Early Years Education MA

London, Bloomsbury

The programme allows students to engage with current issues and debates relevant to early years education, increasing understanding of policy development and developing leadership knowledge and skills to assess the quality of early years practice. Students gain understanding of general methodology and research methods, which enables them to conduct research in early years settings.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Pathways include:
Early Years Education (TMAEDUSEYE01)
Primary Education (4-12) (TMAEDUSPEF01)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Pathways include:
Early Years Education (TMAEDUSEYE01)
Primary Education (4-12) (TMAEDUSPEF01)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required. Appropriate experience of working with young children is desirable.

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: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

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

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This programme provides the opportunity for students to access professional development that is informed by best practice in early years education. It will also prepare students for leadership roles and develop their understanding of general methodology and research methods.

This MA qualification is a research-based degree and so is not listed by the English Department for Education as a teaching Early Years Qualification (DfE 2014).

Who this course is for

The programme is suited to students of early childhood and educators in the UK and internationally, including early years teachers and professionals, FE and HE lecturers, nursery nurses, voluntary and independent providers, and advisers and leaders in areas relevant to early childhood.

What this course will give you

Participants in this programme have the opportunity to develop their understanding and knowledge of early years education by working with experienced early years educators and researchers. The Early Years Education staff team at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society have been at the forefront of international research for two decades including the renowned Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) project. The programme also has strong links to the innovative Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0-11).

The programme provides the opportunity to broaden and deepen understanding of early childhood education, combining theory and practice, policy and current debates internationally to critically address key issues in early years education across a range of contexts. Students will be exposed to rich content in thought-provoking lectures, supported by seminar activities enabling discussion and critical reflections within an international community. 

This degree supports understanding and insights into early years nationally and internationally.  The academic masters contributes to personal and professional development in the field of study. Participants have the opportunity to develop as future agents and leaders for change in early years education. 

The foundation of your career

By taking this programme students develop an international, critical and deep understanding of early years leadership, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.


Graduates of this programme work in a broad range of careers, both nationally and internationally.  A number have taken up work as advisers to local and national government and as researchers on early childhood programmes.  Graduates can also be found working in nurseries, early years settings, primary schools, as leaders and managers and as researchers, lecturers and teacher educators in higher education and in educational services outside schools such as museums, publishing or children's support services. 

Teaching and learning

This programme is delivered through face-to-face for both day time and evening sessions. Assessment is through assignments and a dissertation.

Students attend lectures and seminars of approximately 30 hours per taught module but are also expected to undertake weekly independent study, reading and structured activities linked to the taught sessions including online engagement through a virtual learning environment. 


The Early Years Education MA has four compulsory modules:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Researching Early Years and Primary Education
  • Contemporary Issues in the Early Years
  • Dissertation; an extended piece of writing that will offer you the opportunity to conduct an original study in early years and primary education or an aspect of childhood.

You will also select one optional module. A module is a one-term course, usually involving attendance at ten teaching sessions and the submission of an assignment for assessment.

Year One
Early Childhood Education   30 credits 
Contemporary Issues 30 credits
Leadership/optional 30 credits

Year Two
Research Methods  30 credits
Dissertation 60 credits

There is also an option for students to complete the MA over a period of time, between 2 and 5 years.

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. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Early Years Education.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £11,800 £5,900
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

Pathways include:
Early Years Education (TMAEDUSEYE01)
Primary Education (4-12) (TMAEDUSPEF01)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

If you wish to undertake any of your research in UK schools or settings, you will need to apply and pay for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their dissertation.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

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

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 £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Early Years Education at graduate level
  • why you want to study Early Years Education 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.

This programme is also available as an online programme

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.