Our distinctive degree paves the way to some of the most rewarding, inspiring and satisfying careers of all – working in special educational needs and disability support.
- Education at Derby has been ranked in the Top 25 in the Guardian League Table 2020
- Prepare for roles where you can make a genuine difference – from family liaison and inclusion support to teaching assistance and mentoring
- Build an in-depth understanding of the theories, factors and contexts for special educational needs and disability (SEND)
- Undertake work placements to develop your practical, professional and intellectual skills
- Learn from experts in the fields of education, health, psychology and social work to gain real insights into professional life
- Gain an international perspective, with the opportunity to spend time studying abroad through the Go Places, Go Further scheme
- Chart your future direction at a university with a strong track record for employability: 96% of Derby graduates were in work or further study within six months of completing a full-time degree
- If you already have a Foundation degree then and wish to top it up to a full BA (Hons) then you can do so by applying directly to the university
- If you complete this course and meet the entry requirements for our PGCE Primary, we will guarantee you an interview - see below for full detail
This course prepares you for a broad range of roles where you can improve the life experiences of individuals with special learning needs. You’ll build the skills and knowledge to support children and adults with diverse needs, such as specific learning difficulties, physical disabilities, behavioural problems and sensory impairments.
Specialist knowledge to take you far
You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of all aspects of SEND. We engage you in discussions and debates, harnessing the latest research to stimulate your thinking and challenge your ideas. You’ll also explore the possible psychological, sociological, philosophical and biological causes of SEND.
Successful SEND support relies on collaboration from a range of professionals including carers, social workers, special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) and therapists. As part of the course, you’ll take a close look at the importance of this multi-agency support and the positive impact it can have on individuals.
Gain vital practical skills on placement
Throughout the course we place a strong focus on real world learning. To ensure that you’re ‘career ready’ when you graduate, you’ll learn a range of practical techniques to help support individuals both inside and outside the classroom.
You’ll undertake two placements as part of your studies, giving you important insights into professional practice. You can choose to be based in a variety of settings such as hospitals, schools, social services, adult provision or charitable organisations. In your second year, you’ll have the option to undertake study and a placement abroad.
Be inspired by our expertise
Our course is delivered by a dedicated and enthusiastic team, including experts in the fields of education, health, psychology and social work. They will share their experiences with you and provide fresh perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of working in SEND.
The University has a growing reputation as a centre for excellence in SEND and inclusive practices, which means your course is underpinned by latest theories and innovative ideas. Our lecturers regularly publish their work and have conducted important studies into a wide range of subjects, such as managing the inclusion of SEND pupils in the classroom.
Draw on our professional networks
Our strong professional links enrich your learning and introduce you to leading practitioners. Our Visiting Professors include notable figures such as Brian Lamb OBE, who chaired a high-profile inquiry into parental confidence in SEND and whose work has influenced major policy changes.
We have launched a Professional Development Network for SEND and Inclusive Practice which brings together practitioners who are working to ensure positive, effective and inclusive education across the special and mainstream sectors.
As part of this professional community, you’ll be able to take part in our annual SEND conferences which attract influential guest speakers and spark important debates about how to improve SEND provision.
A vibrant learning experience
We pride ourselves on providing a friendly, welcoming learning environment where you will receive plenty of encouragement and guidance. Our tutors are approachable, dedicated and passionate about their subjects.
You’ll learn in our Kirtley Building which offers first-rate facilities, including specially designed collaborative learning spaces and a large hall for practical activities and observing learning in action.
Pursue your personal interests
We offer a choice of optional modules so that you can tailor your studies to match your personal interests and career aspirations. These could cover themes such as autism in children and adults, attention disorders, diversity in social, emotional and behavioural development, and diversity in communication, speech and language development.
If you would like to broaden your horizons further still, you also have the Go Places, Go Further scheme, we have agreements with universities in countries such as Amsterdam and Brussels, where you can explore a new culture and add an extra dimension to your CV.
Guaranteed interviews for our PGCE Primary
If you complete this degree and meet the entry requirements for our PGCE Primary course, we will guarantee you an interview during your final year of undergraduate study (subject to places being available).
Places on our PGCE are highly sought after, so we recommend you apply as early as possible once UCAS opens.
Terms and conditions:
- There are a limited number of places on the PGCE Primary. Once the course is full, applications will close and no further interviews will be held
- Interviews are guaranteed for students who meet the entry requirements for the PGCE Primary, including GCSE grades, degree classification, experience and successful completion of the Skills Tests
- An interview does not guarantee an offer to study on the course
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
Virtual Open Day
Delve deeper into the course with our Virtual Open Day, packed with subject and course information to help you make your choice, including tours of facilities, 360° views of award-winning accommodation plus advice and insight from students and academics.Explore our Virtual Open Day
Throughout the degree, you’ll be supported and encouraged to develop your capacity to evaluate, analyse and critically engage in the field of SEND, drawing on a wide range of learning, teaching and assessment activities. As you progress, you’ll be expected to undertake increasing responsibility for independent self-directed study, drawing on the range of resources available to you. At all levels, you are invited to engage in e-learning opportunities.
How you'll be assessed
There are no exams. You’ll be assessed through small group work, individual peer presentations, completion of directed tasks and drafting of tasks, tutorial discussions and coursework.
Personal academic tutoring
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
Find out more about personal academic tutoring
September 2021 typical entry requirements
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|IELTS||6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)|
|Interview / Audition||N/A|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DMM
- Pass Access to HE Diploma - 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.
An Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service certificate cleared by the University is required for this course. We will contact you with information on how to complete this once you have applied. More information.
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
Our BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs and Disability degree prepares you for a wide range of careers in the SEND sector, including family liaison, advocacy, inclusion support, teaching assistance, mentoring, adult education and careers services.
You could also take your skills and knowledge to the next level by progressing to postgraduate study in areas such as health, psychological services and social care.
Please note that this course does not lead to Qualified Teacher Status. However, if you’d like to train to be a teacher, you will be guaranteed an interview for our PGCE Primary if you meet the entry requirements.
You could also apply to study our PGCE Post-14 (Education and Training).
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.
Included in your fees
- £100 book voucher provided centrally by the University
- Deaf awareness workshop
- Education Studies Conference
- Education Studies Symposium
- SEND Conference
- Print credit for 200 black and white copies on a pro-rata basis dependent on student status i.e. whether full-time/part-time students; this is reviewed annually
- Initial DBS check
- All placement travel costs outside the one day a week in semester 2 of stage 2
- Induction activities and trips
- A range of in class visitors/expert guest speakers to enhance your learning
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Print costs above the allowance
- Binding of IS dissertation at stage 3, approx. cost £6
- Replacement DBS if lost, approx. cost £50
- Placement travel costs that exceed £5 per day for one day a week in semester 2 of stage 2 only
Optional costs not included in your fees
- All placement travel costs outside the one day a week in semester 2 of stage 2
- Field trips abroad that offer enrichment opportunities – these are optional, approx. cost £430-£1000
- Memberships to sports clubs and societies encouraged but not mandatory, approx. cost £17 for Athletic Union membership plus club fee, £7 for societies card plus society fee
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.