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MA Early Childhood Studies

Social and Educational Sciences Department
Kinder sitzen an einem Tisch und arbeiten in Heften

The master's program in Early Childhood Studies is a cooperative program of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and the University of Potsdam. They receive interdisciplinary expertise as well as research and management skills and are prepared for researching, steering, and developing-consulting activities.

Our students also benefit from a growing network of scientists, research and educational institutions as well as partners from the field.

Degree:
Master of Arts
Type:
Full time
Course language:
German
Standard study period:
4 semesters
Start of study:
Winter semester
Application deadline:
15.06. – 15.08. (NC free).
Admission requirements:
First professional university degree, evidence in empirical research methods
Credits:
120 ECTS credits
Module Manuals & Regulations
The Study

Research, control and develop

In terms of content, the degree program Early Childhood Studies focuses on research on the design of pedagogical processes for children aged 0 to 12 years and thus includes early childhood and day care in daycare centers and after-school care. A central component of the study program is thereby the application-related basic research to issues of early childhood education and development, which is deepened in the context of own research interests.

The goal of the master's program Early Childhood Studies is to train students for highly qualified positions in research, professional training and professional management. Following the study opens up a variety of professional prospects.

The focus of the master's program is the student's own research interest. This gives students the opportunity to deepen their skills in scientific work from the beginning. An essential part of the program is the scientific work based on empirical research methods, whereby quantitative-experimental approaches play an important role in addition to qualitative approaches. Half of the workload (60 ECTS credits) is therefore completed through the development of an own research project and its implementation within the framework of the master's thesis. Here, the students - accompanied and supported by the lecturers and fellow students - go through all phases of the empirical research process. This is flanked by appropriate courses. The courses in the research focus are designed as colloquia, which enable open and cooperative work as well as cross-year learning. The modules on the research focus are accompanied methodically and in terms of content by courses in subject and reference sciences as well as in empirical research methods. This gives students the opportunity to deal intensively with a topic, at the same time already act as researchers as well as cooperate with partners from research, control and practice in their field of research. 

 

The scientific profile lies in the application-oriented basic research on early childhood development and educational processes. The combination of laboratory and field research characterizes the methodological approach of the research in the master's program Early Childhood Studies.

The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam has a research laboratory for developmental psychology and educational studies. This includes two observation rooms equipped with modern video technology and a technical room. Here, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of educational processes can be studied in pedagogical interaction under controlled conditions.

A research laboratory is available at the University of Potsdam, which enables electroencephalographic investigations as well as eye movement registrations and movement analyses. In addition to the research laboratories, the free learning workshop for children and educators "Forscherwelt Blossin" exists as an external location that combines research and practice development. In this real-life laboratory, pedagogical interaction processes are investigated under ecologically valid conditions with regard to their mechanisms of action, their effects and their implementation potentials in multi-method research paradigms (experimental, quasi-experimental and qualitative).

A wide variety of interesting projects with various collaborative partners are created as part of the master's program.

 

The three central research fields of the course are:

  • educational interaction and participation,
  • cognition, language and concepts and
  • practice development and transfer. 

PINA is ainterdisciplinary research network on early childhood education and development as well as part of the research infrastructure of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. It presents monthly guest lectures on early childhood education and development during the semester.

Since November 2017, PINA has been hosting a monthly guest colloquium with speakers from different scientific disciplines of childhood research.

Is this course of study a good fit for you?

A basic interest in research as well as critical discourse and self-reflection are good prerequisites for the study of Early Childhood Education Research. During your studies, you will develop your own research project and implement it as part of your master's thesis. You will go through – accompanied and supported by your teachers and fellow students – all phases of the empirical research process. Our degree program is also characterized by an open and cooperative atmosphere. The courses are held in German, but you are expected to be able to read and understand technical texts in English, as much of the international research literature is published in English.

Online information event for prospective students on July 29 and August 26, 2022.

On 29.07.2022 und 26.08.2022, we will present the master's degree program in Early Childhood Studies (MAFB) via Zoom. Interested parties will have the opportunity to ask questions about MAFB to lecturers and students.

