BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Graduate Practitioner)

  • Available in Clearing 2023
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Introduction to our Early Childhood Studies degree

Hear from Course Leader Leanne Gray

Studying Early Childhood Studies at ARU

Keen to shape young children’s futures? Our Early Childhood Studies degree course in Chelmsford has a placement throughout to allow you to meet the Early Childhood Graduate Competencies.

What is Early Childhood Studies?

An Early Childhood Studies degree teaches you the skills and knowledge to understand how children from 0 to 8 years old develop, learn and think. You'll explore the world through a child’s eyes and unlock your potential. 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. It can also be very challenging, and it’s a fast-paced sector. We’ll help you develop the skills, knowledge and qualities needed to deliver a high standard of professional practice in the workplace.

Our Early Childhood Study degree in Chelmsford has been designed to develop your understanding of professional and inclusive practice, supporting both the child and the family. Using theory and practical experiences you’ll explore current research around key topics including contemporary theories and pedagogical approaches, while building your leadership skills and considering possible careers across the early childhood sector.

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

If you have 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 3rd in the UK for Learning Opportunities in the National Student Survey 2022 Childhood and Youth Studies results.

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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?

We’ve worked with employers in designing our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies, to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. We’ve also been guided by The Children’s Workforce Development Council and the Early Years Professional Framework.

Whether in nurseries or pre-schools, you’ll be qualified to work in any registered setting in England. You could also consider a career in educational psychology or social work, with additional training. Or maybe you’ll want to continue your studies at ARU, with options including our MA Education with Early Childhood and PGCE. Take advantage of our Alumni Scholarship and get 20% off your fees.


"To the untrained eye, a game of tag is just children running riot. Look deeper and you see how much that child is learning from a simple game: spatial awareness, teamwork, taking turns, gross motor skills development, listening to instructions…”"


BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

Lucy's blog

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

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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