UCL Graduate degrees


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

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

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

Application dates

Visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£10,500 (FT)
£5,250 (PT)
£21,600 (FT)
£10,800 (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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate part-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.


The MA Early Years (Online) course is an accredited UCL course which leads to a recognised UCL Masters degree qualification. 

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

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

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, written as the Dissertation. Part-time students do this during their second year of study.

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).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Early Years Education (Online).

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.

Compulsory modules

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Contemporary Issues in Early Years
  • Leadership in Early Childhood Education
  • Researching Early Years Education

Please note:

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Visit the UCL Institute of Education website for more information, including module descriptions, which can be seen by clicking on the module title.


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 coursework assignments and a 20,000-word dissertation.

Additional costs

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


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.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Deadline: 31 December 2020
Full tuition fees and some allowances (Up to 3yrs)
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 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 2021.

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).


The MA Early Years (Online) course is an accredited UCL course which leads to a recognised UCL Masters degree qualification. 

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.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

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: 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

Visa nationals
31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
30 July 2021

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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 28 August 2021