Childhood Studies

Key Facts

Code X320
  • Typical A-level offer

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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In choosing Aberystwyth University's Childhood Studies Degree you will study a broad spectrum of childhood development topics that include the sociological, psychological and educational facets that influence the development of children. You will be taught by enthusiastic staff and cover a range of practical, theoretical, and professional disciplines that employers in this discipline demand. Your skills and abilities will be enhanced with regular exposure to team-work, communication skills, interpersonal, and time and work management opportunities.

The BA in Childhood Studies will equip you with the skills and expertise necessary for work in a range of child-related professions. It will push you to improve your legislative knowledge, your social awareness, your ability to work with others, and your academic excellence. These skills will fit you for any graduate workplace which values thorough research, critical analysis, interpersonal abilities, and fluent and confident communication and reporting.

94% student satisfaction in our Childhood Studies degree scheme (NSS 2016)

Department of Education and Lifelong Learning: 95% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

95% of undergraduates from the Department of Education who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Employability
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Student Views


This Honours degree in Childhood Studies will involve you in the diverse and fascinating subject of Childhood Studies, which draws on the disciplines of psychology, sociology and education. As you study, you will consider the theoretical principles of the subject and evaluate them in the light of social history, contemporary legislation and the latest best practice. You will explore the social, emotional and cognitive development of children, and scrutinise the methods used for measuring child development.

Why study Childhood Studies at Aberystwyth?

Established department
The School of Education and Lifelong Learning is a well-established department, which has been offering stimulating and innovative study programmes for over a hundred years. Aberystwyth was the first university in England and Wales to offer an honours degree in Education, and it has extended its provision into the study of childhood and education and international development. The School has won and been runner-up in the 'Department of the Year' category of at Aberystwyth University’s Student-led Teaching Awards. The award reflects the high academic standards and excellent support for students that the School provides.

Support and guidance
The School's staff will be available to you throughout your course to advise and encourage you throughout your degree programme, both personally and academically. Every student has a personal tutor and a peer mentoring scheme operates in the first term of every year. There is always a member of staff available for student support during office hours. Apart from the academic, Childhood Studies students have set up and run Edusoc, the student society for anyone interested in childhood and education.

International Conference
The School of Education also hosts an international conference, attracting researchers and academics from all over the world. Students are invited to attend and to act as ambassadors.

Welsh-medium provision

We are developing our Welsh-medium provision all the time and you can study some modules completely through the medium of Welsh. Every assignment may be completed in Welsh (even if the module is taught in English) and these will be marked by one of the Welsh-speaking members of our team. Further details may be obtained from the Department.

Our Staff

Undergraduate lecturers in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning are either qualified to PhD standard or are experienced practitioners in their field. All teaching staff currently possess, or are working towards, a recognised teaching qualification.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Options CORE MODULES (60 CREDITS) You must take either the ED (English) or the AD (Cymraeg) modules

Semester 1

Polisiau A Materion Mewn Addysg AD10120
Policies And Issues In Education ED10120

Semester 2

Plant Ifainc Yn Dysgu AD11320
Datblygiad Plant AD19220
Child Development ED10220
Young Children Learning ED11320

Year 1 Options OPTIONAL MODULES (60 CREDITS) You can choose any of the following 20 credit modules. You must choose either ED13620 or AD13620

Semester 1

Sgiliau Allweddol I Brifysgol AD13620

Early Years Provision: Principles And Practice ED10620

Key Skills For University ED13620

Semester 2

Play And Learning:theory And Practice ED13720

Year 2 Options CORE MODULES (60 CREDITS) You must take either the ED or the AD modules

Semester 1

Seicoleg Dysgu A Meddwl AD20120
Llythrennedd Mewn Plant Ifanc AD20220
Psychology Of Learning And Thinking ED20120
Literacy In Young Children ED20220

Semester 2

Dulliau Ymchwil AD20320
Research Methods ED20320

Year 2 Options OPTIONAL MODULES (60 CREDITS). You can choose any of the following modules. Please note that you may choose 20 credits outside of these modules from other modules in SELL, or any department in the university subject to approval.

