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Institute of Education

Master of Education in Early Childhood Education

Course Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
2 Years
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+353 (0) 1
700 9043

This programme will not be running in September 2023.


The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education incorporates current educational research and theory and the most effective pedagogical practices within a wide range of contemporary educational issues. The programme is designed for those working to enhance children's learning and development, in the age range from birth to six years across the full diversity of early childhood settings, including the early years of primary school.

It will be of interest to professionals who have a desire to lead early childhood education, in particular:

  • Early childhood educators working with babies, toddlers and/or young children
  • Teachers working with children in Early Start units and the early years (junior and senior infants) of primary school
  • Personnel involved in mentoring, inspecting and/or the leadership and management of early childhood settings and advocacy
  • Educators who wish to further develop their expertise in early childhood education in relation to content knowledge, research, policy and practice

The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education is a two-year part time taught programme delivered on campus and online. In Year 1, students undertake five modules:

  • Curriculum and Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education (on campus)
  • Leading and Mentoring for Professional Practice (online)
  • Children's Participation in Early Childhood Education and Care (on campus)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (online)
  • Quantitative Research Methods (online)

Online lectures normally take place on Tuesday evenings and on campus lectures on Thursday evenings between September-November in semester 1 and January-April in semester 2.

Students undertake a sixth module Contesting Current Discourses in Early Childhood Education and Care (on campus) in the form of a study week in July/August, and complete a thesis with the support of a supervising tutor in Year 2.

Orientation will take place on a Saturday early-September.

The programme aims to develop graduates who will:

  • Conduct research on a specialised area in early childhood education;
  • Critically interrogate ubiquitous concepts, grand narratives, and perceived certainties that have come to dominate the early childhood field; 
  • Engage in ethical practice informed by a critical concern for social justice, equality and care and respect for others locally and globally;
  • Critically reflect on their own practice to enhance and lead early childhood education;
  • Acquire the knowledge and skills to pursue further studies at doctoral level in early childhood education.

The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at DCU Institute of Education is designed for educators who wish to pursue in-depth study in education for both professional and personal development. A benefit of this programme is the particular focus on connecting early childhood settings with the early years of primary school. Also, the programme is delivered by a team of academics and practising experts with applied experience in their fields, and are affiliated to DCU’s Early Childhood Research Centre.

The diversity of the students’ professional contexts, being supported by internationally-recognised experts in early childhood education, policy, research, will lead to a dynamic learning environment for students.

 The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education is intended for those who wish to make a significant contribution to the enhancement of professional practice and/or policy development in early childhood education. 

Graduates will acquire advanced knowledge and skills and afford further career opportunities in a variety of contexts, for example:

  • Early childhood agencies and committees
  • Government organisations and departments
  • Educational management
  • Consultancy



The minimum entry requirement is a Level 8 award with a minimum of a H2.2.

In general, applicants will have degrees in education, early childhood education or studies, education and training, or other related and cognate fields, and two years’ experience in setting(s) supporting children from birth to six years, which may be post or prior to their Level 8 award.

Recognition of prior learning/transfer/exemption procedures apply.

Students on the programme will need to have access to an early childhood setting or an Infant classroom.


Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time
€4,000 per annum
Non EU Fee Part time
€9,000 per annum

Next Steps

To apply for this programme:

  • All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal which is available here.  Here's a quick step by step guide if you need help with your application.

Applications must include:

  • Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study, with certified English translations if applicable
  • A CV highlighting relevant professional experience in early childhood education
  • Personal statement of 500 words maximum outlining your reasons for applying and indicating area of research interest

Non Native English Speakers - Additional

Non-EU applicants

  • If you require a study visa and are a Non EU student, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.

Application Deadlines

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the programme is full or until the following date: 30/06/2023.

All entry requirements should be met before the commencement of the programme.


Queries from EU applicants should be directed to

Queries specific to the Master of Education in Early Childhood Education programme can be directed to Programme Chairs: Geraldine French ( or Fiona Giblin (

Commencement of Programme

This programme will not be running in September 2023.