Course Description

MA Early Childhood Studies

MA Early Childhood Studies is a course run by Portobello Institute, Dublin. It is a Blended Learning - Mix of Classroom & Online course with a duration of 2 years. MA Early Childhood Studies gives a Course Qualification of Masters Degree. For more information about MA Early Childhood Studies at Portobello Institute, please review the details below.

Delivered through blended learning, you can work full-time and study this MA in Early Childhood Care & Education. As with any other profession holding a Masters Degree elevates your knowledge, qualifications and career opportunities offering you the opportunity to build further on the strong foundation you have acquired from your undergraduate studies.


This contemporary MA in Early Childhood Care & Education is designed for professional early years practitioners working within the early childhood workforce, including those who may not be working directly with children.

Currently there is an emphasis on continual professional development within the Education and Health sector, and this master’s programme provides opportunities for students who have successfully completed, a degree in Early Childhood Studies or a relevant discipline to progress into management positions or follow more varied career pathways.

Build on your undergraduate knowledge

This Masters programme builds upon knowledge gained during undergraduate studies and experiential learning in the workplace. The blended learning delivery mode is a flexible study option for those seeking to fit learning around work and family. This course has been designed to reflect contemporary approaches and understanding of family life, childhood, pedagogy, and contemporary aspects of early education, from a psychological and sociological perspectives.

Advance your professional practice

The MA in Early Childhood Care & Education offers you an opportunity to advance your knowledge, understanding and professional practice through engagement with current research and thinking in early childhood. It also involves a reflection on, and analysis of, your own professional practice, supporting your personal development as well as putting you in a strong position for career progression in this sector. Additionally, staff holding post-graduate qualifications will be instrumental in upskilling the workforce to meet the government targets under First Five of 50% graduates working ELC sector by 2028.


Here are some reasons to choose to study with Portobello:

  • Career focused qualifications – our courses lead to awards that offer you the opportunity to immediately advance your career.
  • Individualised support – we fit your learning model with support available when you need it throughout your learning journey.
  • Industry expert tutors – our tutors are all experienced in the field of early years care and education connecting research and theory with practice throughout their lectures.
  • Condensed scheduling – we value your time by ensuring your timetable is optimised for delivery, helping you maintain a work/life/study balance.
  • Flexible delivery – we deliver theory sessions online whilst also recording the session simultaneously offering you a choice of when and how you learn.
  • Affordable payment options – all our courses offer you the option to choose an easy payment plan supporting you to spread the cost out over your learning journey.

Why should I study this course?

Portobello Institute’s MA in Early Childhood Care & Education gives you the opportunity to attain a level 9 Masters qualification through a flexible mode of delivery designed to fit learning around your busy working and home life.

Focus on leadership in early years care and education

Earning a Masters in Early Childhood Care & Education will help you foster a deeper understanding of child learning and child psychology. As part of the programme you will focus on learning theory and child development, leadership and curriculum design, making you an expert in early years. You can take that knowledge with you into whichever profession you determine suits you after graduation.

Develop the early years sector

The Masters Degree will strengthen and develop knowledge you have already gained, exposing you to new, ground breaking ideas on how children learn and develop and the diversities we might be working with daily.  You will be encouraged to communicate your ideas and learning, disseminating those with others, parents, stakeholders, practitioner, students etc, but even further with other professionals and researchers at conferences and seminars where your ideas can help develop the sector.

Who will recognise my qualification?

Upon successful completion of this programme, you will be awarded an MA in Early Childhood Care & Education. This is awarded by University of Essex and is aligned with a level 9 Masters on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Qualifications Frameworks in Ireland and the UK

The Irish and UK qualifications authorities have collaborated on initiatives that promote the transparency, recognition and mobility of qualifications between our respective jurisdictions. The qualifications authorities in the UK and Ireland have agreed the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement. Further guidance on this framework is available here.

What will I study during this MA Early Childhood Studies – Starts Oct ’23 course?

A commitment to equality, diversity, social justice and advocacy are themes central to this Masters programme. You will develop a detailed understanding of current research and contemporary thinking in the field of early childhood. You will appraise research and theory continuously and reflect on its impact on early childhood provision and practice with an emphasis on your own professional practice.

Developing a sophisticated understanding of the historical, economic, social, cultural and political contexts which impact the lives of young children and their families is a key benefit of studying this MA in Early Childhood Care & Education. You will also develop a comprehensive understanding of, and commitment to, issues of equality and diversity, social justice and advocacy in relation to the field of early childhood.

The main aims of this programme are to:

  • Enable students to further develop their specialist knowledge of early childhood studies, through engaging with modules that provide up to date knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to current issues appropriate to the professional practice context, and provide progression routes to M/Phil and PhD programmes.
  • Ensure that students develop a detailed understanding of current research and thinking in the area of early childhood.
  • Develop an enhanced critical and evaluative awareness of current issues within Early Childhood Studies.
  • Develop high levels of proficiency in Early Childhood studies, with individual personal and professional development planning needs, including leadership, problem solving, oral and written communication skills, and information and technology.
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of developmental perspectives including developmental psychology, neuroscience and psychoanalytical theory and play.
  • Develop the ability to take leadership and responsibility for the extension of their own learning and to exercise independent judgement in the investigation, analysis, and evaluation of Early Childhood Studies.
  • Develop an in-depth and wide knowledge of Early Childhood Studies practice and the ability to critically reflect on their experience through critical analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • Evaluate and appraise and continuously reflect on the impact of research and theory on early childhood provision and practice with an emphasis on students’ own professional practice.
  • Develop a sophisticated understanding of the historical, economic, social, cultural, and political contexts which impact the lives of young children and their families.
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of, and commitment to, issues of equality and diversity, social justice, and advocacy in relation to the field of early childhood.

During year 2, you may choose between the following modules;

A Critical Underpinning of Ethics for Inclusion and Diversity


Psychology of Development and Emotional Well-being

The MA Early Childhood Studies course at Portobello Institute is listed in's national courses finder.
Training ProviderPortobello Institute
Course LocationDublin
Location PostcodeDublin 1
Course TypeBlended Learning - Mix of Classroom & Online
Course QualificationMasters Degree
Awarding Body DetailsMA Early Childhood Studies - Awarded by University of Essex
Course Duration2 years
Course TimeThis programme is delivered via Blended learning. There are intakes in Autumn and Spring each year.
Course Fee4315 per academic year
Entry RequirementsEntry to this Masters is by direct application to Portobello Institute. There are entry criteria available to students with differing qualifications however students must hold a relevant honours degree (at least 2:2) and it is preferable you work within the early childhood workforce. Some of the modules require an observational visit to a setting offering care and education for children from birth to six-years-old. Where you’re not working directly with children you will need to be able to commit to this component of the programme. Applicants who do not meet the criteria, may be eligible for advanced entry into the BA Ord or Hons in Early Childhood Studies. This programme is available through Portobello Institute. Please note places on this course are restricted and places only confirmed once tuition fees have been received. Early Application is advised.
For more information about Portobello Institute, please visit our College page on by clicking here.

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Portobello Institute

43 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1, Dublin City North, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

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Portobello Institute
43 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1
Dublin City North, Dublin
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