Semester 1

Cultural Diversity In Education ED20420

Working With Children ED20600

Discourses Language And Education ED22420

Semester 2

Bilingual Education ED20520

Working With Children ED20620

Making Sense Of The Curriculum ED20820

Year 3 Options CORE MODULES (40 CREDITS). You must choose either the ED or the AD modules.You must take the following modules.

Semester 1

Gwerthuso Ac Adlewyrchu Ar Sgiliau Dysgu Yn Gritigol AD30120
Datblygiad Mathemategol Yn Y Blynyddoedd Cynnar AD30320
Traethawd Hir AD33600
Critically Reflecting And Evaluating Learning And Skills ED30120
Mathematical Development In The Early Years ED30320
Major Dissertation ED33600

Semester 2

Traethawd Hir AD33640
Major Dissertation ED33640

Year 3 Options OPTIONAL MODULES (60 CREDITS). You can choose the following modules. Please note that you may choose 20 credits outside of these modules from other modules in SELL, or any department in the university, subject to approval

Semester 1

Health And Education ED30500

Semester 2

Special Educational Needs ED30420

Health And Education ED30520

Children's Rights ED30620

Communicating Science: The Scientists, The Media And The Public ED33020


Career Prospects

Data from Unistats demonstrated that 100% of our graduates from Childhood Studies were either in work or further study 6 months after graduation. Studying Childhood studies here at AU will provide opportunity to develop a range of skills sought by employers in a range of relevant sectors. In recent years our students have confidently moved in to careers within the field of teaching and education (including SEN), social care, nursing, speech therapy, social work, child welfare, play therapy, the leisure industry, child law, and childhood research. For those of you keen to explore your entrepreneurial flair there is plenty of opportunity and support here at AU to help you explore your own business ideas, funding options and follow in the footstep of departmental alumni who have already been through the process and now successfully manage their own nursery business. Further study is a popular option here at AU with many of our graduates moving on to study at primary PGCE level or opting to take a Masters. All Aberystwyth Childhood Studies graduates are usually guaranteed an interview to follow the primary PGCE taught in the North and Mid Wales Centre of Teacher Education, subject to meeting all other requirements. Click on the profiles below to see what some of our Childhood Studies graduates are doing now.

Emily John

Laura Ryan

Theo Evans

Faye Ap Geraint

Sarah Hall

The wealth of core childhood-specific skills and other, more generic skills that you will develop during your degree can be easily transferred into almost any graduate or professional employment situation. The department additionally encourages students to seek wider internship activity during the summer vacation offering departmentally focused careers support to help source the right work experience opportunity to start profiling their career direction. You will be able to show a comprehensive understanding of major learning theories; respond critically to contemporary arguments; reflect upon your own practice as a working professional; evaluate the aims and impact of social policies; and consider the subject from multiple positions, such as from gender and cross-cultural perspectives.

Academic Employability Coordinator

From Year One developing your employability is our priority and to ensure we offer the right services we have a dedicated academic employability coordinator, Megan Harnett, who liaises with our link careers adviser to tailor a package of careers education, employer exposure and individual departmental based support. Megan liaises with the careers service and external organisations to make links and connections, which are fed through to students on a regular basis. These include opportunities for voluntary work and paid employment both during and after your studies. Part-time opportunities include after-school clubs, work in the NHS and work with people with additional needs. Departmentally you will have the opportunity to get involved in our annual student employability conference alongside opportunities in being a part of our International conference that is an acclaimed innovation within the School of Education here at AU. Involvement offers worldwide insight in to new approaches in education/child development and a chance to professionally network in your sector. Our student mentoring scheme provides opportunities to both receive peer support but to also develop mentoring and coaching skills while supporting fellow students. This scheme is recognise by the University for its high skills value, and those who engage as mentors receive recognition on their graduate transcript

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Childhood Studies will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

  • the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
  • effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
  • the ability to work independently
  • time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
  • the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
  • self-motivation and self-reliance
  • team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement
  • research skills

Careers Service

Engaging more widely with the careers service provision can also improve your chances of success from employer events on campus, convenient access to careers advice and guidance, comprehensive resources on the web and schemes such as the Year in Employment Scheme (YES) and GO Wales. Each year a number of AU students take up the YES scheme. This is a university wide scheme enabling students to take a 12 months graduate internship between their second and final year.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a personal portfolio at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, your portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will you learn?

