BA (Hons.) in Early Childhood Education

Course Description

From 1st January 2019, this programme shall be offered by Technological University Dublin at our Grangegorman campus, Dublin 7.

Early Childhood Education generally refers to the care and education of children in Early Years settings and generally means education before the start of primary school attendance which is 0-6 years in Ireland. These services include pre-schools, Naíonraí, specific intervention centres such as community support preschools, Barnardo childcare services, Focus Ireland support services, Crèches, Child minding and After-School groups.

The early years are now well recognised by legislators, policy makers, educationalists and researchers as a critical period in children’s learning and development. Responding to the needs and rights of children and families receiving services in this sector, the Early Childhood Education professional needs to understand many facets of the young child’s learning and development and the role of early education and care in promoting the best outcomes for children.

What kind of programme is the BA (Hons.) in Early Childhood Education?

The programme is a three year, full-time programme leading to a BA (Hons.) in Early Childhood Education. It is a programme of lectures, supervised practice placements, tutorials and a wide range of assignments.

In each of the three years three main components are offered

- a theory component 
- a professional skills component 
- a supervised practice component

The 'Student Handbook' details all module content, assessments, learning outcomes and indicative reading lists [available here]


Technological University Dublin Grangegorman, Dublin 7.


What are the origins of the programme?

DIT is the longest established provider of Early Childhood Education in Ireland. Our first programme commenced in 1977, when we offered a one year certificate programme to pre-school workers in the Eastern Health Board. The certificate programme was extended to two years in 1985 followed by the introduction of a two year part-time Diploma programme in 1993. The BA in ECCE was introduced in September 1999. In September 2005, First Year intake on a new 3-year BA (Hons.) took place.

What are the aims of the BA in ECE?

The programme will provide students with a professional qualification in Early Childhood Education which will enable them to work in a variety of early years settings including pre-schools, crèches, day nurseries, special needs services, community services and family centres in the state, private, voluntary and community sectors.

The aim of the programme is to facilitate students' personal, social and professional development with a view to producing a highly competent professional practitioner committed to providing high quality services to children and families.

Timetable and hours

The programme is delivered over two semesters each year. In each year of the programme students take part in 15-18 hours of classroom tuition and 6-12 hours of supervised practice (placement) each week.

Is placement arranged?

All placements are arranged by Programme Tutors to ensure students get opportunities of supervised practice in a wide variety of high quality early years settings. Supervised placements are located within the greater Dublin area.

What facilities are there?

A personal tutorial system offering professional and academic support to each student.

A well stocked library offering an excellent range of books, journals and videos in the area of early education.

A computer laboratory.

Canteen facilities.

Gym and sports facilities.

What are the entry requirements?

Leaving certificate in six subjects at least two of which must be at grade H5 or higher on higher-level papers. Minimum results in Irish or English and Mathematics are O6/H7.  The CAO entry points in September 2018 were 366 points.

Non-Standard applicants entry to Year 1: Applicants who have gained a QQI Level 5 award in Early Childhood Care and Education (or equivalent) with a minimum of 6 distinctions (or expect to do so by June in the year of application) are eligible to apply for entry to Year 1.

Mature applicants to Year 1: A mature student who is 23 years of age on the 1st of January of the year of entry and who does not meet the normal admission requirements may be considered for admission to the programme. Mature applicants who have gained a QQI Level 5 award in Early Childhood Care and Education (or equivalent) with a minimum of 6 distinctions (or expect to do so by June in the year of application) are eligible to apply for entry to Year 1.

Advanced entry (to Years 2 and 3)

A small number of vacancies may arise each year for advanced entry to Year 2 or Year 3, usually because an existing student is taking a year out.

Deadline 17 May 2019 for applications for Advanced Entry.

Advanced entry to Year 2: Applicants who have gained a QQI Level 5 award in Early Childhood Care and Education (or equivalent) with a minimum of 6 Distinctions and a QQI Level 6 award in Early Childhood Care and Education (or equivalent), with a 75% Distinctions profile (or who expect to do so by June in the year of application) are eligible to apply for Advanced entry to Year 2.

An applicant who has completed all first year modules (including placement) of a BA (Hons.) ECE programme in another institute/university (or equivalent), may also be considered for advanced entry to Year 2.

Advanced entry to Year 3: Applicants with the following qualifications shall be eligible to apply:

- Applicants who have equivalent 120 ECTS credits to the DIT first and second year modules in a relevant area, and with an equivalent number of hours in practice placement to that accumulated by students in DIT over the first two academic years.

- Graduates with a Level 7 degree in Early Childhood Education.

Garda vetting & First Aid

Supervised placement is an integral part of the programme and Garda clearance will be required from all applicants. Applicants must fully and honestly complete the Garda vetting form. Failure to disclose a criminal conviction automatically renders what may appear to be a very minor offence, unrelated to children or minors, to be a serious breach of DIT regulations. That is, it will be interpreted as an attempt to deceive the Institute.  The Department of Social Sciences policy on Garda vetting can be found on our Student Resources page.

From September 2013, First Year students shall be required to undertake certified First Aid training, which shall be arranged by the Institute.  An extra cost of €90 to cover a compulsory two day paediatric first aid course will be included in the course fee.

For students in receipt of a SUSI grant, please note that this covers only the Student Contribution Charge (formerly known as the Student Capitation or Registration Charge).  It does not cover the cost of First Aid Training.

How many places are available?

Forty places (two groups of twenty) are available at entry to Year 1.

Applications are welcome from mature (23 years +) and non-standard applicants.

How to apply?

All applicants to year 1 must apply via the CAO.

First Year Modules

Psychology and Child Development
Early Education 
Professional Practice in the Early Years
Child Health and Nutrition
Art in Early Education
Drama in Education
Supervised Practice Placement
Sociology and Social Policy
Research Methods in the Early Years
Skills Development

Second Year Modules

Child Development in Context
Mental Health During the Early Years
Inclusion in Early Years Practice
Language, Literacy and Numeracy
Aistear and Early Years Curricula
Options: Art in Early Education or Drama In Education
Supervised Practice Placement
Outdoor Learning
Research Methods: Documenting Young Children’s Meanings

Third year Modules

Perspectives on Early Childhood Education: Issues in Policy, Practice and Research
Working with Families and Communities
Digital Childhoods
Pedogogy and Curriculum
Introduction to Business and Management Skills in Early Years Services
Child Protection and Safeguarding in the Early Years
Sociology of Education and Inequality
Supervised Practice Placement
Research methods and Dissertation

  • At a glance
  • Level 8
  • Duration 3 years

  • Contact
  • Dr Kevin Lalor
  • kevin.lalor@dit.ie
  • 01-402 4163
  • Rathdown House, Technological University Dublin, Grangegorman campus, Dublin 7.
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There is a high demand for graduates of Early Childhood Education.

Former graduates have found employment in a wide variety of early years settings such as crèches, day nurseries, pre-schools, after-school services, special early years services, early start classrooms and family centres, project development and management positions in the Health Service Executive, County Childcare Committees, National Voluntary Organisations and Primary Education.

Graduates also have possibilities for progressing to postgraduate studies such as the MA in Child,  Family and Community Studies in the Department of Social Sciences here in TU Dublin. Other graduates choose to do a postgraduate diploma in order to qualify them to work as primary school teachers.

The BA (Hons.) in Early Childhood Education has long standing arrangements with a number of settings that we collaborate with for Practice Placements and many of our graduates have ended up working in these services. All placements are arranged by Programme Tutors to ensure students get opportunities of supervised practice in a variety of high quality early years settings.