BA (Hons) Early Years and Childhood Studies

How central is play to children’s learning? What factors are likely to influence children’s development? Positively shape their futures.

Attend an open day How to apply
Attend an open day How to apply


How might modern day pressures be impacting on children’s mental health? How do our individual experiences of childhood influence our views and perspectives? How can children and young people participate in society and how can this contribute to changes in policy?

From exploring feminism and queer theory to analysing the thinking of key philosophers, on this course you’ll study the complex factors that affect children’s lives and ways to positively shape and influence their futures.

In each year of the course, you’ll learn about the different elements that impact on a child’s development. Studying subjects such as psychology, sociology, philosophy, and criminology, you’ll consider ethics, welfare, and the importance of policy and legislation relating to children, such as the Human Rights Act (1998). You’ll also learn about how childhood has changed over time both in the UK and globally and consider alternative perspectives to child development, including post-structuralism, socio-cultural theory and creative play.

You’ll reflect on your own experience of childhood and explore how it was shaped by society. You’ll also consider the diverse experiences of children, young people, families and communities and how policy on local, national and international levels affects children’s lives.

This degree will give you the opportunity to study for an Early Years Education Level 3 qualification alongside your degree. When you graduate you will receive a degree, and a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification which meets the National College for Teaching and Leadership requirements.

This course has a foundation year available. 

Features and Benefits

  • Community links - We’ve created this course with the help of local employers from the education and health and social care sectors, as well as community and voluntary organisations, to help you develop the skills and knowledge you’ll need when you’re in the workplace.

  • Specialise your studies - In year two, you can apply for a specialist placement, in places such as art galleries, museums, play therapy teams and Pupil Referral Units. 

  • Study abroad - You could study in Europe for five months with the optional Erasmus programme.

  • Real work projects - You’ll have the opportunity to take part in projects, working innovatively with communities and professionals to develop your employability skills. 

“Choosing to study abroad on the Erasmus exchange was, by far, the best thing I decided to do while studying at Manchester Met. It allowed me to immerse myself into a different culture and complete a placement in a Finnish Preschool." Francesca Marrs, BA (Hons) Early Years and Childhood Studies

“The course has really helped me to realise that I want a career in social care and children’s services. Any applicants who are not sure which child sector they want to work in should apply for this course and develop their interests.”

Simmran Singh, BA (Hons) Early Years and Childhood Studies

Career Prospects

As an Early Years and Childhood Studies graduate, you’ll have the opportunity to start a career in a wide range of areas working with children, young people and communities as a teacher, family support worker or youth and community leader. Or, you may go into creative play therapy at a local art gallery, work in a pupil referral unit helping those who struggle in formal education or even sports coaching.

You may even pursue a career in the voluntary sector, researching the latest trends in child learning behaviour for a children’s charity.

During the course, you’ll spend time on placements and study option units to help you decide the career path you’d like to follow. Your personal tutor will also support you with suggestions that match your strengths and career ambitions.

You may continue professional development after your first degree. We have a range of postgraduate courses in the Faculty of Education including masters in Education Studies, Educational Leadership and Management, Childhood and Youth Studies and Inclusive Education. Some of our graduates also go onto study Social Work at masters level. 


Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

These typical entry requirements apply to the 2019 academic year of entry and may be subject to change for the 2020 academic year. Please check back for further details.

UCAS tariff points/grades required


104-112 UCAS Tariff points from 3/4 A-levels  (excluding General Studies) or acceptable alternatives, e.g. BTEC Subsidiary Diploma. Diploma, Extended Diploma at Level 3 Grades DMM, Grade B in CACHE Diploma but for the CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education & Care (Early Years Educator) we would require Grade A*

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE Grade C/4 in English Language. Equivalent qualifications e.g. Functional Skills, will be considered.

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with at least 45 credits at Level 3 in Distinction or Merit to include a minimum of 9 credits at Distinction.

International Baccalaureate points

25 IB Diploma Points

IELTS score required for international students

IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Additional Requirements

All candidates must have evidence of study at level 3 or equivalent within the 3 years prior to application and must provide an academic reference. Personal statement should include evidence of work experience with children. 

A Disclosure and Barring Service Check is required for all students. This will be completed through the University prior to enrolment.

Further information

If you do not meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for our foundation year

Course details

In each year of the course, you’ll study the complex factors that affect children’s lives, challenge theories and question social norms. You’ll learn about the different elements that impact on a child’s development and the ways to positively shape and influence their future.

There are two different routes you can take on this course, a ‘standard’ route or a ‘practice’ route. If you’d like to study for the Early Years Educator level 3 qualification alongside your degree, you can choose to study on the practice route.

When you graduate from this route, you will receive a degree and a level 3 Early Years Educator qualification, which meets the National College for Teaching and Leadership requirements.

You’ll start the course with a range of core units that will help you to share subject knowledge with your fellow students. You’ll explore your experiences of childhood and how the early years are instrumental in shaping children’s lives.

The units in year one give you opportunities to practice research techniques, explore major theories, and consider the ethical implications of your work.

Your days will vary but you’ll spend time working in small groups and you’ll have interactive lessons, too.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Constructing Child Development

The Constructing Child Development unit explores key theories and ideas relating to child development. You will look at the ideas of key philosophers and their thinking and then reflect on how these ideas have been developed into significant and influential theories. You will look at some of the major developmental and biological theories and their links with practice in early childhood settings. You will also consider the ethical implications of studying the development of children.

