Early Childhood Studies - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years)
September 2016, September 2017

Our highly flexible course will open the door to a variety of career opportunities where you could work with children up to the age of five. These could include social work settings, children’s centres, the NHS, or within the community.

You’ll gain experience by talking to and working with professionals from different walks of life and you could use your BA (Hons) as a stepping stone to a wide range of postgraduate studies.

What's covered in the course?

You’ll study a range of open modules and have choices along the way. These will help you to firm-up your career aspirations, or even encourage you to change your mind about the area of early childhood you want to go into.

We’ll help you to learn about all aspects of child development, from how babies and young children explore and play, to ways of working with and communicating with  parents and different types of families. Your studies will also look at government policy and childcare globally.

Topping up to a full Honours Degree
If you would like to 'Top Up' an existing Level 5 qualification we would welcome your application into our Level 6 programme. You'll usually need a Foundation Degree or HND in Early Childhood Studies or similar. We require an average mark of 60 per cent or Distinction/Merit profile for entry at Level 6, as well as Level 2 qualifications in English and mathematics.

We will also consider applicants at Level 5 entry with a lower grade average, or with a Level 4 qualification such as a Certificate in Higher Education in an appropriate subject (for example Childhood Studies, Early Years Education, Children and Families).

Applications at Level 5 or 6 are via UCAS, please ensure you indicate you are applying for entry at Yr 2 or 3.

Why Choose Us?

  • Work placements will help you to see how the theory of childcare applies in practice.
  • You’ll explore how different factors impact on a child’s development and well-being – particularly in today’s urban, multicultural society.
  • You’ll become competent in communication, presentation, teamwork and leadership skills.
  • You can choose from a range of modules to meet your developing interests.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place in Autumn 2018. Register your interest and we'll let you know details as soon as they are available.

Register your interest

To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2018 or 2019, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid. Terms and conditions apply.

Find out more

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Barnardos
  • Solihull Inclusion Service

And in jobs such as:

  • Family Support Worker
  • Children's Centre Worker

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students

A minimum of 4 GCSEs at grade C or above, at the point of enrolment. These must include English language and mathematics. If you do not already have the required GCSEs, including English language and mathematics, or their equivalent for entry onto this course, and are not registered to take them, visit Equivalency Testing for further information.

240 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
GCE A Level/ AS Level 240 UCAS points = CCC
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with minimum 18 Merits/Distinctions at Level 3, also including GCSE English Language and Maths equivalence if not hold separately.
BTEC Diploma (12-units) DD
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units) MMM
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units) Accepted in combination with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 240 UCAS points.
International Baccalaureate Diploma 24 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate Minimum 240 UCAS tariff points
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher Minimum 240 UCAS tariff points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) Accepted in combination with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 240 UCAS points.
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Please note we will make offers on the following qualifications:

  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education
  • CACHE Level 3 Extended Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce (QCF).
Please note we will not make offers on the following qualification:
  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce (QCF)
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2016/17
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 24 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

Please note: successful candidates will be required to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance via the Faculty.

Topping up to a full Honours Degree
If you would like to 'top up' an existing Level 5 qualification we would welcome your application into our Level 6 programme. You'll usually need a Foundation Degree or HND in Early Childhood Studies or similar. We require an average mark of 60 per cent or Distinction/Merit profile for entry at Level 6, as well as Level 2 qualifications in English and mathematics.

We will also consider applicants at Level 5 entry with a lower grade average, or with a Level 4 qualification such as a Certificate in Higher Education in an appropriate subject (for example Childhood Studies, Early Years Education, Children and Families).

Applications at Level 5 or 6 are via UCAS, please ensure you indicate you are applying for entry at Yr 2 or 3.

Teacher Training
Those intending to apply for the PGCE Early Years or Primary course in the future as a route into teaching will need to have GCSE at grade C or above (or equivalent) in English language, mathematics and a science subject.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Unconditional Offers

Unconditional Offers

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2016/17 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.