Online info event & registration

Image film: Study Early Childhood Studies

Learn about the master's program in Early Childhood Studies in under 8 minutes!

To the image film

WG Early Childhood Studies

Unsure? Check out the Instagram channel of the WG Early Childhood Studies for more insights into research and our activities.

Instagram

Contact

The colleagues of the Student Counselling Service inform prospective students, first-year students, parents, teachers and students about all general questions concerning the study program. For specific questions and concerns about the degree program Early Childhood Studies, please contact the degree program coordination or degree program management.

Degree Program Management

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Professorin für Frühkindliche Bildungsforschung
Leiterin PINA-Forschungslabor

Head of degree program (deputy)

Prof. Dr. Frauke Hildebrandt

Prof. Dr. Frauke Hildebrandt

Professorin für Pädagogik der Kindheit

Program Coordination

Dipl.-Kffr. Alena Kohlmann

Dipl.-Kffr. Alena Kohlmann

Koordination Frühkindliche Bildungsforschung (M. A.)
Koordination Soziale Arbeit berufsbegleitend ( B. A.), BASA-online
Studiencoaching / Koordination Students4Students

These degree programs might also interest you

Weitere Studiengänge
Study program Teaching language Start of study Application deadline
MA Childhood Studies and Children's Rights English Winter semester
01.02. – 15.07.
MA Early Childhood Studies German Winter semester
15.06. – 15.08. (NC free).
MA Social Work with a Focus on the Family German Winter semester
25.05. – 22.06. (NC degree program)
Career Prospects

Career Prospects

In recent years, research on early childhood education has gained in importance. As a result, the need for scientifically qualified experts is increasing – whether at supporting organizations, professional associations, institutions or in the research field. The degree program Early Childhood Studies prepares you for research activities at universities and in research institutes as well as for the conceptual design, evaluation, further development and control of offers and measures for content-related quality development in the field of early childhood education.

Research and Development

  • Research and teaching at universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutes
  • (Practice) research, development and planning at universities and non-university institutions
  • Quality and team development and evaluation
  • Personnel and organizational development
  • Promotion

Offer and Advice

  • Specialist and organizational consulting
  • Counseling centers for early education and early help
  • Education, training and continuing education of early education professionals (e.g., at technical colleges, continuing education providers, youth education centers and in state and federal programs)
  • Public relations and professional political representation as well as socio-spatial and municipal coordination and networking tasks

Management and Control

  • System control and administration at municipal, state and federal level
  • Leadership of early education projects (in foundations, sponsors, professional associations)
  • The coordination of supporting organizations and professional associations
  • Administrative and managerial positions in education and social services, especially in governmental or non-governmental institutions of early childhood education, youth welfare, continuing education and the school system
  • Overall state, regional, and local planning functions
  • Quality management: development and assurance of pedagogical quality at supporting organizations and professional associations
  • specialized political representation as well as socio-spatial and municipal networking tasks

Alumni Voices

Here, former students talk about their motivation for choosing a master's degree in Early Childhood Studies (MAFB), about their professional or academic careers so far, and about their careers after graduation.

What was your motivation to enroll in MAFB?

I wanted to obtain a master's degree in the field of education and educational sciences to open up the possibility for me to improve pedagogical quality in early childhood educational institutions at the control level. It was also important to me to obtain both a university degree and to study in a small group and personal atmosphere at a university of applied sciences. For this, MAFB was perfect!

What did you study before and what was your professional/academic career like?

I completed a bachelor's degree in cultural studies and art history after high school and a voluntary social year – thereupon my life path became quite varied. Among other things, I have worked as an educator and gained the impression that the pedagogical quality in many institutions needs improvement. So I decided to start all over again in my late twenties, acquire some specialist knowledge and complete a bachelor's degree in education and educational science. Then came the master's degree and now, after a long and exciting journey as a student, I am starting a new phase in my life.

What are you doing today professionally?

