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Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course


Do you want to help shape and change young lives through education? Do you have a passion for teaching? Do you want to change communities from the inside? If you're interested in learning more about children and childhood and you envisage a career working with and for children and their families, this course will give you an excellent foundation.

The foundation year  course is perfect if you want a degree in Early Childhood Studies, Special Needs and Education Studies but you don't have the standard entry requirements for direct entry to one of these programmes.  It is stimulating and designed with you in mind.  We do believe that each student is unique and that you come to us with a wealth of experiences which can be transferrable during your studies. 

Both of our course options will give you a fascinating insight into the way children experience their childhoods and how that experience influences them as they develop. You'll look at childhood from a range of different critical perspectives and explore the factors that influence the childhood experience. You'll examine issues such as health, early-years legislation and global inequalities in childhood.

You'll have the opportunity to work on projects in the local community, applying your developing knowledge by devising practical solutions to real-life problems.

Early childhood is a well-established and popular area of study at UEL. Our academic team come from a broad range of professional backgrounds and cultures and, together, they have more than 100 years of experience in the field. Early Childhood Studies is available online.

This makes it easy to fit around parenting or work. You'll study using our virtual learning environment, Moodle, which includes chatrooms, reading materials, lecture clips and assignments.

What makes this course different

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Foundation Year

Find out more about our flexible Early Childhood Studies, Education and Special Needs foundation pathways.

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Optional placement year available

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95% Overall satisfaction

Our overall student satisfaction score (NSS, 2018)

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95% Academic support

Our academic support and staff have been rated at over 95% in the NSS for 2018.

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Teaching and learning

Develop a reflective approach to special education and critical thinking skills which are transferable to the workplace.


Early Childhood Studies introduces you to a range of perspectives on early childhood development and learning across a variety of contexts, offering a theoretical understanding of issues and controversies within the early childhood field.

Applicants wishing to work as a practitioner in an early years setting will be required to have a level 3 practitioner qualification in addition to their academic degree once they graduate. Students move into a variety of careers and onward study in social work, education and children's services.

You'll come to understand that there are many different ways of understanding early childhood. We give you a range of academic and professional perspectives on childhood, then ask you to explore the deeper philosophies, beliefs and attitudes that underpin them.

You'll learn how children develop, from conception onwards, how they experience life and how that experience forms the basis of their later development.

You'll develop an understanding of the factors that influence childhood, and of how this knowledge is critical in supporting the learning and development of children. 

We'll teach you about how early years services are structured in this country, and how to work across the system to get the best results for children. 

You'll also benefit from field-based learning as you carry out the third-year research project which you'll devise yourself.


  • Core Modules

    Mental Wealth: Introduction to Academic and Professional Identity/Practice

    This module is the first of four rungs on the Career Passport pathway which recognises the importance of acknowledging the value of skills, competencies and experience (SCE) beyond academic subject assessment to aid the graduate in securing a job and support career acceleration.

    The module will allow students the opportunity to acquire tangible evidence to support their employability narrative, at intervals as the progress throughout their academic studies.

    Areas of focus will include intelligence and digital proficiency. Individual intelligence which includes intrapersonal ability to identify, assess, and regulate one’s own emotions and moods; to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions and where one has to make consequential decisions for oneself. These areas will be covered under four areas, emotional, social, physical and cognitive intelligences.

    Digital proficiency will provide students with an environment to explore their ability to use ICT effectively; to understand the implications of the proliferation of technology and access to information; and to develop competencies to realise opportunities in the connected digital social and economic space. All UEL students should have access to a Digital Skills Planner (and accreditation programme) to ensure all get to ‘Digital Competence’ level. Where degree-appropriate, a further Digital Expertise route would be available.


    Introduction to Early Childhood, Special Needs and Education

    To prepare students for degree level study at the University of East London, by:

    · To introduce students to some of the key concepts within the discipline of the Early Childhood Education, Special Education and Education Studies


    Social, Emotional and Mental Health

    · To reflect on what is meant by behaviour. In doing this, students will be encouraged to consider the effect of issues including stereotyping, expectations and language on how such ‘challenging’ behaviour might be described.

    · Students will consider a range of views on how best to support children who may display SEMH difficulties, including the importance of working with parents/carers and specialist agencies.


