BA (Hons) Early Years Education (Top Up)

Top in Wales for graduate prospects in Education (Complete University Guide 2023)

The BA (Hons) Early Years (Top Up) course explores best practice in early childhood education from around the globe, with a focus on developing critical thinking skills, theoretical knowledge and gaining real-world experience in local education settings.

Alongside studying early social, emotional and cognitive development in children aged 0-7, students are supported throughout their academic studies with a bespoke academic English module, delivered by our specialist team at the Centre for International English.

Taught by experienced lecturers who have been recognised and published in the field of education and Early Years, students gain knowledge, insight and a fundamental understanding of learning in the Early Years. Academic research is a core element of the degree, with students being supported in this area as they increase their knowledge of critical enquiry and the importance of ethical approaches to discovery.

The skills learnt through this Early Years degree can lead to a range of interesting careers in education and many other areas of early years provision, with previous graduates of Early Years courses following career paths in teaching, nurseries, children’s charities and integrated children’s centres, and even project officer roles within local communities.

The course is for students who have already achieved 240 credits. The study is aimed at a multi-national student cohort that welcomes students from outside of the UK alongside those within it, who are interested in studying and learning best practice in global childhood education.

Early Years Study at USW Twitter: @USWDepEd

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
X301 Full-time 1 Year September Newport City C
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
X301 Full-time 1 Year September Newport City C

This Early Years Education (Top Up) course is the perfect option for those who have a keen interest in current pedagogical research into Early Years education and are interested in working with young children.

Applications by students who have studied to a HND or Level 5 outside of the UK are welcomed. Equally, this course would also be a good choice if you are a UK student interested in studying global childhood education and would like to work alongside a multi-national student cohort.

The modules you will study throughout the duration of the course are as follows:

  • Researching the Early Years – 40 credits
    Students will develop an understanding of research, what it is and why it should be conducted. Students will explore and analyse the importance of ethics in any and all research. They will critically examine different methodologies used in different types of research and explore and understand research design including how to present findings. Students will write a dissertation thesis in this module and will be guided with how to do this.
  • Academic English - 20 credits
    This bespoke module will be delivered by the Centre of International English based at USW and will run for the full year. Students will be taught key aspects of academic vocabulary used throughout the degree, with specific focus on subject specific terminology and theory. As well as support for written work, there will be a focus on the development of spoken academic language and delivery of presentations. The module is delivered by experienced professionals who have extensive experience of working with students for whom English is an additional language.
  • Literacy and Numeracy Development in the Early Years - 20 credits
    In this module students will explore how children acquire language and number skills from birth to 7. It will explore current research in the field of neuroscience and use this, established theory and critical research to develop understanding of best practice in learning and teaching.
  • Global Childhoods – 20 credits
    This module focuses on best practice in early childhood education from around the globe. It considers international views on education, the challenges faced in a number of different countries and the different approaches taken to early years education. Different experiences of childhood around the world will be examined.
  • Perspectives on Effective Learning – 20 credits
    This module helps students to develop critical understanding of definitions of effective learning and learning behaviour. Students will develop a theoretical understanding of the pedagogy that supports effective learning, while at the same time exploring and examining potential social, emotional and economic barriers to learning. Understanding will be supported through the evaluation of theoretical models on behaviour.


The Researching the Early Years and Academic English modules are delivered weekly, throughout the year. The remaining modules, which are Literacy and Numeracy Development in the Early Years, Global Childhoods and Perspectives on Effective Learning, are all delivered in 8-week blocks.

Alongside taught provision and online support, students are expected to engage with 200 hours of independent research for the Research in the Early Years module. For the remaining modules, as well as taught provision, students are expected to engage in 100 hours of independent study and 60 hours of directed study.

In total, students will receive at least 8 hours of contact time via lectures, seminars, tutorials and professional academic coaching (PAC) sessions per week. As well as face-to-face on campus support, there will be further online activities, working groups and progression checks.

Where appropriate, guest lecturers and specialists will be invited to share their experiences in education. Visits to local education providers will also be undertaken, including observations in local Early Years settings.

During the average week, students will be given opportunities to develop their ability to work independently and collaboratively, through which they will build valuable graduate skills like problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and effective communication.


The course uses different methods of assessment which are mostly coursework based. These include:

  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Report writing
  • Dissertation 

There is also one singular online assessment which relates to a specific module, and this accounts for 50% of the module mark.



In the second semester, students will be given the opportunity to undertake a placement in a local educational setting. This will be for two weeks. This will be arranged by the placement officer and will be within easy travelling distance of the student’s accommodation.

The course team have extensive partnerships with local schools and settings who are able to offer valuable experiences for students.


The Early Years degree has a dedicated teaching room with focused resources to support teaching children from 0-7 years old. Students can also benefit from use of our hydra suite, which supports virtual reality learning.



Students will have access to one-to-one academic support throughout the course. For the dissertation, students will be allocated a supervisor and will be given 6 hours one-to-one supervision.

As well as a designated Year tutor, there will also be professional academic coaching provided. On Friday mornings, there will be a 2 hour ‘virtual drop in’ session for students who would like to speak to a lecturer.


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Students must be able to show recognised prior learning up to level 5 to be offered a place on the course.


Additional Requirements:

An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child Workforce and Child Barring List and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2024 - July 2025 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £15260 

August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
DBS * £55.42
Students will be expected to pay for a DBS or certificate of good behaviour from their home country. The DBS fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
Personal stationery and academic resources *
Students will need a small budget for personal stationery and academic resources


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.

UK students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly. 

International and EU students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK. 

Admissions statement

An Early Years Education degree can lead to a range of interesting careers in education, but in other aspects of early years provision too.

Graduates of Early Years courses at USW have taken career paths in teaching, nurseries, children’s charities and integrated children’s centres, amongst many other areas.

The knowledge provided also enables students to take on project officer roles within local communities.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW early years student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.