To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

280 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
be predicted DMM profile at BTEC level

Learn more about unconditional offers >>

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £9,000 per year Apply via UCAS
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £12,000 per year
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

We’ll introduce you to ways in which you could work with children professionally and the world of childcare as it relates to society’s youngest people, from babies to the under-fives. We’ll support your transition to university study through lots of group work experiences, and plenty of opportunity to build on your existing skills and to learn new ones.

We introduce you to many aspects of early childhood, especially child development and the importance of play for babies’ and young children’s development and wellbeing. You also get to choose an optional module that could pave the way for your future career.

Year one: 120 Credits
Award: CertHE

Principal - Introducing Professional Practice

This module supports you in developing a range of professional and personal skills and is linked to your placement experiences. You’re introduced to aspects of working in early childhood services, for example, working in partnership with parents, and supporting babies and children who have English as an additional language.

Core - Introduction to Child Development

Understanding how babies and young children grow and develop is a key skill when working with them. We introduce you to a theoretical understanding of how children develop and learn so you can promote their learning, development and wellbeing.

Children's Play

Understanding how children make sense of the world through their play will enable you as a practitioner to create a purposeful environment for babies and young children to do this. We explore how adults can support children play and how play can be used as a therapeutic tool to support children’s wellbeing.

Optional - Children and Childhood

We explore how and why childhood has changed over time, giving consideration to the impact of the industrial revolution, the development of technology, the role the  media plays in our understanding of childhood, and the change in how families are structured.

The Child's Learning Environment

In this module we consider how the environment can have a positive or negative impact on children’s learning. We think about the indoor  and outdoor environments, reflecting on resources, organisation and structure of the environment. We also consider the emotional wellbeing of babies and young children, and how this impacts on their learning and development.

Principles of Inclusion

Having an understanding and awareness of an inclusive environment and how this impacts on young children’s wellbeing is the main forces of this module. We consider how as a practitioner committed to inclusion of all children, regardless of their ability, race, religion or background, we can create an inclusive environment where all young children feel they belong and are able to succeed.

Year two

You’ll explore issues which are at the heart of professional practice, including the safeguarding of children and child protection. Your ability to reflect on professional practice is key to your development and we draw on your placement experiences to support you in becoming a reflective practitioner. We will also help you to learn about how a child continues to develop.

We work with you to develop research skills and to become more familiar with how research impacts on the development and changes in early childhood services. You get the chance to select from a suite of optional modules - you might want to continue on the pathway you started in Year 1 or to move to a different pathway. We’ll support you in clarifying your ideas about future careers and making employment choices that are right for you.

Year two: 240 Credits
Award: DipHE

Principal - Developing Professional Practice

This module builds on the professional skills you developed on your placement in Year 1 and supports your growing ability to reflect on your practice, evaluate your performance and to plan for how you can improve as a professional and practitioner. We introduce you to various theories of reflection and explore the impact of taking a reflective approach to practice.

Core - Safeguarding and Child Protection

This module is compulsory for all students on the course. We understand the need to safeguard babies and young children, and the professional and moral responsibility you have as practitioners. We also draw on recent and relevant policy and legislation to ensure you have a good practical and theoretical understanding of your role in protecting children.

Further Child Development

This module builds on the work undertaken in Year 1. You’ll examine aspects of child development and develop your own skills in terms of carrying out observations and making assessments of children’s development. We consider how to do this ethically and how we can involve parents in assessments of children to ensure that their learning and development needs are being met.

Researching Early Childhood

We explore research methods in a practical way through designing and carrying out a piece of research in small groups. We start the journey of becoming an early childhood researcher and examine the impact of research on the development of early childhood services and provision.

Optional - Children and Their Families

This module examines the role of parents and families in childhood, considering their needs and how early childhood services can support parents in promoting the wellbeing, learning and development of their child.

The Child as a Creative Learner

By exploring what creativity is, you’ll make connections between theory and practice, designing creative experiences to promote child curiosity and development.