I work as a specialist consultant in a large daycare center - my dream job! I support the pedagogical staff to promote the children even better in their linguistic and mathematical development and take care of the further development of the inclusion concept. Often, specialist consultants do not work in a single facility, but are responsible for several daycare centers. The advantage of working on site is that I can tailor my consulting work very individually and evaluate it well. I also get to be in the midst of the children, which gives me a lot of joy.

What was your motivation to enroll in MAFB?

During my bachelor's degree, I had the opportunity to further expand my theoretical knowledge during an internship in a child and adolescent psychiatric ward. There I realized that I would like to focus my professional career on the development of the child's psyche and work preventively or interventively with children. In addition, since a stay abroad I have been in close contact with families who have decided to take in children from a difficult family and social environment as foster children. Through living with these families, I have come into contact with the emotional and psychological challenges of adoptive and foster children, among other things. These experiences have shown me that it is especially important to me to support children and adolescents on their way to a carefree life. For me, this support is based not only on therapeutic work, but above all on an adequate educational program, which is why I chose MAFB and its scientific orientation.

What did you study before and what was your professional/academic career like?

I completed my bachelor's degree in philosophy-neuroscience-cognition at Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg. The study offered me the opportunity to form a scientifically sound knowledge of the human psyche, its neural development, as well as the philosophical examination of the self and the world.

What do you do professionally today?

I am currently in the process of publishing my master's thesis as a paper. In addition to this scientific work, my goal is to gain a foothold in the practical field, which is why I am currently completing further training as a systemic child and adolescent therapist.

What was your motivation to enroll in MAFB?

After I was in the final stages of my bachelor's degree in childhood education, it was my wish to further deepen my competence profile (language education and development, professionalization of actors and quality development in the field of child day care) in a master's program. The research-oriented approach to topics of child development, but also to structures and frameworks of early childhood education practice, which underlies the MAFB, formed an optimal basis for me to further develop my professional knowledge. Along with this, I was convinced by the possibility of independent research and participation in existing research projects and the intensive exchange as well as supervision of students in small groups and colloquia.

What did you study before and how did your professional/academic career go?

In fact, I started studying business administration at the beginning, because I wanted to pursue a career in retail management due to my work in the retail industry while I was getting my vocational baccalaureate. However, my honorary positions at UNICEF and in a family support association at the time, as well as an internship in a daycare center for children, motivated me to make the switch and pursue my professional interest in the early childhood education field. I then studied childhood education at the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz in the Bachelor. Through my studies I was already able to gain a lot of professional and practical experience in differently pedagogically designed daycare centers and in the system control of FBBE. The master's program at MAFB offered me the opportunity to exchange and network with scientists nationally and internationally as well as to go through the entire research process independently. Overall, every step in this exciting field of work has encouraged me to have made the right decision.

What do you do today professionally?

I have recently successfully completed my studies at MAFB in the focus of practice development and transfer and am currently still enrolled at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Currently, I continue to focus on my main topics in the areas of quality development, professionalization, linguistic education as well as practice transfer and strive for a future position through which I can further contribute and expand my professional and personal skills.

What was your motivation to enroll in MAFB?

I knew I wanted to work with children. After my bachelor's degree in childhood education, I then worked for almost three years in a children's store. The time was very nice, but I had the feeling "not to be at the end of my journey yet". The practice made me curious to learn more about children and their development and also about the quality development of the pedagogical landscape. Therefore, I have then decided again for a follow-up study!

What did you study before and how did your professional/academic career go?

I studied childhood education at the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences and then worked almost three years as a pedagogical director in a Berlin Kinderladen.

What do you do professionally today?

I work as a PhD student and research coordinator at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, where I conduct research on information seeking, ecological and active learning in children.

What was your motivation to enroll in MAFB?

The key factor was the focus on research in an area of early childhood education that was very exciting for me personally. Thereby, my interest in the professionalization of stakeholders of early childhood education, care and education was very well met, in that I could choose a focus on practice development and transfer and conduct their own field research.

What did you study before? What was your professional/academic career like?

I previously completed a master's degree in political science and linguistics (Romance studies) and then worked in the private sector. About volunteering I came to early childhood education and then decided to develop myself personally in the field professionally.

What do you do today professionally?

After graduating with a Master's degree in Early Childhood Studies, I started working as a program manager in the federal program "Sprach-Kitas" at an implementing foundation in Berlin.

What was your motivation to enroll in MAFB?

First, of course, to have "later" more opportunities in the professional field. In the writing phase of the bachelor thesis was suddenly the motivation there, me yet directly after the bachelor's degree to apply for a master's program. Specifically, I wanted to further develop my interests in the field of early childhood education (e.g. pedagogical attitudes of educators, daycare quality, training of educators). Since I liked it so much at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam in the three years before, I wanted to stay a little longer.

What did you study before? What was your professional/academic career like?

I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. In addition to various internships, I also worked as a pedagogical specialist in a so-called integration daycare center.

In which area are you professionally active today?

I am a teacher and class teacher at a vocational school for social work in the Spreewald since September 2019 and train educators. My previous main topics in the learning fields are: Perception and observation, development, play, quality development etc.

What was your motivation to enroll in MAFB?

I have always had a strong interest in studies related to early childhood education and organizational research. I also had the idea that organizational culture should in some way influence the educational quality of educational institutions. Which had already been partially demonstrated at the school level, but had received little attention in the early childhood field. The master's degree then gave me the opportunity to pursue this with my own project. In the end, the main reason was to be able to do research myself and at the same time learn the tools for it.

What did you study before? What was your professional/academic career like?

My career was not necessarily always straight, but rather zigzag. I first studied sociology/business administration and later childhood education. I have also worked in various areas of business and education, which has allowed me to gain interesting experience. Since 2015, I have also been working as a freelance speaker and lecturer for play and media education.

In which area are you professionally active today?

Currently I work as an operations manager for a social sponsor. Here I look after six facilities of the children and youth welfare. These are advised by me in various educational and economic issues. In addition, the areas of digitization, recruitment and retention of skilled workers, as well as cooperation with research are part of my responsibilities.

 

What was your motivation to enroll in MAFB?

During my bachelor's degree, I developed a stronger interest in scientific work. In addition, the prospect of being able to work in different areas of early education after graduation appealed to me in particular.

What did you study before?

I previously studied elementary education.

In what field are you professionally active today?

Now I am doing my doctorate and working as a research assistant at the University of Potsdam. The master has prepared me very well for my professional work, especially through the constant scientific exchange between the teachers and the students, as well as through the individual deepening in the field of scientific publishing.

 

These degree programs might also interest you

Weitere Studiengänge
Study program Teaching language Start of study Application deadline
MA Childhood Studies and Children's Rights English Winter semester
01.02. – 15.07.
MA Early Childhood Studies German Winter semester
15.06. – 15.08. (NC free).
MA Social Work with a Focus on the Family German Winter semester
25.05. – 22.06. (NC degree program)
Study Contents

Course of Studies

The standard length of study for the full-time Early Childhood Studies program is four semesters and culminates in a Master of Arts.
The program can be completed full-time or adapted to individual needs and completed part-time.

Here are available both the exemplary study plan for full-time study and exemplary proposals for the extension or planning of the study in part-time. In the case of the part-time models, it should be noted that there may be time overlaps of seminars. If this is the case, the head of the study program should be informed so that an individual solution can be sought together.
 

1st semester Subject modules
2nd semester Subject modules, elective modules, project work
3rd semester Subject modules, elective modules, project work
4th semester

Master thesis, master colloquium

Course of study plan for full-time study (4 semesters)
Part-time study progress plan (6 semesters)
Course of studies part-time (8 semesters)

Study Contents

Teaching Formats

The focus is on teaching formats that facilitate independent, cooperative, and inquiry-based learning in small to medium-sized groups. 

  • Seminars
  • Exercises
  • Research and literature colloquia 
  • Small group projects 
  • Participation in research projects 

Subject Modules

  • Methods and concepts of empirical childhood research
  • Developmental psychology & pedagogy of childhood
  • Introduction and research question
  • Diagnosis, intervention, prevention
  • Scientific theoretical foundations of childhood research
  • Concept and design
  • Data collection and analysis

Elective Modules

  • Consulting
  • Management & Leadership
  • Systems Control
  • Scientific Community

Projects and Excursions

  • depending on current topics and cooperation partners as well as respective offers for visits and symposia

Thesis

  • Independent preparation of a master's thesis

Module Manuals & Regulations

For a detailed description of the course content, study plans and descriptions of individual modules in the Early Childhood Studies program, please refer to the module manual, the subject-specific study and examination regulations and the internship regulations.

Projects

Weitere Projekte
Logo Forschungsprojekt EDIT

EDIT – Development of dialogical interaction and participation

EDIT is a cooperative practice research program of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (FHP) and the University of Potsdam (UP). In EDIT, practice development and practice research on the development of dialogical interaction and participation in early childhood education are implemented.

Contact

Degree Program Management

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Professorin für Frühkindliche Bildungsforschung
Leiterin PINA-Forschungslabor

Head of degree program (deputy)

Prof. Dr. Frauke Hildebrandt

Prof. Dr. Frauke Hildebrandt

Professorin für Pädagogik der Kindheit

Degree Program Coordination

Dipl.-Kffr. Alena Kohlmann

Dipl.-Kffr. Alena Kohlmann

Koordination Frühkindliche Bildungsforschung (M. A.)
Koordination Soziale Arbeit berufsbegleitend ( B. A.), BASA-online
Studiencoaching / Koordination Students4Students
Teaching

Lecturers of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam

Degree Program Management

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Professorin für Frühkindliche Bildungsforschung
Leiterin PINA-Forschungslabor

Head of degree program (deputy)

Prof. Dr. Frauke Hildebrandt

Prof. Dr. Frauke Hildebrandt

Professorin für Pädagogik der Kindheit

Academic Assistant

Dr. Caroline Wronski

Akademische Mitarbeiterin im Studiengang Frühkindliche Bildungsforschung (M. A.)

Research Assistant

Ramiro Glauer

Ramiro Glauer

Mitarbeiter im Projekt "EQUIP"

Academic Employee

Alexander Scheidt

Dr. Alexander Scheidt, M. A.

Akademischer Mitarbeiter im Studiengang Frühe Bildungsforschung (M. A.)

Teachers of the University of Postdam

Prof. Dr. Jan Lonnemann

Professorship for "Empirical Childhood Research" (University of Potsdam)
+49 331 977-2571
lonnemann@uni-potsdam.de 

To the personal page of Prof. Dr. Lonnemann

Dr. Karoline Lohse

Academic employee (on maternity leave)
+49 331 977-203163
lohsek@uni-potsdam.de

To the personal page of Dr. Lohse

Application & Enrollment

Application & Enrollment

There is no separate application procedure for the Master Early Childhood Education Research. Enrollment is always possible from 15.06. to 15.08.22 for the next winter semester. Applications for a higher semester are possible from 15.05. to 15.07. If you meet the admission requirements, you can apply for a enrollment. To do so, please note the following information specific to your program:

Access Requirements

For the admission-free Master's program, a first degree qualifying for a profession with a total of 180 ECTS credits including Diploma Supplement in the field of early childhood education or a related field of study is required (e. g. education, social and cognitive sciences as well as humanities with a corresponding focus), of which 5 ECTS credits as evidence in empirical research methods.

Enrollment Application

The enrollment application is submitted online at the MyCampus university portal of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. After entering the information required for enrollment, an enrollment application is created. This application must be signed and submitted to University of Applied Sciences Potsdam by mail together with the university entrance qualification in paper form. Please refer to the enrollment application if you need to submit any additional documents. The deadline for submission is the last day of the enrollment period. The date of receipt at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam is decisive.

Supplementary documents to be submitted are: 

1. application essay (max. 3 pages in total) especially on the following questions:

  • Why are you applying for this degree program? 

  • What relevant knowledge do you bring from your previous studies? 

  • What expectations do you have of the degree program? 

  • What career prospects do you see for yourself personally after completing the degree program? 

  • What research interests do you see for yourself in the subject area of the study program? Outline initial research ideas! 

