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BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Graduate Practitioner)

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Introduction to our Early Childhood Studies degree

Explore the world through a child’s eyes - discover how they develop, learn and think, and pick up practical skills and experience to help you shape their future. You’ll also attend placements, and have the chance to achieve your Early Childhood Practitioner Competencies.

Alumni success

Mitzi graduated with a First from our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies in 2023, and now works as an Admissions and Conversion Co-ordinator at ARU, as well as being a freelance writer and self-published children’s author.

Discover how our course helped Mitzi
Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2023 logo

Study at an award-winning university

We're the Times Higher Education (THE) University of the Year. We've also been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework – a reflection of the outstanding education we offer our students.

What is Early Childhood Studies?

On our Early Childhood Studies degree, you'll discover how children from 0 to 8 years old develop, learn and think, and how you can forge a rewarding career with children and families in a variety of early years settings.

Working with young children is hugely rewarding and enormous fun, but can also be very challenging - education is a fast-paced sector. Our course will help you develop your understanding of professional and inclusive practice, and how you can support both the child and the family, to deliver a high standard of professional practice in the workplace.

Using the latest theory and practical experiences you’ll explore current research around key topics including contemporary issues in education and pedagogical approaches, while building your leadership skills and considering possible careers across the early childhood sector.

You’ll also have the opportunity to achieve your Early Childhood Practitioner Competencies, ensuring you graduate with a full and relevant early years qualification to meet the requirements of the graduate workforce.

If you've already completed a foundation degree (or equivalent), you can gain a full honours degree in just one or two years with our Top-Up options.

Our Education courses ranked 7th in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2024, and scored 90% for the Teaching on my Course in the National Student Survey 2023.

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Key facts

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Entry Requirements


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Fees and Paying for University


Specialist facilities

Our Early Childhood Resource and Research Room is packed with toys, games and equipment where you’ll be able to experience a child’s eye view of the world. Take a guided tour and meet our students.

Practical experience

As an Early Childhood Studies student at ARU you’ll benefit from:

  • placement, throughout your degree individually tailored to enable you to gain experience in a variety of early years settings
  • additional volunteering and work experience, further professional development training opportunities, enrichment trips, research groups and various early childhood and education events
  • learning the underlying values, principles and philosophies of early childhood education and care
  • knowledge of contemporary and competing theories relating to children from birth to eight years, and their families
  • developing your communication skills for different needs and audiences
  • gaining a globally recognised degree qualification.


Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies (ECGPC)

When you study with us, you’ll complete the ECGPC (Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies).

This is a professionally recognised framework that’ll enhance your employability and provide some clarity for your prospective employers as to the graduate level of your achievements.

These competencies are included on the QAA Early Childhood Studies Subject Benchmark Statements with practice at Level 6 recognised by the Department for Education (DfE).

You’ll meet the nine competencies through assessed observation of practice, practice-based tasks and academic assessment.


What can you do with a degree in Early Childhood Studies?

Guided by the Early Years Professional Framework, we work with employers to ensure our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies will give you the knowledge, skills and abilities that they need.

You’ll be qualified to work in any registered setting in England, including nurseries and pre-schools, and with additional training you could also consider a career in educational psychology or social work.

You’ll complete at least 80 placement days over the three years of the course (25 in Year 2, 30 in Year 2 and 25 in Year 3), helping you hone your skills and get hands-on practical experience. Our dedicated Placement Coordinator will be on hand to help you source your placements. If you study by distance learning, and are already working in a relevant environment, you can usually complete your placement days with your current employer.

When you graduate, you might decide to continue on to a Masters course, such as one of our MA Education degrees, which include options to specialise in leadership and management, SEND, and Montessori settings, or our PGCE. Take advantage of our Alumni Scholarship to get 20% off your fees.

Apply now for BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Graduate Practitioner)

Life in Chelmsford

Chelmsford has something for everyone, and our green, modern campus is just ten minutes from the city centre.

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Want to talk to someone?

Do you have a question that we haven't answered so far? Talk to our application experts. You can also ask our Student Ambassadors about life at ARU.

We're here Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm (please note we close at 3.30pm on the first and third Thursday of the month for staff training), and Friday 9am-4.30pm.

Placement available

You have the option to take a placement as part of this course. It’s a great chance to get hands-on experience in early years and education.

Your guide to placements