Developing Inclusion through Communication

Through an examination of how babies and young children acquire language and communicate, this module focuses on meeting the needs of babies and young children who have barriers to communication and language development, and the role of the adult in overcoming them.

Year three

We’ll develop your critical reasoning and analytical skills as you carry out deeper research into an aspect of early childhood, building on what you learnt in the previous year. We value the importance of developing group work skills like negotiation and communication, and the ability to take on leadership roles and promote these skills through your research.

We support you in managing your transition to the world of work or postgraduate study, and help you to develop a range of employability skills such as giving presentations, writing reports, project management, analysis of data and evaluations.  You’ll consider contemporary perspectives of early childhood from a national and international viewpoint and importantly clarify your own philosophy of childhood. Once again you have the chance to select an optional module to reflect your own area of interest.

Year three: 360 Credits
Award: BA (Hons)

Principal - Researching Professional Practice

This module enables you to undertake a small piece of social research within a nurturing and supportive environment. You’ll work very closely with your peers and tutors to examine an aspect of professional practice in early childhood, gathering data, analysing it and presenting findings as a report.

Core - Managing Transitions

This module supports you in managing your transitions, not only to the final year of the course but also to the world of work. By examining, for example, the theory of transitions or self-determination, you can have a better understanding of your need for resilience and reflection.

Contemporary Issues of Childhood

This topical module explores the current issues relating to early childhood to try to identify how society views young children. We examine politics, policy, news and media coverage to unpick what it means to be a child in contemporary society.

Towards Employment

Focusing on employability skills, this module is designed to support you as you search and apply for jobs. We explore and practise interview techniques, writing applications, self-evaluation and appraisal, as well as exploring what’s out there in terms of jobs and opportunities. Understanding the theory will support individual approach and practice.

Optional - Children and Their Worlds

Considering the rights of the child around the world and how we can understand children’s opinions and experience of the world is the main focus here. We explore how children can be research participants and how as adults we can capture the voice of the child and respond to it.

International Perspectives of Children's Learning

By examining what other countries have in place as early years curriculum we can consider the benefits and challenges of our own. This module involves a comparative study of international curricula.

Politics of Inclusion

Taking a global perspective of approaches to inclusion, this module encourages reflection and critical thinking by examining how children with disabilities are supported throughout the world. In doing so we can reflect on our own practice, polices and provision.

Course structure

The course aims to develop students to become confident, well-educated and reflective practitioners with the skills to respond to developments in the field of Early Childhood.

It lays excellent groundwork for professional development and career choices and encourages participants to develop their intellectual capabilities specifically related to Early Childhood.

Understanding child development and theory

Critical reasoning and analytical skills in relation to philosophical, sociological and psychological concepts of early childhood are crucial to the successful completion of the course so that graduates are equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding to work effectively in the contemporary workforce. The development of ICT skills are a key aspect of the course.

The course will enable students to develop an understanding of child development and well-being. The recognition of the importance of family and community runs throughout principal and core modules. Current policy and government initiatives will be examined and reflected on in local, national and international contexts.

The learning, development and well-being of babies and the young and the factors that influence this - particularly within an urban multi-lingual, multi-faith context - will be examined. Placements during the course will enable students to gain experience of working with babies and young children from birth to five, and their families.

Teaching methods

The programme offers a range of teaching methods, including taught sessions, presentations, workshops, seminars, tutorials, independent study and research. A blended learning approach is applied which will mean you will sometimes be accessing materials and seminars through a virtual learning environment.

Throughout the course, students will be expected to develop a positive approach to learning and will plan, review and take responsibility for their own learning through personal development planning (PDP). This is carried out to develop an individual's skills for future employment and career management.

Teaching breakdown

39 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
49 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
12 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

98 Coursework FireBrick
2 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories - Mary

Mary Turner explains to us why chose to study at Birmingham City University, and how studying Early Childhood studies gave her the confidence to succeed in a career in childcare.

