Return to Site

Bachelor of Education (Hons) in Early Childhood Education

The Bachelor of Education (Honours) Degree in Early Childhood Education aims to provide the early childhood sector with holistic, highly competent and research-engaged practitioners. This 4-year programme is a 240 credit award at Level 8. It is a blended learning programme where students will engage in a variety of face-to-face and online engagements.

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.

Course content includes videos, presentations, audio, reflective activities, quiz questions, collaborative activities and directed reading. Assessments enable students to demonstrate learning through innovative ways. They include for example photo-presentations, short videos, blogs, short questions, setting observations and reflective writing tasks.  

View sample course content

In addition, through Professional Practice Placement and the provision of a well-structured mentoring Professional Support Team (PST), students will engage across the 4 years of the programme in multiple opportunities to act and reflect on their emerging understanding of knowledge, practice and values and critically examine their commitment to quality in diverse situations.

This degree programme is distinctive as it offers the current Early Learning and Care (ELC) workforce a flexible professional development opportunity that is innovative, creative and focused on career progression. Graduates of the programme will have engaged in special education, inclusion and diversity in early intervention and early education, and research methods to enhance research-informed practice across all 4 stages of the programme. The programme satisfies the aims outlined in the Department of Education (2019) Professional Award Criteria and Guidelines for Initial Professional Education (Level 7 and Level 8) Degree Programmes for Early Learning and Care (ELC) Sector in Ireland and the Government of Ireland (2019) Update Workforce Development Plan for the ELC/SAC Sector.

On successful completion of the programme, graduates will obtain a Bachelor of Education (Honours) in Early Childhood Education.

Download the programme brochure

Course Content

We have specifically developed the programme content with you, the learner, in mind. Therefore, the content is structured into 3 units of learning, each taking approximately 1 hour to work through. Within each unit of learning, the content is further broken down into smaller, more manageable, bite-sized elements. These elements are presented in a variety of formats to make them as engaging and interactive as possible for the learner.

These include videos, presentations, audio, reflective activities, quiz questions, collaborative activities, directed reading and so on. Because of the variety of learning activities and the structure of the content, you can easily access and study your content anywhere on your mobile or laptop. This will allow you to organise your study around your working day. 

There are plenty of opportunities for reflection throughout this programme. For example, regularly through the content you will be asked to ‘think about’ how a concept being discussed is relevant to you in your everyday practice. You will be invited to add your ideas and experiences too, we have built a structure into the content to enable you to make contributions to the programme. 

Assessments are realistic to your practice and will enable you to demonstrate your learning through innovative ways. Assessments include for example photo-presentations, short videos, blogs, short questions, setting observations and reflective writing tasks.  

Programme Learning Environment

This programme involves different learning environments and distinct learning approaches. There are online, face-to-face and placement environments. There are opportunities to learn through reading and multimedia, through individual and collaborative tasks, through engagement with research and through setting-based practice.

The blended learning experience includes:

Online Tutorials
You should expect to have approximately 3 online tutorials each week (Mon.–Fri.) that are 1 hour in length typically between 5-8 p.m. Classes are live and must be attended at the times stated.

Face-to-Face Days
Face-to-face days take place at the weekend for 5 hours over Zoom. There are 3 in-person days each semester which are highly practical and interactive, simulating practice and modelling play-based learning.

Professional Practice Placement
There are 12 weeks of Professional Practice Placement at the end of each of the 4 stages of the programme. You will be supported in specified work placements by a Placement Educator and a Peer Mentor. 35% of the programme is reserved set aside for Professional Practice Placement.

Feedback is provided throughout the programme in a timely, regular and individualised manner, helping students build confidence to succeed. A wide variety of assessment activities are added to a digital portfolio over the 4 years of the programme as you develop your professional identity. Assessment methods include creating resources, answering short questions, essays, reports, placement assessment and a research project.

Asynchronous Tutor Support
Students are afforded opportunities to engage with their tutors via email and discussion forums at all times.

Reflective practice is a core element of the programme. Reflective activities include writing blog posts, keeping a reflective journal and building a digital portfolio.

Required Study and Attendance
It is recommended that you set aside approximately 23 hours per week for study, including online tutorials and face-to-face days. The programme is 4 years with short breaks at Christmas and Easter. The programme is full-time, delivered through a blended learning model and requires full attendance.

