Institute of Education


Early Years Education (Online) MA

The Early Years Education (Online) MA offers exceptional career development opportunities for early childhood practitioners and other early years professionals worldwide. This programme builds upon the success of, and is closely linked to, the campus-based Early Years Education MA programme.


Key information

Please note

Unless otherwise indicated, the information on this page relates to September 2019 entry. The information for September 2020 entry will be launching in the online Graduate Prospectus shortly. Applications for most postgraduate taught programmes will open 1 November 2019.

Programme starts

September 2019

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years
Distance learning: available

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 15 October 2018
Close: 26 July 2019

Tuition fees (2019/20)

£8,350 (FT)
£4,170 (PT)
£17,900 (FT)
£8,980 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate part-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Appropriate experience of working with young children is desirable. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

This online Masters degree offers students the opportunity to enhance their professional development and understanding of national and global issues in early learning, early years policy and curricula; to critically evaluate a range of literature about young children’s learning and best practice in early education; and to develop their understanding of research methodology with and about young children. Students conduct their own small-scale research project in a setting of their own choice during their second year of study, written up as the Dissertation.

Students can expect to study an average of 300 hours per 30-credit module and 600 hours for the Dissertation. The number of weekly study hours can vary during the programme. As a general guide, students following the suggested 2-year programme structure can expect to study 7-14 hours per week and 1-2 hours per day.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (120 credits) and a dissertation module (60 credits).

Compulsory modules

Early Childhood Education
Contemporary Issues in the Early Years
Leadership in Early Childhood Education
Researching Early Years Education
Dissertation in Early Years Education

Please note:

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 20,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through online sessions based on Moodle, our virtual learning environment. Assessment is by 5,000-word coursework assignments and a 20,000-word dissertation.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline is 5 April 2019
Accommodation plus tuition fees (1 year)

IOE Fulbright

Now closed for 2019/20

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates of the MA Early Years Education (Online) are currently working as advisers to local and national governments; as nursery, children’s centre and  senior leaders; and as further and higher education tutors. Some have become early years doctoral and funded researchers.


This programme will enable students to understand and reflect on current knowledge of international early years policy and practice; to raise awareness of research into early childhood practice and of research methods and approaches relevant to the field of study; and to enable  critical understanding of policy development in early childhood services, at a local, national and international level.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is ranked first for education in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.

The online programme provides students worldwide with an opportunity to access the exceptional expertise of the early years team at UCL IOE.

The Early Years Education staff team at UCL IOE have been at the forefront of international research for the past two decades, including the renowned Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) project. The programme also has close links to the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0-11).

Department: Learning & Leadership

What our students and staff say

Student view

"I found it very efficient that this Early Years Education MA was based entirely online. This made it easier for me to manage my studies with my full time employment, as well as financially. The UCL Institute of Education is always there to tackle the needs of the students. The programme administrators always replied promptly when sending them an email and were always very helpful. The lecturers and professors were very helpful throughout my studies and when giving advice following assignments. During the dissertation, I was offered support and continuous feedback on my progress."

Eliza Cachia

Early Years Education (Online) MA

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

This programme is specially designed for students of early childhood and early years educators, both in the UK and internationally. The student audience includes early years teachers and professionals, further education and higher education lecturers, nursery nurses, voluntary and independent providers, advisers and leaders working in areas relevant to early childhood.

Application deadlines

All applicants
26 July 2019

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Early Years Education (Online) at postgraduate level
  • why you want to study Early Years Education (Online) at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Page last modified on 18 October 2019