2

  • Child Development (double compulsory)
  • Research in the Early Years (compulsory)
  • Preparing for the Dissertation (compulsory)

Optional Modules:

  • Working with Children 2 (double)
  • Gender and 21st Century Education
  • Cultural and Arts-Based Learning
  • Literature for Young Children
  • Children's Outdoor Learning
  • Young Children's Health and Wellbeing
  • Children in the Digital World
  • Independent Study: Work and Community related learning

Year 3

  • Dissertation (compulsory double honours component)

Optional Modules

  • Controversial and Contemporary Research in Education (double honours component)
  • Becoming a Reader (double honours component)
  • Independent Study (honours component)
  • Child Development 2: Researching Child Development (honours component)
  • International Comparisons in Early Childhood Care and Education (honours component)
  • Reflective Practice (honours component)
  • Equality and Identity (honours component)
  • Professional Roles in Early Years (alternative compulsory honours component)
  • Unequal Childhoods(honours component)
  • Philosophy of Education (honours component)
  • The Principled Professional (alternative compulsory honours component)

Modules in detail » Module diagrams »

Work placements

There are opportunities for placements across a wide range of early years settings throughout the course. In one of the first year modules you will undertake a number of observational visits to settings that enable you to begin to make links between theory and research, and practice.

During your second and third years there are extended placement modules that will give you direct practical experience of working with young children and early years professionals.

You can choose a third-year placement according to your particular interests, for example working with children with special educational needs or with educational charities. The work placement modules in your second and third years are optional. Please note - the Early Childhood Studies Placement module in your second year is a prerequisite for the Reflective Practice module, so students are expected to take the second year module before they progress to the third year one.

You will be asked to cover your travel costs to and from placements. However there is no extra cost incurred for the placement itself.

We always seek new and innovative ways to expand your work experiences; currently, for example, we are linking with Schools and Early Years provision in South America.

It offers the ideal opportunity to gain work experience and employment skills, whilst also giving you the chance to live abroad and immerse yourself in the local culture.

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.

These field trips are optional and will incur extra costs. The approximate cost for the Gambia trip in 2018 is £1200.

Study abroad

You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year.

Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:

  • increasing your employability within an international market
  • boosting your language skills
  • building your confidence in adapting to new situations
  • improving your knowledge of different cultures.

While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.

We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.

There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.

For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

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.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Additional costs

We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading this is at their own discretion.

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.

Teaching and learning

Early Childhood Studies is studied as a modular programme. Each module will follow a similar pattern of lectures, tutorials and seminars with opportunity for discussion.

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

  • an understanding of the developmental needs of children and of 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 relevant to graduate-level employment as a professional working in education or child care
  • an ability to offer informed critiques of the role of agencies in the support, protection and education of young children
  • knowledge of equal opportunities in childcare and education, and the mechanisms and attitudes through which they can be promoted
  • an understanding of how early childhood and childcare practice can influence human development
  • an in-depth knowledge of a chosen specialist area.
Several of the lecturers on the Early Childhood Studies course have contributed to the book  "Themes and Debates in Early Childhood" co-edited by Dr Mary Wild, Head of the School of Education and Dr Alison Street, Visiting Fellow in Early Childhood Education.

Time spent in different learning activities

Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 16%84%0%
2 15%76%8%
3 15%85%0%

Approach to assessment

Modules are predominantly assessed by coursework such as presentations, essays and/or project reports. Assessment for some modules includes group assignments that encourage collaborative and teamworking skills.

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 0%0%100%
2 0%0%100%
3 0%0%100%

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module. 2019/20: £750 per single module.

International - full time: 2018/19: £13,150 2019/20: £13,410

*Please note tuition fees for Home/EU 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 and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

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 in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112

A-Level: BBC or equivalent

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

IB Diploma: 30 points

BTEC: DMM in a relevant field of study

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. We also welcome mature applicants who can provide evidence of appropriate and successful learning. Above all, enthusiasm and a keen interest in human development and children's learning are the key attributes of our students.


If you accept a Conditional offer to this course as your Firm choice through UCAS, and the offer does not include a requirement to pass an English language test or improve your English language, we may be able to make the offer Unconditional. Please check your offer carefully where this will be confirmed for each applicant.

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

Specific entry requirements


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

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard 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.

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.

How to apply

International applicants

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

Oxford Brookes operates 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.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

As a student in Oxford you'll be in a regional centre for early childhood education and care, giving you a range of options for work placements.

One of the world's great academic cities, Oxford is a key centre of debate, with conferences, seminars and forums taking place across education as well as science, the arts and many other subjects. It is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions for its large student population. 

Support for students studying Early Childhood Studies

You will be supported by a teaching team committed to both your academic progress and to offering strong pastoral support. These strengths have been consistently recognised in our regular surveys of student opinion and in comments from our external examiners.

Specialist facilities

Our close links with educational organisations and charities mean that some students are able to become involved in particular projects such as local mentoring schemes for children, as well as our placement opportunities.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

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.