Childhood Studies with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons)

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This is a four-year version of our popular BA (Hons) Childhood Studies, with an integrated foundation year. Help give children the best start in life. Qualify for a lifelong career in a fulfilling field. Discover new abilities and capacities you didn't know you had.

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This course will teach you about the way children learn and develop in a diverse and evolving society, and it's a springboard to a wide range of careers that involve working with young children.

You'll learn about a range of topics relating to child development, health, and learning, and put that knowledge into practice on experiential visits.

Why us?

  • The Childhood Studies team have a wealth of experience in working with children who have experienced loss and trauma and have hosted many national conferences on the subject
  • We are a University that is nationally recognised for supporting learners particularly from non-traditional backgrounds and many students come to us with no formal qualifications but with valuable work experience


  • 93.4% of our graduates are in employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers)

Course structure

Your progress will be assessed with essays, reports, group work, seminar presentations and self-evaluation. Throughout the degree you'll have one-to-one support from academic staff.

Foundation year 

The Social Sciences and Law Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:

  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Maths (20 credits)
  • Foundation module (40 credits)
  • Project (20 credits)
  • Subject Specialism (20 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • The Nature and Culture of Childhood (20 credits)
  • An Introduction to Child Development (20 credits)
  • Child Development: Theory into Practice (20 credits)
  • Values in the Professional Childhood Practioner (20 credits)
  • Inclusion, Integration and Exclusion (20 credits)
  • Building Graduate Skills for the Professional and Reflective Childhood Practitioner (20 credits)


Year 2 (national level 5):

Core modules:

  • The Child and the Social and Economic Environment (20 credits)
  • Health and Childhood (20 credits)
  • Child Law (20 credits)

Strand optional modules:

1. Family and Community

  • Children and Families in the Community - Resilience, Welfare and Conflict (20 credits)
  • Contextualising Family Units and Diversity (20 credits)
  • Contextualising Children’s Position within Society (20 credits)

2. Policy, Provision and Practice in Early Years Care and Education

  • Play and Learning in the Early Years (20 credits)
  • Observing, Assessing and Reporting Children's Learning and Development (20 credits)
  • The Context of Young Children's Learning and Development (20 credits)

3. Policy, Provision and Practice in Primary Education

  • Developing Learning within Childhood Curricula through Story (20 credits)
  • Local Study Project (20 credits)
  • The Nature of the Primary Curriculum (20 credits)

Final year (national level 6):

Core modules:

  • Childhood Studies Research Project (40 credits)
  • Equality and Diversity in Contemporary Society (20 credits)
  • Leading Practice for Children and Young People (20 credits)
  • The First Three Years of Childhood (20 credits)

Strand optional modules:

1. Family and Community

  • Children and Families in the Community - Supporting Family Units and Protecting Children's Rights (20 credits)

2. Policy, Provision and Practice in Primary Education

  • Effective Teaching and Learning in the Primary Classroom (20 credits)
  • You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    IT provision
  • We’ve got thousands social science books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Library resources which you might find particularly useful for Childhood Studies include:

    • Project Muse, which provides over 180 full-text humanities and social sciences journals
    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • Lexis, which provides access to legal information as well as full-text newspaper articles
    • Professional Development Collection, which features hundreds of education journals and reports
    • Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Database, which includes full-text journal articles on topics spanning emotional and behavioural sciences, psychiatry and psychology
    • Community Care Inform, which helps professionals who work with children and young people to make, and evidence, their decisions
    • EBSCO Professional Development Collection, which is a specialised collection of over 500 education journals
    Library Services - childhood studies
  • Map and directions


You'll be based at The Reg Vardy Centre, situated on the award-winning St Peter's riverside campus. The location benefits from dedicated library services and has superb transport links with the city centre and City Campus.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

You must have a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check before you can start this course, and you will also need to complete a medical pro forma.

If English is not your first language, please see our English Language requirements.

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

The Foundation Year will be £4,000. For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250, but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the three years.

In addition, you will receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region, and you may be eligible for means-tested scholarships if you are from a low-income household.

Register with StudyPLUS and enjoy up to £200 worth of books and university study essentials.

If you are a full-time UK student you will be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


Childhood Studies leads to a range of careers in children's services. Many of our graduates go on to work in health, social care, education, childcare, charities, and voluntary organisations.

This degree gives an excellent grounding in education, but please note that it does not lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). If you want to qualify as a teacher, you may find this course more suitable: Primary Education with QTS BA (Hons).

Centre for Applied Social Sciences

The University of Sunderland’s Centre for Applied Social Studies (CASS) regularly hosts visiting speakers, and it can be an excellent way to learn from the experiences of people who already have a strong track record in social policy.

CASS is the centre for applied social science research at the University, and you may find opportunities to collaborate with the academic team – particularly on areas relating to children, young people and families.


Meet the students

  • University of Sunderland is a phenomenal place to become inspired and educated.
    Reg Vardy building

    Louise Darwin

  • The University of Sunderland helped me realise my dream.

    Stephen Day

Meet the team

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