Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

Course Details

CAO Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
8 - Please see www.qqi.ie for further information
Delivery Modes
Minimum Points
4 yr
+353 (0) 1
700 9048

Do you want to make a difference to the lives and educational futures of young children? Then follow your passion and explore early education with an internationally-recognised team of academics and researchers in DCU.


Overview Icon

This course will prepare you for a highly rewarding career, educating and supporting young children during a vital time in their development. The BECE prepares you for work as a professional in a variety of early childhood educational settings, from preschools and creches, to child and family support programmes and it equips graduates to work with children of all needs.  The BECE enables graduates to follow a career in a range of voluntary and statutory organisations that work on behalf of children and families. 

Theory and Practice
The BECE degree combines theory with practical learning. You’ll learn applied skills through workshops, seminars and independent group study. This could involve working in the Lego room programming ‘Beebots’, or designing play environments for young children, or developing literacy sacks to support them as readers. You’ll also put your knowledge into practice during yearly work placements. 

BECE graduates are in high demand at home and abroad. In Year 3, you can consider studying abroad on an Erasmus programme, in Norway, Belgium or Hungary. 

DCU People

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Matthew Smith

Studying for the Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education was a really positive experience for Matthew because “everyone wants you to succeed”.  

Read more about Matthew Smith
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Kim O'Hare

Kim O’Hare competed for DCU in hockey and athletics and says she was drawn specifically to DCU for her third level education because of the reputation of its’ athletics department.

Read more about Kim O'Hare

Careers & Further Options

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The BECE degree is a gateway to a number of careers.

  • City and County Childcare Committees
  • Crèches
  • Development Agencies
  • Naíonraí
  • National Voluntary Organisations
  • Pre School
  • Statutory Bodies
Early childhood educator
Manager in a preschool, community playgroup, Naíonra or crèche
Early years inspector
Early years specialist
Training coordinator
Entrepreneur in the ECE field

DCU graduates are highly sought after by employers. Our Graduates work in environments ranging from large multinationals to SMEs, family businesses and start-ups across every sector.

DCU Careers Service has a number of learning and development initiatives in place for our students, giving them the skills they need for a successful career path.

Go to our Careers site to find out more about career planning, our mentorship programme, skills development and online resources for students when working on CVs and making applications.


Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements Icon

There are no additional entry requirements for this programme apart from the general entry requirements for admission to the university.

There are no additional entry requirements for this programme apart from the general entry requirements for admission to the university.

There are no additional entry requirements for this programme apart from the general entry requirements for admission to the university.

Please visit our Admissions webpage for details on course requirements or how to apply to DCU.

Please visit our QQI FET webpage for details on DCU courses, open days, campus tours or school visits.

To apply to DCU, please visit www.cao.ie.

Applicants that have completed at least one year of study at NFQ Level 6, 7 or 8 at another institution may apply to continue their studies on a similar programme at DCU. There should be substantial overlap in content between the two programmes to be considered for a transfer. Results and other supporting documentation must be submitted to CAO by the closing date of 1st July. This is a competitive application process for a small quota of advanced entry places. Offers are made on a rolling basis until all places are filled. Early application is advised. Please note: Applicants should also consider applying through the appropriate route for first year entry to the programme they are interested in. This application process is only for advanced entry.

Additional Criteria

At the discretion of the DCU applicants may be called for an interview.

International candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. For further information on international applications click here.

Course Structure

Course Structure Icon

This degree will expose you to areas of psychology, sociology, the arts, critical thinking and philosophy, with a strong emphasis on literacy, maths, science (STEM) and educational leadership. The core focus of the degree is on curriculum, pedagogy and practice.

Over the four years of the programme you will develop the skills to support childrens’ wellbeing, to plan for their learning through play and to work effectively as part of a professional team. Modules will equip you with an understanding of ethical research and its role in bringing about change.

The programme will enable you to work with children who have additional needs and you can deepen your knowledge in this specialist area with an elective module in Year 4. Modules over the four years will help you explore and understand the national and global social and political contexts for children and families. The design of the BECE programme will engage you in up-to-date thinking, working with the team and your peers to examine and debate the big ideas and theories in early childhood.

For more information on the course structure click here

Fees and Funding

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Student Contribution.
€3,043 per annum
EU Status Fee
€5,607 per annum
Non EU Fee.
€15,000 per annum
Material Charge.
€175 Year 1 only

How To Apply

How To Apply Icon

Applicants presenting EU School Leaving/QQI Level 5 examinations: Apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1st February or 1st May

To apply for this programme:
Candidates should apply directly here. Here's a quick step by step guide if you need help with your application.

Please provide 

  • Academic Transcripts for each and every year of study with English translation, if applicable.
  • If applicable, provide evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements.  Please see link http://www.dcu.ie/registry/english.shtml

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis up to 1st July. All Non-EU candidates are advised to apply early, as places are limited.

All mature applicants apply through the CAO by 1st February. For further information and for special application procedures for mature students, please click here

Applications are made via the CAO Advanced Entry route which will open from 6th November to 1st July.

Candidates required to apply through the CAO can apply online at www.cao.ie

Life On Campus

Life on Campus
Students on St Patrick's Campus

DCU St Patrick's Campus


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