    Placements in Context - Play and Learning

    · To understand that young children are learning all the time at home, in the community and in whatever setting they are placed

    · To become familiar with different learning environments and settings that support children’s learning and development.

    · To understand that young children are learning all the time at home, in the community and in whatever setting they are placed

    · To gain an insight into how to observe children closely and to use this as the basis for planning for supporting children’s learning and development.

    · To consider carefully the role of language, talk and play in supporting the learning and development of children

    · To explore issues relating to language, cultures, needs and interests

    · To understand the importance of reflection in practice


    Skills for Academic and Professional Writing

    To prepare students for degree level study at the University of East London, by:

    • Assisting students to manage their own learning and identify, reflect upon and develop their transferable skills
    • Providing students with the necessary study skills in the areas of academic writing, information retrieval, and presentation skills
    • Providing students with an understanding of theory relevant to studying early childhood, special education and education studies in higher education

    Research in Practice: Live Project

    • To consolidate knowledge and understanding of topics covered across the foundation programme
    • To understand the importance of digital literacy and its role in employability
    • To gain an insight into how to design a video presentation and writing scripts
    • Plan, prepare and execute a video presentation based on a topic discussed as part of the programme.
    • Respond to guidance, affording opportunity for contextualisation and improvement of the representation for project work
    • Demonstrate confidence and professionalism in preparation, management, selection and contextualisation of practice, preparing and representing live project work using appropriate skills in communication
  • Core Modules

    Exploring Social Worlds

    This module will develop your understanding of people's social and cultural experience in a range of contexts and will prepare you to think about practical support for children's, young people's lives and rights. You will learn about a range of theoretical perspectives that will help you understand the experiences of children, young people and young adults. As part of this module you will present key recommendations for improvements to their lives.


    Key Principles for Inclusion

    • To provide a broad and critical historical review of the development of the field of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), and the legislative frameworks underpinning its practice.
    • To introduce and develop awareness of concepts, terms, definitions and debates within the field
    • To introduce critical disability studies and consider the experience of SEN and Disability for diverse social groups
    • To provide a critique of the individual deficit model of disability and a critical focus of social oppression theory in the context of commitment to equal opportunities and human rights.

    Emerging Research Communities

    This module will provide you with the opportunity to develop skills associated with problem solving, critical thinking, logical reasoning and researching.

    Over the space of twelve weeks, you will work with experienced researchers and academics in the Education subject area at the  School of Education and Communities. You will build an active research community of your peers, which will be cultivated over your three years at the University of East London. Staff will continue to support and scaffold this community of research in Level 5, culminating in your own independent research project at Level 6.

    During lectures, you will explore the most appropriate research methods within your discipline accounting for ethical, cultural and social issues. You will be introduced to the key concepts, principles and stages of the research process, engaging with real-life examples from existing and ongoing research in your field of study. During workshops and tutorials, you will work collaboratively with your peers. You will develop the ability to read and compare current and ongoing research literature in your discipline. You will determine the credibility of sources and reflect on the research processed used.

    The assessment for this module will be in the form of collaborative group work. It will be submitted as an e-portfolio consisting of two sections (i) an infographic/e-poster (ii) 1,500 written comparison of two pieces of academic research. You will be guided by experienced staff members to achieve the digital proficiency necessary for this assessment, skills which will be beneficial to a future career in any industry.


    Mental Wealth: Academic and Professional Skills for Life 1

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to identify the skills, competencies and experiences required for youth work and a range of potential future career areas.

    Students will be supported to recognise the areas for their own personal professional development (including emotional, social, physical, cultural and cognitive intelligences) through taught and workshop activity.

    Central to the developmental process is for each student to cultivate their reflective skills, openness and self-awareness to enable themselves to assess what they are doing, identify areas for improvement and confidently receive and give constructive feedback. Students will additionally develop knowledge and strategies for advancing their own emotional, social, physical, cultural and cognitive intelligences and improve their health and well-being.


    Practice module Part 1

    This module will introduce you to ideas about the ways children develop.. You will study key theories of development and learning and learn about contemporary practices used to support children’s physical, social, cognitive and language development in the early years. You will have the opportunity to observe in early childhood settings and discuss the way theory and practice are integrated.


