MA Early Childhood Education Blended and Distance Learning

Year of entry

The purpose of this The MA in Early Childhood Education is to encourage and support rigorous and critical professional development.  The intention is to help you to engage in systematic review of existing policy, provision and practice and to develop and review innovative approaches to your work. It offers you an opportunity to study current issues within early childhood education both nationally and internationally while you develop and enhance your research skills. This programme has been offered successfully as the MA Early Years since 2005. The opportunity has now been taken to update the programme in line with current policy and practice and it has been renamed MA in Early Childhood Education. This major modification seeks to add an additional pathway. The current validation is for face to face delivery and this programme is seeks to offer Blended Learning and Distance Learning pathways.

The programme deals with the care and education of young children between birth and eight years. The programme is of interest to a wide range of graduates: teachers (EYTs or those with QTS), early years practitioners, childminders, nursery owners, Children’s Centre managers and staff, voluntary sector workers, and health professionals interested in early childhood education. It is also expected to attract policy makers, administrators, managers and team leaders from a variety of professional backgrounds who intend to expand and deepen their knowledge of young children. Voluntary workers and parents are also welcome.

As students will be drawn from a variety of professional backgrounds the key element of the programme will be the use of your own professional experience and practice to develop personal interests and specialist areas of expertise.  The content will reflect a holistic view of early childhood development.

The MA Early Childhood Education is a postgraduate programme which focuses on the current strategic importance of the early years of life in both national and international contexts. It is intended to develop self- motivated and autonomous learners, leaders and researchers who are able to add to knowledge and understanding in the early childhood education field.  You will study a core module at the outset which will help you to develop an understanding of Level 7 learning and the importance of reflection on practice, enabling you to begin to develop effective level 7 writing skills and abilities.  As you progress through the programme you will have the opportunity to develop these skills further in optional modules which will be available subject to cohort size.  A further core module will enable you to interrogate policy and practice in early childhood education in both national and international contexts.

As students on the programme will be drawn from a variety of professional backgrounds and places of work, the key element of the programme will be the use of your own professional experience, practice and interests to research and develop specialist areas of expertise. This will be fostered in an online community and students will be encouraged to participate in video conferences and to attend other events held at the University.

The final 60 credits of the programme are designed to enable you to demonstrate self- direction and originality in conducting an independent research study into a specialist area in early childhood education. This is a significant piece of academic work which will enable you to study your area of choice in depth, supported by a University supervisor.

It is possible to exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate in Early Childhood Education once you have 60 credits, or with a Postgraduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education once you have 120 credits.

Students can go onto further study to level 8 courses such as a Doctorate of Education on the Early Childhood specialism (taught) or a Doctor of Philosophy (research) programme

Selection, application and admission arrangements operate in line with the standard arrangements of the University for postgraduate programmes.  This will normally require you to have a good honours degree (1 st , 2.1 or 2.2). However, it is recognised that some applicants may not meet these standard requirements, yet may be desirable candidates with other and appropriate skills and knowledge. If you do not fulfil the normal entry requirements for the programme but have considerable professional experience and qualifications you will be considered on an individual basis and may be offered the opportunity to complete an orientation module or a portfolio to demonstrate your ability to work at Level 7.

You may be asked to attend an interview as required.

This programme conforms to University APL requirements.

You may enrol for the programme, or for a single module.

The University normally accepts non-UK qualifications equivalent to those outlined above and confirmed through NARIC.

If your first language is not English you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English.  Usually, this is through a IELTs score of at least 6.5 or the equivalent result from the Canterbury Christ Church test.

If you have a TIER 4 visa you must study on a full-time basis and comply with UK border agency requirements.  

You will be taught using a variety of learning and teaching strategies, involving you as an active participant in the process of learning and teaching. There will be differences in teaching strategies dependent on the mode of delivery. You will be able to follow your own interests within each module and if you are in practice you can research issues of interest within your own workplace. 

