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Search or Quote Course Code: 70252

Queen's University Belfast Foundation Degree Early Childhood Studies

This course is suitable for all students who wish to work in an early years setting. The course is delivered through a combination of classroom teaching and practical work placements. Both of these elements are a compulsory part of the course. There is a focus on helping you to develop the knowledge, skills and values necessary for employment and professional development with the Early Years sector. To apply for this course Full time, you must apply via UCAS at Stranmillis University.

Course Structure

A total of 12 modules may be studied over three years part-time. (2.5 years with the Accelerated pathway).

These include topics such as:

Year 1

  • Child Development
  • Historical Overview
  • Professional Practice 1
  • Learning through Play

Year 2

  • The Acquisition of Language and Communication Skills
  • Quality Provision in the Early Years
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Developing Skills and Strategies for Managing Children’s Behaviour
  • Professional Practice 1 Part Two
  • Professional Practice 2 Part One

Year 3

  • Professional Practice 2 Part Two
  • Working with Children with Additional Needs
  • Anti Discriminatory Practice and Inclusion in the Early Years Environment
  • Working with Babies (0-3 years)
  • Science and Technology in the Early Years


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Available Sessions

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Course Code: 70252

Contact Hours

Contact Hours per week

6 hours contact time to include practical classes, lectures, workshops or tutorials.

Mandatory Additional Study

Enhancement modules of study skills and research during the course.

Personal Study

15 hours maximum studying and preparing assessments in your own time per week, including use of online materials.

Work placement

Minimum 2 days per week across both semesters. A minimum of 300 hours per Professional Practice portfolio (1&2). Candidates must demonstrate access to an appropriate setting (0- 8 years). Candidates will apply for vetting on offer of a place. It is the responsibility of the candidate to gain their own placement.

Entry Requirements

General Entry Requirements:

  • GCSE English Language Grade C or above OR Pass in Level 2 Essential Skills Literacy
  • GCSE Mathematics Grade C or above. No Equivalency Acceptable.


A minimum of 64 UCAS points including:

  • Two A Levels at A2 Grade C OR 
  • Or BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in Early Years OR
  • Appropriate Cache Diploma in Child Care and Education OR
  • NVQ level 3 Qualification CCLD/EYCE or Classroom Assistant or Teaching Assistant.
  • Provide evidence of their ability in appropriate skills and knowledge to undertake the programme.  Guidance is available for such candidates from the Further Education College and any evidence submitted will be assessed by subject specialists who will determine the applicant’s suitability for the course.  Applicants may be required to attend for interview.

Republic of Ireland:

  • Irish leaving certificate - normally BBBBB at Higher (must have English and Maths Ordinary level Grade D or better).

Access Diploma:

  • Access Diploma in Foundation Studies with an overall average of 55% including English and Mathematics.

English Language Requirements for International students:

  • Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) level B2
  • IELTS 6.0 (minimum of 5.5 in all skills)
  • PTE 51 Or an approved equivalent test in English

Equivalent qualifications include:

  • Grade C (or above) in English
  • Successfully completion of a Level 3 Vocational Programme with assessments completed in English Language
  • Essential Skills in Literacy (Level 2)
  • ESOL Level 2 

Tier 4 Students:

  • SERC will only accept a Secure English Language Test (SELT) for issuing a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)


  • Successful completion of the admissions process


  • Provide evidence of ability to undertake the programme by meeting the requirements for the accreditation of prior experiential learning.  Further details on APEL can be found in the admissions section.
  • Credit may be given to a maximum of 80 CATS points.  Credit transfer will not be permitted for study undertaken earlier than three years prior to entry. 
  • Students who have successfully completed modules on the Advanced Diploma in Childcare and Education, the HNC or HND in Advanced Practice in Work with Children and Families may apply for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).

(Please note these criteria may be enhanced by Queen's University Belfast, Stranmillis University College). Evidence of examination grades must be submitted with the application form.  Evidence is also required of ability in appropriate skills and knowledge to undertake the programme.  Applicants are also required to provide a reference with their application. Completed application forms are submitted for approval to Stranmillis University College on set dates. Original examination evidence is also verified by Stranmillis University College Academic Registry prior to registration on the course.

How will I be assessed and given feedback?

Students are assessed using a range of different methods. These include examinations, coursework, Project Based Learning, presentations, practical, posters, leaflets, role-play, and case studies. This is dependent on the requirements of each unit of study. Oral, written and online feedback will be provided during your course to help improve and monitor performance.

    Where will it take me?

    On successful completion of the course you will graduate from Queen's University Belfast with a Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies. Those students who achieve the standard required by Stranmillis University College may be able to progress to Stage 2 of the full-time or part-time BA (Hons) Degree in Early Childhood Studies. Students also have the opportunity to top up this qualification through an online distance learning degree.

    How will it make me more employable?

    The Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies is designed for those people who wish to pursue a career in childcare or health and education or who wish to progress to degree courses in Early Childhood Studies. Students who are currently employed in any early years setting will be able to use this as placement experience.

    Additional Costs

    All full-time students will be required to undertake study visits for which they will pay a nominal sum. This will be in the region of £30 per year. To attend placement, students will be required to have an enhanced Access NI check completed which will cost £33.


    Queens University Belfast

    Terms & Conditions

    Students will be required to comply with SERC's Terms & Conditions of study.

    While we endeavour to run all our courses on the advertised day, SERC reserves the right to change the day of week on which the course runs.

    In addition to the above Terms & Conditions students must also adhere to the following:

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