Student stories

Julie Nash

I had studied BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education Studies at Birmingham City University prior to doing my PGCE so knew I was in good hands.

The course has contributed hugely to me fulfilling my ambitions to become a teacher. The assessment strategies used were most appropriate for me personally as the course was assessed through both lecture and experience based work.

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

Whether you eventually want to become a teacher, a social worker, a counsellor or a nursing professional, or make your mark in the legal profession or as a child psychologist, we can help. We offer a wide variety of postgraduate degrees which will help to polish your knowledge and skills in line with your future career aspirations.

Student stories Luke Alletson

I plan to take PGCE

I spent my first placement in a children’s playgroup and nursery, a setting I had not experienced before. I found this so beneficial to my understanding of the course and it was also a practical tool to relating, and putting into practice, the skills we had learned. Birmingham itself is a multicultural city with people from a range of social and economic backgrounds, which I find is extremely beneficial to my learning as I am able to experience different school settings and aid the learning of children from different backgrounds.

Employment Opportunities

You can be confident that achieving an Early Childhood Studies degree will help you when it comes to stepping on to the career ladder. The course’s in-built flexibility and breadth of study provides you with a broad knowledge of ways of working with children and how professionals working in this field are affected by changing Government legislation.

Experience gained on placement will boost your skills and expertise, helping you to write strong job applications and present yourself well during interviews.


You’ll have plenty of extended placement opportunities, giving you the chance to gain experience alongside a wide range of professionals.

In both Years 1 and 2, you’ll spend approximately seven weeks working in early childhood settings - for example, children’s centres, nurseries, and voluntary projects  - discovering how professional managers and their staff interactive with young children and their families. In Year 1 we place you with one of our partners who are familiar with the course and understand your needs.

In the second year, you’ll be asked to negotiate your own placements, with our support.  If you want to try something different, we’re happy to support you in trying to find a placement to meet your own developing professional needs, be that in a nursery, a refuge, a contact centre or support group for children with disabilities.

There are no placements in Year 3, although you may wish to return to a previous placement in order to carry out your third year research project in professional practice.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Your degree will give you a great foundation on which to build a career in a wide range of different professions and organisations, where you have the chance to make a real difference to the lives of babies, the under-fives and their families. After graduation, you might choose to become a speech therapist, social worker, child psychologist, health or educational professional.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our early childhood course is most popular with international students from:  

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

As part of these plans, the University's Education provision will join the rest of the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at our City South Campus in Edgbaston during 2018.

This is the third phase of the University's project to move all teaching and learning to two campuses, City Centre and City South. By moving our Education provision, we are creating a hub for the provision of public service contracts and professional development at City South Campus and improving the student experience with a stronger sense of community and more consistent support services and facilities.


In addition to classrooms, a lecture theatre, social learning spaces, an open access IT suite and cafe facilities, the new £41 million extension to our City South Campus offers a range of specialist teaching and learning facilities for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.  


All our departmental facilities replicate the school learning environment.

  • Art and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • History
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Religious Education
  • Music
  • Drama

Not only are we investing £41 million in a new building to house the laboratories and teaching spaces needed, but we also plan to open up these facilities to benefit all students and the wider community. This will complement our existing sports facilities, which already provide a base for students to compete in activities ranging from rugby to.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Rosemarie Lowe

Programme Director Early Childhood Studies

Having spent 10 years teaching in a variety of primary and infant schools in Birmingham, Rosemarie had the opportunity to develop a service within the local authority of a team of early years specialist whose role was to support and develop early years practice and provision across the maintained and non-maintained sector.

This move into an advisory role, training and development combined interests in adult learners and a passion and commitment to high quality effective early years provision. Moving to Higher Education seemed a natural progress and she spent some time teaching and developing Early Childhood courses at Newman University College before joining Birmingham City University in 2008.

The rights of children and the need to work in partnership with parents remain a core value in Rosemarie's teaching and research interests, which is reflected in her current studies and recent evaluation projects for local authorities.