    Practice module Part 2

    You will gain an introduction to key pedagogical theories and explore how these relate to effective teaching and learning within an early years context. Through experiences with children's resources such as books and games you will learn to practically apply pedagogical theories to children’s learning. There will be opportunities to apply this knowledge in practical contexts during visits to early years settings.

  • Core Modules

    Mental Wealth: Academic and Professional Skills for Life 2

    This module seeks to develop the key psychological determinants of human performance which are increasingly critical for successful graduate-level employment, entrepreneurship and career progression in the 4th industrial era.

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to apply several of the skills, competencies and experience required for successful development to, and in a range of potential career areas.

    Students will continue to build upon and advance the skills and concepts they learnt in Level 4 to further develop their emotional intelligence, emotional literacy, reflective skills, and self-awareness.

    Students will have the opportunity to explore the skills and knowledge involved in entrepreneurial activities by practising and engaging with self and others in analysis, critical-thinking, problem solving and research.


    Identity and Social Justice

    In this module students will extend their critical understanding of theory and research from a range of social science disciplines used to explore and analyse the lives and experiences of children and young people (including education, psychology, sociology, human geography and social policy). Students will explore issues of social justices, critically considering:

    · how these aspects are addressed within key policies, organisations (including grassroots and third sector), and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;

    · the micro- and macro- influences on the lives of children and young people, such as biological, social, economic, political, cultural and/or generational influences, with particular attention paid to issues of inequality and intersectionality;

    · the extent to which educators/practitioners influence these aspects of the lives of children and young people;

    · children and young people's rights and the extent to which they actively influence these aspects of their own lives.

    During the module, students' campus-based studies will be complemented by engagement in educational and community settings, allowing them to develop a critical awareness of current issues relating to the lives of children and young people, and to actively engage in consideration of how drawing upon research evidence from social science disciplines can enable them to affect change in the lives of the children and young people with whom they work/may work in the future.


    Building Research Communities

    Building Research Communities follows on from the Level 4: Emerging Research Communities by further developing knowledge and understanding of research theories, concepts and processes and the research skills required for independent, ethical and applied research. This module is rooted in the principles of research informed teaching which includes learning about research findings in their field of study; learning research processes and methodologies and learning to work in research 'mode' which builds on pedagogical principles of enquiry-based, active, collaborative and experiential learning, supporting students to engage in critique and discussion in a 'research community of practice' (Lave and Wenger, 1998).

    At Level 5: Developing Research Communities focuses on developing students' understanding of research theories, concepts and processes and the research skills required for independent, ethical and applied research. The module will introduce students to key issues in research methodology and design, such as how to develop research questions, using research literature, addressing ethical issues, designing data collection tools and organising and analysing data. Students will explore a range of qualitative research techniques, including interviews, questionnaires, observational studies and documentary research. Students will also be encouraged to reflect on wider questions about how educational and early childhood research helps us to understand social worlds and can impact on policy and practice. This module will provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out an applied research project at Level 6.

    In this module students will be supported by a range of workshops to develop research, analytical, and presentation skills, alongside ongoing reflective writing. The module is assessed entirely by coursework with a mixture of individual and group learning experiences. Students are assessed individually.


    Contemporary Issues in Education

    During this module the students will engage in discussing and analysing contemporary issues in education and heighten their awareness of the relationship between empirical evidence and academic arguments in advancing their understanding. The students will be able to develop their skills in evaluating the evidence and arguments related to contemporary debates. Also, the students will be able to construct theoretical arguments in advancing public representations of educational issues.

    Having successfully completed this module the students will be able to evaluate and demonstrate different positions in some contemporary debates about issues in education. Also they will be able to use a range of sources to further extend their knowledge and understanding of issues relating to education, and to critically examine contemporary debates and issues in education.


    Practice module 3

    On this module you be introduced to a variety of different curricula models and examine how they are constructed. You will go on to analyse how they are applied to a wide variety of early years settings in UK and other countries. Through practical experiences during settings visits you will have the opportunity to understand how curricula work in practice through the way observing, assessing and planning are implemented in early years settings. You will be able to contribute to this process during settings visits.


    Practice module 4

    This module will introduce you to the different ways young children learn and communicate through a multimodal process of learning. In this module you will learn about concept of multimodality and explore how a highly multimodal environment should look like in practice. In practical visits you will be able to analyse the different teaching styles that can be used to implement a multimodal framework and introduced to practical multimodal approaches for early years education on a national and international perspective.

