Institute of Education

Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education
CAO Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
Minimum Points
4 yr
+353 (0) 1
700 9048

Already sought after, the demand for accredited Early Childhood Education and Educators is growing as the field and its benefits gain recognition. This course will help you learn how best to support the wellbeing and learning of children, in partnership with their families, during the crucial early years.

There are half a million children in Ireland under six and most of those access some form of early childhood education. State provision for ECEC is increasing.

The course prepares you for a range of early education settings and develops your knowledge, competencies and understanding of: children's welfare, development and learning; key national frameworks and how to create settings that support and challenge young children; how to translate teaching theory into practice; social and legislative context and its impact on children; how to work, communicate and build relationships with children, parents, and colleagues.

Placement on the Bachelor of Early Childhood Video

I chose this particular course to study because 25% of the four years is spent on placement…you can’t beat placement experience, working with the children, making relationships with staff…and there’s such a wide variety of experiences.

All students take required early childhood education and care modules and spend approximately 1,000 hours on professional placement related experiences.

In Year One, you will cover the core information needed to understand young children and how they develop.

Year Two focuses on the ECEC environment. Students learn how to create settings that support and challenge young children.

Diversity, equality and inclusion are key themes in Year Three. You’ll discover how to support and engage with the rich culture, languages, traditions and needs of a diverse range of children and their families through respectful relationships.

The final year focuses on leadership, ethics and research—you’ll complete a dissertation in an area of professional interest to you. Students can also select from a range of relevant specialisms in final year.
Throughout the course, theory is put into practice through placement in a range of different early education settings such as community-based crèches and privately run preschools. You’ll work with children from a variety of linguistic, social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. You’ll also work with children who have special educational needs.

Our programme aims to develop well-informed, articulate professionals who are passionate about and hold a personal stance on key issues in early childhood education and care (ECEC).
Prepare for the working world by spending around 1,000 hours on professional placement during your course.
Opt to take an elective module that will prepare you to teach Irish as a first or second language in Naíonraí, or specialise choose from a range of other specialisms.
You'll be part of a small study group that will give you peer feedback and support.
View the current course structure

Life on Campus

We have three academic campuses close to Dublin City centre - they are located in Glasnevin and Drumcondra, and can be reached by public transport (Dublin Bus).

Each campus has libraries, study spaces, restaurants, and on-campus residencies. Sports facilities are located on two of the academic campuses. We also have a dedicated sports campus in the form of St Claire’s. 

Exceptional facilities

DCU students have access to exceptional teaching and learning facilities across our three academic campuses. 

These include modern learning theatres, research centres, new media and TV studio, radio/podcast studios, classrooms, computer suites and advanced labs in the areas of languages, engineering, physics, chemistry and biotechnology, as well as a sports performance centre and training hospital ward. In 2021, we opened our first virtual reality ‘Leadership Lab’, which is located in our Business School.

Construction on our FutureTech building on the Glasnevin campus is due to get underway in 2022. Once completed, this facility will advance DCU’s international reputation for excellence in science and health, computing and engineering disciplines. It will have the capacity to accommodate an additional 3,000 STEM students on the university’s Glasnevin campus.

Campus life

DCU student facilities boast a fully equipped sports complex with a 25-metre pool, three libraries and The Helix, our renowned performing arts centre.

Our purpose built, state-of-the-art new student centre known as 'The U' serves the needs of a rapidly growing student body of 18,500. It is home to the Student Leadership and Lifeskills Centre, performing arts and cultural spaces for students and the wider community, and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub.

'DCU Students' Union and the Office of Student Life are also based in the U. The centre is a space for students where they can meet, with lots of charging points and isolation booths. Clubs and socs avail of meeting rooms here and it's also home to DCUFM. NuBar, Londis and the Venue are also located here.

There are more than 140 clubs and societies for students in DCU, with ‘Clubs & Socs’ days taking place on both the Glasnevin and Drumcondra campuses at the start of the academic year.

Student Supports

We have a number of academic, professional and social supports for students.

Student Advice Centre: Offers a wide range of supports and services to students and advice.

The Writing Centre - drop-in writing workshops for students through the academic year.

Maths Learning Centre - provides maths support for students of all ability levels with maths modules.

Student Learning: facilitate the transition from passive to active learning for students at DCU, by teaching study skills, nurturing critical thinking and building student confidence. 

Careers work with students to help them on their professional journey into graduate employment.

Our student support team offers a comprehensive support programme, helping students make that all important transition into university life and focusing on building confidence and skills which are key to success at third level.

Regan Fahey

I chose this particular course to study because 25% of the four years is spent on placement…you can’t beat placement experience, working with the children, making relationships with staff…and there’s such a wide variety of experiences.

Career Areas
City and County Childcare Committees
Development Agencies
National Voluntary Organisations
Pre School
Statutory Bodies

The BECE degree is a gateway to a number of careers, including:

  • Early childhood educator
  • Manager in a preschool, community playgroup, Naíonra or crèche
  • Early years inspector
  • Early years specialist
  • Training coordinator
  • Director
  • Entrepreneur in the ECE field

Opportunities also exist for further education at masters level to pursue careers in research, psychology, speech and language therapy, primary teaching among others.

Career Tags
Co ordinator
Early Childhood Educator
Early Years Inspector
Early Years Specialist


General Entry Requirements

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

Leaving Cert

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

GCE A Level

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

FET Level 5

For details of QQI requirements and relevant codes please click here. Simply enter the DC code for the programme you are interested in or if you are not sure of the code enter DC in the Select by Institution option, then click on Go.  Students must have attained the FULL Level 5 or Level 6 QQI award with distinctions in relevant modules.

Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
EU Transfer Applications

No Entry Path

International Applications

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.


Full time

Student Contribution
€3,043 per annum
EU Status Fee
€5,607 per annum
Non EU Fee
€12,600 per annum
Material Charge
€175 Year 1 only

Next Steps

Mature Applicants

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

Applicants presenting EU school Leaving Examinations

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

Applicants presenting examinations from outside the EU

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

Make an Application

Candidates required to apply through the CAO can apply online at