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BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

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UCAS code: 
Institution code: 


Three years full-time.

Four and a half to nine years part-time.

Typical Offer: 

112 UCAS tariff points (or above)
BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).



  • This course offers an holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of children and childhood.
  • It includes a variety of perspectives including education, health psychology, sociology and social policy.
  • Students have the opportunity to progress to a range of careers with children within education, health and social care, or postgraduate study.
  • Hone employability skills with professional practice modules.


The Early Childhood Studies (ECS) degree course covers higher education levels 4, 5, 6 and is designed for anyone who wants a career working with or for children and/or their families.

The primary focus is children from birth to eight years but it also covers conception through to when a child is approximately eleven years of age (the natural completion of the primary education stage).

The degree takes a multi-disciplinary approach and offers a fascinating and stimulating course of academic study. This means it includes educational, health, welfare, psychological, sociological, legal, philosophical, political and economic perspectives. A holistic philosophy permeates the programme.

Course modules

This course covers a variety of areas including early childhood health and social care, safeguarding children, early and primary education, and personal and professional development. The course includes seminars, lectures, group work and independent learning.

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Introduction to academic and research skills (Requisite)

This module is designed to provide students with an important set of study skills that are relevant across all modules. Emphasis is placed on developing student’s academic and critical writing skills. Practical exercises are designed to give students the opportunity to experiment, practice, and reflect on their developing study skills.

The sociology of childhood and families (Requisite)

This module seeks to introduce students to the sociological study of childhood and families and provide a firm foundation of sociological knowledge. Sessions will introduce sociology as a discipline and highlight the role of the ‘sociological imagination’ in exploring the social categories of childhood and family.

Psychology and the family (Requisite)

This module investigates the developing child within the context of the family and the changes that occur in family systems over time. The module has a particular focus on the aspects of child development that influence and are influenced by the family system. It will include the psychological development of babies, children and young people within the family, education and the wider social context.

Early and Primary Education (Requisite)

This module introduces students to early and primary education and the underpinning values of professional practice. Students are encouraged to consider how the theoretical study of the child underpins the early and primary curriculum and adult role.

Children, families and welfare (Requisite)

This module introduces students to the development of welfare provision, which has historically shaped the structure of the family. The social policies, which have cared for and controlled changing family structures will be highlighted, with particular significance placed on relevant policy areas surrounding the family and its individual members.

Healthy children and families (Requisite)

This module introduces students to a range of subjects and key debates surrounding the health and illness of children and families. The module presents students with a variety of perspectives from which health and illness can be viewed: biological, medical, societal and environmental.

Safeguarding (Mandatory)

Safeguarding children is a rapidly changing area of legislation, policy and practice, which this module aims to keep pace with. The module provides students with an historical policy context in which to understand the origins of safeguarding children and the social construction of abuse. The shifting power relations between the state, professionals, families and children is a core theme that is critically explored.

Developing Practice (Optional)*

This second-year practice module seeks to explore the underlying practices and principles of the early childhood practitioner, drawing on the Early Childhood Studies Graduate Practitioner Competencies (ECSGP 2018) and the Early Years Qualification Framework (2014). Students are encouraged to consider how the theoretical study of the child underpins the early and primary curriculum and the role of the adult. The module will support students in adopting a professional approach to working with young children. Successful completion of this module is mandatory for students taking ECSGP.

Play and Creativity (Optional)

This module focuses on understanding the value of play and creativity in early childhood and exploring the extent to which the two further children’s development. Students will be encouraged to reflect on and explore historical and contemporary perspectives on play and play behaviours from a cross-cultural perspective. The module will explore significant theoretical views on the role of play and in particular creative play behaviours on a child’s development.

Children’s Geographies (Optional)

This module explores children’s everyday lives within various cultures, spaces, places and environments that they inhabit as such understanding is critical to making their worlds safer, facilitating their participatory roles in society, and implementing policies relevant to their geographies.

SEN and inclusion (Optional)

The module provides an exploration of special educational needs and inclusion. It introduces students to a range of issues and perspectives in relation to disability and children’s rights; learning for those with SEN, social and cultural dimensions of difference, diversity, and SEN and Inclusion in practice.

The health and wellbeing of children [optional]

This module seeks to engage students in a scholarly and creative exploration of this diverse topic area. The module draws upon a variety of perspectives; arts, humanities and social sciences, and in particular calls upon a ‘sociological imagination’ to examine the multi-faceted nature of health, illness and wellbeing as applied to children.

Research Methods (Mandatory)

This module is specifically designed for students within the suite of courses in (Early) Childhood, Disability, Childhood and Education Studies. It covers research methods in general alongside more specific participatory approaches used in research with children, disabled children and young people. Students acquire knowledge and understanding of the research process and methodological and ethical issues related to doing research with children.