  • Optional Modules

    Optional placement

    This course offers the opportunity of year-long placement between years two and three. If you choose to take this option, you’ll spend your third year on a placement with a relevant company or organisation, adding valuable practical experience to your growing academic knowledge. 

    The extra placement year means it will take four years to complete your studies, instead of three.

  • Core Modules

    Mental Wealth: Academic and Professional Skills for Life 3

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to apply a full range of skills, competencies and experience required for successful development in a range of potential education related career areas.

    They will advance the areas identified in their level 5 studies for their personal professional development (including emotional, social, physical, cultural and cognitive intelligences) through taught and workshop activity.

    Through engagement with the Career Passport students will reflect upon the success of the strategies that they employ to further develop their reflective skills, self awareness, 'life style' 'self care' approaches and where necessary improve these.

    Students will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with fellow students, academic staff and external stakeholders, on an applied project involving the application of key leadership and management skills. In doing so students will apply and develop cognitive, cultural and social intelligences learnt elsewhere in their studies, which will enhance their graduate employability.


    Critical and Global Perspectives on Education

    · To develop critical awareness of current educational policy, practices and provision relating to special and inclusive education

    · To develop critical awareness of the similarities and differences between contexts in terms of special and inclusive education developments in policy and practice

    · To consider the inclusion of children with special educational needs from an international perspective


    Practice module 5

    This module will introduce you to children's literacy journeys in early years education. It will help you to analyse the concept of literacy and the different types of literacies that young children experience in their learning process. During setting visits you will explore how literacy rich learning environments are created and you will have the opportunity to experience practical child-led play-based literacy activities.


    Practice module 6

    This module will develop your understanding of working with others and the qualities needed to manage effective teams. You will have opportunities to demonstrate skills of communicating effectively with parents in the context of multi professional teams. Through placement in early years settings you will learn to support collaborative learning opportunities between parents/caregivers and children.


    Independent Research Project

    You will have the opportunity to initiate a small-scale applied research study that addresses an issue, topic or challenge within the broad field of education, special education or early childhood. The applied research will support professional formation and contribute to knowledge within the wider community.

    The module is designed to guide you towards design, implementation and completion of an applied research project undertaken in collaboration with a relevant external organisation (the nature of which will be discussed and agreed with the relevant module leader). You will develop a range of theoretical, methodological, academic and practical skills and knowledge.

    You will apply these in a practice context to address a real-world problem through ethical research practice, professional engagement and problem solving leading to research dissemination.

    The chosen area of applied research will be demonstrably linked to the personal interests and professional aspirations of the student within the field of education, special education or early childhood. Through supervision you will shape and agree a proposal for a viable and ethical applied research project.


Based at UEL's School of Education and Communities in Stratford, you'll explore the significance of early childhood in different cultures and societies. 

This is particularly relevant given the ethnic and cultural diversity which exists in east London and, indeed, among UEL's student intake and staff. We use that diversity to our advantage by incorporating discussion time into our teaching. 

You'll benefit from the extraordinary richness of the research conducted in childcare by UEL's International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare (ICMEC), which has a worldwide reputation. 

All of your lecturers are research active and draw upon their own and others' publications to enhance your understanding of key themes and concepts.

Professor Eva Lloyd is a founder of the International Centre for Mixed Economy of Childcare, a renowned research centre informing public policy and practice. This ensures students have access to contemporary fieldwork research relevant to the programme.

The subject of Early Childhood is only relevant when it is applied to the reality which exists outside UEL's walls. It's why we take your learning off campus and give you the chance to work on real-life projects that benefit society directly. 

This fieldwork will not only broaden your own practical experiences but allow you to observe the practice of professionals as you do so.

Coursework will include assignments, self reflective assignments, presentations and group work.

The approximate percentages for this course are: 

  • Year 1: 100% coursework
  • Year 2: 100% coursework
  • Year 3: 100% coursework 

The course is assessed entirely by coursework such as essays, video presentations and a research dissertation.

You'll be taught by staff with relevant experience and practice to ensure you learn from real life experience and research. We offer dual delivery which combines traditional on-campus face-to-face teaching and online teaching simultaneously, allowing you to interact as if you were there in person. You can move smoothly between online and on campus teaching subject to your individual timetable (and health requirements). Students can interact and collaborate in person and online in any of these live-streamed sessions. Live-streamed sessions will also be recorded, so you can log in when you want, playback and watch from the comfort of your home and whilst on the go.

