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Master in Education Studies (Early Childhood Education)

Applications are now open and will close on the 21st June 2024Following close of applications eligible applicants will be called for interview.


Please contact [email protected] to express your interest in this course or if you have any general queries.

The Master in Education Studies (Early Childhood Education) offers a distinctive learning experience based on developing in the participants a deep theoretical understanding and critical awareness of key issues in early childhood education.

Who is the programme for?

The programme is open to primary teachers, early childhood practitioners and those working with young children in the area of advocacy.

What will I study?

Participants on this Masters course will be encouraged to think critically and to reflect on their practice. They will examine the research surrounding play, language and other areas of the child’s learning and will share their ideas and develop shared understandings with other students through online forums. They will explore various early childhood thinkers and critically evaluate them. They will initiate a research project on the area of play. There will be an opportunity to work on group assignments and make oral and written presentations. Learning will be facilitated in face-to-face and online settings. With this approach, it is hoped that the course will produce the highly qualified, highly skilled, reflective and critical practitioners that are needed to implement effective practice.

What are the programme aims?

  • To provide students with a deep theoretical understanding and critical awareness of key issues in Early Childhood Education
  • To facilitate students in critiquing their knowledge, skills and attitudes in relation to Early Childhood Education
  • To enable students to add to the body of expertise in their professional practice on a national and international stage in Early Childhood Education
  • To empower students to initiate research projects independently

How is the programme assessed?

Assessment is linked to the modular nature of the programme. It consists of assignments, case studies and a literature review in Year 1, followed by a research proposal and dissertation in Year 2.

What are my career options?

Graduates of the programme would be well prepared for many leadership, evaluative and management roles in early childhood education. This would include school principalship or manager of an early childhood education setting. Graduates would be well placed to offer professional development for practitioners in primary schools and in early childhood education settings. Graduates could engage in policy work or apply for positions in the Inspectorate of the Department of Education and Skills. Opportunities also arise from time to time for employment in early years professional organisations such as Early Childhood Ireland.

Early Exit Award

Students have the opportunity to exit this course with a Postgraduate Diploma (in Early Childhood Education) upon successful completion of Year 1.

Module Listing

Year 1

Module 1: Early Childhood Education: Policy and Practice

  • International best practice and early childhood education
  • Early childhood education policy and practice in Ireland
  • Theory and practice of play in early childhood education
  • Critiquing Aistear as a play-based curriculum framework
  • Role of the practitioner in developing the self-regulated learner

Module 2: Psychology of Early Childhood

  • Key concepts and debates in psychology of early childhood
  • Learning Theories: How do young children learn?
  • Emotional and behavioural development in early childhood
  • Early childhood in context
  • Assessment & evaluation

Module 3: Language and Literacy in Early Childhood Education

  • Literacy as social practice
  • Emergent literacy
  • Oral language development
  • Formal and informal literacy skills
  • The role of story in early years’ education

Module 4: Inquiry-based Learning

  • Key philosophical underpinnings and history of Inquiry-based Learning
  • Key pedagogical principles underpinning inquiry-based learning Models
  • Creating and resourcing and inquiry-Based Environment
  • Assessment in inquiry-based Learning
  • Inquiry-based Learning exemplified in mathematics and science

Year 2

Module 5: Research Methodology

  • Research methodologies and research ethics
  • The research design process

Module 6:

  • Research proposal and dissertation

General information

Duration: 2 years part-time

Award level: NFQ 9

ECTS Credits: 90

Awarding body: Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin

Minimum entry requirements

An honours degree (level 8) with a second class honours or higher, and at least three years' teaching experience or equivalent professional experience. In exceptional cases students who meet the honours degree requirement but do not have the necessary experience may be considered for the programme. English Language Requirement IELTS Level 6.5 (or equivalent).

Delivery Mode

In Year 1, lectures generally take place two weekends per month on Fridays (6.00pm to 9.00pm) and Saturdays (9.00am to 4.00pm). In Year 2, students usually attend lectures early in Term 1 after which they will focus on their research dissertations.

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Course Fees

The fee for the course is €3,950 per annum. Full details of fees are outlined in the Institute Charges Policy.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit an online application and are typically required to undergo an interview. For further details, please contact [email protected]