Programme Learning Outcomes

On completion of this programme students will be able to:

  • Exhibit the professional knowledge, practices, values and dispositions required to be an inclusive early childhood educator in an evolving sector
  • Develop a professional identity as an early childhood educator, relational educator and entrepreneurial leader
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively in a multi/inter-disciplinary manner with colleagues, parents and allied professionals in adopting a democratic and inclusive approach that values diversity
  • Engage in ethical and transformative leadership and practice within an early childhood education setting
  • Interpret and apply ethical principles and inclusive practices for safeguarding babies and young children in a variety of education and care settings
  • Promote a rights-based approach to professional practice in early childhood education in which the voices of children are heard
  • Reflect critically and adapt to new knowledge, practices and values on theory and professional practice
  • Interpret and apply legislative policies and procedures, including the quality framework Síolta in a variety of inclusive early education and care settings
  • Engage in, analyse, and apply new and existing research in early childhood education
  • Use the curriculum framework Aistear in planning for and engaging young children in a variety of curricular areas, which foster children’s creativity, aesthetic awareness, meaning making and imagination
  • Design and employ active learning pedagogies, to support and organise effective learning environments


Application Fee

€95 – paid as part of the online application process


Tuition Fees 

The annual tuition fee is €3,950 per academic year, payable as follows:

To confirm acceptance of a place on the programme: €550 (includes €50 Garda Vetting fee)
Balance Year 1 fees (paid before the programme begins): €3,450
Year 2 fees (paid before Year 2 begins): €3,950
Year 3 fees (paid before Year 3 begins): €3,950
Year 4 fees (paid before Year 4 begins): €3,950

Payment of tuition fees is by bank transfer.


Tax Relief 

Hibernia College is an approved college for the purposes of s.474 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. This programme is approved for tax relief at the standard rate of income tax (20%) for qualifying tuition fees. Tax relief is available to the person paying the fees and the maximum amount that can be claimed is €7,000 per course, per person, per academic year. Each claim is subject to a single disregard amount of €3,000 for a full-time course and so, on an annual basis, for students of this course, relief will be available at the standard rate of tax on the qualifying balance of €950 and would be €190 per year. For further information, please click here.

Please note that the above, provided for information purposes, is of a general nature and is not a substitute for formal advice on taxation matters. We recommend, where necessary, you seek professional advice in relation to taxation matters. 

Enrolled Learner Protection Insurance

Hibernia College has approval, under s.65 (4) (b) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, to offer students Learner Protection Insurance. For more details, click here.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be 18 years of age on 1 January on the year of entry and meet the following criteria:

Leaving Certificate or equivalent in the following subjects:

  • Grade H5 or above in 2 subjects
  • Grade O6/H7 or above in 4 additional subjects including:
    • Grade O6/H7 in Maths
    • Grade O6/H7 in English

Qualifications other than Irish Leaving Certificate will be assessed for equivalency using Entry requirements criteria for EU/EFTA Applicants.


Evidence of English Language Proficiency (where applicable):
Applicants, whose first language/primary mode of expression is not English, must upload evidence of English proficiency at B2+ or higher in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Note: Applicants who will be 23 or over on 1 January on the year of entry meet the criteria for mature student entry and are not required to meet the Leaving Certificate entry requirements.

Application Process

The application process is carried out primarily online. You will be required to complete a personal statement and upload some supporting documents to your application, outlined below. Note that you must upload all documents in PDF format (under 4 Mb) to your application. We cannot accept images, Word documents or other formats.

The following documents must be uploaded as part of your application:

  • Leaving Certificate
  • Applicants whose first language/primary mode of expression is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency at B2+ or higher in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Before starting an application, review our Application Guide and documentation samples on the Hibernia College website here.


Once your online application has been reviewed and it has been deemed that you meet the minimum entry requirements, you will be called for an interview. The interview will assess your motivation, professionalism and suitability to work with very young children. It will evaluate your communication, interpersonal, organisation and planning skills. Furthermore, it will assess your knowledge of Hibernia College and the programme.

How can I learn more about the programme?

If you have any questions about the programme, feel free to contact our Enrolment Team on 01 661 0168 (option 2) or