When not attending timetabled lectures you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This will typically involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, Microsoft Teams and Moodle.

We are investing in key areas beyond your studies including our career services, library and well-being, to be available both face-to-face on campus and online with many of these available 24/7. 

Students are supported with any academic or subject related queries by an Academic Advisor, module leaders, former and current UEL students. If you need a bit of extra help with certain skills such as academic writing, English, maths or statistics, our Academic Tutors offer workshops, drop-in sessions and one-to-one appointments to help our students achieve their potential.

You can receive advice and guidance on all aspects of the IT systems provided by the university from our IT Service Desks located on all three campuses. Our Student Support hubs in Docklands and Stratford feature centralised helpdesks to cater for your every need. 

We have new, modern library facilities on both campuses offering inspirational environments for study and research. Libraries contain resources in print and digital formats, a range of study spaces and dedicated librarian who can assist with your learning. 

UEL provides also support and advice for disabled students and those with specific learning difficulties (SPDs). Your overall workload consists of class and online tutor-led sessions, individual learning, practical activities. 

Our aim is to prepare our students for a broad range of careers so that they can make amazing contributions to their communities. When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at UEL and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer. 

Class sizes: 30

Watch a welcome video from our programme leaders or watch an introductory video to this programme.


Assessment tasks are mainly spread across the year to make the workload manageable. Assessment methods include group works and individual work including essays, presentations, case studies, professional development and practical activities depending on the nature of the course. All grades count towards your module mark. More details will be included in the student handbook and module guides.

Feedback is provided within 15 working days in line with UEL's assessment and feedback policy.


Stratford Campus

Stratford Campus, Water Lane, Stratford


The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Vasiliki Tzibazi

Senior lecturer in museum education with expertise in participatory research with community groups, children, young people and teachers.

See the full profile

What we're researching

At the University of East London we are working on the some of the big issues that will define our future; from sustainable architecture and ethical AI, to health inequality and breaking down barriers in the creative industries.

Our students and academics are more critically engaged and socially conscious than ever before. Discover some of the positive changes our students, alumni and academics are making in the world.

Please visit our Research section to find out more.

Originally I chose the course because I wanted to be a Key Stage One teacher, but I’m learning there is a range of other possible career paths. The course covers a holistic view of child development and I’ve been able to gain a new perspective, looking through a child’s eyes. I’ve especially loved exploring the enchantment of children’s literature.

Vikki Silvers

Early Childhood Studies, BA (Hons)

Aerial view of Docklands Campus

Why study at UEL?

Setting out on your journey to higher education can be a confusing and daunting experience. At the University of East London, we pride ourselves in the level of support we offer new students to help you make the right choices.

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Scholarships and Bursaries

View all the undergraduate scholarships and bursaries available to you and read the individual descriptions to see if you are eligible to apply.

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Information Advice Guidance

Pre-entry Information, Advice And Guidance (IAG) And Mature Student Advice

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We are one of the very few universities in London to offer on-campus accommodation. Our stunning waterfront Halls of Residence is convenient, secure and comfortable - and living on campus is a great way to make friends.

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Early Childhood Studies gives you the skills and knowledge to work in a wide range of jobs with children and for children and their families. 

Graduates have taken jobs in local government, the NHS, charities, housing associations and day nurseries. 

Their roles have included childcare project managers, family support workers, play co-ordinators, out-of-school project managers and classroom/education assistants.

The University of East London has strong and trusted relationships with local schools, childcare organisations and loyal alumni. This means you'll have plenty of contact with potential employers through work placements, mentoring and guest lecturers. 

If you already work, the degree will enhance your enjoyment and boost your progress because you will have a deeper understanding of what you do. You may find it easier to move into a management role, for example. 

Early Childhood Studies also equips you with transferable skills such as working to a deadline, giving presentations and project management, which are beneficial in many other careers. 

You may wish to further your journey in childhood studies on one of UEL's postgraduate courses. For example, this degree allows you to qualify as a social worker by taking an approved postgraduate degree, or as a primary school teacher by taking a PGCE. It also prepares you to train as a speech and language therapist.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal.