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The MEd Early Years is primarily aimed at professionals working in the Early Learning and Childcare sector in its widest definition (school and Early Learning and Childcare settings, health and social work), who are addressing these agendas and supporting their own development and of and others.

The current national and international priorities focus on tackling inequality through raising attainment and reducing poverty. Current policy frameworks are underpinned by UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and tackle inequality through working sensitively supporting and involving families, early years intervention and improvement, literacy and pedagogy and practice.

Course Details

There is no requirement to attend ‘face-to-face’ sessions on this innovative course as it is offered by distance learning, using the UWS virtual learning environment. However, face-to-face delivery may also be an option for some cohorts. Materials are supplied online and the system allows access to both electronic journals and e-books. Participants are required to contribute to online discussion threads on themes relevant to the modules. The approach taken to the learning and assessment is that of reflection on and in practice thus making the theory and practice links necessary to enhance future practice.

There are three stages to the programme.

Year 1

The Postgraduate Certificate stage consists of three 20-credit SCQF Level 11/ Masters level modules, and can be taken as a discrete programme. All new students start with the compulsory

Participation and Children’s Rights module and then select 2 from:

  • Supporting Professional Development
  • Early Years Pedagogy
  • Early Intervention: Policy and Practice
  • Supporting and Developing Literacy

Or 20 credits of their own choice from the The School of Education CPD portfolio.

Year 2

The Postgraduate Diploma also consists of three 20-credit SCQF Level 11/ Masters level modules and can be taken as a discrete programme. The mandatory module is Research Methods in Education and then students select 2 from:

  • Supporting Professional Development
  • Early Years Pedagogy
  • Early Intervention: Policy and Practice
  • Supporting and Developing Literacy

Or 20 credits of their own choice from the School of Education CPD portfolio.

Year 3

Upon successful completion of the diploma phase interested applicants can continue with the Masters phase which comprises a dissertation in consultation with the course Leader.

Teaching & Assessment

Our course is taught largely online through the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment. Within Moodle, you will make use of e-learning methods such as:

  • remotely accessing readings
  • research journals
  • discussion boards
  • online and asynchronous communication with tutors and fellow students.

You will be assessed using a combination of the methods below:

  • essays
  • assignments
  • individual presentations
  • group presentations
  • online discussion threads

Course Structure

Find out more about the structure, learning outcomes, compulsory and optional modules in this course.

Course Structure (17/18)

Learn a Language (optional)

This course also gives you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.


Visit the Early Years - MEd page on the University of the West of Scotland website for more details!

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