In the first year you will study a number of core modules designed to give you a firm foundation in the broad subject of Childhood Studies. You will gain a knowledge and understanding of how young children learn and some appropriate methods of teaching them. You will be introduced to developmental psychology and the development of intelligence, personality and perception in children. Through a choice of optional modules you will learn the importance of play in child development, and about the historical development of childhood provision in Wales and England.

In the second year you will explore and critically assess major theories of thinking and learning, and will examine the development of literacy in young children. A choice of optional modules will allow you to specialize in areas such as bilingual education or cultural diversity in education. You may also choose to undertake a module involving a short observational period within an educational or childhood setting. This will allow you to supplement your theoretical and academic expertise with practical experience. You will be introduced to a range of research methods commonly employed in educational research in preparation for your dissertation in your final year.

In the third year you will have the opportunity to tailor your study programme to suit your own interests through your dissertation, which is your own small-scale research project. Optional modules covering special educational needs, children's rights, methods for presenting science to the public, and health education may also be chosen.

As you study, you will develop a breadth of knowledge which will benefit you in further research or any graduate workplace. You will learn to consider every factor affecting the child and childhood, such as psychological issues, the role of the adult, the application of children's rights legislation, and the delivery of Early Years education.

In order to achieve this, you will assume responsibility for your learning, choose modules to direct your study, and engage fully with this fascinating, but demanding, subject. Throughout this course you will be challenged and inspired by our departmental staff, who have created a culture of creativity and intellectual curiosity perfect for the study of children’s learning and development.

How will you be taught and assessed?

This course material will be delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, interactive tutorials, and workshops. Audio recordings of lectures are made so that you can listen again at exam time, or catch up if you are ill. Visiting speakers add to the variety of presentation.

Most modules are assessed through examinations and essays, but projects, bibliographic exercises, reflective diaries, posters, and presentations may also be utilised. Examinations do not account for more than 50% of marks in any modules.

In the third year, your dissertation will allow you to conduct your own research project into a topic of your own choice, under the guidance of a member of staff. It will require library-based study, a critical interpretation of sources, and a small-scale empirical investigation.

Where possible, assignments are marked electronically, so you can look at feedback wherever you are, on your own devices. You will be given feedback and pointers for improvement for every assignment and examination.

Support for your studies is also available from staff who teach the modules and from your own Personal Tutor.

Student Views

I simply love my course because the topics we discuss are interesting and relevant to the world of childhood. The lecturers are very passionate about the subject, which is also reflected in the varied ways in which we are assessed - we even had the opportunity to design our own game! This is so much more hands-on and realistic when working with children than a dry exam! Overall, my confidence in a variety of topics and my abilities have been strengthened which is always a good thing in any career. I would definitely recommend the course to anyone who is interested in working with children and I can assure you that you are given great support by staff in any kind of academic situation! Caroline Korell

Childhood Studies is an amazing course. As the content is so broad it has given me so many chances to explore new and exciting areas! The highlight for me would have to be having the chance to carry out work placements in varied settings, gaining hands-on experience, which is essential for my future career plans. I love my degree! Chloe Tinsley-Hall

Childhood Studies is an enjoyable and interesting subject. It gives all students the opportunity to express and develop themselves as individuals. We are continually encouraged to extend our learning through extra study and activities in the department and university. The correct balance of exam/coursework ratio in the degree scheme allows students to reach their full potential. All the staff are friendly and supportive; they help us whenever they can whether academically or socially. Eleanor Thompson

Entry Requirements

A Levels

GCSE requirements (grade C min):

BTEC National Diploma:

International Students

International Baccalaureate:

European Baccalaureate:

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