Special Educational Needs and Disability MA

Postgraduate ( full-time, part-time)


September 2018, January 2019

Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Course duration: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.


To create an inclusive society, different professionals must work together, from education, health and social care to government. This course supports your specialism and prepares you to collaborate. Understand in depth the special educational needs and disability (SEND) requirements of children and young people up to 25 years old. Be clear on SEND rights, ever-complex legislation and specific conditions. Have answers for those under your care, their families and fellow professionals.

Full description


This course will support your career ambitions as a SEND professional. This can be in the areas of education, health and social care, a local authority support role or even national policymaking. For newly-qualified professionals, including tomorrow’s teachers, the MA will enhance employability, helping you on your path to becoming a SEND specialist. 

If you’re already a Specialist Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), you’ll increase your understanding further. We will accredit a SENCO award, and the prior knowledge that comes with this programme, so you can progress to an MA with fewer modules. Teachers and those in allied roles, including learning support assistants and teaching assistants, will find this course valuable for personal development and career advancement. It could even help with a move to a related field. The same is true for those committed to delivering SEND health and social care. International students may wish to use the approaches to strengthen and influence policy and provision within their home country, or develop new structures and career opportunities.

Whatever your background, interests and professional needs, you’ll learn how to make a difference by engaging collaboratively. And it’s up to you how far you take this course. Professionally recognised intermediate awards (PG Cert and PG Dip) are available if you don’t wish to study for the full MA.


Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • SEND in Context
    Understand the entitlement context for children and young adults with SEND aged up to 25 years. View this against the backdrop of legislative change and evolving models, as well as global perspectives on ‘need’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘personalisation’. Alongside rights, explore the duties, procedures and principles for practice expected from those working in this field to improve quality of life and aspirations. Be clear on the implications of mandates for collaborative working and providing planning that’s centred on an individual. To help grow your general understanding, you’ll look at case studies of children with special education needs and disabilities. This will cover a number of conditions. All viewed from a range of professional perspectives.
  • Intervention for SEND
    Focus on specific needs and conditions, as well as intervening to include stakeholders, supported by the principle of equality of opportunity. Consider the tension between identifying need and the philosophy of inclusion. Understand the implications of ‘Quality First Teaching’ within new frameworks and for helping young people up to 25 years of age live life in their communities. To help with this module’s objectives, you’ll explore a range of needs, including communication and interaction; cognition and learning; emotional, social and mental health; and sensory and physical requirements. You’ll consider the implications for children and young people with specific conditions, for example ADHD, autism and dyslexia. You’ll critically assess what such conditions mean to families too, and approaches to intervention. And you’ll appraise working practices for one good reason: the best solutions will mean engaging every relevant stakeholder, building on partnership strengths.
  • Educational and Social Research Methods
    Consider the aims and intentions of educational research, critique published journal articles, and examine the role of research evidence to improve education and social care. Gain a solid grounding in educational research issues, methods and strategies. Learn how to match intended outcomes with specific educational questions and methods of investigation.
  • Postgraduate Major Project (double module)
    The Major Project is central to achieving your MA. You’ll show how you’re able to combine learning from previous modules. This learning will give you the basis for planning, conducting and writing up a research or work-based project. This module is also the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to raise significant and meaningful questions in relation to your chosen topic, alongside a critical understanding of research methods and their relationship to knowledge. You’ll be well placed to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in your research or professional practice and to expand existing knowledge, contributing to the development of best practice.

If you start your course in September, you will take the following module

  • National & International Policy Perspectives
    Policy has a central place in all phases of education at macro, meso and micro levels. Students taking this module will have the opportunity to explore aspects of policy in depth, considering the ideologies, values and evidence that inform policy and the position of individuals and groups when responding to and implementing policy. MA Education and MA Early Childhood Professional Studies students take this module together as some global and national policy initiatives have an impact across all sectors and policy developments in one part of the educational system are likely to affect others. Students are expected to be active learners, engaging in group discussion and group presentations in order to share their ideas about both theory and practice.

