Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

UCAS points

72 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

We are offering an exciting new route into a satisfying career working in special educational needs and disability support. This four year degree will build your knowledge and confidence while offering an excellent introduction to all aspects of SEND. 

Make a difference in your career

We will equip 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.

You will 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 will also explore the possible psychological, sociological, philosophical and biological causes of SEND. 

A whole range of professionals – including carers, social workers, special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) and therapists – come together to deliver SEND support. 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. 

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 support individuals both inside and outside the classroom. 

As part of your studies, you’ll undertake two placements which will give you important insights into professional practice. You can choose to be based in settings such as hospitals, schools, social services, adult provision or charitable organisations. 

Expertise, influence and inspiration

You will learn from 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. 

Our course is underpinned by the latest theories and innovative ideas in SEND and inclusive practices. 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.

Raise your professional profile

Throughout the course, your learning will be enriched by our strong professional links. We will introduce you to leading practitioners and 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 working to ensure positive, effective and inclusive education across the special and mainstream sectors. 

By joining this professional community, you can 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.

Build a course that matches your interests

Our choice of optional modules means that you can tailor your studies to reflect 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. 

To broaden your horizons further still, you also have the opportunity to spend part of your course studying abroad. Under the Go Places, Go Further international exchange scheme, we have agreements with universities in Amsterdam and Brussels where you can explore a new culture and add an extra dimension to your CV. 

Top25for Education**The Guardian University Guide 2020

Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more

Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.

Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Study Skills for Undergraduate Study
  • Children’s Literature and Education
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Psychology of Education
  • Sociology of Education
  • Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology

If you already have level 2 English and Maths at grades C or above, you will not be required to take English and Maths as core modules.

  • Learning in HE
  • SEND and Inclusion
  • Critical and Global Perspectives
  • Issues and Debates into the Aetiology of SEND
  • Social, Behavioural and Emotional Development
  • Historical Development of SEND
  • Practitioner Inquiry
  • Research Methods
  • Professionalism in SEND
  • Cognitive and Language Development
  • Specific Learning Difficulties
  • Ethical Practice and Safeguarding
  • Educational Independent Study
  • SEND in Context

Optional modules:

  • Attention disorders (ADD, ADHD)
  • Language, Literacies and Dyslexia
  • Autism (Children)
  • Autism (Adults)
  • Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties
  • Cognitive Diversity (dyscalculia, cognitive disability)
  • Physical Diversity (physical impairment)
  • Diversity in Communication, Speech and Language Development
  • Diversity in Social, Emotional and Behavioural Development

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.

University of Derby student drinking coffee

How you will learn

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

During your foundation year you will be assessed mainly by coursework, and with some in-class tests. 

From stage one onwards, there will be no exams and you'll be assessed through small group work, individual peer presentations, completion of directed tasks and drafting of tasks, tutorial discussions and coursework. 

Children playing in a forest area

Outdoor Learning Space

Learn how to apply education in an outdoor setting, using nature to improve the personal, social and technical skills of children.

Take a lookTake a look

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-levelN/A
Specific requirements at GCSE

GCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at L2 as part of your course of study.

IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

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.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*





* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit


Taking this course with a foundation year gives you a clear and smooth transition to the full honours degree qualification. On graduation, you will be equipped for a wide range of careers in the SEND sector, including family liaison, advocacy, inclusion support, teaching assistance, mentoring, adult education and careers services.

There are opportunities to progress to postgraduate study in areas such as health, psychological services and social care if you would like to take your skills and knowledge to the next level.

Please note that this course does not lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). However, if you’d like to train to be a teacher, you can apply to study one of our postgraduate courses, such as PGCE Primary or PGCE Post-14 (Education and Training).

Trevor Cotterill

Trevor Cotterill
Programme leader

Trevor is Programme Leader for BA (Hons) and FdA Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). His research interests include the etiology of autism and ADHD, issues and debates in the area of SEND and working with individuals with complex needs.

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Contact us

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.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

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.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

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.

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