Early Childhood Studies Top Up - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (1 year)
September 2016

This course is only available for international students in September 2016.

This course lets you top-up an existing Level 5 qualification (eg foundation degree or HND) to the full Honours degree in Early Childhood Studies. As well as your specialist studies, you gain the personal skills needed for a responsible professional role working with young children. It also opens the way to the Early Years Teacher professional qualification.

What's covered in the course?

This top-up course gives you the chance to extend your learning, and develop a thorough knowledge and understanding of the Early Childhood (birth to five years old) phase and related issues. Although there are no placements, we encourage you to develop links with professional practitioners and settings, which will be invaluable in undertaking a piece of primary research.

You study the learning, development and well-being of babies and young children, and their families, in their early years, and the factors that influence this, particularly within an urban, multi-lingual, multi-faith context. You also plan, review and take responsibility for your own learning as you focus on your steps to employment.

Whilst full time students would attend on a daily basis there is an expectation that students at this level are able to work independently on research and directed tasks either individually or in groups at the direction of the tutors.

The part-time option has a commitment of one day a week faculty based study over two years. This may include evening teaching and is negotiated with the programme director.

Why Choose Us?

  • Showing you theory in action, this top-up route to the full Honours degree has been commended by examiners as a solid platform for building on your existing knowledge of key Early Childhood issues.
  • You also get to shape your own career development, eventually being able to present yourself as a fully rounded teamworker, communicator and leader.
  • The flexibility of the part-time top-up route means you can build your studies around your current weekly commitments – ideal if you are already working in an Early Years setting.
  • There is an opportunity for eligible candidates to study for Early Years Teacher Status (EYT) as post graduate students. From September 2015 we will be able to offer this for suitable graduates in partnership with Best Practice Network. Successful completion of additional professional skills tests will be required but support for these will be available as part of the programme.
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Open Days - 25 November 2017

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 25 November. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2017 or 2018, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid.

Find out more

This course is open to International students

Entry Requirements

UK students

Candidates will need a Foundation Degree in Early Years; a minimum of 60 per cent overall.

Applicants with alternative Level 5 qualifications, in a related field will be considered on an individual basis at the Programme Director's discretion.

You will be required to have GCSE Grade C in English Language and Maths at the point of application. GCSE Science is desirable.

Those intending to apply for the PGCE Early Years course or Early Years Teacher professional qualification in the future will also need to have GCSE at grade C or above (or equivalent) in a science subject.

Please note that Key Skills and NVQ Level 3 are not accepted.

IELTS: 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each level.

International Students

Entry requirements here

IELTS: 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each level.

UK or EU students

Sorry, this course is not available to UK/EU students.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000 per year Apply via UCAS

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Sorry, this course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Course structure

This top-up course provides students with the opportunity to develop a thorough knowledge and understanding of babies and young children from birth to five, and their families which builds on existing knowledge and understanding. 

There are no placements, although students are encouraged to develop links with professional practitioners and settings in order to carry out a piece of primary research.

Participants will study the learning, development and well-being of babies and young children, and their families, and the factors that influence this particularly within an urban, multi-lingual, multi-faith context.

Module tutors will provide a wide range of teaching and learning methods throughout the course and will include taught sessions, presentations, workshops, tutorials, independent study and research.

There are a combination of Principal and Core modules that all students study, however there are also a suit of optional modules that reflect a range of pathways and potential careers.

Whilst full time students would attend on a daily basis there is an expectation that students at this level are able to work independently on research and directed tasks either individually or in groups at the direction of the tutors.

The part-time option has a commitment of one day a week faculty based study over two years. This may include evening teaching and is negotiated with the programme director.

Throughout the course, students will be expected to develop a positive approach to learning and will plan, review and take responsibility for their own learning through personal development planning (PDP). This is carried out to develop an individual's skills for future employment and career management.

Course breakdown

Year three

Award: BA (Hons) 120 credits

Researching Professional Practice
Managing Transitions
Contemporary Perspectives of Childhood
Towards Employment
International Perspectives of Children’s Learning (Optional)
Politics of Inclusion (Optional)
Children and Their Worlds (Optional Module)

Overseas Opportunities

Erasmus scheme

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

Read all about the experiences of BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies students Jacey, Alix and Noor on placement in The Netherlands as part of the Erasmus Scheme.

Read student blog

Further Study

Graduates of the course can apply for postgraduate courses in teaching, social work, counselling or nursing as well as law and psychology. Those interested in any of these careers will need to ensure they fulfil the entry requirements set by professional bodies. There are also opportunities to pursue studies at Master's level. The Early Years Teacher qualification can be gained by suitable candidates, at a post graduate level. From September 2015 Birmingham City University will be offering this in partnerships with Best Practice Network.

Employment Opportunities

Graduates of this course can progress in the early childhood sector. This could be into childcare leadership and management positions within the children's workforce, for example, in children's centres, extended schools, child minder networks or in the private and voluntary (charitable) sector. Previously graduates have also taken on posts in family support, inclusion work or project management in the sector.


