MA Early Childhood Education (part-time by distance learning)

School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

Join education professionals from all over the world for a postgraduate course that will advance your career.

We value creative teaching that challenges inequalities in the education system. We believe in increasing opportunities for education, for everyone.

The Good Teacher Training Guide 2013 puts our PGDE in the UK top ten for quality and employment prospects. We also run a range of MAs that will help you develop your career.

Our school is home to leading academics like Professor Cathy Nutbrown, who was commissioned by the government to lead an independent review looking at ways to strengthen teaching qualifications, and Professor Dan Goodley, whose work on disability in education has been described as ground-breaking.

About the course

This course blends distance learning with face-to-face teaching.

It's open to early childhood professionals anywhere in the world, including early years practitioners, FE and HE lecturers, teachers, nursery nurses, voluntary and independent providers, and inspectors and managers working in areas relevant to early childhood.

Wherever you are in the world, you’ll develop the skills you need to carry out high-quality educational research relevant to your own culture.

Those skills include a clearer understanding of the policies, practice and theories that underpin your work. And you'll discuss international approaches and educational change with leading experts.

You'll study mostly at home, staying in contact with your tutor by telephone, post and email. You must attend five residential weekends in Sheffield during the two years of the course.

Each module is assessed through a 6,000-word assignment. The final dissertation is 15,000–20,000 words.

Core modules

  • Early Childhood Education: History and Policy
  • Development, Learning and Curriculum
  • Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Education
  • Research Methods and Methodology in Early Childhood Education


  • Study at home with telephone, post and email contact with your tutor
  • Attend five residential weekends in Sheffield during the two years


  • 6,000-word assignment for each module
  • A final 15,000–20,000-word dissertation, which represents one-third of the MA (60 credits out of 180)

On completion, you'll have the opportunity to apply for doctoral study on our Early Childhood Education EdD.

Apply now

Hazel Bryce, postgraduate student in the School of Education

Key facts

Course duration

2-3 years part-time distance learning

Entry requirements

An honours degree and two years' experience of working full-time with or for young children. If you don't have an undergraduate degree, you can register for the diploma and transfer to a masters course when you've completed enough coursework.

We encourage you to speak with the course director to discuss your qualifications and experience.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Fees and funding

We don't have the fee for this course. Use this fee calculator to look it up or contact the department to check.

Financial information for postgraduate taught courses

Specialist resources

Our research seminar programme gives you access to the latest findings, often before they're published. The University's library has online catalogues and databases, e-books and e-journals. There's a wireless network in the department.

Your career

Our graduates work in the UK and overseas in schools, universities, and local and national government. The course is an ideal basis for doctoral research.

Apply now

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It is a quick and easy process.

Postgraduate Online Application Form

Any questions?

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of our courses, contact us:

T: +44 (0)114 222 8173