2. curriculum vitae 

You are welcome to direct any questions about the enrollment process or the program itself to Alena Kohlmann: alena.kohlmann@fh-potsdam.de or +49 331 580-4168

Documents to be submitted

  • Officially certified copy of the university entrance qualification or the university degree certificate 
  • Insurance certificate of the statutory health insurance for students or proof of exemption from the statutory insurance obligation
  • Deposit slip or order confirmation of the semester fee
  • Light image for issuing the Campus.Card
  • If applicable, exmatriculation certificate from the last university attended
  • possibly further documents according to enrollment application

General information on application and enrollment procedures

There are various application procedures at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. General information on application and enrollment procedures as well as information on part-time studies, guest auditorships, and second degree studies can be found on the general application pages.

General information about the Application

International Applicants

You would like to apply for studies from the first or a apply for a higher semester and have obtained your school and/or university degree abroad? If so, you can have degrees and achievements obtained abroad recognized and study with us.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions about the master's program Early Childhood Studies

The Master's degree in Early Childhood Studies alone does not qualify students for practical work with children in daycare centers or other child and youth welfare institutions. The study program also does not qualify students for management positions in daycare centers.

In combination with a corresponding BA degree that includes specialist recognition (e. g. Childhood Education), other subject-specific training/qualifications and/or experience, it is possible to work in practice with children after graduation. However, the individual qualifications and corresponding opportunities to work with children must be discussed in detail with the sponsors.

All knowledge in statistics, which is necessary for the successful completion, is taught in the initial phase and in the further course of the study. In addition, 5 ECTS credits in empirical research methods must be demonstrated for application.

For the application, a subject-related Bachelor's degree is required. It is also possible to apply with a degree in the humanities and social sciences, if it can be proven that you have focused on childhood-related subjects during your studies. Whether one's own Bachelor's degree is suitable for the study of the Master's degree in Early Childhood Studies should best be clarified in the context of a consultation with Alena Kohlmann (by mail: alena.kohlmann@fh-potsdam.de).

Regular courses or student presentations are not held in English. However, the majority of the research literature that is read together in the seminars is written in English. In the course of the internationalization of study programs at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, the aim is to offer individual courses in English in the future. The regular PINA colloquia  are mostly held in English.

In addition to excursions into practice, a research internship is planned in which the students gain practical experience within the university within various research projects of the lecturers. For example, there is close cooperation with the Blossin Youth Education Center.

In the free learning workshop for children and educators "Researchers' World Blossin", research and practice development are combined. In this real laboratory, pedagogical interaction processes are investigated under ecologically valid conditions with regard to their mechanisms of action, their effects and their implementation potentials in multi-method research paradigms (experimental, quasi-experimental and qualitative).

Students can organize an internship in external institutions (e. g. child and youth welfare) themselves and thereby individually design their studies. There is no compulsory internship provided.

A preliminary internship or other practical experience is not a prerequisite for admission to the program.

Due to the new law on the reform of psychotherapeutic training, this question cannot be answered conclusively at the moment. We are currently examining possible accesses and will inform here about the current status.

Further information on the law on the reform of psychotherapist in training of the Federal Ministry of Health

 

Yes.

It is both a university and a university of applied sciences degree. This is clearly evident on the degree certificate.

Studies take place both on the Golm campus of the University of Potsdam and on the campus of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Students attend courses at both campuses. No courses are held at both campuses on the same day in order to avoid travel between the locations. The libraries and dining halls can be used equally.

Contact

Student Counselling Service

Degree Program Management

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Professorin für Frühkindliche Bildungsforschung
Leiterin PINA-Forschungslabor

Head of degree program (deputy)

Prof. Dr. Frauke Hildebrandt

Prof. Dr. Frauke Hildebrandt

Professorin für Pädagogik der Kindheit

Degree Program Coordination

Dipl.-Kffr. Alena Kohlmann

Dipl.-Kffr. Alena Kohlmann

Koordination Frühkindliche Bildungsforschung (M. A.)
Koordination Soziale Arbeit berufsbegleitend ( B. A.), BASA-online
Studiencoaching / Koordination Students4Students