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.
Modes and duration
Modules run once per academic year with part-time and full-time students taught together.
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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 full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.
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.
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
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.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
This programme is suitable for international students on a Tier 4 visa - study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
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.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of three compulsory modules (90 credits), one optional module (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Early Years Education.
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.
- Early Childhood Education
- Researching Early Years and Primary Education
- Contemporary Issues in Early Years
Optional modules include
We strongly recommend that students take the Leadership in Early Education module. However, other optional modules can be chosen from related UCL Institute of Education programmes, subject to availability.
- Leadership in Early Childhood Education
Visit the UCL Institute of Education website for more information of this programme and the department, including module descriptions, which can be seen by clicking on the module title.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 20,000-word dissertation.
This is an academic masters and does not have a placement component. International students are offered the opportunity to visit to an English early years setting to familiarise themselves with the English context. This is organised at induction.
Teaching and learning
This programme is delivered through face-to-face 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.
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.
There may be a small discretionary charge levied by early years settings for visits, this will be confirmed during induction and is likely to be be no more than £10.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- Full tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
- Tuition fees, stipend, flights (1 year)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
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 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.
By taking this programme students develop an international, critical and deep understanding of early years leadership, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.
Why study this degree at UCL?
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 UCL Institute of Education (IOE) 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.
Department: Learning & Leadership
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 £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
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.
- All applicants
- 30 July 2021
This programme is also available as an online programme.
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 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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.