Rights and Participation

The unit will explore concepts of rights, empowerment, participation, agency and citizenship in relation to the lives of children, young people and the communities they live in. Models and theories of citizenship and participation will be examined. The importance of key guidance, policy and legislation such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the Equality (2010) and Human Rights Acts (1998) are explored.

Childhood, Youth and Society

On this unit, you will explore sociological and philosophical perspectives in relation to the concepts of youth and childhood. It will provide opportunities for you to practice research techniques, which encourages reflection upon your own identity in the context of others. This unit will stimulate debate around notions of youth and childhood and reflect upon theoretical notions such as social constructionism, social capital and colonialism. You will reflect upon the diverse experiences of children, young people, families and communities and consider how these are influenced by social structures at local, national and global levels.

Work-based Learning

You will undertake a work-based learning experience within an external organisation.

This unit will enable you to gain a practical understanding of the sector and apply this to academic learning and to develop professional and personal skills.

Critical Academic and Professional Practice

This unit aims to enable you to critically engage with and reflect on, practical, attitudinal, and ideological perspectives and how these influence your personal, academic and professional development. Through taught content and independent virtual learning, you will explore multimedia portfolios, virtual communities of practice and the importance of ethics in study and practice. Models of reflective practice will be utilised to support academic and professional awareness and action planning.

In year two, you’ll build on the skills and knowledge you gained in your first year. You’ll continue to develop your specialist knowledge through core units such as Applied Social Research and Deconstructing Child Development.

You’ll also study the Academic and Professional Practice module and work as part of a tutored group to develop your skills as an education practitioner.

During this year, you’ll start to identify an area you’d like to specialise in and so we offer a number of option units in specialist topics.


Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Deconstructing Child Development

This unit introduces you to a range of contemporary socio-cultural perspectives you may not have encountered before. We evaluate how these perspectives inform current practice and discuss contemporary themes relevant to children's experiences of care and education. These theories and perspectives will connect to your future career roles working with children and families.

Applied Social Research

This unit is an introduction to social research and social research methods, which includes the research process, literature reviews, methodology, results/analysis, the purpose of research, ethical frameworks, researching people, the importance of consent, confidentiality and anonymity. Types of social research, e.g. participatory research, action research, ethnography, community based research, and case studies will be considered as well as research traditions and approaches, including quantitative and qualitative methods.

In year three, you’ll reflect on the knowledge and experience gained during your first two years. Although you’ll continue to have ongoing teaching and pastoral support from our academic team, you’ll be encouraged to develop a more independent role in your final year of study.

You’ll study a number of set units where you will have the opportunity to analyse child psychological theories, you will also take into account alternative perspectives to child development such as feminism, queer theory and post modernism.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Queering Child Development

Through scenario-based learning, you will scrutinise the assertion that dominant psychological theories have come to privilege particular practices in work with children and young people. The unit will give you the opportunity to consider alternative perspectives to child development, such as Feminism, Post Structuralism, Post Modernism, Queer Theory and Critical Theory. This unit reflects upon the political and ethical concerns that are created when dominant theories are accepted as developmental truths.

Independent Project

This unit represents the culmination of the degree, offering you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of research methods and relevant theoretical perspectives. Originality, criticality and innovative approaches are encouraged in presenting written and or verbal assessments for this unit. Support is carefully structured and you will be allocated a project supervisor before you commence the unit.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises of 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Optional foundation year

Additional information about this course

Due to professional body requirements, this course differs from standard University Assessment Regulations in that some units are exempt from compensation.

Placement options

Placement experience is an optional component of the student experience on this course. You will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a variety of child related settings, such as nurseries, schools, voluntary organisations, museums and children's centres. The practice experiences enhance your skills for future employment and provide a context in which to apply theory to practice.

Within the Faculty's School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies, we have developed an Early Years and Childhood Studies forum, which involves local organisations across children's services, including art galleries, museums, schools, nurseries and social care agencies. This partnership has helped inform the curriculum, extend and improve our placement portfolio and facilitate opportunities to share good practice.

School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies

Our School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies specialises in teaching and research around education disciplines focused on children, young people, families and communities.

The department works collaboratively with communities, partners, local authorities and arts organisations on social enterprise projects, and has been at the forefront of developments in its field for over 20 years.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


Foundation Year students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £9,250 per year for the foundation year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £15,000 per year. When progressing from the pre-degree foundation year to the linked degree. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study)

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £15,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. You may also need to print your assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Placement Costs

2 to £12 a day whilst on placement (costs will vary considerably)

You can expect to travel to placement for up to an hour on public transport, normally with a maximum of 2 transport changes. Travel costs to placement will vary considerably depending on where you live, the location of your placement and how you choose to travel. Information on public transport costs within Greater Manchester can be found at

Professional Costs

Up to £135 depending on your status

If you decide to undertake a placement you must undergo a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check (Enhanced Disclosure). At the time of going to press, you do not have to pay for your first DBS check. If you cannot attend a DBS session at the University before the start of the course, you can use the UK Post Office Document Certification Service, which costs approximately £10.

If you are not a UK citizen, or if you have lived in one country outside the UK for six or more months in the last five years, you must, where this is possible, obtain a police clearance certificate from the country in which you resided, in addition to the Disclosure and Barring Service check. You must supply a certified translation if the certificate does not automatically include this. Costs vary and can include fingerprint and translation fees where required.

If you are a returning student, who has already had a DBS certificate from Manchester Met and need a second DBS certificate, for example, due to a suspension of study, are required to pay the DBS fee. Please go to our DBS webpage for more details.


Find out more about financing your studies and whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships.

Money Matters

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How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS.

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UCAS code(s)


Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

Full-time applications through UCAS

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
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All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.