You will also have the option to study a negotiated module as an alternative to a taught module. This will give you the opportunity to investigate a professional or research context in more depth. For this module there will only be two taught sessions and you will have regular tutorials with a member of the course team.

The final 60 credits of the programme are achieved through a dissertation. This is a significant piece of academic work which will enable you to follow your professional and personal interests. There are 8 taught sessions throughout the year. You will also be allocated a supervisor from the course team, who has specialist knowledge in this area, to support you through a series of tutorials. You will also be supported by the Programme Director during this time through tutorials to ensure a consistent approach is taken. Together you will discuss your developing knowledge and receive formative feedback which will enable you to progress towards successful completion of the dissertation.

The module tutor or the Programme Director will act as your personal tutor.

In the Blended Pathway you may attend some on-campus sessions with part of your studies completed using the resources on the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. All modules consist of a series of lectures, workshops and seminars which are delivered over the course of eight weeks. These lectures and seminars will be accompanied by a study guide that will lead you through the module content. The study guide will support you to develop your understanding of the key perspectives which underpin the study of early childhood education. For Blended Learning students, seminars and course sessions will include presentations by tutors and students on relevant themes, topics, readings, discourses and theoretical constructions involving critical reflection and evaluation.

One of the key features of the MA ECE programme is the use of students’ experience and knowledge to enhance the teaching and learning experience of all. It is intended to use your developing personal, academic and professional expertise as a source of discussion and critical reflection within course sessions and by engaging in online forums. You will be encouraged to take part in online discussions and debates throughout the programme to enable you to construct, interrogate and challenge perspectives and to share and apply your knowledge and skills within learning and teaching sessions. You will be asked to take part in an interchange of ideas, experiences and arguments while maintaining the conventions of professional discourse and practice.

For Blended Learning students, workshops will include response to video material, journal articles, practice reports, research and policy documents. There will also be workshop input throughout on research methodology, publication and dissemination, and using your own research projects for each module to build expertise and understanding in early childhood research methodology.

Students participating in a blended learning pathway will access all module information from the University’s Virtual Learning Environment and in addition have the opportunity to participate in online discussions and video/teleconferences. 

Your learning will be supported through the use of the University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as well as other digital media. This will be used to signpost you to relevant resources and has a discussion facility to enable you to communicate with peers. You will be encouraged to work closely with your peer group in action learning sets, to provide support for you outside the teaching and learning sessions.

For Distance Learning students, workshop materials will be available and students will be encouraged to join in to real time debates using facilities on the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. 

Students participating in a distance learning pathway will access all module information from the University’s Virtual Learning Environment and in addition have the opportunity to participate in online discussions and video/teleconferences. 

Each module is assessed separately and you will receive a grade in line with the level 7 standards set out in the University Regulation and Credit Framework for the Conferment of Awards. Assessment in the programme will reflect the learning outcomes that they measure and teaching and learning opportunities are designed to meet the outcomes of each module and the overall programme. A variety of written assignments is used which will enable you to build your expertise in research and academic writing and these may include a piece of reflective writing, a literature review, a policy analysis and the report of a piece of action research.  You will be able to follow your own personal and professional interests in early childhood education in most of the modules, within the assessment framework.

Throughout the programme there will be opportunities for you to receive formative feedback on your work to enable you to develop the skill and ability to write at master’s level. Informal formative assessment is offered in each module in the context of presentations, seminars, exercises, discussion and verbal feedback.   Formative feedback on writing at level 7 is built into each module through feedback on your draft material and in dialogue with tutors.

The Blended Learning pathway may be taught at any of the CCCU campuses, this will be taught flexibility over weekends or intensive weeks of study. The Distance Learning pathway will be delivered fully online via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment.

Fact file


  • You may study for the MA Early Childhood Education as a part-time student over three years or as a full-time student over one year.



Last edited 23/01/2018 15:40:00

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Last edited: 23/01/2018 15:40:00