There are no placements. Study visits are organised within modules.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

A fly through of the £41 million expansion of our City South Campus. It will provide specialist laboratories and teaching spaces for the new life sciences courses and a new home for the School of Education.

Science education facilities

Our laboratory and Science Education Learning Room have been newly built for the start of the 2015/16 academic year. The Science Education Lab will enable trainees to encounter and explore the latest Science Education pedagogies, and together with the Science Learning Room will facilitate trainees’ transition from “subject expert” to “expert subject teacher”. Trainees will work in a fully hands-on way with the core science education materials to develop excellent subject and pedagogic knowledge - the twin attributes of the outstanding teacher.


City North is a big, bustling campus, three miles north of Birmingham city centre. It's easy to get to and offers on-site parking. Located 5 minutes from Perry Barr train station, City North Campus is also ideally positioned along major bus routes.

The School of Education will be moving to City South Campus in Edgbaston during the 2017/18 academic year.

City south 1

New developments

Our new development at City South Campus will ensure students have access to the best facilities, including our specially developed replica classrooms with interactive whiteboards, enabling you to experience the classroom environment.


All our departmental facilities replicate the school learning environment.

  • Art and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • History
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Religious Education
  • Music
  • Drama

IT Support

Each student has a personal computer user name and server space Specific software for use by teachers and for use in classrooms.

Other items available include:

  • Training and training notes
  • Students can borrow cameras, LCD projector
  • Specialist technician support
  • Dedicated research base for postgraduate research students

Art and Design Department

There are fully equipped art studios suitable for 3D construction, printmaking, drawing and mixed-media. For textile and ceramics specialists, there are sewing machines and facilities for batik work and a large kiln for firing ceramics. The department has an ICT Suite for digital media that includes both Mac and PC computers. There is also access to a bank of Apple iPads for on and off-site digital working including the use of social media.

Design and Technology Department

The department has access to specialist facilities, including a dedicated teaching suite for food and textiles. The textiles area has 10 sewing machines, an overlocker, CAD/CAM embroidery machines, dye sublimation equipment, a felting machine and an electronic microscope that links to the interactive whiteboard. It is also well resourced with surface decoration and construction equipment.

The food area has five electric cookers, combination microwave/ovens, an extensive range of industrial and domestic equipment, eg industrial ice cream makers and electric pasta makers, bench top printer and a CAD/CAM icing printer. The specialist tutor is a Speed Step and basic food hygiene trainer.

There is a specialist room for design and technology teaching and independent work, as well as a well-stocked reference library that contains a wide range of resources that are relevant for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Other features include a recycling materials area, specialist work benches and a bank of computers linked directly to CAD/CAM equipment.

History Department

There are plenty of replica artefacts in the department and other superb facilities, including a huge library of dedicated subject books and an interactive whiteboard. We also inspire our trainee teachers to bring history to life by offering them opportunities to travel to historic sites.

English Department

The School of Education has two dedicated English teaching rooms that contain a substantial children's collection of works including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books and multicultural text. There is also a selection of phonics teaching materials, puppets and story bags that are used in teaching sessions.

You can explore the links between ICT and literacy through the department's Digital Blue cameras and electronic photo albums.

Mathematics Department

There are two dedicated teaching rooms for mathematics. The rooms make use of Promethean and Smart interactive white boards. Both rooms contain a library of recent and relevant publications as well as a wide range of resources for use while on teaching practice.

Trainees are supplied with the use of a laptop for the duration of the course. The laptops come with Autograph and Geometers Sketchpad software. There are a class set of iPads available for the teaching sessions.

Religious Education Department

This teaching room attempts to bring sacredness in its vicinities and a visitor will find precious collections of artefacts and devotional utilities, audio-visual resources, books, sacred texts and children's books from a range of religious traditions to support learning and teaching.

Early Years Department

As well as enjoying very strong links with local schools and specialist nurseries, we have a specialist teaching room that has a range of story sacks and puppets, an extensive selection of planning resources, copies of key texts, and toys and equipment that are relevant for foundation stage.

Music Department

The music department has two dedicated classrooms and seven practice rooms, five of which contain dedicated computer-based recording/sequencing equipment. There is also a fully equipped sound recording studio and Apple Mac computers for sound manipulation.

Drama Department

There is a fully equipped drama studio with stage lighting.

Rosemarie Lowe

Programme Director Early Childhood Studies

Having spent 10 years teaching in a variety of primary and infant schools in Birmingham, Rosemarie had the opportunity to develop a service within the local authority of a team of early years specialist whose role was to support and develop early years practice and provision across the maintained and non-maintained sector.

This move into an advisory role, training and development combined interests in adult learners and a passion and commitment to high quality effective early years provision. Moving to Higher Education seemed a natural progress and she spent some time teaching and developing Early Childhood courses at Newman University College before joining Birmingham City University in 2008.

The rights of children and the need to work in partnership with parents remain a core value in Rosemarie's teaching and research interests, which is reflected in her current studies and recent evaluation projects for local authorities.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295