Award Type and NFQ level : UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE (8)

CAO/PAC code : MH003

CAO Points : 381

Closing Date : 01 July 2022

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Full time, Level 8, honours degree, catering for those aspiring to enter the Early Childhood Education and Care sector from Leaving Certificate, further education or mature student paths. Those currently working in the ECEC sector may be interested in the flexible BA in Early Childhood Teaching and Learning (MH004).

Why choose this degree?

  • The programme is closely linked with Early Childhood Education and Care practice, and its staff are experienced in the development, delivery and advocacy of Early Childhood Education and Care.
  • Work placements take place in Tusla-notified Early Childhood Education and Care settings. Placement is 420 hours across the academic year and varies according to the year the student is in e.g 1st years work with babies and toddlers. Students are encouraged to find their own placement but extensive support is provided by the Placement Coordinator to ensure all students are in a quality setting and if students can’t find a placement we will locate one for them.
  • It is a progressive Level 8 degree, supporting the development of outstanding early childhood educators.
  • This degree offers graduates the option of progressing their careers in Early Childhood Education and Care in varied professional roles.
  • This programme is approved by the Qualifications Advisory Board (instituted to review Level 7 and Level 8 Degree Programmes for the Early Learning and Care Sector) as meeting the requirements of the Professional Award Criteria and Guidelines standards.

This full-time degree will prepare you to spearhead and lead learning and development in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).

1st year

Reflective Practice: Educator as Learner > Introduction to Child Psychology > Introduction to Social and Legal Studies > Introduction to Curriculum and Pedagogy > Health and Well-being for Infants and Toddlers > Inclusion in Early Childhood Education > Philosophy, Culture and Constructs of Early Childhood Education and Care > Professional Practice 1 >

2nd year

> Reflective Practice: Integrating Theory & Practice > Learning & Development Practices (Birth to 6 years) > Play > Health and Well-Being for Young Children > Children’s Spaces > Building Relationships with Children, Families and Communities > Exploring Curricula & Pedagogy > Professional Practice 2

3rd year

> Reflective Practice: Educator as Change Agent > Learning & Development in Context > Social Justice, Ethics & Diversity > Supporting Creativity & Imagination > Social & Legal Context of Childhood > Community as Context > Supporting Enquiry/Enacting the Curriculum > Professional Practice 3

Final year

> Reflective Practice: Educator as Action Researcher > Learning & Development: Challenges > Leadership and Management > Transitions in the Early Years > Dominant Discourses in Early Childhood Education and Care > Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment > Literacy Numeracy and Scientific Enquiry > Professional Practice 4

Course Duration: 4 years full-time

Options after graduation?

  • Graduates emerge as early years teaching professionals. Career progression within this sector, for those with a level 8 Early Childhood degree, is expanding rapidly within and beyond Early Childhood Education and Care settings to include opportunities within policy development and evaluation agencies within government departments, semi-state bodies and NGO’s.
  • The Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Teaching and Learning positions graduates to spearhead and lead learning in Early Childhood Education and Care services.
  • Graduates may also take up roles with local development agencies within the early childhood sector both nationally and internationally.

Visit the Graduate Studies website for more information about postgraduate options.

This table displays the requirements for Leaving Certificate applicants.
Subject Required Ordinary Level Grade Higher Level Grade
Irish Yes O6 H7
English Yes O6 H7
Language No N/A N/A
Math No N/A N/A
Science No N/A N/A

International & EU/EFTA Entry Requirements

Mature Students

The mature age is 23 years or older by 1st January in the year of entry to the University. Admission is based on application and interview. All mature applicants must:
  • Be at least 23 years of age on or before 1.1.2022 for admission in September 2022
  • Complete placement in a Tusla notified setting (300 hours per academic year minimum working directly with children aged from birth to six years – own work setting acceptable). In each year students must complete an additional 15 hours in an alternate setting. 
  • Possess sufficient language, literacy, numeracy and ICT skills
  • Attend for interview if shortlisted
  • Undertake vetting by National Vetting Bureau 
  • Priority will be given to mature students who have experience of working with young children and who have completed Level 5 and/or Level 6 in early years studies.
Apply to the CAO by February 1st 2022. Late applications from mature students may be accepted after this date - consult the Undergraduate Studies website for updates. Application may not be made to the CAO after May 1st 2022.
Vetting by the National Vetting Bureau required.
Mature students must complete the CAO section for mature applicants fully, indicating clearly past or current studies, and outlining educational goals and objectives. Applicants are assessed on the basis of the information provided on their CAO application form. All questions should be answered in full.
What happens after I have submitted my application?
Mature students who meet the application criteria will be shortlisted and invited to come to Maynooth University in March/April for an interview and will be advised accordingly.

Mature student applicants who have a disability 

If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia), please contact the Access Office

01 February 2022

01 July 2022

Additional Information

Leaving Cert applicants are required to present 2H5 & 4O6/H7, Irish & English.
National Vetting Bureau
Offers of places on this programme are subject to a satisfactory background check by the National Vetting Bureau.



The application process depends on the type of applicant you are. Click here for all information about how to apply.

Categories of applicant:

  • School-leavers (Leaving Certificate students)
  • Mature students (23 years or older by 1st January in the year of entry to the University/part-time degrees the mature age is 21)
  • EU/EFTA/UK students
  • International students (outside the EU)
  • QQI (Further Education) students
  • Transferring students
  • Deferring students
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