MA Education: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

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Fact file

Start date: September or January 

Course length: Full-time: one year; part-time: three to six years.

Campus: Kedleston Road, Derby

College: College of Education

Department: Postgraduate and Initial Teacher Training

Why choose this pathway?

  • You will develop a further understanding of Special Educational Needs (SEN) issues, for example issues relating to behaviour, language and communication and autism
  • This pathway will allow you to progress in providing education and support within the SEN category
  • You will have the opportunity to reflect on SEN practices and discuss them with others, and also share related reflections and ideas
  • You will read critically material relevant to SEN issues and discuss texts in a seminar context, thereby deepening your awareness of SEN topics

What you will cover

Part time students 

As a part time student your studying will normally take place over three academic years, potentially choosing one module per term. 

Your first module will be ‘Crafting Your Masters Study’. The other pathway, core and optional modules will be available according to the schedule of delivery.

Here is an example of possible combination modules:

Year 1 - Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) Crafting Your Masters Study  Pathway module or option module Option module
Year 2 - Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) Option Module Pathway module Evidence Based Practice
Year 3 - Masters (180 credits) Independent study with a Special Needs focus

Full time students 

As a full time student your studying will normally take place over one academic year.  The optional modules and pathway modules will be available according to the schedule of delivery

Here is an example of the combination of modules that you would choose:

Term 1 (Sept - Dec) Crafting Your Masters Study (20 credits) Evidence Based Practice (20 credits) Optional or pathway module (20 credits)
Term 2 (Jan - March) Applying Educational Thinkers and Theorists (20 credits) Independent Study (60 credits) Attend workshop Optional or pathway module (20 credits)
Term 3 (April - June) Comparative Education (20 credits) Independent Study (Submit in August) Optional or pathway module (20 credits) if not already taken in term 1 or 2


For both part time and full time students

Core modules

  • Crafting Your Masters Study
  • Evidence Based Practice‌
  • Independent Study‌

Prescribed pathway modules

  • Specific Learning Difficulties ‌
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Current Issues and Concerns‌

How you will learn

You'll learn through active participation in course seminars. Relevant critical reading and discussion will contribute to your progress along the pathway.

Tutorial guidance will be provided for your assignment work.

Careers and employability

Our graduates have said that this course gave them the confidence to apply for positions that they would not usually consider, as a consequence of this their professional performance has improved. Some of our graduates have gone on to become advanced skills teachers, disability coordinators, assistant headteachers and headteachers.

You may also wish to go on to further study such as MPhil, EdD or PhD in the Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences.

What our students say

"This pathway has allowed me to enhance my skills in special educational needs linking in to my job role in school. It’s enabled me to investigate aspects of special educational needs that weren’t covered in other areas. I’ve been able to think more critically and to think deeper in to the theory."
Natalie Kerslake, current student 

Hear Natalie talk more about her experience doing the pathway.

"I have enjoyed the opportunity the MA has given me to look at my teaching through ‘fresh eyes’ and, meet new people, some of whom have become friends. I found the course difficult at times; working full time with a family is not easy when studying at this level, but it is exceptionally rewarding. Staff at Derby University are very helpful and supportive. Studying on the MA course at Derby University has given me the confidence to move on with my teaching career and move out of the ‘rut’ I seemed to be in four years ago. I have recommended the course to my colleagues."
Melanie Coultas, graduate

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need an undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification and a role within education that will allow you to complete the work based assignments. Even if you don’t have these entry requirements it’s worth contacting us if you have relevant professional experience as we may be able to consider your application.

Fees and finance

2016/17 Fees (August 2016 - July 2017)


£580 per 20 credits*

£580 per 20 credits*


£12,000 for the full programme


*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you’re studying full-time you will normally complete 180 credits over one year. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a 10% discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Scholarships and bursaries

We also offer a number of funding opportunities for all International students, including discounts, scholarships and bursaries.

How to apply

Pathway enquiries

Course leader: Vanessa Cottle
T: +44 (0)1332 591703

Where will I study?

Kedleston Road, Derby