Dissertation (Mandatory)

This module builds on previous study undertaken by students at level 5, and takes as its basis the theoretical knowledge acquired in research methodology, principles, values and process together with skills in the critical evaluation of published research. It provides students with an opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation on a topic of their own choice, and seeks to equip them with the skills of project planning, design, analysis and critical evaluation. The module involves independent study under the guidance of a research supervisor.

Early Intervention (Optional)

This module encourages students to critically explore and evaluate current debates that surround early intervention, relevant theories, policy and practice in relation to young children and their families.

Children and Popular Culture (Optional)

This module explores childhood and popular culture in its broadest sense, addressing 2 core areas: the representation of children and childhood in popular culture and the experience of children and families in navigating popular and consumer cultures. Topics range from the sexualisation of childhood to celebrity cultures and from children’s literature to contemporary YouTube stars and children’s role in cultural production. The module takes a critical stance, evaluating dominant discourses of childhood and examining assumptions regarding children’s vulnerability, dependency and autonomy.

Humanitarianism, globalisation and families (Optional)

This module aims to enable students to understand the values and practice of humanitarianism and the positioning within this of children and families. Providing students with an introduction to the field of humanitarianism this module supports students to reflect upon the problems, potential responses, identified solutions and guidelines for responses to children and families in emergencies at a local and global level.

Professional Practice (Optional)

This practice module seeks to consolidate with students the underlying practices and principles of the early childhood practitioner. This module is an opportunity for students to critically evaluate and reflect upon the values, theories and practical skills demanded of professionals in the early years. The focus of the module is on the development of leadership skills in practice settings. The ethos is to support students in developing critical and evaluative ways of working that enhance their ability to lead practice as they work towards the role of graduate practitioner. Successful completion of this module is mandatory for students taking ECSGP.

Childhood and family matters (Optional)

In this module controversial, topical and contemporary family and childhood issues that emerge in the public domain are critically explored. Students will evaluate how societies respond to, and engage with contemporary issues in the lives of families and children.

Career opportunities

The Early Childhood Studies degree enables students to go in to a range of careers in the early years, as well as completing post graduate qualifications in order to work in the education, health and social care fields.

Careers including Primary Teacher Training, Family Support and Social Work, Nursing and related disciplines, Early Year’s settings, International, National and Regional Aid work with children and their families, post-graduate study and research.

What our students say

"When I began the degree I was unsure what I wanted to do career-wise except that I wanted to work with children. The modules that I had to study in the first year were fascinating and really opened my eyes to the breadth of ideas out there about children and childhood. In the second and third years I really enjoyed the mandatory modules we covered and being able to choose options based on what was of interest to me was really great. I’ve now been accepted for Primary Teacher Training and at interview was able to confidently discuss some challenging issues. I think I surprised myself, but that’s what the Early Childhood Studies degree does to you and I would recommend it to anyone!"

"I always knew I wanted to work with children and my interest in children with additional needs grew during the course. I’m now part of a team working for a local charity who support children with additional needs so I’ve got my dream job."

"I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my ECS degree, initially it was teacher training but now I’m studying at post-graduate level and see my future in children’s advocacy."


Optional route: BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies Graduate Practitioner

As a member of the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN), our Early Childhood Studies programme now incorporates Graduate Practitioner Competencies to students who choose to follow the practice route. The competencies have been developed to verify the quality of the Early Childhood Studies course and to confirm the assessed practice placement that students undertake throughout their degree.

Our Early Childhood Graduate Practitioners will be advocates for young children’s rights and participation, while recognising that young children are co-constructors of their own learning. They will critically apply high-level academic knowledge of pedagogy and research evidence, to the holistic development of infants and young children (0-8), in a practice context that is respectful of the child, their family and community.

Fees and finance


  • Full-time Tuition fee: £9,250 p.a.
  • Part-time Tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credit module (Please contact the Infozone for further information).
  • International Tuition fee: £12,150 p.a. 

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. 

Entry requirements


Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies

Associate Dean for Research and Associate Professor in Social Policy

Senior Lecturer (Psychology & ECS)

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies

Course Leader in MA Childhood Studies and Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies

Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies

Associate Professor

Facilities and Resources

Most of our teaching takes place at our Waterfront Building situated on Ipswich marina. The Waterfront Building has modern seminar rooms, lecture rooms and an auditorium that can seat 200 people. It’s also home to several flexible open-study spaces with iMacs available for students to use as well as picturesque views across the waterfront.

The Atrium Building is another location for our teaching and it boasts modern seminar rooms with AV equipment and a café on the ground floor, perfect for refreshments or studying.