If you start your course in January, you will take the following module

  • Specialist Studies in Learning and Teaching
    Explore a specialist subject that is relevant to your role as a teacher in compulsory or post-compulsory education, working with other students to successfully achieve the learning outcomes. Areas include, but are not necessarily limited to: Developing Assessment for Learning in the classroom context, Enhancing learning and teaching using learning technologies, Supporting students with Special Educational Needs, Outdoor Learning and Critical Education, and Social Justice. This module can also deliver an agreed specialist subject for continuing professional development; for example, if a group of teachers in a school wanted to pursue a particular topic to link with a specific issue. In some circumstances, this module could also be replaced by a Professional Enquiry module; for example, if a group of teachers wished to pursue an action research project in the context of their school.


We use a range of assessment methods to demonstrate your developing knowledge and theoretical understanding. Assessments will also expand the skills you’ll need in practice to best support children and young people with special education needs and disabilities, alongside their families. And you’ll be able to show how you’ve learned to engage other professionals across disciplines, empowering them to be as effective as possible.

Instead of sitting exams, you’ll benefit from collaborative assessments, including making group presentations. You’ll develop core strengths in valuable appraisal methods, such as the ability to carry out individual critical reflections. You’ll also carry out an extended evaluation of issues applied directly to your specific interests and context.

Each assignment will progress your learning, assessing your ability to communicate with clarity, both verbally and in written reports aimed at a range of audiences. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can meet postgraduate-level study, and have fluent, accurate English. Please see Entry requirements for further details.

Notes on modules for part-time students

You will benefit from attending a 'summer school' module.

If you're studying our course part-time, you'll study the following modules in your first year:

  • either The Interprofessional Context for SEN or Intervention for SEN 
  • Investigating Education through Research
  • Exploring Boundaries and Practices for SEN.

In your second year you'll study:

  • either Intervention for SEN or The Interprofessional Context for SEN
  • Postgraduate Major Project.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education is the largest provider of health, social care and education courses in the East of England, with over 6,000 students from more than 20 countries.

With 95% of our students finding full-time employment within six months of graduating, you can be sure that our courses have been designed with your career in mind. We’ve been educating nurses, midwives and social workers for over 25 years.

At the cutting edge of research, we offer a range of internationally recognised undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses taught by friendly, supportive and experienced staff. With over 150 research students across our three doctoral programmes (PhD; DProf and EdD), we provide the multi-disciplinary perspective and potential for academic debate that reflects our position as a leader in practitioner-focused and practice-led research studies.

Designed to enhance your learning experience, our facilities include state-of-the-art simulated skills laboratories that mirror real-life clinical situations and UK hospital wards. Our students also benefit from our Early Childhood Research and Resource Centre; a space in which they can experiment with equipment and play activities.

You’ll study in an exciting, modern faculty which has strong links with regional, national and international organisations, including healthcare trusts, social services, local and regional authorities, schools and academic institutions.

Your enthusiasm. Our passion. Your best foot forward.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Additional study information

Throughout your time on our course, you’ll be encouraged to work in study groups from diverse backgrounds. This will not only aid opportunities for making informal professional visits but also will deepen your understanding of different perspectives.

The way our course is taught has been designed for you. If you need to study at a distance, you can make use of our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

At the end of your first year of study, we offer a week-long summer school. You’ll be expected to attend this, and should plan accordingly when applying. If you’re an international student, we may be able to help with some of your logistical arrangements. For further advice, please speak with our International Admissions team on angliaruskin@enquiries.uk.com.

Our teaching sessions use specialist facilities and tutors from across a range of disciplines.

If you’re not in a regular work setting with access to children with SEN, you’ll be supported to find a voluntary placement, for example in a special school. This will require enhanced DBS clearance, which all students have to secure before starting this course.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year, part-time)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year, part-time)


How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you're at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

From September 2018, EU students starting a postgraduate degree with us can access a £600 bursary.

Meanwhile, our £400 Books Plus scheme helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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